‘Protocols’ is continuing threat, author says

“License to Murder: The Enduring Threat of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” by Alex Grobman

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

In his latest book, “License to Murder,” former Holocaust Museum and Learning Center of St. Louis director Alex Grobman revisits “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” – a known forgery published by the Czarist Russian Secret Police to justify persecution and pogroms directed at Russian Jewish citizens – and offers a clear, concise refutation of what he describes as “this notorious screed.”

Grobman has solid credentials in assessing the continuing impact of “Protocols,” which puts forth a preposterous narrative that a Jewish conspiracy is responsible for steering the financial world toward ruin and the international community into a series of endless wars.

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Currently director of the America-Israel Friendship League, Grobman was the first professional director of what was then called the St. Louis Holocaust Center, from 1977 to 1980. Grobman earned his Ph.D. in contemporary Jewish studies from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was the founding editor-in-chief of the Simon Wiesenthal Annual, a serial publication focusing on the scholarly study of the Holocaust.

This book is not written in a ponderous, academic style. Rather, its straightforward prose makes it more accessible to both Jews and non-Jews who may not be familiar with the “Protocols” and the harm it has caused-and continues to cause-for the Jewish people for over a century.

Grobman carefully documents the direct influence the anti-Semitic conspiracy falsehoods contained in the “Protocols” to the infamous series of articles entitled “The International Jew,” which were published by auto tycoon Henry Ford in his privately owned newspaper The Dearborn Independent. The articles point out the large number of prominent Jews in banking and other financial institutions such as the Rothschilds, the Lehmans and Kuhn-Loeb as evidence of the inordinate influence of Jewish capitalists on the world economy.

The arguments put forth in Ford’s anti-Semitic rag found their way into the European press and had a direct influence on Adolf Hitler, who cited the same “evidence” in his horrific international best-seller “Mein Kampf.” He made it clear that he blamed “the Jews” for all of the ills of Germany in particular and Europe and the world in general.

The “international Jewish conspiracy” was blamed not only for the evils of capitalism, but also for the evils of totalitarian Soviet Communism. Jews either represented the “Mammonism” of global capitalists, or were prominent in Communist and Socialist party movements in Europe and the United States.

Grobman makes it clear that the “Protocols” are not just some quaint relic of a bygone era in which Hitler and Joseph Stalin made use of its tissue of lies, but are an ongoing and “enduring” threat to Jews throughout the world.

He cites the fact that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, calls the Holocaust a “myth” and routinely inveighs against the conspiracies perpetrated by “global Zionism.” Grobman points out that even “respectable” officials representing the European democracies also make statements that can only be considered anti-Semitic, thought they are often cloaked as “legitimate” criticisms of Israel.

Nor are copies of “The Protocols of Zion” limited to neo-Nazi bookstores or musty bins of used books. One can go into the gift shops of tony modern hotels in Cairo, Beirut and Damascus and see freshly minted copies of “The Protocols” with garishly designed covers, available in multiple languages. The books, which have also been carried in some mainstream American bookstores, do not contain any introductory disclaimers that the “Protocols” have been repeatedly proved to be a collection of outlandish lies.

In Egypt, then-President Hosni Mubarak allowed the state-controlled TV network to run a multi-part series based on “The Protocols” presented in the format of a “documentary.”

Grobman cites numerous examples of anti-Semitism either influenced by or paralleling “The Protocols” and he describes the persistence of anti-Semitism and its adaptability to changing circumstances as a “ghastly cycle” which repeats itself over and over again throughout history. “Protocols” is a group libel that has been used by the Czar’s Cossacks, Hitler’s S.S., Stalin’s NKVD and current hate-mongers like the president of Iran to foster a climate that has resulted in unprecedented attacks-culminating in genocide-against the Jews of the world.

This slim but fact-filled volume will help readers strike back effectively against one of the most enduring defamations of the Jewish people.