Protocols of the Elders of Crazy

(Harvard Crimson) Eric T. Justin - One of my parents is Jewish, and my Jewish identity has always been light. But in Jordan, a whole genre of anti-Semitic "history" and literature mocked me in every bookshop, a whole field of anti-Semitic media from historical documentaries to music videos followed me on every television, and an interpretation of Islam that demonizes Judaism frequently bewildered me in conversations. I heard and overheard countless anti-Semitic remarks in the summers I have spent in Egypt and Jordan. In my experience, arguments about politics almost inevitably turned to "those Jews," and conspiracy theories wafted through the room like cigarette smoke. It was suffocating. I anticipated encountering anti-Semitism, but I could not anticipate, nor could I have truly imagined, its systemic nature. An example of the exaggerated attention given to Israel is the popularity of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fraudulent treatise about the pending Jewish plans for world domination. According to Princeton historian Bernard Lewis, former Arab leaders like King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, President Sadat of Egypt, President Nasser of Egypt, and President Arif of Iraq all read The Protocols as historical truth. Quite simply, one cannot understand mass politics in the Arab world without admitting the role of anti-Semitism. It matters.

2011-10-06 00:00:00

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