The Italian Jewish community has condemned the publication of a new edition of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which will be sold on the site of one of Italy’s main publishing houses.
The promotional campaign for the new edition reportedly does not mention that the infamous anti-Semitic tract is a forgery. The text, which originated with the Russian tzar’s secret police in 1903 and claims to be proof of a Jewish plot for world domination, has been used to justify persecution of Jews by the Nazis, Arab governments and other anti-Semitic regimes, and has found favor with neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements.
The book is captioned: “From the beginning they have been branded as a brilliant fake and there are many reasons for and against, especially from those who wish to bury them permanently, thereby contributing to their incredible survival.”
It includes promotional material that alleges: “Whether they are true or false no longer matters, because these mysterious protocols, even out of their time, have proved to be prophetic in a secular sense.”
The new Italian version contains a sizeable Star of David on its cover.
It was issued by Segno Editions, a “small, independent house specializing in religious publications” and will be available to buy online through Feltrinelli, a leading Italian publisher.
Rome’s Jewish community released a statement on Twitter expressing outrage at Feltrinelli for selling the infamous anti-Semitic work in its online store.
“Hey Feltrinelli, pay attention! Do you really think that the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ — a key anti-Semitic text — can be presented without a note highlighting its false character?” the group said.
Italy’s special representative on anti-Semitism, Milena Santerini, chastised the publisher for marketing the book without highlighting its provenance as a forgery.
“Is truly incredible, Feltrinelli, that such a dangerous book can be promoted with a text saying that the ‘Protocols’ could be true or false, without warning that [the ‘Protocols’] is a fake, and of the uses made of it throughout history,” she tweeted.
On Thursday, Feltrinelli was further criticized for responding to the outrage by stating, “The description of the volume is the exclusive competence of the publishing house that issued it, and not of the sales platforms where it is available.”
In the aftermath of the criticism, Segno Editions said it would alter the book’s description to state that the work was a fabrication, claiming that the original description was printed in error.
But the company’s pledge seemed to be in doubt when the firm’s head Cristina Mantero later told the daily La Repubblica that the new edition was being published to test the accuracy of its predictions.
“We did not want to get into the merits of truthfulness or falsehood. What interested the editor — Piero Mantero, my father — was to see whether the predictions made 120 years ago had materialized,” Mantero said.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)