November 27, 2004
Standing against the ProtocolsBy Michael Vowell
I was surprised last year when several Christians mentioned to me a secret conspiracy to control the world. They relayed to me that the leaders of this coup called themselves Illuminati, a powerful group of wealthy and corrupt Jewish leaders. I was astonished as they described the control these Jewish leaders supposedly exerted on worldwide markets, banks, and governments. These Christians pointed out to me certain emblems on currency, the wealth of some members of the Jewish community, and the powerful influence Jewish people have on politicians and the media. My face blushed red with frustration as they talked so matter—of—factly about this conspiracy theory. I remained reserved. They did not know the history and damage of this conspiracy theory; nor, how this conspiracy theory has plagued the Jewish people around the world.
I doubt many Christians have read or heard of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Nor, do most Christians know that this one document has been the source of conspiracy theories for a hundred years. The Protocols first became public in the early 1900's. A Russian Orthodox clergyman allegedly received these secret documents from Paris. The Protocols contained the minutes from a meeting of the most powerful Jewish leaders in the world; and within them there is a melodic secret plan for worldwide Jewish domination. The Protocols reveal how Jewish people secretly controlled the French Revolution, the banks of the world, the economies of the world, transit systems of the world, and even the Kings of the world. According to the Protocols, the Jewish people can crush economies and entire nations at the slightest command (1st, 5th, & 7th Protocol). The Russian Orthodox Church released these documents and preached them from over three hundred pulpits. The result was catastrophic. Russian Christians marched the streets and killed thousands of Jewish people with no remorse. The populace of Russia received the documents as legitimate even though the Czar acknowledged their fraudulence.
The Protocols gained a worldwide audience. In the 1920's the Protocols left the motherland of Russia. In Britain, the largest newspaper The Morning Post published the Protocols from 1919—1920 ('The Protocols of Zion and The Morning Post, 1919—1920,' Patterns of Prejudice, Keith M. Wilson). Other papers in Europe followed its lead. In America, The Times published the Protocols in three different issues (Wilson, p. 12). The Protocols reached the hands of a well—known car manufacturer and anti—Semite, Henry Ford. Henry Ford published the Protocols in more than 15 different languages and sold millions of copies worldwide. Henry Ford's edition of the Protocols made it into the hands of Hitler. He, in turn, praised Ford for his edition of the Protocols. Countries around the world began to question the Jewish people living in their midst. The Protocols provided a reason for countries to shut their doors on Jewish people fleeing Nazi Germany. Goran Larsson in his book Fact or Fraud? The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, made this statement:
Jews were caught in a death trap, when one country after another closed their doors to the doomed Jewish nation, vilified and accused of crime towards mankind by those who committed such a crime themselves' (Larrson, p. 31).
At this time, the Protocols were known to be a plagiarism of a French satire. Scholars exposed its fraudulence repeatedly. The general populace remained unconvinced. The Protocols became an accepted world—view in countries around the world.
There is a common saying: the only thing history has taught us is that we do not learn from history. The Protocols remain a published work. In Egypt, a forty—part television series aired on the Protocols called The Horse and the Rider. If that were not enough, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia said to the Tenth Islamic Summit Conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, October 16, 2003, 'The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.' His words seem scripted right out of the Protocols:
Object of the intensification of armaments. Ferments, discords and hostility all over the world. Checking the opposition of the goyim by wars and by a universal war. Secrecy means success in the political. The Press and public opinion. The guns of America, China and Japan. (Protocol 7)
History has not silenced the anti—Semitic voice of the Protocols. I am not saying every Christian has read the Protocols and is an anti—Semite. However, many Christians unknowingly view Jewish people the same way the Protocols describe them. Therefore, Christians must stand against this false document, so we can rout anti—Semitism out of the church, confront unhealthy stereotypes of Jewish people, and show the world that the Church stands with the Jewish people.
First, standing against the Protocols will rout anti—Semitism out of the church. The church must create an environment where anti—Semitism is exposed. This will start with denominational leaders and pastors requiring education on anti—Semitic trends and documents like the Protocols. Goran Larsson points to the need for education when he says, 'Today, in a time of resurging anti—Semitism, it is an imperative to recognize the features of the ugly anti—Semitic face.' (Larrson, Intro.) If the church includes in the membership class or church doctrine class a history of anti—Semitism, it would work as a two edged sword, both exposing and teaching the lies within the Protocols. The result would be astounding; new members and lay leadership would be equipped to stand against these anti—Semitic thoughts.
Pastors must guard their pulpits from anti—Semitism. They need to be aware of what they are preaching. For many people, the Pastor is the closest thing to the voice of G—d that they know. Whatever comes from his mouth has authority and that is a grave responsibility. Pastors should be careful when preparing messages about the anti—Christ. Many Christian sources reveal the Anti—Christ as a Jewish person. This thought, A Jewish Anti—Christ, emerges in the Protocols:
Ever since that time we have been leading the peoples from one disenchantment to another, so that in the end they should turn also from us in favor of that King—Despot of the blood of Zion, whom we are preparing for the world. (Protocol 3)
There is no biblical foundation to call the anti—Christ Jewish or any other ethnic background. The Bible does not give us his ethnic background. If Pastors will familiarize themselves with the Protocols, they could empty their preaching of anti—Semitic rhetoric.
Prayer must lead and reinforce the assault on anti—Semitism. The church should call for days of prayer and fasting when Saudi Arabian television is airing night after night of programming on the Protocols. The Psalmist cries out from antiquity, 'If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her skill.' (Psalm 137:5) The church needs to pray together that anti—Semitism stop from spreading in the land of Israel's neighbors. Pastors need to pray from the pulpit on Sunday morning. This will communicate to all who hear that this is a serious problem that the church must petition G—d for on behalf of the Jewish people.
Beyond this, the church must unmask anti—Semitic theological concepts. To start, Theology ought to be free from anti—Semitic thought. The wise student must be careful to detect hidden prejudices in theology books. Many students of theology have become more aware of the anti—Semitic rhetoric of Melito of Sardius, Martin Luther, and John Chrysosotom; however, many are unaware that some of the most popular commentaries support theories found in the Protocols. Take for instance The Interpreters Bible, Vol. XI on II Thessalonians 2:9. After presenting a theory that says the anti—Christ could be a Roman, he also presents a second view, 'For Paul the mystery of lawlessness is Judaism; and the man of lawlessness is some leader in that faith, e.g., the high priestly house or some high priest yet to be.' The commentary does not say that this is the only option but a valid one nonetheless. Comments like these are scattered throughout theology books (e.g., World Biblical Commentary, 1 & 2 Thessalonians) and find their way into the Christian worldview. Goran Larsson in the introduction of his book talks about his encounter with Christians who hold this theological worldview:
Every now and then I heard Christians maintaining that enemy number one of the true faith — the false Messiah called Antichrist in the New Testament — would be a Jew, who would lead the whole world astray. (Larrson)
Unfortunately many Christians are so confused about the end—times that they will believe anything they are told. The burden of proof falls upon Theology to free itself from making assumptions that reflect statements found in the Protocols (see quote above on Protocol 3 about the Antichrist).
Theology must be a mighty weapon in the hands of Christians against anti—Semitism. When Christians approach Theology, they should not find the flimsy sword of the Protocols. Wayne Grudem points out in Systematic Theology, 'Many attempts have been made throughout history to identify the man of lawlessness (the 'antichrist') . . . all of these identifications have proved false' (1103).
If anti—Semitic theology is going to be unmasked, dogmatic speculation must cease. It was during the horrible reign of Hitler that speculative theology reached a hideous pinnacle. Douglas K. Huneke in his book The Stones Will Cry Out records the dogmatic speculation of Pastor Heirich Grueber, 'Grueber held that Hitler's ascent to power and attempted extermination of European Jewry was an act of God — in fact, the will of God' (50). Theology is a mighty weapon, history has proven that it only takes one charismatic leader plus a bad theology and six million Jewish people are dead.
History has also seen great men of faith who had a proper theology like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Dietrich Bonhoeffer bitterly opposed the Nazi Regime, and risked his life to save Jewish people ('Bonhoeffer Deserves to be Named'). He was a light in one of the darkest times in modern history; he did not perish as a Christian martyr in shame. If Theology is to be a mighty weapon, it ought to unmask anti—Semitism.
Secondly, we must confront unhealthy stereotypes of Jewish people. The Protocols are the launching pad for modern day misperceptions about Jewish people. The Protocols staple this mental illusion on its readers' minds:
'Therefore we must not stop at bribery, deceit, and treachery when they should serve towards the attainment of our end' (Protocol 1).
The Protocols, like many people, seem to neglect the facts: Jewish law and ethics are a sacred responsibility given in the Bible and the Talmud. In fact, the Hebrew Bible specifically warns against bribery and deceit in business (Deuteronomy 16:18—20). The ancient Rabbis make plain their commitment to the law by placing these words in G—d's mouth, 'Would you that they had forsaken Me but kept My law' (Proem to Lamentation Rabbah, ed. Soncino, p. 2). This does not mean every Jewish person keeps the Law. There are corrupt Jewish people, like there are corrupt Irish men, Scottish men, and etc. Stereotypes, like the ones in the Protocols, are empty of the true representation of Jewish Law and ethics. Since the Protocols defraud the Jewish people, we ought to confront these unhealthy stereotypes.
'Congress trembles in fear before the Israeli Lobby,' this quotation came from 1 of 631,000 web site hits google matched for the word search, ' Jews control the war.' In the world of politics, it has become popular to cast a mold — Jewish people secretly control American politics. The Protocols glue this mental illusion onto its readers' minds, 'The nations cannot come to even an inconsiderable private agreement without our secretly having a hand in it and we shall respond with the guns of America or China or Japan' (Protocol 5 & 7). Are Jewish people really the sole moving force behind American politics and the decision to go to war? No, Congress is, the President is, and our right to secure our homeland from enemy forces motivates them.
Like any other ethnic group, Jewish people are a part of the American government, and rightly so, because we are a republic of culture diversity. The Jewish voice in American politics has no greater or lesser value than the African American, Chinese, Korean, Irish, Polish, and so on. As long as the Protocols are tolerated and allowed to influence the minds of millions of readers, Jewish people will not be safe. Therefore, we must meet the stereotypes of the Protocols head on in our politics, the media, and educational system.
Furthermore, Christians have a calling to courageous action when the Protocols discomfort and restrict Jewish people. When a Jewish person becomes successful he is cast in a stereotype. For instance, since Allen Greenspan — Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board— is a Jew, people make him the fulfillment of the stereotype: Jews control the economy:
. . . economic sciences form the principal subject of the teaching given to the Jews. Around us again will be a whole constellation of bankers, industrialists, capitalists and —— the main thing millionaires, because in substance everything will be settled by the question of figures. (Protocol 8)
Stereotypes restrict Jewish people from jobs, personal honors, and public recognition. In the movie, Driving Miss Daisy — the story of a well—to—do Jewish widow and her driver Huck — Miss Daisy refuses to be called rich. Fearing the stereotype that all Jewish people are rich and somehow gained their money by corrupt means, Miss Daisy restricts any personal recognition. The Protocols present Jewish people as greedy and corrupt, and these stereotypes arise from within the Protocols. The obvious question to ask, 'Are these stereotypes held among Americans and Christians'? The Anti—Defamation League believes so. An annual poll shows 17% of Americans (35 million adults) firmly believe these stereotypes and another 35% of Americans generally believe them ('Anti—Semitism in the United States 2002'). The sad fact is that a Jewish person cannot be successful without someone casting a stereotype. These stereotypes create social boundaries some Jewish people do not want to cross. By responding to the call for courageous action, Christians can uproot, out of the hearts of men, the deep roots of anti—Semitism.
Beyond this, the Protocols beckon Christians to a showdown when acts of violence are justified by stereotypes. Why did Egyptian TV air a 40 part television series based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion? Why does the Russian Orthodox Church currently sell the Protocols? Why do Christian Identity groups, the Aryan Nation, and neo—Nazis defend and support the theories found in the Protocols? The answer is simple: the Protocols, vilify the Jewish people, and provide justification for violence against them. For instance, Response magazine, in the summer of 2003, Vol. 24, reports:
The Moscow city court ruled that the publication of books like The Jewish Occupation of Russia, Mein Kampf, and The Protocols do not incite racial hatred, and closed a criminal investigation against the publisher of those books who wrote that, 'Jews are by their very nature destroyers, the children of the Devil...'
Is it of any surprise that Jewish people are the most oppressed in Russia? Yet not only in Russia, in Western Europe, violence against Jewish people has left the Chief Rabbi in France with only one option: encourage Jewish men to wear baseball caps instead of yarmulkes in public, and avoid wearing any jewelry that is identifiably Jewish. These acts of violence are surging at an all time rate and with the surge in violence so too the sales, publication, and exploitation of the Protocols. While many Christians have abandoned social justice for the serenity of the sacred institution, the witness of the Messiah testifies against them: A stereotyped harlot, defended, protected, and memorialized by the Son of G—d (Luke 7:36—50. The question is not will violence arise from the exploitation of the Protocols, but when; moreover, the question is not should Christians stand against the stereotypes in the Protocols, but why would they not stand against it.
Lastly, when Christians become pro—active in standing against the Protocols it will confirm the Church's support and stance with the Jewish community. The American Church must confront hate groups within our shores. Since the days of Adolph Hitler to this present time, Christian Identity Groups and Neo—Nazi groups have flourished in the USA. Christian Identity groups (a.k.a — white supremacist) and others like them use the Protocols as a commentary to the Bible. In Religion and the Racist Right, Michael Barkun, quotes a Christian Identity Pastor. This Pastor's message of hate comes from Revelation 2:9, and these are his rhetorical questions:
"If Cain were not the offspring of Satan, there is no basis for the age—old conflict between Jews and Christians. Moreover, there are no reasonable grounds for the Jews themselves claiming to be from Cain. Why is the snake chosen as the symbol of the serpent's seed in The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion?' (191)
It does not require a scholar to understand this anti—Semitic Pastor has taken the pure word of God and interpreted it, wrongly so, through the racist eyes of the Protocols. This anti—Semitic rhetoric taken from the pen of Nilus, the Russian clergyman who released the Protocols:
The learned men decided by peaceful means to conquer the world for ZION with the slyness of the Symbolic Snake, whose head was to represent those who have been initiated into the plans of the JEWISH PEOPLE — the administration was always kept secret, even from the JEWISH NATION itself. (Protocols, Intro.).
This idea, the Jewish people are a lineage of the snake or better known as the Seed of the Serpent is commonplace and dogmatic Theology in the Christian Identity movement. It is upon this Theology that the white supremacist religious groups (a.k.a Christian Identity) find a justification for hatred and violence against Jewish people. The Church cannot allow evil hate groups who call themselves Christian to continue to flourish in its own front—yard. The power of the Church is within her unified voice. The unified Church of the Lord Jesus can speak to mayors, governors, and even presidents to discredit these groups who care about one thing only: the death of all other ethnic groups except Anglo—Saxons. When the Church rises to speak against those hate groups using the Protocols, it will indirectly declare to the Jewish community that the Church stands with the Jewish community.
By extension, the American Church must support the Church in Europe as it faces a dramatic rise in anti—Semitism. The World Jewish Congress has gone on the record saying, 'the level of anti—Semitic attacks in Europe is the worst since World War II.' The rise of anti—Semitism has come at the same time as the popularity of the Protocols has continued to increase. The history of the Holocaust should serve as a reminder to the church in America today — the Protocols flourished before WWII, the Church was silent, six million perished. In today's world of immediate communication and networking, the Church must quickly stand and become preemptive in its attack on the use and distribution of the Protocols. Europe is once again becoming a hotbed of Jewish hatred. This is not a hidden fact: turn on the news, read a newspaper, or do a google search and the hatred is as current and new as this mornings' rising sun. When the Church in America joins hands with the Church in Europe to condemn the Protocols, the Jewish community will know we stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the fight against anti—Semitism.
The Protocols provide the framework for hatred of Jewish people. Standing against this hatred, the Church will declare ts stance against Jewish stereotypes. The Jewish community and hate groups will both see this act of love; moreover, God will see this demonstration of his command, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' (Mat. 22:39). There is no greater honor for a Christian to fulfill the command of Jesus to love people and care for them. The Jewish community shares the same sentiment, they call it 'repairing the world' — to live life in such a way that the world is a better place because you are in it.
Ava Schieber, a Holocaust survivor, said this, 'We are worse than animals. Look at the animal kingdom they do not commit atrocities like we. When they kill it is because they are hungry, they need food.' Hate is a crime that starts within the heart and mind. When one person musters enough courage to act upon conviction, violence or passivity of hate crimes will follow. The first step any Christian or Church must take is to search the heart. We must look in ourselves for any residue of hatred, prejudice, or stereotypes against Jewish people. The only proper course of action upon finding this evil within ourselves is to confess it to God and turn away from it. The second step is to enlist others. Transparency and honesty are the hallmarks of a person who has changed into a new creation not even recognizing the old any more. Sharing with others will give of us the opportunity to search ourselves in like manner. The Protocols are the most sinister document available to the reader of today's world. The Church must stand tall, with broad shoulders, and close its hallowed doors upon the Protocols and the stereotypes within.
Michael Vowell is a graduate student at the Moody Bible Institute