Yet there is abundant evidence that The Protocols is resurfacing in many places. The Paranoid Apocalypse re-examines the text’s popularity, investigating why it has persisted, as well as larger questions about the success of conspiracy theories even in the face of claims that they are blatantly counterfactual and irrational. It considers the medieval pre-history of The Protocols, the conditions of its success in the era of early twentieth-century secular modernity, and its post-Holocaust avatars, from the Muslim world to Walmart and Left-wing anti-American radicalism. Contributors argue that the key to The Protocols’ longevity is an apocalyptic paranoia that lays the groundwork not only for the myth’s popularity, but for its implementation as a vehicle for genocide and other brutal acts.
“A set of thoughtful essays that examine the origins and absurd persistence of this influential forgery, informative assessments of the anti-Semitic conspiratorial imagination in Europe, Japan, the United States and in the Middle East, and lively debates about the way Western and Jewish intellectuals have responded to the recent forms in which the old hatred has found expression.”
—Jeffrey Herf, author of The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propagandad During World War II and the Holocaust
“A timely and important volume that ought to be essential reading for students and scholars alike. The Shoah did not begin with concentration camps and trains. It began with words and ideas. The lies of the Protocols played a key role in marginalizing and dehumanizing European Jewry, paving the way for their brutal extermination. Remarkably, in the contemporary context, the Protocols are once again becoming widely used as effective propaganda, especially throughout much of the Middle East. . . . This text provides an interdisciplinary, high calibre, scholarly analysis of a subject matter that is under-studied and of profound importance."
—Charles Asher Small, Former Executive Director of the Yale Intiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism
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