[Cross-posted at Hatewatch.]
White supremacist David Duke has a new book coming out, of sorts – a repackaged and “illustrated” version of the notorious anti-Semitic hoax, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” But unlike previous editions of the text – all of which attempted to claim that the book was a genuine transcript of a gathering of wealthy Jews who conspired to bring about the enslavement of Western civilization – Duke is taking a different tack.
“The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” Duke now claims, is in fact a work of fiction – which means, he says, that the hoax issue is moot. Instead, as he explains in his promotional video for the book, the text is like all “great literature” – a work of art whose value lies in the greater truths it supposedly reveals about the world.
Duke argues on his website that “it is actually irrelevant if the original Protocols were written by Czarist agents or not”:
In fact, as I point out, they are in reality a highly predictive work of ‘fiction’—much like George Orwell’s ‘1984’, or Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’. Although the characters and storyline in both those works are ‘fiction’, the idea which underlay both those books was most certainly fact. Thus, they were works of ‘fiction’—just like the Protocols of Zion.
To illustrate his point, Duke includes footage from the 1968 film version of “Romeo and Juliet” – because Shakespeare, he claims, may have lifted the story from somewhere else – as well as “The Wizard of Oz” (complete with President Obama’s face taking the place of the wizard) and “1984”, to which Duke repeatedly compares “Protocols.”
“It is a historical literary creation of political and social importance. It is a brilliant work of dystopian literature – as important as Orwell’s ‘1984’,” Duke says in the video. “So, call it a forgery, a fabrication, a fantasy, if you like. I won’t argue with you, as long as you dare to read it – along with my historical and contemporary evidence that illustrates its major assertions.”
Duke says that “Protocols” only prove that “truth is stranger than fiction!” He then proceeds to run through a list of anti-Semitic, conspiracist claims that undergird his worldview.
There is nothing in “Protocols” that would particularly distinguish it as “literature,” at least by any academic standards: There is no great writing, no great storytelling, no poetic phrasing, no great philosophical insight. It simply recounts – in tedious fashion – a fictitious meeting in a graveyard among a cabal of wealthy Jews who lay out the principles of their plan to enslave mankind and control the world.
The text is a well-known hoax that purports to be a glorified transcript from a real meeting. Early editions claimed that the document was read aloud in Basel, Switzerland, at the First Zionist Congress in 1897. All previous attempts at marketing the book have pretended that it is the record of a real meeting.
Its origins were as a piece of political propaganda aimed at smearing Jews on behalf of Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II shortly after the turn of the century. It then found its way to America, where it was avidly promoted by industrialist Henry Ford in the 1920s under the title The International Jew. It was even more notoriously adopted by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany as an uber-text that eventually fueled the Holocaust.
Duke touts the appearance of a Ford essay on behalf of “Protocols” in his new edition of the book, but neglects to mention that Ford eventually repudiated those views, at least publicly.
Duke apparently needs some help publishing the book. At the end of the video, he encourages supporters to give him $100 (or more) today, and in return, they’ll get a nice signed and numbered copy when they’re finally printed.