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The Protocols of the Elders of Zion:
The Renaissance of anti-Semitic Hate Literature in the Arab
and Islamic World

Examples From Arab Countries and Iran
•    Egypt
•    Jordan
•    Palestinian Authority
•    Lebanon
•    Syria
•    Iran


Professor Bernard Lewis states that “Any rational modern reader of the Protocols cannot but wonder at the crudity of the inventors of this text, and the credulity of those who believed it. Among the many strange ‘secrets’ revealed in the book is that the Jews make the sons of the nobility study Latin and Greek as the best way of undermining their morals, and that the Jews ordered the building of underground railways in the major cities of Europe so that when the time comes they can blow up any capital which resists their rule.” (3)

In spite of these and many other similar absurdities, the book has appeared in countless editions and has circulated in millions of copies, in scores of languages. The Protocols has been translated into Arabic more than into any other language.

In Egypt, the book made its first appearance in 1951, and was prefaced by Abbas Mahmud al-Aqqad, one of Egypt’s most famous and respected writers. In his foreword, al-Aqqad voiced his surprise that this amazing book waited so long to be published in Egypt in its integral version, whereas all Arab countries should be fully aware of its contents, being as they are the victims of the Balfour Declaration and of the foundation of the Jewish State on Palestinian territory.(4)

The book has been publicly recommended by Presidents Nasser and Sadat in Egypt, President Arif of Iraq, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Colonel Qaddafi in Libya, and various other monarchs, presidents, prime ministers, and other political and intellectual leaders. (5)

In March 1970, a Lebanese newspaper placed the Protocols first on its list of nonfiction bestsellers. Besides the great and growing number of Arabic translations and editions, there is a rapidly developing body of original anti-Semitic literature in Arabic, much of it based directly or indirectly on the Protocols, which is extensively cited as authoritative. (6)

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and The New Middle East

When al-Ahram, the state-owned publishing house, decided to translate Shimon Peres’ book The New Middle East (al-Ahram: Cairo, 1995), the chief editor felt it his duty to address the Arab reader in a foreword to the book, which may be understood as a caveat against the enemy:

“When The Protocols of the Elders of Zion were discovered, some 200 years ago, and translated in various languages, including Arabic, the World Zionist Organization attempted to deny the existence of the plot, and claimed forgery. The Zionists even endeavored to purchase all the existing exemplars, in order to prevent their circulation. But today, Shimon Peres proves unequivocally that The Protocols are authentic, and that they tell the truth. Shimon Peres’ book is but another step towards achieving the malicious scheme.

The propagation of the concept of international Jewish conspiracy by means of the Protocols is pursued in Egypt to this very day. For example, an article published by the governmental newspaper al-Akhbar on February 3, 2002) stated, “All the evils that currently affect the world are the doings of Zionism. This is not surprising, because the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which were established by their wise men more than a century ago, are proceeding according to a meticulous and precise plan and time schedule, and they are proof that even though they [the Jews] are a minority, their goal is to rule the world and the entire human race.”

The Protocols on television: In November/December 2002, Television stations across the Middle East aired a 41-part historical drama entitled Horseman Without a Horse, in which the Protocols were a major element in the plot. The series was produced in Egypt and aired on Egyptian state television, as well as numerous satellite stations across the region, and starred the famous Egyptian actor Muhammad Subhi.

3 - Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1986), p. 108
4 - Hadassah Ben-Itto, The Lie that Wouldn’t Die, p. 334.
5 - Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites, pp. 208-20
6 - Ibid., p. 210.
7 - Arieh Stav, Peace: The Arabian Caricature: A Study of Anti-Semitic Imagery (Tel Aviv: Zmora-Bitan, 1996) p. 85 (in Hebrew )

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