"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Sunday, May 07, 2017

Jordan and the Endless Resurrection of the 'Protocols'

I hate reruns.

With a perfectly solemn and straight face, the Prime TV network in Jordan last month aired a purportedly serious three-part program that examined the good ol' Protocols of the Elders of Zion and once again declared it as "proof" of Judaism's plot to dominate the world. Jordanian film director and commentator Ayed Alqam appeared between April 3rd and 17th, droning about the secret plans of Jews the world over to incite violence, create ISIS, wreak inflationary economic havoc on Middle Eastern countries, and other similar idiocy. Portions of his programs have been translated and posted online at the outstanding resource site of MEMRI.com, the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Freemasonry is outlawed in the vast majority of predominately Islamic nations throughout the Middle East, with the few notable exceptions of Lebanon, Morocco, and Turkey. Because Freemasons are seen as agents of pro-Israeli Zionism, conspiracy theories about Masons are rampant throughout Islamic communities.

One of the most common sources of such theories originates in a pamphlet that has been widely distributed for more than a century. In 1905, a notorious piece of propaganda called the Protocols of the Elders of Zion became a big hit in Russia. You may not have heard of it before, but you surely know the punchline by now. In it, a secret meeting is described of a group of Jews discussing their world domination plans, with the Freemasons as their accomplices.

The Protocols are the origin of a widely supposed “conspiracy” of a secret group of Jewish bankers who control the world’s governments, economies and religions. According to various versions of the Protocols, Jews are behind a plan for world conquest, and use Freemasons as their willing stooges. Jews and the Masons control the press and the courts, and Jewish revolutionaries use liberalism to weaken religion and governments. Jewish intellectuals confuse the common people, and they replace traditional educational curriculum to discourage independent thinking, and encourage immorality among children. They use their international banking monopolies and the use of credit to destroy the economy, favoring paper currency not tied to the gold standard. Jews and the Masons control governments from behind the scenes by blackmailing politicians. And during times of great emergencies, Jews will suspend civil liberties and then secretly make the measures permanent.

The Protocols were written as a handy how-to sourcebook to explain all the troubles in the world that the Russians saw brewing when their Revolution broke out that would bring an end to the Czar and his family and totally upend the rest of Eastern Europe. It had been cribbed from a much earlier source that was circulated after the French Revolution in the 1790s, but back then it had started out not blaming the Jews, but the Freemasons and the Illuminati for that one. In the 1840s, it got co-opted with the villains changed to the Jesuits. By 1864, it was plagiarized again, and the secret plans were being hatched not by Freemasons, Illuminati, Jesuits, or Jews, but as a conspiracy hatched by Napoleon III, and presented as a conversation conducted in Hell between the Emperor and Machiavelli...

Bits of an anti-semetic Prussian tale got folded into it in the 1870s, and it started to congeal into a more cohesive format that finally settled on the Jews as the cause of all the planet's problems. Cobbled by Hermann Goedsche, a spy and forger working for the Prussian secret police, he framed the story as being about a secret meeting of a "Council of Representatives of the Twelve Tribes of Israel" in which a series of "protocols" were outlined to alter world history. 

By the 1870s, it had made its way into Russia, and in the 1890s, the Okhrana, the Csar's secret police force, adapted the tale as a tool to use to prevent reformers in the country from weakening Nicholas II's authority (and their own). During the notorious Dreyfuss Affair in France between 1893-5, a Russian working for the Okhrana in Paris named Matvei Vasilyevich Golovinsk reworked the whole thing again, and gave it the name most closely related to its modern version: Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

An inventive Russian author named Sergei Nilus republished it in 1905 with his own twists, and in a 1911 reprint, he revealed it was about a secret meeting of French Freemasons in cahoots with Jews. But in 1917, he decided to intertwine the previous mess with a very real event to give it that extra kick of authenticity. The Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland back in 1897 actually did take place, and had been widely reported in the news. Plenty of Christian clergy and even politicians had attended the conference, and it was at that meeting that a Jewish organization was formed to purchase land in Palestine for the eventual creation of a Jewish homeland. That part was very real, on the historical record, documented in the press, and very widely known. Nilus' merging of the earlier Protocols with the Congress meeting reports into a phony set of meeting minutes outlining world domination made a captivating fable for a credulous public seeking an excuse for their own social chaos. After the Revolution broke out, it started selling like hotcakes. Or baklavas. Russians began the wholesale slaughter of Jews when the Revolution kicked off in 1917.

Henry Ford was so captivated by the Protocols that he imported it to the U.S. and published it in his Detroit newspaper in 1921. By the late 20s, it had been translated into Arabic and started trickling across the Middle East. In Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm II was such a fan that he regaled dinner guests by having excerpts read with their brandy and cigars. By the time Adolf Hitler came to power, he was influenced by the Protocols' fables as justification for his plans to annihilate the Jews. Freemasons were also on his hit list, and they too were sent to concentration camps under the rationalization, “All Masons Jews — All Jews Masons!”

The Protocols have been rewritten and circulated for over a century, and today they can be found all over the Internet, posted by a wide range of conspiracy-believing groups and scribblers. Modern cranks like the notorious Texe Marrs regularly trot them out for a walk around the block in their ramblings, despite the fact that their source has been widely debunked since the 1930s. 

The Protocols remain extremely popular in Islamic countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, but especially the Palestinian territories, where they are distributed as official texts for school children to study. In 2002, a multi-part docu-drama was produced for several Arab language TV networks based on the Protocols, entitled Knight Without A Horse. There are many other organizations, including the American Nation of Islam, some militia groups, the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, and the American Nazi Party who still peddle the Protocols as fact.

So now, the Jordanians have apparently hopped on board the Protocols bandwagon.

According to the Anthropological Mason websiteJordan's former king, Hussein bin Talal (father of the present King Abdullah II) was a Mason. He was:
initiated into the mysteries of Freemasonry on May 17, 1959 in Amman Jordan. The Worshipful Master for the degree was Most Worshipful Hanin Kottini who was the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Lebanon and Honorary Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy. Then, King Hussein was again initiated on October 20th, 1963 in Amman during a private ceremony arranged by W.Bro Jan Onderdenwijngaard, an influential Dutch Freemason who was active in Jordan and Past Master of Lodge Via Lucis no. 161, the Hague, under the Grand Orient of the Netherlands. Onderdenwijngaard passed on in 1973 after a distinguished and yet at times tumultuous career in the craft where he straddled both sides of the fence of regularity. King Hussein went on to pursue an active membership in the Grand Lodge of Lebanon and Arab speaking Countries, and he subsequently became the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Jordan. He also joined the Grand Orient of Italy's Sovereign Sanctuary of the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Mizraim Rite.
Alas, Freemasonry actually at work within the country of Jordan is all but non-existant today. There are just two known, regular, recognized lodges, but they operate quietly for obvious reasons.

(For more than you'll ever want to know about the twisted history of the Protocols and their sources, have a look at the entry on the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon website, with extensive footnotes.)


  1. Darn good post! Having lived and worked in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, I found this post to be very helpful in understanding the current state of affairs for Freemasonry in several portions of the Middle East.

    It seems that many people dislike or misinterpret the Craft because the Craft shares 4 major things in common with religion without being a religion itself. Those 4 things are:

    1) A belief in the Fatherhood of G_d. 2) A belief in the Brotherhood of Man. 3) The importance and necessity of Prayer, and finally, 4) A belief in the Immortality of the Soul. Oh well, guess we cannot please everyone. I'll sleep just fine.

  2. You mentioned the start of the Russian revolution being 1717, perhaps you meant 1917?

    Great post. Any time someone mentions the Protocols I get a migraine from my eyes rolling into my skull so hard.

    1. Thanks. Fixed. That's why editors were invented and why we still need them.


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