Leaders urged to condemn ‘protocols’

Herald News, Nov. 8, 2002

The New Jersey Anti-Defamation League on Thursday called on religious leaders to speak out against the Arab Voice’s decision to publish parts of the anti-Semitic and fictitious “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

“I’m going to call on the interfaith community, on the civil rights community, on civic leaders to condemn it,” said Charles “Shai” Goldstein, director of the ADL’s New Jersey office.

But a clergy member of Omar’s Mosque on Getty Avenue in Paterson who is a chaplain in the state prison system said the “protocols” might be legitimate.

The Arab Voice, an Arabic language newspaper distributed in South Paterson, published a section of the “protocols” in an August issue, its editor, Walid Rabah, said Wednesday.

But Goldstein showed the Oct. 12 edition of the newspaper to reporters on Thursday and said an article on Page 20 was a partial reprint of the “protocols.”

The “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” purports to be a document developed by Jewish leaders that lays out a plan for world domination. Historians agree it is fake and written by Russian secret police in the 1890s to justify persecution of Jewish people. For generations, the Nazis and contemporary white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups have used the “Protocols.”

Prominent members of the South Paterson community who requested anonymity said the Arab Voice was not well-read or well-respected.

“You don’t want to discredit people, but no one reads it,” said Samir Tahhan, editor of Al-Itidal, an Arabic newspaper based in Clifton since the 1950s.

A spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson said Catholics deplore anti-Semitism.

“The Catholic Church regards anti-Semitism as sinful. … We do not support any anti-Semitic publication or provocation, especially when it might lead to anti-Semitic action,” said Marianna Thompson.

The Rev. Albert Rowe, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church and a member of the Paterson Pastor’s Workshop, said, “I think it was highly irresponsible for that paper to print erroneous information when they knew it was wrong.

“The only redeeming part of this is that they are going to write this editorial,” he said, referring to Rabah’s decision to print an editorial that calls the “protocols” a lie in the next issue of the Arab Voice.

Rabah left work before he could be reached for comment Thursday and no one answered the phone at the Arab Voice and an answering machine did not pick up. During Ramadan, which began Wednesday, Muslims fast during the day. Most people leave work about 4 p.m. to break the fast with their families.

Ahmed Mansour, a clergy member at Omar’s Mosque, said he could not comment until he has read the articles in question or the Herald News’ article about the controversy.

When pressed to give his opinion on the “Protocols,” Mansour hedged.

“I really don’t know. I can’t tell you if it’s true or fake, but I kind of believe it’s true,” he said, referring to the “Protocols,” which claim to be the blueprint for Jewish control of banking, the economy, news media, world government and the military.

Mansour said when the “Protocols” were published in Kuwait, they were removed from bookstores, an event that makes him believe they were true.

Goldstein, the ADL director, said his organization came to the defense of Paterson’s Arabs and Muslims after Sept. 11, 2001, when rumors circulated that many had celebrated the destruction of the World Trade Center.

“When lies were spread about the Arab community, the ADL was the first civil rights organization in the state of New Jersey to confront that and debunk it,” Goldstein said. The ADL also condemned Christian preacher Jerry Falwell when he made derogatory comments about Islam.

He said he hoped Muslim leaders would return the favor.

Comments are closed.