October 23, 2005
As scholars prepare to mark the 100th anniversary of the antisemitic ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ a U.S. magazine has published a Protocols-style “dual loyalty” slur against Ambassador Henry Morgenthau Sr., one of the most prominent Jews in early twentieth-century American politics.
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, a glossy magazine published by two former U.S. government officials, has printed an article in its November 2005 issue blaming Morgenthau and Zionism for prolonging World War I. The article falsely suggests that Morgenthau’s 1917 peace mission to Turkey could have brought an early end to the war, but that Morgenthau allowed Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann to talk him out of the effort because Morgenthau chose to “show more loyalty to Zionism than to his president or his country.” (In fact, Morgenthau was an opponent of Zionism.)
“a [U.S.] Senator” testified at congressional hearings in 1922 that the Zionists were to blame for prolonging World War I. In fact, that testimony was made not be a Senator but by an Arabist professor, Edward B. Reed, and his statement at the time was denounced by American Zionist leaders as reminiscent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which was one of Adolf Hitler’s favorite books and was a staple of Nazi propaganda, is a Czarist Russian forgery, first published in 1905, which claims to expose a Jewish plot to infiltrate governments and conquer the world. The Protocols will be the subject of a major scholarly conference at Boston University on October 30-31, 2005.
Conference organizer Prof. Steven T. Katz, who is director of the university’s Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies at Boston University and a member of the Academic Council of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, issued the following statement regarding the Washington Report’s article:
“One hundred years after the publication of the forged document known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which alleged that Jews were trying to take over governments and rule the world, the Washington Report has echoed that vicious slur by portraying Henry Morgenthau as a sinister secret agent of Zionism and saboteur of America and President Wilson.”
The Wyman Institute has also issued the following statement by Henry Morgenthau III, who is the grandson of Morgenthau Sr. and a member of the Institute’s Advisory Committee:
“The allegation that my grandfather was disloyal to America or to President Wilson is an outrageous falsehood. The claim that he was ‘loyal to Zionism’ is simply laughable, since Ambassador Morgenthau was well-known for his opposition to Zionism. But what the Washington Report has published goes far beyond slandering my grandfather; the notion that he helped prolong World War One for the sake of Jewish interests raises the vile ‘dual loyalty’ specter, by suggesting that Jews in government service must be suspected of secretly harboring foreign loyalties.”
(In Henry Morgenthau III’s book Mostly Morgenthaus, a family history, he devotes a full chapter to the so-called “secret mission,” Ambassador Morgenthau’s attempt to start negotiations for Turkish withdrawal from World War I.)
Morgenthau is urging the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs to publish a full retraction of the statement about his grandfather.
The Washington Report’s article was authored by “John Cornelius,” whom it identifies as “the nom de plume of an American with long-standing interest in the Middle East.”
The Washington Report often publishes articles comparing Israel to the Nazis and alleging inappropriate Jewish influence on Congress or the media. It also opposes U.S. government support of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and in 1998 printed an article claiming there is new evidence that “would cut in half the Zionists’ original claim that six million Jews had died under the Nazi regime.” U.S. Congressman Steven Rothman (D-NJ) has described the Washington Report as “extremely anti-Semitic” and urged his congressional colleagues to boycott it.
Yet the magazine maintains a veneer of credibility because of the prominent positions previously held by some of its sponsors. The Washington Report’s publisher is Andrew J. Killgore, the U.S. ambassador to Qatar during the Carter administration, and its executive editor is Richard H. Curtiss, former chief inspector for the U.S. Information Agency. The magazine is published by the American Educational Trust, which enjoys nonprofit status. Its directors have included a number of former diplomats, a former Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, and former Members of Congress.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion has been the subject of increasing public attention in recent months.
Film producer Marc Levin has just a released a major new documentary, “Protocols of Zion,” which examines the persistence of the Protocols and other manifestations of antisemitism in contemporary American society.
Earlier this year, W. W. Norton posthumously published Will Eisner’s book The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which uses cartoon illustration to debunk the Protocols. Eisner, who passed away in January 2005, was a member of the Wyman Institute’s Arts & Letters Council and a judge in its student art contest.