There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.
If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2019.
| Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.|
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with !
The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
| Some dare call it|
|What THEY don't want|
you to know!
| Fiction over fact|
|How it didn't happen|
The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion is a fabricated booklet written by Mathieu Golovinski, a French-Russian Okhrana operative. It purports to detail the agenda for a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, including how to control the media, the banks, and the government. The Protocols have been the basis for innumerable anti-Semitic tracts throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, most notably Henry Ford's The International Jew and Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. The Nazis heavily promoted the booklet to justify oppression of the Jews and the Holocaust.
Despite being shown to be a hoax as far back as 1921, it is still distributed and believed by people who swallow whatever fiction fits with their racist views. In addition to its exposure as a fabrication (by journalist Philip Perceval Graves of The Times) in 1921, a pamphlet containing three essays by Lucien Wolf called The Myth of the Jewish Menace in World Affairs debunking the Protocols was released in the same year. A Swiss judge ruled the pamphlet to be a forgery in a 1935 decision in a case known as the Berne trial.
The origin of the Protocols may trace back to the time of the French Revolution; in 1797, a French Jesuit, Abbé Barruel (Augustin Barruel), published a treatise blaming the Revolution on a Masonic conspiracy. He was influenced in this by an anti-Masonic mathematician. Barruel did not himself blame the Jews. However, in 1806, Barruel circulated a forged letter, probably sent to him by anti-Semitic members of the state police, claiming a Jewish role in the supposed conspiracy.
The main text of the Protocols was put together by Golovinski in 1897 at the request of Piotr Rakhkovsky, head of the Okhrana's French section. Rakhkovsky, jealous of Sergei Witte, a (relatively) liberal policymaker who had the Emperor's ear, wanted to gain Nicholas II's attention by somehow proving that liberalism and modernism were Jewish plots. After hitting on the idea of writing a fake "transcript" of the events at the 1897 First Zionist Congress at Basel, he contacted Golovinski, then living in exile in Paris, and asked him to write this "transcript".
The document was shown to the Emperor by Sergius Nilus, a Rasputin-type "mystic" (self-proclaimed). The document formed a section of his magnum opus, a fantastically insane work titled The Great Within the Small and Antichrist, an Imminent Political Possibility. Notes of an Orthodox Believer. The Emperor swallowed the manuscript, Witte fell out of favour (he resigned as Prime Minister of Russia in 1906), and the rest is history.
N.B: Golovinski lifted much of the material for the Protocols from Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, a French satirical pamphlet, written by Maurice Joly in 1864. This work satirized and protested against Napoleon III (Louis Napoleon) and his regime, and had no racial or religious theme. Joly's Dialogue itself may have plagiarized an even earlier work attacking the Jesuits. The plagiarism, as well as historical background on the Protocols and its influence, is described in detail in Will Eisner's graphic novel The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
On his album Extremist Won, Carl Klang, self-described as "America’s #1 Patriotic Singer", recorded the song "The News Behind the News" which deals with the Protocols, calling them "the blueprint to the downfall of our nation".
David "Thelizardsdidit" Icke (described as a "fucking loon" by Cracked) "declared that the Protocols of Zion is evidence not of a Jewish plot, but of a reptilian plot of Illuminati lizards", according to Jon Ronson, writing in The Grauniad.
It has three and a half out of five stars on Amazon, which most sane people would regard as 3.5 stars too many.
- Translation of the Protocols by Victor Marsden
- Dialogue in Hell online text (English)
- Protocols Project page at UC Santa Barbara
- Cohn, Norman. Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish world-conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. London: Serif, 1996.
- The Protocols of Zion — An Exposure by Philip Graves (August 16 to 18, 1921) The Times of London; this is a transcript
- The History of a Lie: "The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion" by Herman Bernstein (1921) J. S. Ogilvie Publishing Company.
- a Google search of this title brings up, in second place, a site that accepts the Protocols as true.
- Lucien Wolf. The Myth of the Jewish Menace in World Affairs (or, The Truth About the Forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion). New York: McMillan, 1921. (Public domain.)
- Papers regarding the Bern trial, further commentary by Leslie Fry and Larry Ray.
- The Nizkor Project
- See the Wikipedia article on Sergei Witte.
- See the Wikipedia article on Sergei Nilus.
- If you really want to read the lyrics, they're here: http://web.archive.org/web/20050208055300/http://www.klang.com/lyrics/thenews.htm . You can also hear the song here, if you're truly curious: http://youtu.be/hR6WcjwH6ok .
- 5 Pathetic Groups That People Think Rule The World, Cracked
- John Ronson. Beset by Lizards, The Guardian. Published 17 March 2001.