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Fake 'Protocols' Aims to Stir Hatred for Jews
Cape Argus (South Africa), Sep. 28, 2001
An Islamic scholar and academic at the University of Cape Town says the justice of the Palestinian cause is ill-served by quotations from Nazi ideology against the Jews.
Abdulkader Tayob, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Cape Town, described the tendency by some Muslims to do this as "desperate, shortsighted and immoral".
"We must condemn the tendency within a sector of the Muslim community to celebrate Hitler.
"A recent rally in Cape Town upheld a poster declaring 'Viva Hitler' which cannot be acceptable under any circumstances.
The holocaust against Jews in Nazi Germany was not in principle only directed at Jews.
"Unfortunately, many Jews have popularised this notion, and ignore the white supremacist motivation of Nazi ideology
"The tendency to elevate Nazis and to quote from their research against Jewish people, is the most desperate, shortsighted, and immoral strategy to speak for the justice of Palestine and Palestinians."
While Tayob was not specifically referring to the document known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, his condemnation certainly extends to using this document to back up an argument on the current crisis in the Middle East.
This is what Sheikh Faaik Gamieldien did in a recent letter to the Cape Argus when he quoted from the Protocols to accentuate his point about the conflict in the Middle East.
It is claimed in certain areas that the Protocols was drawn up at an international conference on Judaism in 1897.
The document purports to document an international Jewish conspiracy to achieve Jewish world domination, and to impose a new world order by seizing power of the Western world's social, political and economic institutions.
The document has over time become the pretext under which some of the most vicious anti-Jewish acts have been committed.
The first time the Protocols was used to "prove" the Jewish conspiracy theory was in Russia in 1903 when a Russian, Sergei Nilus, presented the document to the czar as a way of providing the political context to explain the political turmoil in his country.
The czar, however, declared it an outrageous fabrication, ordered that all copies be destroyed and banished Nilus.
Hitler apparently used it extensively in his writing of Mein Kampf and it thus formed an important part of the Nazi's justification of genocide of the Jews in World War 2.
The document gained credence in England when in 1921 the Communist daily the Morning Star published it.
It was published in the London Times that same year, but the Times later admitted that the newspaper had committed a grave error in publishing it.
Motor manufacturer Henry Ford sponsored the Protocols reproduction in a book but in 1927 an American judge ordered him to destroy a large printing of the book.
So what is it - fact or fiction?
The earliest copies were apparently written in French. It is generally believed that a copy of the Protocols was in circulation as early as 1884, a full 13 years before the Basle congress.
The most damning evidence against the document being authentic is that modern scholars have proved that the Protocols was based in part on a satirical attack on the French Emperor Napoleon III by Maurice Joly, written and printed in Geneva in 1864.
The pamphlet was titled Dialogues from Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu.
In 1868 the German Hermann Goedsche, writing under the pseudonym Sir John Radcliffe, adapted Joly's pamphlet and turned it into a mythical tale of a Jewish conspiracy as part of a series of novels entitled Biarritz.
In it he writes of a secret centennial rabbinical conference which meets at midnight and whose purpose is to review the past 100 years and to plan the next century.
These two documents - the pamphlet and the novel - were later reworked into a document titled the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which was taken to Russia in 1895 and printed privately in 1897.
Throughout its history it has been used in the cause of anti-semitism and forms an integral part of a long history of the demonisation of Judaism and Jews.
On November 28, 1993 the Los Angeles Times wrote: "In what observers called a historic ruling, a Russian court has pronounced the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion an anti-semitic forgery - the first such verdict in the land where the fraud originated 90 years ago."
In a letter to the Cape Argus earlier this month, Sheikh Gamieldien discussed the Arab-Jewish conflict, using the Protocols as proof that what was happening in the Middle East was essentially a continuation of the "plans" contained in the Protocols.
Milton Shain, a lecturer at UCT and a author of a book on anti-semitism, responded and said: "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is one of the most notorious racist tracts of modern times, specifically compiled to inspire hatred towards Jewish people.
"No one should underestimate the dangers of such lies. Just as the Protocols was exploited by Hitler and the Soviet Union, so it is now being exploited by those seeking to delegitimise Israel."
Sheikh Gamieldien does not agree that everyone regards the Protocols as a forgery.
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