Gershon Hepner

Pharaoh Foreshadowing the Forgery called ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’

As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explained, the forged “Protocols of Elders” were

in Exodus foreshadowed, when in Egypt Pharaoh claimed

that Israel had become a mighty nation, and therefore a threat he must deter,

suggesting that for terrorist disloyalty we should be blamed.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks described in “Turning Curses into Blessings,” a sermon he wrote for Shabbat Shemot 2020, an allusion to the message of the infamous forgery, “Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Genesis ends on an almost serene note. Jacob has found his long lost son. The family has been reunited. Joseph has forgiven his brothers. Under his protection and influence the family has settled in Goshen, one of the most prosperous regions of Egypt. They now have homes, property, food, the protection of Joseph and the favour of Pharaoh. It must have seemed one of the golden moments of Abraham’s family’s history.

Then, as has happened so often since, “There arose a new Pharaoh who did not know Joseph.” There was a political climate change. The family fell out of favour. Pharaoh told his advisers: “Look, the Israelite people are becoming too numerous and strong for us”[1] – the first time the word “people” is used in the Torah with reference to the children of Israel. “Let us deal shrewdly with them, so that they may not increase.” And so the whole mechanism of oppression moves into operation: forced labour that turns into slavery that becomes attempted genocide.,

In endnote [1] Rabbi Sacks alludes to Exod. 1:9:

ט  וַיֹּאמֶר, אֶל-עַמּוֹ:  הִנֵּה, עַם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל–רַב וְעָצוּם, מִמֶּנּוּ.       9 And he said unto his people: ‘Behold, the people of the children of Israel are too many and too mighty for us;

Rabbi Sacks explains:

This is the first intimation in history of what in modern times took the form of the Russian forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In the Diaspora, Jews – powerless – were often seen  as all-powerful. What this usually means, when translated, is: How is it that Jews manage to evade the pariah status we have assigned to them?

In “39% of Americans believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than the US,” Jerusalem Post, 1/12/23, Zvika Klein reports:

A new survey released today from ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) found widespread belief in antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes (20 percent) — nearly doubling the antisemitic prejudice ADL found in 2019 — as well as substantially negative anti-Israel sentiment among Americans.

The survey of a representative sample of more than 4,000 US adults asked the extent to which Americans agreed with different statements about anti-Jewish tropes and found that 20 percent of Americans, as many as 66 million people, agreed with six or more of the 11 anti-Jewish statements used since 1964. 

Among the findings: 39 percent of respondents believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than the United States; 20 percent say Jews have “too much power” in the United States; 21 percent claim that Jews “don’t care about anyone other than themselves;” and 53 percent say that Jews will go out of their way to hire other Jews. These findings reveal substantial belief in anti-Jewish tropes – such as Jews are too powerful, selfish, foreign and clannish.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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