Americans once understood that although one side of a dispute might be correct and another might be wrong, both sides could mean well.Op-ed.
By Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer, INN
Protocols of the Elders of Zion
I have read Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, both for college political science classes in a time before microaggressions, trigger warnings, safe spaces, comfort dogs, and play-doh and cocoa rooms for upset 20-year-olds on campus.
Yet I must admit that I never have read the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. That last thing is some anti-Jewish piece of garbage that was fabricated around 1903 in Russia, purporting to be the clandestine minutes of a meeting of a secret cabal of International Jews who supposedly control the world. Yeah, while they are controlling the world, I still need to wait a month for my doctor’s next appointment and still can’t use a normal sink-faucet aerator because this is California.
Don’t get me wrong. As a Jew, I love the idea — absolutely love it — that we control the world. I just can’t figure out why none of the Jews I ever have met these past 40 years in my rabbinic role seem to know anyone among the world controllers or have any relatives who, at least, can get me a World Series ticket wholesale. It really is crummy.
We apparently control the banks, but I still need to spend weeks gathering paper work — taxes, pay stubs, recent utility bills — to refinance my mortgage. But, hey, I’m a Jew! Doesn’t that get anyone’s attention here at my local Bank of America branch? Apparently not. I sit with the Asian-descent bank vice president — everyone employed at a bank, even the toilet scrubber, is a “bank vice president” — and she doesn’t seem to realize that Jews control the banks. I try to explain to her, point to my yarmulka. Her face changes for a moment. Now she understands, as she says to me: “I will have Mr. Chu speak to you.”
“No,” I retort. “Not Chu. I want the Jew who controls this bank!”
She is polite. “Mr. Chung Ju has been transferred back to our Hong Kong branch.”
The thought occurs to me: If all these Chinese-Americans are controlling the bank, I know where the Learned Elders of Zion must be — they’re probably controlling the Dry Cleaner store. Makes sense, no? I go to what we used to call the “Chinese Laundry” in search of a Jew who controls the world, and the closest I come is Mr. Hu. So now it is Abbott and Costello time.
“Is there a Jew in control here?”
He responds: “Mr. Ju? No. I am Mr. Hu.”
“Who are you?”
“Yes, that’s right. I am Mr. Hu R. Yu. How did you know?”
Back to The Protocols. It is a thing that was forged a century ago, somewhere in Russia, and Jew-haters every so often, for the past eleven decades, reprint it in every imaginable language that Jew-haters speak or read: Russian, German, French, and of course nowadays in Arabic. Pretty much in every language but Pig Latin. It won’t go away. It’s always out there — the secret minutes of a meeting in Russia where the handful of Jews who supposedly control the world met, presumably amid corned-beef sandwiches on rye with mustard so that they could spot infiltrators eating theirs on white bread with mayonnaise.
Somehow that lie took hold among the psychologically ill and never quite completely has gone away. It is like a herpes sore. In a world of billionaire gentiles – Rockefellers and J.P. Morgans and Vanderbilts and Carnegies and Mellons and Du Ponts and Hearsts and Koch Brothers and Waltons – the conspiracy still lives in the minds of the obsessed: The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.
As I marvel at how such a lie and falsification has survived despite all commonsense obvious evidence that it is ridiculous, I turn to Joe Biden’s latest iteration of The Big Lie of our time — the false allegation that President Trump ever said a kind word about White Supremacists or Neo-Nazis at Charlottesville. That lie has been debunked as often as have The Protocols. The Trump-Charlottesville lie is even easier to debunk because, with The Protocols, how can you prove in 2020 that six or eight or four or twelve Jews did not meet over borscht and schav somewhere in Russia or Prussia or Fulla-Brussia a hundred years ago to control the world?
But when it comes to Trump and Charlottesville, there are video recordings of his 2017 press conference, and the whole thing takes only three minutes to watch. There had been angry demonstrations in Virginia pitting people who want to tear down Confederate-era statues versus those who want those sculptures preserved. The opposing sides were quite heated, and President Trump said there were “very fine people” on both sides.
On one side, there were very good American patriots who wanted to tear down statues that seem to honor slavery and those who took up arms against the Union, and on the other side there were very good American patriots who, recognizing the evils of slavery, nevertheless wanted to preserve the history of Virginia and the monuments that honor those who fought to defend Virginia, their families, their homesteads from the invading Northern armies who threatened to do to them what General Sherman ultimately indeed would do to Atlanta a few years later. There indeed were very fine people on both sides.
It used to be in America — it even was a hallmark of American culture and civilization — that people respected opposing viewpoints even when they disagreed with them. Americans once understood that, although one side of a dispute might be correct and another might be wrong, both sides could mean well, could be aiming for a higher decent good. That is why our appellate judicial tradition publishes dissenting opinions alongside majority holdings: the dissent may have lost today’s argument, but they expressed important ideas, too. In Charlottesville, that is exactly what was happening, and that was what the President was saying: there were “very fine people” on both sides.
As we all saw — and as he strongly condemned — evil right-wing White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis also were in that mix. President Trump explicitly condemned them. It is no different from now, where the killing of George Floyd prompted many very fine people to march in the streets against police murderous brutality of the sort that television video conveys seems to have happened. It would be fair to say “There were very fine people on that side.”
But facts also reflect that the worst barbaric human vermin also joined those very fine people on that side — people who smashed plate-glass store windows, who set fires to buildings, who invaded stores and looted them empty, who toppled statues even of anti-slavery heroes, even Frederick Douglass, and who defaced synagogues and monuments to people like Raoul Wallenberg who stood against Hitler and Nazi Germany. Yet, even despite the presence of those Antifa and other anarchists and street thugs wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts and chanting those words, it still would have been fair to say that there also were “very fine people” on that side.
The Trump Charlottesville lie remains the one Big Lie, the one piece of Fake News, that has taken on a life that will not end, like the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. By now the Russian Collusion hoax has been debunked. The Mueller Report killed the Mueller Investigation. The Steele Dossier. All the anti-Trump lies fade in time. But not The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Charlottesville. That Big Lie just won’t go away.
Experienced public liars like Joe Biden, who has been lying to the public for half a century — even stealing someone else’s life story as his own — and almost every Left Media vehicle like CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, CNN, and MSNBC refuse to admit the forgery, the fake, the Big Lie of Trump-Charlottesville.
Do you have just three more minutes now? Go to this YouTube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmaZR8E12bs&ab_channel=CNBC. I am not embedding the link in a word but instead am making it easy for you to copy and send this link everywhere. It runs for three minutes. It is not analysis; it is the President speaking in his own words.
Listen to what he said about very fine people at Charlottesville who had a legal permit to demonstrate their belief that their history should be preserved. Listen to what the President also said three separate times in three minutes about White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis. It is clear and unmistakable. But they will not let the lie die: The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Charlottesville.