August 30, 2007

Today in Jewish History - Elul 16

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In 1903, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forgery purporting to be the conspiratorial discussions of Jewish leaders plotting to take over the world, appeared for the first time as a serial in the Russian newspaper, Znamia. Protocols gained popularity in anti-Semitic circles, and it was -- next to the Bible -- the best-selling book in the world during the 1920s. In the United States, Henry Ford sponsored its publication. Protocols became a mainstay of Nazi propaganda, and in Mein Kampf Hitler presents it as proof of the alleged "Jewish conspiracy" for which the persecution of Jews is necessary as self-defense. Over the years, dozens of scholars have proved Protocols to be a forgery; it was most likely written by a spy working for the Russian secret police. In recent years, "Protocols" has been widely distributed in the Arab Muslim world.