Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is relevant today

The National Post has a nice piece from a new book by Jonathan Kay called Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground. This excerpt talks about how the famous forged work, "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion," is in many ways the precursor to today's conspiracy theories:

Even once the Third Reich lay in ruins, and anti-Semitism became widely detested in its bald-faced Nazi-style form, the Protocols would remain ensconced as a sort of universal blueprint for all the successor conspiracist ideologies that would come to infect Western societies over the next nine decades — right up to the modern-day Truther and Birther fantasies of the 21st century.

In these conspiracy theories, the imagined evildoing cabal would come by many names — communist, globalist, neocon. But in most cases, it would exhibit the same recurring characteristics that the Protocols fastened upon the Jewish elders in the shadow of First World War.

The entire article is worth reading, but this part is of particular interest:

The Protocols was a lie. But like all successful conspiracy theories, it was a lie that people wanted to hear....

For Europeans reading the Protocols in the 1920s and 1930s, the document offered something precious: the idea that only a single barrier — the Jewish race — blocked a return to the peaceful, pious and socially ordered world that had been destroyed by war, revolution, mechanization, urbanization, radical political ideologies, secularization and catastrophic inflation. The evil brilliance of the Protocols lay in the fact that it patched together a theory of Jewish conspiracy that covered every one of these upheavals — all the while enchanting the reader with backward glimpses of the noble, God-fearing milieu that the Jew allegedly had undermined.
Isn't this exactly how many in the world look at Israel today?

It is patently ridiculous to even think that Israel is the source for all the world's problems and the major obstacle to world peace. Yet the idea that if only Israel would give up/go away, things would be better for everyone is mainstream in the Arab and Muslim world and only a tiny bit beneath the surface in Europe and among the far left.

As with the Protocols, today's rampant anti-Zionism is not pure anti-semitism. Rather, it uses latent anti-semitism in order to get people to believe that their problems will be solved by getting rid of the Jewish state. The driving force is not hate as much as an extreme form of wishful thinking that is exploited by hate.

How many times have we seen seemingly smart and logical people say absurd things when it comes to Israel? They are not consciously anti-Jewish or even anti-Zionist; but their Achilles' heel is their intense desire to solve the world's problems in a neat and easy package. It is seductive to pretend that there is a simple solution - force Israel to do what its neighbors have been insisting for years is the major "obstacle to peace."

People naturally gravitate towards finding an Occam's razor to solve the world's problems. And the Arab leadership has been blaming Israel for all of their problems for decades. Even though it is easy to prove that this is not only false but an attempt to deflect from their own corruption, the constant repetition of the lie along with the world's latent antipathy towards Jews are the only ingredients necessary to make the wishful thinkers grab the idea as their own. Against all logic, they believe the autocrats and then find the justifications for their theories afterwards.

This is the reason we hear nonsense like "Israeli intransigence" and "Israeli racism" and "Israeli apartheid." Just like the Protocols, these are the lies that the world wants to hear, today, in order to justify their illogical desire to get rid of that pesky "obstacle to peace" known as the Jewish state.