The Magazine

Teach Your Children Well

Classic anti-Semitic literature in Arab schools.

Aug 14, 2006, Vol. 11, No. 45 • By JEANNE HOFFMAN and NINA SHEA
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After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion and so on. Their plan is embodied in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.

Both Saudi textbooks and the Hamas charter give detailed warnings of the "destructive" roles of the Freemasons, as well as the Lions and Rotary clubs, in the Zionist cause as laid out in The Protocols. Both blame this Jewish "agenda" for the French Revolution, World War I, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and the Bolshevik Revolution.

In 2002, during Ramadan, when viewership is highest, Egypt aired a 41-part television series, Horseman without a Horse, in which The Protocols is a major plot element. The same year, an article in Egypt's government daily Al-Akhbar explained that the current evils in the world have been unfolding according to the "meticulous and precise plan and time schedule" of The Protocols.

The Protocols is often used to reinforce the blood libel, a medieval myth of Jewish ritual murder and poisoning. In a TV series entitled Al-Shatat, produced by Syria and aired in recent years in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iran, Jews aim to rule the world through a secret government led by the Rothschild family and are depicted making matzo with the blood of Muslim and Christian children.

The state-controlled media of the Middle Eastern countries commonly refer to The Protocols as if it were an authoritative historical document, linking it to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and other current events.

However preposterous, The Protocols is experiencing a resurgence. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which opened an exhibition on The Protocols in April, finds the trend "dangerous," given the document's "incredible power for Nazis and others who seek to spread hatred of Jews."

Israeli judge Hadassa Ben-Itto comments on this phenomenon in her new legal history, The Lie That Wouldn't Die: "The Protocols, created to serve the powers of darkness at the helm of an empire fast approaching its self-imposed doom, were destined to outlive the [czarist] empire. They would survive to fire the imagination of prejudiced bigots who believed in apocalyptic prophesies."

Arab reactions to Israel's operations in Lebanon have drawn on slogans and images from The Protocols. In a political cartoon from Egypt, a bearded, hook-nosed Jew drenched in blood and standing atop a pile of skulls vies with Uncle Sam for domination of the world. In another, from Bahrain, a snake coiled into a star of David is ready to ensnare Lebanon and Gaza. The "Symbolic Serpent, the symbol of our people" is taken from the third protocol, and is often depicted on the cover of editions of the work.

At a demonstration of mostly Middle Eastern immigrants in Berlin on July 21, protestors chanted, "Israel drinks the blood of our children." Indeed, posters and cartoons from across the Arab world depict Jews in Lebanon eating children. It's only natural, then, that at a recent protest in Amman organized by the Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition party in Jordan, thousands of chant ing marchers called on the "beloved" leader of Hezbollah to "hit Haifa and Tel Aviv!"

By deliberately stoking anti-Semitism for decades, Arab leaders have sown expectations among their people that are incompatible with peace in the region. As a first step toward eliminating state-sponsored anti-Semitism, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan should publicly debunk The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as the lie that it is and stop foisting this falsehood on their citizens.

Nina Shea is director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House and author of the Center's new study, Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance. Jeanne Hoffman is a student at Ave Maria School of Law and a Center law fellow.