Introduction: Hate and absurdity: The impact of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Esther Webman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


As a forgery and a construct of antisemitism, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (hereafter, the Protocols2) has attracted the interest of politicians and academicians, and generated extensive research. Attempts have been made to identify the roots of the document, analyze it in a historico-political context, and examine its abiding reception and dissemination, as well as its influence and exploitation.3 Yet, an enigmatic aspect remains, and in spite of the many critical studies the questions raised by historian of antisemitism Richard Levy are still valid: “Why has the Protocols seized the imagination and informed the political judgment of men and women throughout the twentieth century? Why did it survive to the present day and what are the sources from which it draws its strength?"4 To these one can add others: Why is “the abstract Jew” such an ideal instrument for conspiracy theories in so many languages and diverse cultures - ranging from Europe to Japan and from North America to the Arab/Muslim world? What significance do the Protocols have today in mainstream worldviews? Are they gaining in importance? Are they still today a warrant for genocide or merely a reflection of xenophobic nationalism? Can they be fought by logical argumentation?.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Global Impact of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion
Subtitle of host publicationA Century-Old Myth
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781136706103
ISBN (Print)9780415598927
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012


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