The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Will Eisner

I’m inclined to go with the judgement that conspiracy theories are history for idiots. Some conspiracy theories are so incredibly stupid that to call those who are taken in by them idiots is an insult to idiots. Others, although far-fetched, are believed by people who to all intents and purposes appear as sane as the next man (depending on who the next man might be). The one thing almost all conspiracy theories have in common is that, at the centre of them, are ‘the Jews’

One of the most insane yet persistent conspiracy hypotheses is the claim that a small but all-powerful cabal of Jews controls the world’s banks, media and governments. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious piece of anti-Semitic propaganda that was created by Russia's secret police a hundred years ago, purports to be the minutes of secret meetings of Jewish leaders who formulated a programme for world domination. Although The Times revealed as long ago as 1921 that The Protocols was a hoax, millions in the West and in the Arab world continue to believe the fictitious plot is true.

Hadassa Ben Itto’s, The Lie That Wouldn't Die: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is, as far as I’m concerned, the most thorough expose of the forgery but its 350 pages and cost of almost £40 may be off-putting for most who want to understand the origins of The Protocols.

Will Eisner’s The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a good second best.

Eisner was one of the greatest comic book artists of the twentieth century and a ground-breaking educationalist. The Plot is an impeccably researched and beautifully illustrated graphic history which explains how and why the Protocols were crafted, and presents a pageant of historical figures who believed it from Tsar Nicholas II to Henry Ford to Adolf Hitler.

In ‘comic novel’ style, Eisner exposes the twisted history of The Protocols up to the present day. He hoped that his book would raise public consciousness of anti-Semitism throughout the world and draw attention to the evil ways some governments have used propaganda to influence public opinion.

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