Israel / 26-11-2006
Jews Are Silent. Again. - By Hadassa Ben-Itto
In the welter of criticism directed at the war in Lebanon, one question has not been asked: why has there been nothing about the intolerable hate propaganda swamping the Arab-Muslim world, led – again – by The Protocols of the Elders of Zion ?
Now that the second Lebanon war is over we hear from all sides that we “fell asleep on sentry duty,” that we underestimated the strength of the enemy, that we were unprepared and too self-confident, that we committed sins of hubris and made false promises to our friends overseas and to the citizens of Israel, that we deluded ourselves into thinking that the existence of the State of Israel guaranteed the future of the Jewish people. Demands come from all sides to appoint a commission of inquiry. “Off with their heads!” people cry.
Were I to be called before such a committee, I would testify that for years one subject has been neglected and never mentioned, although it is no less relevant to the current war than other subjects endlessly harped on. Indeed, we did fall asleep: we never developed an effective strategy to deal with a lethal weapon of another sort, one as dangerous as missiles and rockets.
We keep asking ourselves how the entire Muslim world, including the parts of it not involved in the conflict with the Palestinians, and which do not seem to be the least interested in the Palestinian fate, were so successfully seduced into taking a stand against us, not only leaders but the man on the street as well. Why do thousands run rampant through the streets calling for our destruction? Is it only in defense of Arab honor? And why are they joined by all the human rights organizations, whose original agendas were not supposed to include a struggle against Jews and the State of Israel?
An American diplomat once said to me, “I don't believe this is happening to the Jews again. You haven't learned your lesson. If you had carefully read Mein Kampf you would know what's waiting for you. The writing is on the wall again but you don't even look at it. Wars don't begin in the battlefield. Read the UNESCO Charter that says, ‘Wars start in the minds of men.'”
For the last hundred years a dangerous lie has been spreading throughout the world. It accuses us of being responsible for every catastrophe visited upon humanity, and is based on the claim that the very existence of Jews endangers world peace. It is the famous “Jewish conspiracy” whose goal is to dominate the world, carefully detailed in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion , of which millions of copies are distributed in every conceivable language.
Not only do we not read The Protocols , the book has not even been translated into Hebrew.
Since the Second World War we have not bothered to pinpoint the methodical poisoning of the minds of hundreds of millions of Muslims with the message that the Jews are a danger to their existence. The facts are out there for all to see, they look at us from the pages of newspapers, from studies and from books. We have seen it all and done nothing. We have become tired of dealing with Jew haters, fatigued from denying the libels. We became complacent and did not correctly evaluate the danger or look for ways of coping with it.
Entire nations, hundreds of millions of people, cannot be enlisted to take part in a struggle to destroy the Jews and Israel unless they have been subjected to a methodical, long-term propaganda campaign. We Jews failed to realize the use made of The Protocols to incite the pogroms in Russia at the beginning of the 20 th century; nor did we realize how the Nazis used them as a basis for the theory that as long as there were Jews in the world, they would carry out their plan to take over the globe, thus endangering the Nazi plan to achieve the same end.
Since the Second World War, Muslims have picked up the torch from the Nazis, with the avowed objective of destroying us, as a people and as a state. And that is stated openly, in public speeches given by heads of member states in the United Nations , in charters such as that of the Hamas and in sermons in the mosques.
The original version of the Protocols has not changed, but each of the thousands of editions, regardless of language, is prefaced by an explanation of how the Jews are currently implementing their plan, here and now. Thus new editions with new prefaces are necessary after each current event like the attack on the World Trade Center or the war in Iraq : read the newspapers, they say, the Jews are responsible for it all. The Arabic editions, whether published in Iran , Syria or Egypt , are distributed to Muslim communities in the West, prominently displayed at book fairs and sold at discount prices in stores on main streets.
In recent years, television series in Egypt , Syria and Qatar , one after another, were based on The Protocols and broadcast to the entire Muslim world during Ramadan, in the evening, when the entire family gathers to break the fast and turns on the TV. These are popular soap operas targeting all ages, including adolescents, which revive the criminal Jewish conspiracy theory to take over the world.
All this is happening here and now, as we look on.
The Muslim world believes the libel, even if there are a few intellectuals who might be willing to admit that perhaps The Protocols are a forgery. In a large hospital in the United States , I recently met a doctor of Lebanese extraction from a well-known Christian town. I asked him if he was familiar with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and he answered that he had a copy in his library, knew it well and believed every word. It's part of our culture, he said without blinking, in excellent American English.
The Arabic editions contain introductions which are completely delusional, wild and slanderous. They describe all events in world history as facets of the devilish Jewish plot and are accompanied by horrific cartoons (permissible, apparently, as long as they do not make fun of Muslims). There is no lack of similar editions in the West, but there special editions are printed for more intelligent audiences, such as the 2004 edition printed in the United States and sold in respectable bookstores in large cities.
I am looking at one such edition. It has a glossy red and white cover and is sold by Amazon for $7.95. It contains not only the original Protocols but also many documents based on the conspiracy theory. It “delves deeply” into what it calls “the Jewish problem,” giving the Jews credit for being smart, intelligent, Nobel Prize winners, definitely a people worthy of respect, but, precisely for that reason, dangerous to the world. It even deals with existing proof of the Protocols being a forgery. Thus the London Times , which was the first to expose the forgery in 1921, becomes part of the Jewish conspiracy. Others who exposed it, including a Russian princess and a French theologian, are presented as having criminal records.
The Jewish “intelligence service,” which systematically monitors manifestations of anti-Semitism, is not to blame. There are university departments and research institutes, there are conferences, publications, even websites that monitor what is printed in the Arab countries. But with the exception of a few “obsessed” individuals, there is no real awareness of the danger and there is no strategic plan to deal with it.
Today, the political correctness guiding public discourse bans statements made against anyone except Jews, even if they are true. Thus it is not all Muslims, not the Qu'ran, the commentator adds, every time he informs the world about another terrorist attack carried out by Muslims. If today a libel similar to The Protocols were disseminated about Muslims, or about any ethnic minority marked by its descent or non-Caucasian skin color, the streets would burn as they did because of a few pathetic cartoons in a marginal Danish newspaper.
When the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, publicly announces that he intends to destroy Israel, we don't ask ourselves why, in addition to missiles and nuclear weapons, he orders The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to be printed and distributed, or why his emissaries dare exhibit an English edition of the Protocols at the Iranian stall at the international book fair in Frankfurt.
And the Jewish People remain silent. For a hundred years. Even now.
Jews do not burn embassies, we do not incite thousands to march in the streets. But that does not mean that there are no alternatives. Indeed, alternatives exist.
The conspiracy against the Jewish people must be dramatically exposed, because it disseminates a vicious libel whose objective is to prepare the ground again for the annihilation of the Jews.
We can flood the courts of the world with lawsuits against those who spread the lie, because today most countries have laws that prohibit incitement against religious, national or ethnic groups.
The struggle must be taken up in all its forms: legal, political, public, through the media, globally, in every possible way, to make our voice heard, loud and clear: ENOUGH, STOP THE LIBEL, STOP THE LIES!
1 The article was originally published in Haaretz in Hebrew on August 22, 2006. Hadassa Ben-Itto is a former judge and the author of THE LIE THAT WOULDN'T DIE ; The Protocols of the Elders of Zion . The article was translated by Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S).