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Washington Post’s ‘Protocols’ myth resurrected

(Tarik Haiga) copyright free on Unsplash.com

Recently The Washington Post published an article, insinuating that American Jewish leaders conspired to influence the New York City mayor and police departments to crack down on protesters at Columbia University. The tenor of this sly suggestion has echoes of the infamous antisemitic hoax document, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Typically, the liberal media republished this accusation without any investigative or verification processes.

Most Jews will know the contents of The Protocols, that pernicious pamphlet written by the Russian-French writer Mathieu Golovinski in 1905. The Protocols myth has become widespread in the Arab and Muslim world since 1923. An avalanche of sectarian sermons have been broadcast online by Islamic clerics and lecturers, inflating the unscholarly claim that it is “authentic.”

As recently as January 11, 2022, Gaza-based cleric Khalid Abu Hassan stated on YouTube, that although the Protocols are a fabrication, the Jews got a copy of the book and “found these Protocols useful in their aspiration to control the world.”

All very distressing and depressing…but how many Jews know about Will Eisner’s graphic novel about that pamphlet, called The Plot? It presciently charts the publishing history and evil effect of that pamphlet “big lie” propaganda.

Eisner got inspired to write and illustrate his prophetic book a few years before his death in 2005, after learning that Radio Islam was broadcasting The Protocols’ insidious, antisemitic tropes.

Eis­ner is wide­ly cred­it­ed with defining the genre of graph­ic nov­els and published circa 25 titles in his lifetime. He was a creator active for almost 70 years, who continuously tried to develop in terms of style and storytelling. From 1974-1993 he taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York city. Eisner’s Jewish heritage informs all of his work, in particular his use of Yiddish puns that appear in the plots of his books.

Wendy Was­man, librar­i­an and archivist, reviewed The Plot for The Jewish Book Council. Summing up her critique, she stated that this top­ic “does not lend itself to the graph­ic nov­el for­mat, espe­cial­ly the long mid­dle sec­tion in which the orig­i­nal and the forged doc­u­ments are com­pared side-by-side.” Maybe so, but verified proof of the “blood libel” smear needed plainly stating.

Eisner’s prophetic vision in countering antisemitism got me thinking. Is there a case for a graphic novel treatment investigating the sectarian and pugnacious pro-Palestinian protests?

The lies coming from liberals about “malign influence” of Jewish “control” of world media, banking and the world economy need constant rebuttal in a witty, attractive and zeitgeist way. There is already a swathe of serious, historical and academic critiques on Israel and the Arabs.

In this highly visual age, mere words are not enough. Might there be space for a graphic novel, in the spirit of Eisner’s landmark book? Who’s up for a kick-start crowd fund? I am.

For in depth analysis, see also: The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion In The Arab And Muslim World, April 21, 2023

About the Author
Louis Hemmings has been writing prose and poetry since 1972. Some of his work has been published in Poetry Ireland, The Irish Catholic, Forward (USA) and Books Ireland. He is a late-life journalism student in Dublin, Ireland. He is married 38 years, has two boys, buried a stillborn and holds an ecumenical Christian point-of-view.