In this conversation, Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari speaks with two United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’ experts Dr Edna Friedberg and Dr Daniel Greene.
Dr Friedberg has studied the propagation of the Protocols for many years. Dr Greene is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University who has curated exhibitions at USHMM on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and on Americans’ responses to the Holocaust.
The fabricated text known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was published in Russian in 1903 in a newspaper called Znamya (Flag).
This faked document claimed that a group of Jews were conspiring to dominate the world. In later years, it was translated into a variety of languages, and it became well-known globally. It has proved tenacious and flexible enough to be used by antisemites around the world in a variety of contexts.
More than 120 years have passed. But The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is still in print in parts of the world, and it is a favorite of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The Internet has dramatically increased access to the Protocols. Even though many websites expose the Protocols as a fraud, the Internet has made it easy to use the Protocols to spread hatred of Jews.
Today, a typical Internet search yields an appalling proliferation of sites that disseminate or sell the Protocols as if they were factual. Even though it was proven to be a fabrication a long time ago, Iranian government bodies still publish it as though it were a real document created by Jews. The text has become such a widespread touchstone that even the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas referred to it in 1988, in its first charter as a justification for violence against Jews.
This is why the Sardari Project, a joint initiative of IranWire and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), is addressing this longstanding antisemitic conspiracy theory by offering informational material about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.