Thursday, November 10, 2005

New Documentary
"Protocols Of Zion"

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was a libelous tract purporting to be the minutes of a meeting of powerful Jews, for the purpose of plotting how to control the entire political and economic world. The book was a bestseller in Nazi Germany, and it is a bestseller across the Arab world today.

Producer Mark Levin has just released a documentary film dealing with the place The Protocols occupies in the modern world. From Reuters:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Did you know that Pepsi stands for Pay Every Penny Support Israel? Or that Rupert Murdoch is Jewish?

Those are just two of the more outlandish declarations uttered by political extremists and ordinary citizens in a new documentary that charts the mother of all conspiracy theories, "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion."

"The Protocols" was a faked document that purported to recount details of a late 19th century conference of Jews at which they discussed plans to overthrow Christianity. The fabrication appeared first in Russia in 1905 and quickly became a classic defense of anti-Semitism.

It reaches its centennial this year with every sign of gaining new believers, thanks to 21st century advances in electronic dissemination.

"At one point, I thought that maybe humor was the best way to deal with it," says Marc Levin, Manhattan-based director of the new film who has more than 25 documentaries and feature films to his credit. "I figured maybe I should get 12 old Jewish comedians, you know, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, to sit around a table and have them riff off 'The Protocols."'

But Levin became unnerved when he learned that 'The Protocols' had been dramatized for Egyptian television and published by an Arab-American newspaper in New Jersey.

Just last year, U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart Inc. removed 'The Protocols' from its Web site, where it was offered for sale with a blurb suggesting that the notorious tract might be genuine.

Determined, then, to make a serious documentary, the filmmaker found that many Jews he spoke to about the project warned him he would only foment more hate.

"Their initial reaction was, 'You should burn that book. You should bury it. The last thing you want to do is a documentary about it,"' Levin said.

Instead, Levin went out of his way to expose many of the anti-Semitic canards that are rooted in 'The Protocols' and have found a receptive audience across a broad spectrum, ranging from white supremacists to black nationalists.

The feature-length film, titled "Protocols of Zion," opened last month in art-house theaters in New York and Los Angeles and will be shown on cable television's HBO in the spring.

Film critics have praised the director for confronting talk-radio callers, angry young Palestinian-Americans and street-corner agitators, including an African-American in Manhattan who asked, "Don't you know that 33 cents of every bottle of Pepsi you buy go to Israel?"

The filmmaker traveled to the West Virginia compound of the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi organization whose leader, Shaun Walker, declared that Australian-born media mogul Rupert Murdoch is a Jew.

"What?" Levin responds in disbelief.

"We've got all the articles that they're publishing in Australian newspapers going through his Jewish bloodline," Walker replies.

Murdoch, of course, is not Jewish, and some observers suggest that Levin is only helping to amplify such audacious claims by giving voice to them in his movie.

Go read the rest.