I’ve never read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the antisemitic Russian forgery of 100 years back, but Jews refer to it all the time. After the AIPAC conference at which Barack Obama shamelessly truckled to the lobby, Jon Stewart called AIPAC “the elders of Zion” on his show. Lately I heard that Tanya Reinhart, the celebrated Israeli linguist and writer who moved to New York two years back out of rage at the occupation and died a year ago, had used the phrase seriously when talking about the lobby during an appearance in the Bay Area.
I wrote to Jeffrey Blankfort, a writer and longtime pro-Palestinian activist on the West Coast who is writin’ a book about the Israel lobby. He said:
in 2004. Since I had made the arrangements for Tanya’s trip to Berkeley
to speak for the Middle East Children’s Alliance, I accompanied her to
the event at which she lambasted the lobby, (much to the discomfort of
the JVP and most of the guests), and said, as I recall, that the
present situation with the US lobby at that time, four years ago, was as
if the Protocols of the Elders of Zion had come to life. Those may not have been her exact words, but that’s
pretty close. In the Q and A that followed, several members of the JVP
hierarchy challenged her characterization, but she didn’t back down.
Her death was a genuine tragedy. You are more than welcome to use this
I emailed Blankfort back to ask whether she had used the actual phrase “the Protocols of the Edlers of Zion.”
pleasantly surprising since she was a devoted former student of Chomsky
whose dismissal of the lobby’s power has made him largely irrelevant
as an analyst of today’s (or even yesterday’s) political scene.
Just a data point. Reinhart was a linguist. Blankfort also asked me to put in a plug for her last book, which came out in 2002: “Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948,” published by Seven Stories Press. I ordered the book.