THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION ON THE PALESTINIAN
by Dr Reuven Erlich
Anti-Semitic incitement in the Arab world:
Spreading The Protocols of the Elders of Zion through an
official Internet website of the Palestinian Authority
- Within the information available on Al-Nakba, an Internet
website of the Palestinian State Information Service (SIS), one may
find an online version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
The website, hostile to Israel, contains inciting publications on the
Nakba (the term used by the Palestinians to describe the
"catastrophe" of 1948) and is available both in Arabic and in English.
The Arabic version, catering to the Arab and Palestinian public, has a
higher dosage of inciting contents while the English version,
addressing non-Arab target audiences, is more moderate and does not
contain The Protocols (see Appendix A for characteristics of
- The Palestinian Authority State Information Service is a
governmental institution directly affiliated to the presidency of
the Palestinian Authority. Founded on February 12, 1996 by a
decree issued by Yasser Arafat, then Chairman of the Palestinian
Authority, it is the official institution responsible for "organizing
and developing information and media activities in the Palestinian
territories." The State Information Service is headed by Riyad
As noted earlier, the Al-Nakba webpage that contains The
Protocols only appears in the Arabic version, as a subsection
inside a section titled "The Historical Background of the Nakba";
i.e., the Palestinian and Arab reader may infer that the foundation of
the State of Israel and the emergence of the problem of Palestinian
refugees are nothing but a part of the implementation of the so-called
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
- It should be noted that the connection between "classic"
Christian anti-Semitic myths (expressed in The Protocols) and
the Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflict is immensely popular
in anti-Semitic literature. As early as in the 1950s, translations
of The Protocols as well as derivative "research" literature
started appearing in Egypt. In the first translation of The
Protocols published in Egypt in 1951, Abbas Mahmoud al-Aqqad, one
of Egypt's top writers, wrote that all Arabs must learn The
Protocols because the Arab world was the principal victim of the
Jewish schemes since the end of the 19th century until and after the
Nakba. Such a connection of The Protocols with the foundation
of the State of Israel and the other "plagues" that befell the Arab
world also appears in introductions to modern editions of The
The Al-Nakba website, featuring The Protocols, was last
updated in 2004 (i.e., in Arafat's era) and it does not appear that
the website is being regularly updated. The webpage containing The
Protocols of the Elders of Zion was last updated on May 12, 2004
and has not changed since. It should be noted that in Abu Mazen's era,
the Palestinian Authority reduced the levels of incitement on
television and in newspapers. However, the continuing availability of
The Protocols on an official Palestinian Authority website is a clear
demonstration that the Palestinian Authority has yet to thoroughly
cleanse all the media operating on its behalf, including the Internet,
of blatant expressions of incitement against the State of Israel, the
Jewish people, and even against the United States and the UK.
- The website contains 24 Protocols translated by 'Ajaj Nuwayhid,
a Lebanese Druze and a well-known figure in the Arab-Palestinian
national movement (see Appendix D). The translation of The
Protocols was taken by the Palestinian SIS from the website of the
Islamic Da'wa Party, a Shiite party operating in Iraq. It should be
noted that The Protocols, translated and edited by 'Ajaj
Nuwayhid, were first published in Beirut in 1967 and later appeared in
many editions in Syria and in Lebanon. In Syria, the book was
published by the publishing house of Mustafa Tlass, a confidant of
former Syrian President Hafez Assad and Syria's Defense Minister for
- It should be noted that the Internet serves as an important
leverage for the spread of anti-Semitic publications on behalf of
various countries, bodies and figures across the Arab/Muslim world.
The example at hand well demonstrates how The Protocols are
marketed by the Internet among Arab countries (and, subsequently, to
Muslim/Arab communities across the world). It is our assessment that
the translations of The Protocols spread via the Internet are
based mostly upon versions published in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.
These three countries are the predominant source of anti-Semitic
inflammatory publications, including The Protocols, which
continue to top the bestseller lists in the Arab/Muslim world for over
half a century.
1. Al-Nakbah - The Catastrophe: This term denotes the
colossal failure - the "catastrophe" - of the armies of 7 Arab states.
On May 15th 1948, they had launched an aggressive war, aimed at
preventing the establishment of the new Jewish-Zionist State of Israel
and replacing it with a Palestinian-Arab state (which was never
created). The origins of this war lay in the Arabs' (including the
Palestinians') total rejection of the UN General Assembly resolution
of the 29th November 1947. This stipulated the establishment of a
Jewish and an Arab state in (British Mandatory) Palestine. Thus, the
Arab armies' invasion into Israel was launched in defiance of the UN
and international law. Ever since, the 15th May marks Israel's
independence, as opposed to the Palestinian-Arabs' catastrophe.
2. This information is taken from the State Information
Service website: http://www.sis.gov.ps/arabic/aboutus.html.
3. Yossef Bodansky, Islamic Anti-Semitism as a Political
Instrument (Hebrew; Tel-Aviv, Tammuz Publishing, 2000), p. 47. The
book was also published in English by the Freeman Center for Strategic
Studies (Houston, 1999).
4. See for example the introduction to the version of The
Protocols published by the Syrian Dar al-Awael Publishing House
(2005), pp. 11-13. The translation of the introduction appears in the
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center Bulletin dated March 1,
5. See the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center website
for examples of various Arabic versions of The Protocols:
Appendix A: Characteristics of the Al-Nakba website
- The Al-Nakba website belongs to the Palestinian
Authority State Information Service (SIS), an official institution
of the Palestinian Authority. The website is available in two
versions - one in the Arabic language and the other in English.
Significant differences exist between the two versions, seeing as each
one is addressed to different target audiences. The differences touch
upon contents as well as the form of delivery. One of the primary
differences is the inclusion of the Arabic translation of The
Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the Arabic version, in the
section on Zionism. In contrast, the translation of The
Protocols does not appear in the English version.
6. In Arabic: Al-Hay'a al-'Amma lil-Isti'lamat.
The operators of the website
- The Al-Nakba website is stored on the server nakba.sis.gov.ps.
The address alone makes it clear that the server belongs to the State
Information Service (SIS), defined under the government domain name
(gov) in the Palestinian Authority (ps). The logo that appears on the
website (in both of its versions) is another indication of
Al-Nakba's being an official Palestinian Authority website.
- At the bottom of the posters and banners appearing on the
website is the name of the organization in English (State Information
Service) and in Arabic. There is also an address for contacting the
managers of the website by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The contents of the website in its two versions
- The major theme of the website is the Nakba - the events of 1948,
the historical developments that preceded them and the problem of the
Palestinian refugees. Documents, maps and various studies regarding
the Nakba are used to support the Palestinian point of view.
- The Arabic version of the website contains more extensive
materials than its English counterpart. Several main sections in the
Arabic version, such as maps, documents, studies and caricatures, do
not appear in the English version at all. Even sections that appear in
both versions and could have been expected to be identical do not
necessarily contain the same information. Likewise, the wording in the
English version is much more moderate than in the Arabic version.
- Most of Al-Nakba's webpages were last updated during the months of May-June 2004. The front page, providing the tone of the website, was last updated on June 3, 2004 in the Arabic version and on May 10, 2004 in the English version. Certain sections of the website in the English version are still "under construction" and it does not appear the website is being routinely updated. The webpage containing The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was last updated on May 12, 2004.
Appendix B: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion on the Al-Nakba website
- The webpage containing The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is
only available in the Arabic version, as a subsection in a section
titled The Historical Background of the Nakba, in the sub-part dealing
with the Zionist movement (between the part dealing with the leaders
of Zionism and the part dealing with the Balfour Declaration). The
address of the webpage is
- The webpage contains 24 Protocols preceded by the following
foreword: "Following is the translation by historian 'Ajaj Nuwayhid of
the version of The Protocols that appeared in the 81st English
edition, published in 1958 by Victor Marsden, based on the first
edition published in Russian in 1905 by scholar Sergei Nilus."
- The address of the website from which the translated Protocols
were taken appears at the end of the text: www.islamicdawaparty.org.
- The above-mentioned website proclaims itself to be the official
website of the Islamic Da'wa party, which is the shortened name of the
Islamic Da'wa Party in Iraq. The website contains announcements on
events happening in Iraq, interviews with prominent figures, articles
and more. Among other things, on the left side of the website, under
the Internet search box, appears a list of links to various articles,
including the translation of The Protocols of the Elders of
Zion. It is therefore the source of The Protocols that
appear on the Palestinian Authority website, both relying on 'Ajaj
Nuwayhid's translation and editing.
Eighth edition of The Protocols (1997)
edited by 'Ajaj Nuwayhid,
published by Mustafa Tlass's Publishing House in Damascus.
Nuwayhid's translation of The Protocols is
the one that
appears on the Palestinian Authority's Al-Nakba
Appendix C: The first of the 24 Protocols that appear on the Al-Nakba
website - original
The rest of the related pages can be viewed on the original
Appendix D: 'Ajaj Nuwayhid - editor and translator of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to Arabic
- 'Ajaj Nuwayhid (1897-1982) - lawyer, writer, journalist,
translator, public activist and political propagandist. He was born in
the Lebanese town of Ras al-Matn to a Druze family whose Arabian
ancestors had lived in Yemen's Asir region. He acquired his primary
and high-school education in local Christian missionary schools, where
he formed both his anti-Semitic worldview and his feeling of affinity
with the new Arab nationality that began to emerge in the Fertile
Crescent at that time. It is likely that it was his feeling of
affinity with the Arab nationality, rather than his Druze roots, that
served as his main motivation for his diverse activities during his
- At the end of World War I, he joined the short-lived Arab
government formed by Prince Faisal in Syria (1918-1920). After Faisal
and his government were removed by the French, he left for Jerusalem
(then under the British mandate) and was appointed (1923) Secretary of
the Supreme Muslim Council, headed by Grand Mufti Haj Amin
al-Husseini. At the same time, he was qualified as an advocate and
opened a law office that remained active until 1948.
- In 1932, Nuwayhid resigned his position and founded the weekly
Al-Arab as well as a printing house (Matba'at al-Arab). Even though
the weekly was independent, it expressed the worldview of the Arab
nationality since it served as the periodical of the Arab Al-Istiqlal
(independence) party. It was the first Arab party formed in Palestine
during the British mandate and Nuwayhid was one of its 12 founders.
The party preached to active resistance both against the British and
the Zionist movement. The weekly had reporters in several major Arab
cities ( Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad etc.); however, it ceased its
activities in 1934. In the years 1932-1940, Nuwayhid also served as a
reporter for Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram in "Palestine".
- 'Ajaj Nuwayhid took part in the large strike that broke out in
1936 (and marked the beginning of the so-called Arab Rebellion). He
was arrested and put in Sarafand detention camp along with many of his
colleagues. After his release, he continued his journalist work and in
the years 1940-1944 served as the supervisor of the Arab division of
the (British Mandate) Palestine Broadcasting Service. He set a number
of conditions for his willingness to fill this position, mainly: the
Arab division must remain independent from its counterpart Jewish
division and from the mandate regime, and Jews must not be allowed to
work in his division.
- Following Israel's War of Independence, Nuwayhid had to leave
"Palestine". He settled in Jordan and, owing to his close relations
with King Abdallah, filled three positions: Head of the King's Office,
Manager of the Jordanian Broadcasting Station and Director General of
the Jordanian Government's then Publication Center - in the years
1949-1952 (it is probable that the murder of King Abdallah in 1952 was
the cause for the termination of his government work). In 1959,
Nuwayhid returned to Lebanon, his homeland, where he remained active
until the day he died. In 1961, he published a series of articles in
Al-Ahrar newspaper titled "Bearers of the Torch" [i.e., banner]
in Literature, Science and Thought in Palestine." He also published
several books and translated books from English to Arabic, including
The Arabic translation of The Protocols of the Elders of
- The crown jewel of Nuwayhid's translation work into Arabic
was a translation from English of The Protocols of the Elders of
Zion, published posthumously in Beirut, Lebanon in 1967 (in 4
parts divided into two volumes). In this context, there is a
particular reference to this translation by Ya'qub al-'Udat, the main
source of information on Nuwayhid: "Mr. Nuwayhid dedicated several
years of his life to the preparation and translation of The
Protocols of the Elders of Zion from English. This is one of the
most important Zionist documents, and it appears to have been composed
in 1897. [This document] unveils the hidden aims of the Jews,
particularly [those included] in the Talmud etc. or [included] in
biographies of senior Zionists in Palestine. It [the translation] was
praised by the newspapers of the Arab world. In this context, Sa'id
'Aql, the Lebanese philosopher representing the genius of Lebanon,
said [in an article] in the daily newspaper Al-Ahrar: "All those
involved in politics in this era in the history of the Near East must
read the book [i.e., translation] by researcher and scholar 'Ajaj
- Ya'qub al-'Udat proceeds to mention that "the
General Secretariat of the Arab League exhibited particular interest
in the translation of The Protocols." It referred the foreign
ministries of all Arab countries to the book in order to spread it
among the Arab countries' embassies in the widest extent possible.
- Ya'qub al-'Udat, revealing his own anti-Semitic viewpoint,
adds that "the appearance of the book was an important event that
allowed the diplomat, the student, the researcher, and the Arab
reader to explore the Zionist ploy in the world and its stages,
hidden and overt. The importance of this book shall be preserved to
the day the Arabs succeed in defeating the filthiest cancer ever to
appear in their territorial area, both in the ancient and in the new
world [i.e., the Jews and Israel]." It should be noted that Ya'qub
al-'Udat's "prophecy" has indeed come true and 'Ajaj Nuwayhid's
translation of The Protocols has become a bestseller and it
is continuing to be published in Arab (including Palestinian) media
to this day.
7. This appendix is based primarily on Ya'qub al-'Udat's
Min A'lam al-Fikr wal-Adab fi Filastin [(Selection of) the most
prominent philosophers and intellectuals in Palestine ], third
edition, Dar al-Isra', East Jerusalem, 1992, pp. 641-645,
hereinafter: 'Ya'qub al-'Udat." We have also used Ahmed Abu Sa'ad's
Mu'jam Asmaa al-Usar wal-Ashkhas wa-Lamahaat min Tarikh al-Aa'ilaat
[Dictionary of Family Names and History of Families in Lebanon],
Beirut, Dar al-'Ilm lil-Malayin, 1997, pp. 928-929.
8. Nowadays, the members of the family, over 30,000 people, are
concentrated in the city of Abha in Saudi Arabia. Other branches of
the family reside in Kuwait and in Lebanon.
9. Ya'qub al-'Udat, p. 645.
Dr Reuven Erlich (Colonel, Ret.) is Director of the Intelligence and
Terrorism Information Center. The Center is located at the Center for
Special Studies (C.S.S.), at Gelilot near Tel Aviv, and specializes in
information about intelligence and terrorism. Contact him by mail at
email@example.com or go to the website: