Some notes on
"The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"

A few weeks back I stumbled onto a book I hadn't heard of before, "The Protocols of The Elders Of Zion." Seemed interesting in the refernce I read so I looked into it a bit.

This Memepool reference is what started it all off.
Geek Hard!! Fans of Star Trek, Forbidden Planet and the Alien films should check out A.E. Van Vogt's 1950 novel The Voyage of The Space Beagle, almost certainly the primary inspiration for all three and still a great read. Van Vogt's 1940 novel Slan created the basic format for almost all mutant stories that followed, in particular the idea of super-powered mutants banding together against human oppression. This led to Henry Kuttner's 1953 Mutant, which even without the bald telepaths would be the obvious source for the X-Men, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963.
From here I was lead to this book review.
A.E. van Vogt. Slan. [Astounding 1940; Arkham House hb 1946]. NY 1951. vi+248. The Book of Ptath. [Unknown 1943]. Fantasy Press hb 1947. 227p. The fact that Slan had first a fan-press edition and then a trade edition by a major publisher indicates the high position that van Vogt held in the earlier years of "Modern SF"; the fact that it appears in this series indicates something about the precipitate decline in his reputation in recent years. The first, perhaps the most widely read, and perhaps the best of his novels, Slan is set in a far-future post-catastrophe world in which a mutant human species (of supermen) is attempting to survive the "final solution" that has been decreed for them by normal humans. Since an analogy with the position of the Jews in the Third Reich is obviously intended, the ironic thing is that in this story there actually is a secret world-wide conspiracy, and the Slans actually do control the world in much the same way as is imagined about the Jews by students of The Protocols of Zion. Thus van Vogt's use of what Blish has called the "extensively recomplicated plot," or of what others have called the "pyrotechnic" story or the "kitchen-sink technique," tends to lead to confusion even in the more simply constructed of his novels.
What is this book, "The Protocols of Zion"?
I then find this editorial review as well as an odd note stating that doesn't endorse the view of this book.

Although it's a pernicious fraud, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion has unfortunately had a widespread influence--all of it evil--on the history of the 20th century.It was exposed as a hoax in 1921, yet it has been used as a justification for the Holocaust and for innumerable pogroms in Russia and the Soviet Union.

The Protocols was supposedly written in 1897 from the minutes of 24 secret meetings between Jews and Freemasons in which they conspired to bring down Western civilization and jointly rule the world. In reality, it is nothing of the sort. In 1921, Philip Graves of the London Times revealed The Protocols to be a fraud, showing it to be based on a French satire aimed at Napoleon III. In a series of side-by-side extracts printed in the Times, Graves demonstrated that the forgers took long portions of the original text, titled Dialogues in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, and simply replaced "France" with "Zion" and "The Emperor" with "We the Jews." Further investigations by the Russian historian Vladimir Burtsev revealed other sources for The Protocols, including a fantasy novel by Hermann Goedsche and, more darkly, the hand of the Russian secret police.

Sadly, despite its clearly fraudulent nature, The Protocols continues today to feed the fears of the credulous and to fan the flames of fanaticism and hate. --Perry M. Atterberry

Now, as I lay down to read before going to bed, I come across it again!

"Just thought of the story about how cats sit on your chest and breathe your breath out of you so you suffocate. Just sit there, you dig, their nose one-quarter inch from yours, and whenver you take a breath you get the cat'sexhaust carbon dioxide. This story is like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Invented by cat-hates. So I start an anti-cat movement, pointing out their sneaky, sensual, unmoral traits, and begin wholesale extermination, genocide of the feline concept. Thre is always hate in money.

"Perhaps Hitler was right in a way. That is, perhaps certain subspecies of genus Homo Sapiens are incompatible. Live and let live is impossible. If you let live, they will kill you by creating an environment in which you have no place and will die out. The present psychic environment is increasingly difficult for me to endure, but there is still leeway, slack that could be taken up at any time. Safety lies in exterminating the type that produces the environment in which you cannot live. So I will die soon - why bother now, therefore I always was and always will be."

--Interzone, William S. Burroughs.

And in reponse to sending out this passage to a friend I recived an interesting reply:

The protocols have an amazing story. Despite being sheer fantasy, they made such a big influence on things. They remind me of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood.

The book relates how these two prisoners concocted a scheme to rob a farm house. A baseless rumor heard by one of the two inspired the plan. He embellished what he had heard with all sorts of inviting details in order to impress the second prisoner. So, when they get out, they put their plan into action.

But the whole thing was a pack of lies, so it turned into a disaster. The money they were looking for didn't even exist. Some how or another, the surprises led them to kill the entire household. Maybe they thought nobody would be there at the appointed time. I can't remember. But, regardless, the upshot is that the family is slain for nothing more than some idiot's desire to impress his cell mate with tall tales. Incredible!

The thing that this story and that of the protocols have in common is the willful imposition of fantasy on reality. Of course, reality is reality. We participate in reality, but we don't command it. So, magic doesn't work and this goes for the simple minded idiocy of the prisoner, the high falutin' speculative constructs of Hegel, the earnest demands of Marx, the escapist delusions of Hitler's favorite Ernst Haeckel, and the rather obviously fantastic Protocols.

Walter Laqueur discusses the protocols in an excellent book called Russia and Germany: A Century of Conflict.

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