Political science and comparative literature professor Stephen Eric Bronner has written an insightful monograph focusing on the history of anti-Semitism, and one of the most notorious works of anti-Semitic fiction. The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion claimed to be the supposed minutes from a secret meeting of the representatives of the twelve tribes of Israel. This fictitious meeting, led by the "Grand Rabbi," plotted the Jewish conquest of the world. In reality, The Protocols were written at the turn of the century by the Okhrana (Secret Police of Imperial Russia) to blame the Jews and their allies, the Freemasons, for the 1905 Russian revolution. There was very little original about The Protocols. Large portions of it were sloppily plagiarized from a number of nineteenth-century trash novels, and a political work revolving around Machiavelli.
Since it's publication, The Protocols have helped to perpetuate many of the crudest myths about the Jews during the course of history. Its lack of validity was first proven in a Swiss court in 1935. No matter, The Protocols became one of the most published texts in the world. More recently, The Protocols" have found new audiences in the Middle East, South America, Asia, and the Balkans. In the United States, The Protocols are less prevalent in the mainstream. Neo-Nazi groups and militias primarily use it, while many of the tenets of The Protocols are still alluded to by various fundamentalist groups. Overall, this is a fascinating history focusing on the study of anti-Semitism.
Reviewed by mf, 8/00. Other reviews by mf.