Talk:The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

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Former featured article The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on March 19, 2006.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Why does the first sentence of the article say the Protocols is fraudulent? Aren't Wikipedia articles supposed to be neutral?
A: Wikipedia articles are absolutely required to maintain a neutral point of view. It has long been established that this work is fraudulent; its author(s) plagiarized a work of fiction, changing the original, Gentile characters into the secret leaders of a Jewish conspiracy. That plagiarized, fictional material is presented as though it were fact. That constitutes a literary fraud.
Q: So Wikipedia is saying that there was not a secret Jewish conspiracy to rule the world?
A: That is an entirely separate issue from the established fact that the Protocols is fraudulent.
Q: Why not let the reader decide for him- or herself whether the document is fraudulent or not? Doesn't drawing conclusions constitute WP:OR?
A: The article does not draw any conclusions; journalists drew the conclusion in 1921, and numerous scholars have reaffirmed it since then. It is not original research to state that the the Protocols is fraudulent; it is a well-established scholarly fact, as documented and sourced in the article. Numerous similar examples exist throughout Wikipedia; for example, the Hitler diaries are demonstrably fake, and the WP article says so—and sources it.
Q: But if the fraud is a well-established fact, why do some groups still assert that the Protocols is a genuine document?
A: It is difficult to answer why anyone still believes that the Protocols is a real document, other than to say that some people have beliefs that are simply immune to facts (Exhibit A: Holocaust deniers). To those whose minds are made up, it makes no difference that the Protocols have been debunked countless times—or that so much incriminating Holocaust evidence survives that a dozen museums can't hold it all.
Q: But you can't disprove the contention that a bunch of Jews got together sometime in the mid-19th century and plotted a conspiracy, can you?
A: As already stated, the conspiracy issue is not relevant to this article. But to answer your question, if I told you that the Moon is a giant ball of Gouda cheese covered with a foot-thick layer of dirt, you would most likely call that a ridiculous assertion. To which I could reply, "But you can't disprove it, can you?" Point: It is not up to me (or anyone else) to disprove any nebulous theories you wish to promote; it is your responsibility to prove them.

Anti-Semetic Canard? Clarity Vs. Specificity[edit]

I'm not sure that the single hyperlink to the "anti-semetic canard" page -- via the description "anti-semetic hoax" -- is sufficient for a page on what for a page on one of the more notable historical examples of the concept available.

Though "anti-semetic hoax" is a clear and plain description, it is an informal one, more description than definition, and I think the Protocols, like any other subject, should be identified with the formal, technical term describing the class of things to which it belongs, even if that term is esoteric. Many readers may be unfamiliar with the term "canard," but perhaps clarity and accuracy can both be achieved by using it in apposition to an informal and commonplace rewording, something like "The an anit-semetic canard, a form of hoax orchestrated to incite anti-semitism."

An Encyclopedia entry must first inform the reader of what a thing is before it describes the specifics of that thing. I mean, if you want to teach somebody what a "golden retriever," is, a good place to start is telling them that you're talking about a dog.

Does Wiki have a guideline on this? Joeletaylor (talk) 21:33, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

It doesn't really matter what the link goes to, but the term "hoax" is correct and is long-standing. I just changed it back to hoax, but accidently entered before I put in the edit history.--Dmol (talk) 00:23, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
I am not seeing any credible rationale here for PEZ not linking to antisemitic canard, which is an actual Wikipedia article. PEZ is not a hoax; it is scurrilous propaganda formulated with the intent of inciting pogroms. The Loch Ness Monster is a hoax.--Froglich (talk) 02:55, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
First of all, PEZ is a hoax (in addition to the other things you mention.) My problem with the term "canard" is simply that it is not a particularly recognizable term, and therefore does not belong in the lead. People reading the lead should instantly have a basic understanding of the topic. Delving deeper into the article, they could learn about antisemitic canards, etc. But, let's not miss the forest from the trees here -- we want readers giving this article a brief glance because they're not familiar with the topic to know it's a hoax from the get-go. JoelWhy?(talk) 14:11, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

In order for something to be considered a hoax, it needs to have been proven false. Since this isn't the case with the Protocols, it should not be labeled a hoax. Also, the word "hoax" raises the expectation in the mind of the reader that there will be evidence given proving that the case is false. Since the article doesn't provide that evidence, the reader is left confused. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Squareplate (talkcontribs) 04:18, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

If you need a single word to describe it, the best I can think of is "forgery". A forgery is of course a hoax, but a particular type of hoax that the Protocols were. I don't much like "canard" as usually it is applied to simpler allegations than elaborate conspiracy theories. Zerotalk 02:13, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

The word we really ought to be using is "lie". I.e., a hoax generally denotes something harmless; and a forgery is a term usually affixed to something done done for lucrative gain (such as a faked Rembrandt) or false ID. The PEZ, otoh, was a grotesque smear intended to stoke murder (the usual result of Russian pogroms at the time). Some might argue "propaganda" would be a sufficient compromise; I don't, because the qualities of being propagandistic and being true are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Nothing in the PEZ is true.--Froglich (talk) 03:11, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
I like both "forgery" and "canard" better than "hoax". "Forgery" is a more specific descriptor of the Protocols than "hoax", as Zero pointed out. My concept of a "canard" is a false or baseless (usually derogatory or degrading) story or rumor, which is even more specific in this context. But as Joel says, it might not be a term that the average reader will be familiar with, and thus not particularly appropriate for the lede. Its use is certainly appropriate in the body of the article, with a Wikilink. My 2 cents. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 03:33, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't like forgery; that implies that there is a real PEZ out there, but the one people read is a fake version of this book. I don't associate "harmless" with "hoax". Yes, big foot's a hoax, but so was this account of Georgians being informed on the evening news that their leader had been murdered and their nation was being invaded by the Russians. Hardly what I would call harmless. But, if someone can come up with a better term (that the average reader will instantly recognize) I'm open to suggestions.
Agreed about forgery. In the case of the Georgian hoax, the link reads like it was a what-if show aired bereft of a disclaimer; in any event, none of the rest of the examples on that list are greatly at variance with the common perception of a hoax being (usually) a money-driven scam. Accusations of murder (of which the PEZ is repleat) are not generally labelled as hoaxes. As for what the "average (English-speaking) reader" is capable of recognizing, I would argue that he does not need to be coddled in the internet age when a right-click on any term brings up "Search Google for XYZ" on most browsers. Learning new things is why they're free-falling through Wikipedia in the first place.--Froglich (talk) 20:32, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm much more interested in providing straightforward and easy to understand information in the lead, than I am in having information pass over the heads of some people in order to help people 'learn new things'. In any case, here's an article on "A History of Religious Hoaxes". First item on the list: PEZ
Okay, I'll accept that "forgery" implies that there's a real one, so it's improper in this context. It's true that the Protocols is often characterized as a hoax -- possibly because no one can think of a better descriptor -- but to me it's still too mild, implying a harmless trick, joke, or prank. How about "fraud", which connotes not only a deliberate act, but a malicious one as well? Canard, again, would also be a good choice, but possibly not in the lede (although I'm starting to come around on that too). DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 16:07, 15 November 2013 (UTC)
"Fraud" would be appropriate. Again, I don't think of "hoax" as necessarily benign, but if that's the impression you guys are getting, I'm fine with fraud (or, "fraudulent book" or something like that.) I definitely agree canard should be added to the body, but still feel it has no place in the lead. JoelWhy?(talk) 16:15, 15 November 2013 (UTC)
I really don't agree that "forgery" implies there is a real one. The Protocols are very frequently referred to as a forgery, and similarly for the Hitler Diaries and countless fake archaeological artifacts. The word only implies that something is presented as genuine when it isn't. A fake copy of a known painting is a forgery, but so is a fake "previously unknown" painting of a famous artist. All dictionaries that I consulted agree, e.g. Merriam-Webster refers to "making or copying". But I won't argue about this further if nobody else agrees. I can also go with "fraudulent book", which is more informative than "fraud" and not so soap-boxy as "lie". "Fraudulent document" would also be ok (it wasn't first published as a book.) Zerotalk 05:18, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
I find it very dispiriting that a lie which are we are in agreement is a lie nevertheless ought not be labeled one. -- This is the way knowledge is destroyed: reflexive refusal to call a thing what it is.--Froglich (talk) 09:12, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
The book is not a lie; the book contains lies. Labeling the book "a lie" would just be confusing, IMO. JoelWhy?(talk) 11:21, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
*sigh* That does not diminish the point that I made.--Froglich (talk) 19:58, 16 November 2013 (UTC)


cant see anything in this article that actually tells me that this is a forgery and proves it? Is there any evidence at all that it is a forgery, can you give me the links? I was expecting loads of proof, was surprised a lot!Honest-john (talk) 12:38, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Really? The way civilised society works any person or organisation that makes extravagant negative claims about a whole section of society is supposed to prove their case. This paranoid rot is completely unsubstantiated. Producing wild accusations then expecting the accused to prove them wrong is just witchhunting. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 14:03, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
calm down mate!! wasnt saying they were real! was saying I think there should be some details and sources in the article that prove they are forgeries. "Producing wild accusations then expecting the accused to prove them wrong is just witchhunting." this statement is wrong is so many ways. These are documents that have been studied by 1000s of people over hundreds of years, there is lots of prove they are forged, but its not in the article!!Honest-john (talk) 15:29, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
There is no question that it IS a forgery. The authorship and sources are also proven.--Lute88 (talk) 15:53, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure what information you expect. There is no original manuscript, but we know where much of the text comes from and that it it can't reasonably be considered a real document from a meeting of Jewish "elders". What evidence do you expect? Paul B (talk) 16:15, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

I saw some links and details on rationalwiki, I will check them and put them here. If they are suitable you can add them? Also: There were more legal trials, scientific studies of the wording and paper used, names and dates that werent right in the documents, I remember reading/seeing all these, yet none are on here? They were in books most of them about 20 years ago, so probably not online, but I will check and get back to you. Please understand that not for one minute was I saying there were not forgeries, I should have written my point better. Honest-john (talk) 16:20, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Honest-john, thanks for bringing this up, but keep in mind that Wikipedia is not a forum.
If you, or anyone else for that matter, have doubts about whether the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is forgery or not, and for some reason haven't found any "proof" to this question in the article itself, I welcome you to check out these useful sources I came across: [1] [2]. Regards, -Yambaram (talk) 11:33, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: article not moved Armbrust The Homunculus 18:57, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

The Protocols of the Elders of ZionThe Protocols of the Elders of Zion (book) – to let readers know in advance the article purpose: it is describing a book and not an article Ykantor (talk) 18:04, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Oppose as unnecessary disambiguation. What about the title implies it's about an article? --BDD (talk) 19:37, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose While I appreciate that this is a sensitive issue, there is nothing in Wikipedia naming conventions which supports such a approach, and it opens a very large can of worms to adopt it. PatGallacher (talk) 20:22, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It's true that a reader unfamiliar with the topic of this article will have to read all the way to the end of the first half of the first sentence in the lead to find out exactly what that topic is, but that's not any reason for premature disambiguation. This is by far the primary meaning of the phrase used in the article title. (talk) 20:23, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Nitpicking, unnecessary, and slightly misleading as the protocols have been recycled in several forms. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 23:43, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. What? We don't disambiguate if we don't need to. -- Necrothesp (talk) 14:44, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Utterly ridiculous idea. In any case the book is an "article". Paul B (talk) 16:29, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose What, are people going to confuse this with "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" ride at 6 Flags? JoelWhy?(talk) 13:15, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The Title case of the title indicates that it is a composition, whether a book or a film, etc. If readers need extra pertinent information in the title, it would be achieved by The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (hoax). Doing this might be OK in this case, but it is probably a dangerous road to head down. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 10:42, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Semi-protected edit request on 26 March 2014[edit]

The use of the word hoax is not substantiated therein so should be removed. (talk) 02:27, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done See discussion above. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 13:39, 26 March 2014 (UTC)