For One Democratic State
in the whole of Palestine (Israel)


FOR One Man, One Vote



The Elders of Zion and the Masters Discourse

November 21, 2002

By Israel Shamir


The troublesome concept of the Hidden Hand or the Elders of Zion is superfluous and unnecessary.

“The latest controversy to involve the Arab World concerns a TV program A Rider without a Horse that started airing on Wednesday, Nov. 5th, the first day of the holy month of Ramadan on several Arab satellite channels. The source of the controversy is that the program is partly based on "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", the old forgery originating in Tsarist Russia”, writes Qais S. Saleh, a business consultant from Ramallah on the excellent website CounterPunch[1]. Expectedly, Saleh condemns the broadcast and warns the Palestinians and the Arabs to stay away from the bad old wolf of anti-Semitism, or, as he put it, “the trend of importation of anti-Semitic bigotry”.

Saleh’s view coincides with that of Michael Hoffman, on whose site the Protocols can be found. Hoffman thinks Arabs have no need to import anti-Semitic arguments from the old and far-away sources, provided they have a fresh round-the-clock local source: actual behaviour of the Jewish state and its Jewish citizens. It is much more convincing than old tales.

However, the Protocols are still with us and still entertain minds. Recently, the leading Italian novelist and thinker Umberto Eco contributed his opinion on the subject to the Guardian[2].  Eco “explains” the popular feelings towards the Jews: “They … engaged in trade and lent money - hence the resentment towards them as "intellectuals". In my limited knowledge, it is not the intellectuals who lend money, but bankers and loan sharks, while true intellectuals find their behaviour repulsive. Probably Eco has a different definition of ‘intellectual’ up his sleeve. “The ill-famed Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion were a rehash of serialised fictional material, and prove their own unreliability, since it is hardly credible that "the baddies" would reveal their fell purposes so blatantly”, - concludes Eco.

One can forgive a business consultant from Ramallah, but Umberto Eco could notice that his definition would fit some other books, for instance, Gargantua and Pantagruel, an even older forgery, pretending to be a real chronicle of the Giants family, and built on ‘serialised fictional material’. Don Quixote, Pickwick’s  Club, 1984 of Orwell – all these books “pretend” to describe real events to the same extent. They are ‘forgeries’, as they are ascribed to somebody else: Don Quixote to Sid Ahmed Benengeli[3], and Gargantua to Maitre Alcofribas Nasier[4].

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are best described as 'pseudo-epigrapha', rather than 'fake'. They belong to the same category as Tomas Friedman's Letter of President Clinton to Mubarak. After all, pseudo-epigraphic genre is an old and venerable one. It is even better to consider the Protocols, 'a political pamphlet'.

In this essay, we shall attempt to find out why the Protocols refuse to lie down and die. We shall stay clear from the usual question, “who wrote it”. Its real author remains unknown, and it is difficult to imagine this person, for the Protocols are a literary palimpsest. In the days of yore, a scribe would write his composition on a piece of old parchment, previously removing an older text. The erasure was rarely total, and a reader was treated to an integrated version of the Golden Ass and Fioretti of St Francis. In the Protocols, there are layers of old and even older stories, and it precludes meaningful quest for ultimate creator. Every text should be treated on its own merits, disregarding the question of authorship. Although, Jorge Luis Borges wrote that the author is an important part of a text. Indeed, if we would know the Protocols contain real blueprint of some Jewish elites, we would have our answer ready in minutes. But Protocols were published in the end of 19th-beginning of 20th century “as found”, as apocrypha. They became a great bestseller and still stay there, though in some countries (notably the Soviet Union), mere possession of the text was punishable by death.

The Anonymous author of the Protocols describes a master-plan for vast restructuring of society, creation of a new oligarchy and subjugation of millions. The final product is not too different from the one described in a contemporary piece of writing, The Iron Heel by Jack London, the great radical from Oakland, California. However, London expected harsh cracking down, while Anonym’s way to subjugation leads through Machiavellian manipulations and mind control a la Orwell’s 1984. (Orwell’s homage to the Protocols is even more striking as it is rarely noticed).

The difficulty of the Protocols is in an uncanny dissonance between its uncouth language and deep social and religious thought. It is a rude parody-like rendering of a satanic, subtle and well-thought out plan, wrote the Nobel Prise winning novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn[5] in his (written in 1966 and published in 2001) analysis of the Protocols.

“The Protocols … show a blueprint of a social system. Its design is well above abilities of an ordinary mind, including that of its publisher. It is a dynamic process of two stages, of destabilization, increasing freedom and liberalism, which is terminated in social cataclysm, and on the second stage, new hierarchical restructuring of society takes place. It is more complicated than a nuclear bomb. It could be a stolen and distorted plan designed by a mind of genius. Its putrid style of an anti-Semitic grubby brochure [intentionally] obscures the great strength of thought and insight”.

Solzhenitsyn is aware of faults of the Protocols. “Its style is that of a filthy leaflet, the powerful line of thought is broken and fragmented, mixed up with ill-smelling incantations and psychological blunders. The system described is not necessarily connected with the Jews; it could be purely Masonic or whatever; while its strongly anti-Semitic current is not an organic part of the design”.

Solzhenitsyn makes a textual experiment, removes words “Jews”, “Goyim” and “conspiracy” and finds many disturbing ideas. He concludes: “The text demonstrates impressive foresight on the two systems of society, the Western and the Soviet one. While a strong thinker could possibly predict the development of the West in 1901, how could he grasp the Soviet future?”

Solzhenitsyn braved the Soviet regime, dared to write and publish the mammoth Archipelago Gulag, an indictment of the Soviet repression, but even he stalled and did not publish his research of the Protocols. He asked it to be published after his death only, and it was printed against his will in a very small number of copies in 2001. Let us follow Solzhenitsyn’s line of thought and gaze into the crystal ball of the Protocols, while temporarily discounting its “Jewish line” and paying heed to the idea of creating a new system, not necessarily a Jewish-dominated one. The master-plan begins with reshaping of human mind:

“People’s minds should be diverted (away from contemplation) towards industry and trade, and then they will have no time to think. The people will be consumed by the pursuit of gain. It will be vain pursuit, for we shall put industry on a speculative basis: what is withdrawn from the land by industry will slip through the hands of workers and industrialists and pass into the hands of financiers.

The intensified struggle for survival and superiority, accompanied by crises and shocks will create cold and heartless communities with strong aversion towards religion. Their only guide is gain that is Mammon, which they will erect into a veritable cult”.

Foresight of Anonym is amazing: in the days of the Protocols’ publication, Man was still the measure of things, and full eighty years would pass, until Milton Friedman and Chicago School would proclaim Market and Profit as the only guiding light. 

The tool for enslavement of minds is the media, writes Anonym. “There is a great force that creates the movement of thought in the people, and that is the media. It is in the media that the triumph of freedom of speech finds its incarnation. Through the Press we have gained the power to influence minds while remaining unobserved. We shall erase from the memory of men the historical facts we do not want them to know, and leave only those we wish”.

Years will pass since the publication until a small group of people who control our discourse while remaining unobserved, the media lords, would rise. The free discussion of the media barons, Berlusconi and Black, Maxwell and Sulzberger, Gusinsky and Zuckerman is banned from the media they own, while their cooperative affinity remains impressive. The freedom of discourse survives wherever independent (from media barons) media still exists. Hundred years ago, this force was much weaker than it is now, and it is amazing the Anonym recognised its potential.

Century before the rise of World Bank and IMF, the Protocols noticed the foreign loans are the best tools to rob countries of their wealth. “While the loans were internal, money remained in the land, but with externalisation of loans, all nations pay tribute of their subjects to the oligarchy”. Indeed, the bigger loans poor countries get, the poorer they become.

Concentration of capital in the hands of financiers, concentration of media in few hands, extra-judicial killings of unyielding leaders, stock market with its derivatives sucks out wealth and it accumulates in the hands of the priesthood of Mammon, gain (or “market forces”) as the only measure of successful strategy… Yes, the interest to the Protocols does not disappear because the described plan of creating oligarchic (not necessarily Jewish) rule is being implemented in real time and it is called the New World Order.

Sometimes, the Protocols are described as extreme-right-wing anti-utopian piece of writing. However, it spans both left and right-wing discourse. A right-wing writer would bless strengthening of Law and Order, but the following prediction of Anonym could be written today by a leftist libertarian, say, Noam Chomsky, witnessing the present transition to the New World Order: “The race of armaments and the increase of police force will bring forth society where are only the masses of the proletariat, a few millionaires, police and soldiers”.

However, the deepest thought of Anonym remains in the spiritual sphere:

Freedom might be harmless and have its place in the State economy without injury to the well-being of the people if it rested upon the foundation of faith in God, upon the Brotherhood of humanity. This is the reason why it is indispensable for us to undermine all faith, to tear out of the people’s mind the very principle of God and the Spirit, and to put in its place arithmetical calculations and material needs”.

Anonym connects the Faith and the idea of Brotherhood of humanity. Undermining of Faith ruins the Brotherhood. Freedom, instead of desirable and beautiful state of mind, turns into destructive drive when unhinged from the Faith. Instead of Faith, the Enemy offers pursuit of Mammon.

While reading in today’s (16.11.02) IH Tribune philippics against gay priests and nuns, one notes the following lines in the Protocols: “We have taken care to discredit the Christian priesthood and ruin their mission which might still hinder our plans. Day by day, their influence on the people is falling lower. Collapse of Christianity is nigh”.

We witness implementation of this plan: religion is removed from consideration, neo-liberalism or Mammon worship takes its place, while with disestablishment of socialism, this brave attempt of a non-faith-based brotherhood collapsed, leaving ideological vacuum.

This observation caused some reviewers to exclaim, “The true designer of the Master-plan is our old foe, the Prince of the World, whose ultimate aim is elimination of Divine Presence and ruination of Man”. True, but the Prince of the World can’t act directly. He needs free agents that choose to accept his plan. These chief agents and possible allies, according to the pamphlet, are financial capitalists and Masters of Discourse, ‘the Mind’.

They promote to the highest positions “politicians who, in case of disobedience to our instructions, must face criminal charges or disappear. We shall arrange elections in favour of candidates with some dark, undiscovered stain in their past. They will be our trustworthy agents out of fear of revelations” For us, contemporaries of Watergate and Lewinsky, it sounds familiar.

The shift from Stage One (liberalism and freedom) to Stage Two (tyranny) took place in our lifetime. If in 1968 the NY Times promoted the Freedom Riders, in 2002 it supports Patriot Act. An important American lawyer, Alan Dershovitz of Harvard made a U-turn from Human rights to Right to torture. This U-turn was predicted by the Protocols, as the purpose beyond the struggle against the old elites.

“The aristocracy enjoyed the labour of the workers, and it was interested in seeing that the workers were well fed, healthy, and strong. The people have annihilated the aristocracy, and have fallen into the grips of merciless money-grinding scoundrels”.

In less emotional terms, the new bourgeoisie removed the old elites with support of people, while promising freedom and objecting to their privilege. After its victory, it took the privilege to itself, and turned out to be as bad (or worse) as the feudal lord. Marx referred to this complaint of aristocracy in one of the numerous additions to the Communist Manifesto, and considered it futile if partly justified. However, he did not live to witness a similar process which took place in the last days of the Soviet Union. The rising new bourgeoisie took control over the discourse, convinced people to fight the privilege of Nomenclature for the sake of equality and freedom, and after their victory, it assumed and multiplied the privilege, and rejected equality and freedom.

The Protocols predict rise of New Bourgeoisie, globalist Mammon-worshippers, who are inherently hostile to Old Elites, to spirit, to religion, to the ordinary people. For a long while, they were the engine of the left, democracy-seeking movements, until their purpose was completed, and then they made the U-turn towards oligarchy.

This U-turn can be quantified by the inheritance and land tax rate in England: while the financial bourgeoisie and Masters of Discourse fought against the old ruling classes, the rates were high and eventually dismantled their power base; after their victory, the rate decreased allowing consolidation of the new ruling classes. It is possible that the Old Order had had some advantages. It is almost certain that a transition from the Old Order could be different if the people would understand the intentions of the enemy. But history can’t be reversed, and it is quite futile to dream of return of the good lords and benevolent Party bosses.

Thus, the Protocols (purified of references to the Jews and conspiracies) are useful as they describe a blueprint of the New World Order, and help its adversaries to form a defensive strategy against the designs of Enemy. But the references to the Jews constitute large and important part of the text.

The Jews and the Protocols

The Protocols identify the moving force of the New World Order with a powerful group of extremely chauvinist, manipulative and domination-obsessed Jewish leaders. The leaders, according to the Protocols, despise ordinary community members; they utilise and support anti-Semitism as the means to keep their “lesser brethren”, innocent ordinary folk of Jewish origin, in thrall to their rule. The leaders are described as pathological goy haters, bent on destroying culture and traditions of other nations while preserving their own. Their goal is to create world government and rule the homogenised and globalised world.

Their aims and intentions are stated in extremely contrarian and obnoxious way. Solzhenitsyn concluded that no sane person would deliver his favourite ideas in such self-demeaning and self-defeating way. "We extract gold from their blood and tears”, “our power is based on workers’ hunger”, “revolutionaries are our human tools”, “brutish minds of Goyim” are, in his opinion, words ascribed to the Jews by their enemies. A Jew would rather put such ideas in an oblique way, he felt.

It is not a water-tight argument. Some people speak in oblique way, others prefer a direct one. An Armenian from the Azeri capital, Baku told me in long gone 1988, “The Azeris are our cattle, without our Armenian mind their country would collapse in course of days, as they are silly donkeys”. (A few months later, an explosion of native violence expelled the clever Armenians from Azerbaijan, and since then the Azeris manage their own land quite all right.) David Ben Gurion, the first ruler of the Jewish state, coined an equally arrogant maxim: “Who cares what Goyim say? What matters is what the Jews do!” This sentence is an almost direct quote from the Protocols.

The Protocols ascribe to the Elders a saying, “Each Jewish victim is worth in the sight of God a thousand goyim”. This line, a pinnacle of arrogance, is not a vain invention of an anti-Semite. Two ministers of Sharon’s government, Uri Landau and Ivet Lieberman demanded to kill one thousand Palestinian goyim for each Jewish victim. A Jewish extremist at a demo for the Jewish Temple Mount (18.11.02) called each Jew to kill one thousand Palestinian goyim. Apparently, some ideas of the Protocols are not foreign to some Jews.

The late Israeli scholar Israel Shahak and an American Jewish writer Norton Mezvinsky present in their Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel[6] a plethora of sayings by Jewish Rabbis that wouldn’t be out of place in the Protocols. “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle” (p. ix). Shahak and Mezvinsky proved the rage of the Jewish chauvinists does not differentiate between Palestinians, Arabs and Goyim in general. In other words, whatever happened to Palestinians could happen to any Gentile community standing on the way of the Jews.

Indeed, if the Protocols would have no relation to reality, they probably wouldn’t be as popular as they are. The Jews are sufficiently powerful to dream of domination, and some do. Apparently some Jewish ideas found their way into the text. Other thoughts are ascribed to the Jews on the basis of “qui bono”.

The least acceptable idea of the Protocols is the presumption of an extremely ancient conspiracy of the Jews aiming to take over the world. The extreme philo-Semitic view denies the Jews their ability to act together and presents them as separate individuals united by prayer only. This view is not accepted by the Jews, and it does not agree with the common sense.

Solzhenitsyn does not believe in existence of the Elders of Zion, though “the togetherness and coordination of Jewish activity for the sake of their advancement caused many writers (beginning from Cicero) to imagine there is a single commanding centre to direct their attacks”.  “Without such a world centre, without conspiring, the Jews understand each other and are able to coordinate their actions”.

The Jews are perfectly able to coordinate their actions, but I doubt human beings, Jews or English, Russians or Chinese are able to form long-standing plans spanning centuries and continents. Nobody was able to prove such a plot exists. Usually, ‘anti-Semites’ (the people who doubt or deny inherent benevolence of the Jews to Gentile society) argue for its authenticity as Henry Ford did. The car king said[7]: "the only statement I care to make about the Protocols is that they fit in with what is going on.” Indeed they do, exclaims Victor Marsden, the English translator of the Protocols.

However, it is not a proof of Jewish plot. We can reach similar results rejecting the conspiracy line altogether, by applying the concept of self-interest to the real Jewish community as it was aptly described by Shahak-Mezvinsky. We shall prove that the troublesome concept of the Hidden Hand or the Elders of Zion is superfluous and unnecessary.

Traditional Jewish community had a structure of “upturned pyramid”, in words of Zionist theoreticians: it contained many persons of wealth, learning and management, and very few workers. It appears an odd thing, until one understands that the Zionists artificially view the Jews in divorce of the society they live in. The Jewish ‘upturned pyramid’ couldn’t exist without a real down-turned pyramid of Gentile low classes. The Jews compete with the native elites of the Gentile society for the right to exploit the Gentile worker and peasant. The modus operandi of the two competitors differs. While native elites shared some values with their lower classes and usually provided for some upward mobility, the Jewish community had its own structure and values.

Economically it stood for capitalist or quasi-capitalist exploitation of the natives, while ideologically the community declared loyalty to its leaders, rejection of common humanity with the natives, extreme ethnocentrism, feeling of racial and religious superiority towards the natives. It was a marginal community, forming no bonds of marriage and friendship with the natives. As a marginal community, it was free of long-standing considerations the native elites had had.

For instance, the Jewish community of 17th century Ukraine has been a collective tax-farmer and leaseholder, extracting from the natives SIX times more taxes and dues per person than a gentile landlord did, wrote a prominent Jewish Ukrainian historian Saul Borovoy in a recently published in Jerusalem book. The Jewish communities of Maghreb supported the colonial power against their gentile neighbours, etc. Their traditions forbade normal relations with the natives.

Let us presume that such a community acts in its egoistic interests. Forget conspiracy; forget the Elders of Zion, learned or otherwise. The community’s only aim is to promote its own well-being. For a marginal group it means to make the social gap between its members and the native population as broad as possible, while minimising the backlash potential.

The group would naturally, for its self-interest, support every movement against native elites, whether initiated by the King (as the Jews did before the French Revolution) or by the rebelling low classes. It would not be done for the Jewish love of democracy or rebellious nature, but for improvement of their own positions. Ideal situation would be created by massacre or expulsion of the native elites, as the group members would be able to appropriate their positions. Indeed, it happened in Soviet Russia and Soviet Hungary in the aftermath of World War One. Massacre and exile of the native elites made the positions of power and influence available to the competing Jews.

Self-interest explains the Jewish involvement with the dreaded Cheka, the Soviet security services. Until 1937, the Jews occupied the top echelon of the KGB predecessor body, while millions of Russians lost their life or liberty. Objectively, these executioners made jobs and houses available for their fellow Jews. After the massacre and exile of Russian elites, the Jews were ready for equality, as a son of a Rabbi could easily compete with a son of Russian worker or peasant, though he wouldn’t be able to compete with a son of Russian noble.

In a similar way, the Jews in Israel granted limited equality to the Palestinians in 1966, after confiscation of 90% of native lands and expulsion of 90% of natives. Now, the settlers promise to extend equality to the rest of Palestinians, after they will expel the majority of them elsewhere. In the light of great Jewish support for Israel, there is no reason to presume that the Jewish modus operandi in Palestine is intrinsically different from the Jewish intentions abroad.

Solzhenitsyn writes: “Executed <during the revolution> army officers were Russians, the noblemen, priests, monks, deputies were Russians… In 1920s, the pre-revolutionary engineers and scientists were exiled or killed. They were Russians, while their place was taken by Jews. The best Russian Psychiatric institute in Moscow, its Russian members were arrested or exiled, while their place was taken by the Jews. Important Jewish doctors blocked the advancement of Russian medical scientists… The best intellectual and artistic elites of Russian people were killed, while the Jews grew and flourished in these (deadly for Russians) years”.

The new Jewish elite did not fully identify with Russia but carried out separate policy. It had a fateful effect in 1991, when over 50 p.c. of Jews (as opposed to 13 p.c. of Russians) supported pro-Western coup of President Yeltsin. In 1995, 81% of Jews voted for pro-Western parties, and only 3% for the Communists (as opposed to 46% of Russians), according to the publication by the Jewish sociologist Dr Ryvkina in her book Jews in Post-Soviet Russia (1996).

In ever-expanding America, the Jews did not have to kill or remove the native elites; they became its important part, controlling discourse and wielding considerable financial clout. They still do not identify with the goyish America: every year, they force the Congress and the Administration to send five billion dollars to their Israeli offshoot and now try to let America fight their war in Iraq. They do discriminate other Americans, otherwise 60% of the leading positions in the media would not become Jewish[8].

Jews of France do not identify with France, either. “Their identification with Israel is so strong; it overshadows their ties to the country they live in”. – writes Daniel Ben Simon in Haaretz. - “This dual loyalty was made very clear to me by a Jewish doctor in Nice.”If the choice is between Israel and France, there's no question I feel closer to Israel," he said, without a moment's hesitation. He was born and bred in France; he went to medical school in France; his patients are French; he speaks French with his wife and children. But in the depths of his heart, he feels a greater affinity with the Jewish state”.

In Palestine, the Jews have no compassion for the natives. They travel by segregated roads, study in segregated schools, while a Jew consumes ten times more water resources than a goy, and has seven times higher income. Thus, the Jewish separateness remains a fact of life for many Jewish communities.

For their own well-being the Jews have to obscure their unique position, wealth and power by the following means:

- Holocaust discourse helps to fight envy.

- In a mono-ethnic society, the Jews as the only foreign body do stick out and attract attention, while in multicultural society they are hardly seen. For this purpose, the Jews support immigration from non-European countries, as their presence would remove the stamp of Jewish exclusiveness.

- The Political Correctness is another device forbidding the discussion of Jewish influence.

- Fight against Christianity and the Church makes sense for a non-Christian community: if the Church would be strong, the Christians would prefer their own, Christian elite.

- Globalisation is a natural development for the people spread all over the globe, if they attach but little importance to the local ways.

- Impoverishment of the natives is but another side of growing wealth of the Jewish community.

Summing it up, a big share (though not all) of the ideas ascribed to the Jews by the Protocols are indeed the ideas useful or necessary for the Jewish communal well-being, without any need for great hatred towards Gentiles and/or the guidance of mythic Elders of Zion. That is the reason of the Protocols’ long life. Paradoxically, without Israeli apartheid these facts would remain invisible for the host communities



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[3] CIDE HAMETE BENENGELI, in Cervantes’ spelling

[4] Nom de plume of François Rabelais.

[5] Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Evrei v SSSR i v budushei Rossii, 2001 (in Russian)

[6] Pluto Press, 1999

[7] in an interview published in the New York World, February 17th, 1921

[8] The data provided by Kevin MacDonald of California University.