The origins of the Protocols are subject to scholarly debate and some scholarly controversy. What we can be certain about is that their origins intended to portray Jews as conspirators against the state. There are 24 Protocols, or chapters, and what these Protocols supposedly are are the minutes of meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion, and the Protocols outline a plan for Jewish world domination. The Protocols does not create the myth that there’s a Jewish world conspiracy. That idea, that there’s a Jewish world conspiracy, predates the origin of the Protocols in the first decade of the twentieth century. But what the Protocols does is put it into a publication, it’s a printed form, and we all know that for the most part people believe what they read. If a book is printed, it must be true.
Why should we shine light on the Protocols, why shouldn’t we just leave the Protocols in the dark? Even though this book has been proven a fraud over and over and over again, it continues to be a tool for spreading antisemitism today. What can one do about hate literature? There are many options. One is to censor it. That doesn’t work in a society that values free speech. The Protocols is easily accessible all over the Internet, so blocking it is not an option either. One can try to criminalize the Protocols, or criminalize hate speech, for many reasons that’s also not effective. So what’s left? What’s left is to expose and to educate. And it relates directly to the lessons of the Holocaust in the sense that the Holocaust did not begin with Auschwitz, the Nazis did not begin with churning of death camps, it began with words, it began with imagery, it began with ideas about Jews. Some ideas came directly out of the Protocols. So to not speak out today about a tool of hatred that was useful to the Nazis and remains useful to those who seek to spread hatred of Jews today would be irresponsible.