Contemporary imprints of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
|First publication of The Protocols|
|Writers, editors, and publishers associated with The Protocols|
|Debunkers of The Protocols|
|Commentaries on The Protocols|
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a fabricated antisemitic text purporting to describe a Jewish plan to achieve global domination. The text was fabricated in the Russian Empire, and was first published in 1903. While there is continued popularity of The Protocols in nations from South America to Asia, since the defeat of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy in WWII, governments or political leaders in most parts of the world have generally avoided claims that The Protocols represent factual evidence of a real Jewish conspiracy. The exception to this is the Middle East, where a large number of Arab and Muslim regimes and leaders have endorsed them as authentic. Past endorsements of The Protocols from Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat of Egypt, one of the President Arifs of Iraq, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya, among other political and intellectual leaders of the Arab world, are echoed by 21st century endorsements from the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sa'id Sabri, and Hamas, to the education ministry of Saudi Arabia.
- 1 Middle East
- 2 Europe
- 3 North America
- 4 Soviet Union and post-Soviet states
- 5 South America
- 6 Asia
- 7 Other contemporary appearances
- 8 References
- 9 External links
As popular opposition to Israel spread across the Middle East in the years following its creation in 1948, many Arab governments funded new printings of the Protocols and taught them in their schools as historical fact. They have been accepted as such by many Islamist organizations, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. A 2005 report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center found that Arabic editions issued in the Middle East were being sold as far away as London. There are at least nine different Arabic translations of the Protocols and more editions than in any other language including German. The Protocols also figure prominently in the antisemitic propaganda distributed internationally by the Arab countries and have spread to other Muslim countries, such as Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
The Protocols is a best-seller in Syria and, together with other antisemitic materials published there, is distributed throughout the Arab world. In 1997, the two-volume 8th edition of the Protocols, translated and edited by 'Ajaj Nuwaihed, was published by Mustafa Tlass's publishing house and exhibited and sold at the Damascus International Book Fair (IBF) and at the Cairo IBF. At the 2005 Cairo IBF a stand of the Syrian publisher displayed a new, 2005 edition of the Protocols authorized by the Syrian Ministry of Information. In Syria, government-controlled television channels occasionally broadcast mini-series concerning the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, along with several other anti-semitic themes.
The Protocols were featured in a 1960 article published by Salah Dasuqi, military governor of Cairo, in al-Majallaaa, the official cultural journal. In 1965, the Egyptian government released an English-language pamphlet titled Israel, the Enemy of Africa and distributed it throughout the English-speaking countries of Africa. The pamphlet used the Protocols and The International Jew as its sources and concluded that all the Jews were cheats, thieves, and murderers.
When The Protocols of the Elders of Zion were discovered, some 200 years ago, and translated in various languages, including Arabic, the World Zionist Organization attempted to deny the existence of the plot, and claimed forgery. The Zionists even endeavoured to purchase all the existing copies, in order to prevent their circulation. But today, Shimon Peres proves unequivocally that the Protocols are authentic, and that they tell the truth.
An article in the Egyptian state-owned newspaper al-Akhbar on February 3, 2002 stated:
All the evils that currently affect the world are the doings of Zionism. This is not surprising, because the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which were established by their wise men more than a century ago, are proceeding according to a meticulous and precise plan and time schedule, and they are proof that even though they are a minority, their goal is to rule the world and the entire human race.
In October 2002, a private Egyptian television company Dream TV produced a 41-part "historical drama" A Knight Without a Horse (Fars Bela Gewad), largely based on the Protocols, which ran on 17 Arabic-language satellite television channels, including government-owned Egypt Television (ETV), for a month, causing concerns in the West. Egypt's Information Minister Safwat El-Sherif announced that the series "contains no antisemitic material".
On November 17, 2003, an Egyptian weekly al-Usbu‘ reported that the manuscript museum at the Alexandria Library, displayed the first Arabic translation of the Protocols at the section of the holy books of Judaism, next to a Torah scroll. The museum's director Dr. Youssef Ziedan was quoted as saying in an interview:
...it has become one of the sacred [texts] of the Jews, next to their first constitution, their religious law ... more important to the Zionist Jews of the world than the Torah, because they conduct Zionist life according to it ... It is only natural to place the book in the framework of an exhibit of Torah.
Dr. Ziedan strongly denies these quotes, accusing al-Usbu‘ of attributing "fabricated, groundless lies" to him and stating that "the Protocols is a racist, silly, fabricated book":
The story began with an article in an Egyptian newspaper, al-Usbu‘, two weeks ago (on November 17, 2003), which alleged quoting from me utterly senseless statements intertwining facts with fancies. A month before, a journalist from the aforementioned newspaper interviewed me concerning the recent refurbishment of the manuscript and rare book museum. I handed her a written statement, as was the case with other journalists who covered the same news. Although, she concluded her article with my exact words, she started it with fabricated, groundless lies. She falsely reported me saying that I placed an edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion at the center of the museum alongside the Jewish Torah and divine books. Moreover, she claimed that I told her that this book is more significant then the Torah... On my part, I would like to maintain to the visitors of ziedan.com that the Protocols is a racist, silly, fabricated book. Perhaps, I should consider more thoroughly the Jewish issue on the academic level and furnish my vision of the interaction of religions. As civilized people, we totally renounce racism and call for tolerance and constructive interaction between people.
After the publication, director of the Library Dr. Ismail Serageldin issued a statement:
Preliminary investigation determined that the book was briefly displayed in a showcase devoted to rotating samples of curiosities and unusual items in our collection. ... The book is a well-known 19th century fabrication to foment anti-Jewish feelings. The book was promptly withdrawn from public display, but its very inclusion showed bad judgment and insensitivity...
The first Iranian edition of the Protocols was issued during the summer of 1978 before the Iranian Revolution after which the Protocols were widely publicized by the Iranian government. A publication called Imam, published by the Iranian embassy in London, quoted extensively from the Protocols in its issues of 1984 and 1985. In 1985 a new edition of the Protocols was printed and widely distributed by the Islamic Propagation Organization, International Relations Department, in Tehran. The Astan Quds Razavi Foundation in Mashhad, Iran, one of the wealthiest institutions in Iran, financed publication of the Protocols in 1994. Parts of the Protocols were published by the daily Jomhouri-e Eslami in 1994, under the heading The Smell of Blood, Zionist Schemes. Sobh, a far right monthly newspaper, published excerpts from the Protocols under the heading The text of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for establishing the Jewish global rule in its December 1998 – January 1999 issue, illustrated with a caricature of the Jewish snake swallowing the globe.
In April 2004, the Iranian television station Al-Alam broadcast Al-Sameri wa Al-Saher, a series that reported as fact several conspiracy theories about the Holocaust, Jewish control of Hollywood, and the Protocols. The Iran Pavilion of the 2005 Frankfurt Book Fair had the Protocols, as well as The International Jew available. In 2008 The Secret of Armageddon, an Iranian TV "documentary" claiming that "a Jewish Plan for the Genocide of Humanity," includes a conspiracy for the takeover of Iran by local Jewish and Bahá'í communities was based on the Protocols.
On the other hand, Iranian author Abdollah Shahbazi, known for his historical reports of several important events of Iran's history, has denied the authenticity of the Protocols officially on his website and has referred to several international investigations as the basis of his claim.
Saudi Arabian schoolbooks contain explicit summaries of the Protocols as factual:
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: These are secret resolutions, most probably of the aforementioned Basel congress. They were discovered in the nineteenth century. The Jews tried to deny them, but there was ample evidence proving their authenticity and that they were issued by the elders of Zion. The Protocols can be summarized in the following points:
- Upsetting the foundations of the world's present society and its systems, in order to enable Zionism to have a monopoly of world government.
- Eliminating nationalities and religions, especially the Christian nations.
- Striving to increase corruption among the present regimes in Europe, as Zionism believes in their corruption and [eventual] collapse.
- Controlling the media of publication, propaganda and the press, using gold for stirring up disturbances, seducing people by means of lust and spreading wantonness.
The cogent proof of the authenticity of these resolutions, as well as of the hellish Jewish schemes included therein, is the [actual] carrying out of many of those schemes, intrigues and conspiracies that are found in them. Anyone who reads them—and they were published in the nineteenth century—grasps today to what extent much of what is found there has been realized.
According to Freedom House 2006 report, Saudi "textbook for boys for Tenth Grade on Hadith and Islamic Culture contains a lesson on the "Zionist Movement." It is a curious blend of wild conspiracy theories about Masonic Lodges, Rotary Clubs, and Lions Clubs with antisemitic invective. It asserts that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is an authentic document and teaches students that it reveals what Jews really believe. It blames many of the world's wars and discord on the Jews."
Lebanon and Hezbollah
In March 1970, the Protocols were reported to be the top 'nonfiction' bestseller in Lebanon. The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2004 by the US Department of State states that "the television series, Ash-Shatat ("The Diaspora"), which centred on the alleged conspiracy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to dominate the world, was aired in October and November 2003 by the Lebanon-based satellite television network Al-Manar, owned by Hezbollah."
The Charter of Hamas explicitly refers to the Protocols, accepting them as factual and makes several references to Freemasons as one of the "secret societies" controlled by "Zionists". The Article 32 of the Hamas Charter states:
- The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.
Palestinian National Authority
The PNA frequently used the Protocols in the media and education under their control and some Palestinian academics presented the forgery as a plot upon which Zionism is based. For example, on January 25, 2001, the official PNA daily Al-Hayat al-Jadida cited the Protocols on its Political National Education page to explain Israel's policies:
Disinformation has been one of the bases of moral and psychological manipulation among the Israelis ... The Protocols of the Elders of Zion did not ignore the importance of using propaganda to promote the Zionist goals. The second protocol reads: "Through the newspapers we will have the means to propel and to influence". In the twelfth protocol: "Our governments will hold the reins of most of the newspapers, and through this plan we will possess the primary power to turn to public opinion."
Later that year the same newspaper wrote: "The purpose of the military policy is to impose this situation on the residents and force them to leave their homes, and this is done in the framework of the Protocols of Zion..."
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Ekrima Sa'id Sabri appeared on the Saudi satellite channel Al-Majd on February 20, 2005, commenting on the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. "Anyone who studies The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and specifically the Talmud," he said, "will discover that one of the goals of these Protocols is to cause confusion in the world and to undermine security throughout the world."
In 2005, it was reported that the Palestinian Authority was referring to the Protocols in a textbook for 10th grade students. After media exposure, the PA issued a revised edition of the textbook that does not include references to the Protocols.
In August 2012, the Conference of European Rabbis appealed to Apple Inc to stop selling an Arabic-language version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion which was being sold via iTunes. Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt explained that to "disseminate such hateful invective as a mobile app is dangerous and inexcusable." Yuli Edelstein, Israel's Minister of Public Information and Diaspora Affairs, supported the appeal, explaining that "they wouldn't allow pedophilia and pornography on their networks. They shouldn't allow xenophobia, anti-Semitism or racism."
The Protocols is published in Greece by several ultra-right-wing publishers such as Ouranos and Mpimpis. During the last decade, the book has received wide promotion by parliamentary right-wing extremists, most notably Kyriakos Velopoulos.
In October 2012, Ilias Kasidiaris, a member of the far-right ultranationalist party Golden Dawn, read a passage from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in parliament. The passage he read, Protocol 19, stated, "In order to destroy the prestige of heroism we shall send them for trial in the category of theft, murder and every kind of abominable and filthy crime." Greek Helsinki Monitor, a human rights organization, noted that there wasn't any reaction to Kasidiaris' reading, which makes "all parties held as accomplices." The Foreign Affairs Network of B'nai B'rith Europe described the reading as "a sign of moral corruption and degradation which must not be overlooked."
The Protocols have had a tumultuous history in the United States ever since influential people such as Henry Ford began publishing them under the title of The International Jew. The Protocols were republished as fact in 1991 in Milton William Cooper's conspiracy book Behold a Pale Horse, though Cooper himself holds the Illuminati and not the Jews at fault.
The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion , the final graphic novel by famed writer/artist Will Eisner, was about the history of the Protocols and the fact that they had been proven to be false numerous times.
The American retail chain Wal-Mart, was criticized for selling The Protocols of the Elders of Zion on its website with a description that suggested it might be genuine. It was withdrawn from sale in September 2004, as 'a business decision'. It was distributed in the United States by Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam.
In 2002, the Paterson, New Jersey-based Arabic language newspaper The Arab Voice published excerpts from the Protocols as true. The paper's editor and publisher Walid Rabah defended himself from criticism with the protestation that "some major writers in the Arab nation accept the truth of the book."
Soviet Union and post-Soviet states
The Soviet Union
In late July 1967, Moscow launched an unprecedented propaganda campaign against Zionism as a "world threat." Defeat was attributed not to tiny Israel alone, but to an "all-powerful international force" ... In its flagrant vulgarity, the new propaganda assault soon achieved Nazi-era characteristics. The Soviet public was saturated with racist canards. Extracts from Trofim Kichko's notorious 1963 volume, Judaism Without Embellishment, were extensively republished in the Soviet media. Yuri Ivanov's Beware: Zionism, a book essentially replicated The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, was given nationwide coverage.
A similar picture is drawn by Paul Johnson:
(the mass media) all over the Soviet Union portrayed the Zionists and Israeli leaders as engaged in a world-wide conspiracy along the lines of the old Protocols of Zion. It was, Sovietskaya Latvia wrote 5 August 1967, an 'international Cosa Nostra with a common centre, common programme and common funds'.
The Russian Federation
Despite stipulations against fomenting hatred based on ethnic or religious grounds (Article 282 of Russia Penal Code), the Protocols have enjoyed numerous reprints in the nationalist press after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In 2003, one century after the first publication of the Protocols, an article in the most popular Russian weekly Argumenty i Fakty referred to it as a "peculiar bible of Zionism" and showed a photo of the First Zionist Congress of 1897. The co-president of the National-Patriot Union of Russia Alexander Prokhanov wrote: "It does not matter whether the Protocols are a forgery or a factual conspiracy document." The article also contained refutation of the allegations by the president of the Russian Jewish congress Yevgeny Satanovsky.
As recently as 2005, the Protocols was "a frequent feature in Patriarchate churches". On January 27, 2006, members of the Public Chamber of Russia and human rights activists proposed to establish a list of extremist literature whose dissemination should be formally banned for uses other than scientific research.
During the presidency of Hugo Chávez, a popular radio presenter with Venezuela's Radio Nacional de Venezuela recommended that listeners read The Protocols in order to understand how Zionists have managed to become as wealthy and powerful as he claimed them to be.
The Protocols have been in circulation in Malaysia since 1983. Mahathir Mohamad distributed copies of The Protocols during his years in office as prime minister of the country. In 2006, Masterpiece Publications issued a version of the Protocols under the title World Conquest Through World Jewish Government (ISBN 983-3710-28-X). Copies of the book are held at the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia.
Other contemporary appearances
To a great degree, the text is still accepted as truthful in the Middle East, South America, and Asia, especially in Japan where variations on the Protocols have frequently made the bestseller lists.
In Turkey, The Protocols are particularly popular with ultra-nationalist and Islamist circles. The Protocols was first published in the magazine Millî İnkılâb (National Revolution) in 1934 and triggered the Thracian pogroms (Trakya Olayları) the same year. It ran through over 100 editions from 1943 to 2004 and remains a best-seller.
In Romania, The Protocols was published in the early 1990s by nationalist writers and neo-legionar groups as Protocoalele Înţelepţilor Sionului. It was widely read in urban areas and mentioned by the people who were disappointed by the new economic rules and inflation.
The New Zealand National Front sells copies published by their former national secretary, Kerry Bolton. Bolton also publishes (and the NZNF sells) a book titled The Protocols of Zion in Context that seeks to refute the idea that the Protocols are a forgery.
Idi Amin, the President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979, cited the book as evidence of a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, and as justification for his self-proclaimed plans to destroy Israel. He revealed this in an interview during the 1974 documentary Idi Amin Dada.
In Indonesia, a translation of the Protocols is available in Indonesian in a bundle with The International Jew. The books were translated and published in 2006 by the Hikmah division of the publisher Mizan. The front cover of The International Jew shows a quote by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "The big question is how can the American government support this despicable Zionist regime".
- "Islamic Antisemitism in Historical Perspective" (PDF). (276 KB) at Anti-Defamation League
- "Exporting Arabic anti-Semitic publications issued in the Middle East to Britain". Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. Center for Special Studies. 10 October 2005. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
On September 14, 2005, two anti-Semitic books (The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf, published in Egypt and Lebanon) were purchased at two different bookstores in central London, both located in areas with large Arabic-Muslim populations. In our assessment anti-Semitic books in Arabic are sold in other London bookstores, as are radical Islamic publications.
- Lewis, Bernard (1986). Semites and Anti-Semites: An Inquiry into Conflict and Prejudice (First ed.). W. W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0-393-02314-1.
- The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Syrian best-seller at ITC CSS. April 20, 2005
- UNISPAL. Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and All Forms of Discrimination. Question of Violation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Any Part of the World. Written statement submitted by the Association for World Education. 10 February 2004
- A new 2005 Syrian edition of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion at ITC CSS. February 28, 2005
- Syria unveils updated antisemitic work. Damascus releases updated 'Protocols' book filled with canards about 'treacherous' Zionists by Aaron Klein at WorldNetDaily. March 9, 2005
- 2003's Ash-Shatat, though produced in Syria by a private Syrian film company with Syrian government co-operation, was not shown in Syria.
- Plot summary at the Anti-Defamation League
- Egypt: U.S. Concerns Regarding Proposed Antisemitic Mini-Series Office of the Spokesman at the U.S. State Department
- Protocols, politics and Palestine at al-Ahram Weekly
- Jewish Holy Books On Display at the Alexandria Library: The Torah & the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' December 3, 2003
- First Statement: Necessary Explanation at ziedan.com. (March 11, 2006)
- Public Statement by the Director of the Library of Alexandria
- Iranian TV Series Based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the Jewish Control of Hollywood. MEMRI. April 30, 2004
- "The Booksellers of Tehran", The Wall Street Journal, October 28, 2005
- "The Secret of Armageddon" on memri
- His article about Protocols on the 'Official Site of Abdollah Shahbazi'
- CMIP report: The Jews in World History according to the Saudi textbooks. The Danger of World Jewry, by Abdullah al-Tall, pp. 140–141 (Arabic). Hadith and Islamic Culture, Grade 10, (2001) pp. 103–104.
- "2006 Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-08-23. Report by Center for Religious Freedom of Freedom House. 2006
- Efraim Karsh, Rethinking the Middle East, Routledge, 2003. p. 101
- Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2004 Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the US State Department February 28, 2005
- The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) August 18, 1988 (The Avalon Project at Yale Law School.) Retrieved October 2005.
- "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" in official PA ideology, 2001–2002 a Bulletin by Itamar Marcus at Palestinian Media Watch. . Retrieved January 2006.
- The anti-Jewish lie that refuses to die by Steve Boggan, The Times, March 2, 2005
- Analysis and Evaluation of the New Palestinian Curriculum; Reviewing Palestinian Textbooks and Tolerance Education Program Grades 5 & 10 by Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) Submitted to: The Public Affairs Office US Consulate General Jerusalem, July 2006
- PNA Minister of Information removes the Protocols from their website New York Times, 2005-05-19
- Satter, Raphael (August 14, 2012). "'Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion' App Stirs Controversy Among European Rabbis". Associated Press. The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- "'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' read aloud in Greek parliament". The Times of Israel. October 26, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- Emanuel Baroz (9 May 2010). "Torino: editore condannato per la pubblicazione dei Protocolli dei Savi Anziani di Sion". Focus on Israel. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- Walmart description (excerpt): "If, however, The Protocols are genuine (which can never be proven conclusively), it might cause some of us to keep a wary eye on world affairs." Walmart rolls back Ant-Semitic book at the Southern Poverty Law Center website
- Arthur Hertzberg, Jews: The Essence and Character of a People Harper Collins, 1999. p 34.
- The Paterson 'Protocols' by Daniel Pipes. New York Post. November 5, 2002
- A documentary film, Protocols of Zion (2005), connects the Protocols to a resurgence of antisemitism following the September 11 World Trade Center attacks.
- "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion", Texe Marrs
- Howard Sachar, A History of the Jews in the Modern World (Knopf, NY. 2005) p.722
- Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (1987) p.575–576
- "Protocols of contention". Archived from the original on 2005-11-05., Argumenty i Fakty, September 10, 2003
- "Eye on Eurasia: Believing the Protocols". By Paul Goble UPI, April 13, 2005
- Antisemitism in the Post-Soviet States by Betsy Gidwitz. (JCPA) (April 2003)
- "Venezuelan Jews protest broadcast of 'Protocols'". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Caracas. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
In a formal complaint filed this week with the Public Ministry, the Venezuelan Confederation of Israelite Associations denounced the broadcast in which journalist Cristina Gonzalez read the infamous text and suggested that listeners also should read it.
- "Venezuelan Jews protest promotion of 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' on state radio". World Jewish Congress. 27 May 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
In April, in her program 'La noticia final', the 'Radio Nacional de Venezuela' presenter Cristina González highly recommended her listeners to read the anti-Semitic text.
- Yegar, Moshe (Fall 2006). "Malaysia: Anti-Semitism without Jews". Jewish Political Studies Review. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. 18 (3-4). Retrieved 6 March 2012.
- Bond, Christopher S.; Simons, Lewis S. (2009). "Part Three: One Step Back: Malaysia". The Next Front: Southeast Asia and the Road to Global Peace with Islam. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-470-50390-4. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
- Library of the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
- Antisemitism Worldwide 1995–6 (Project for the Study of Antisemitism, Tel Aviv University), pp. 265–6.
For more information on the popularity of the Protocols in Japan, see:
- First Things Review of "Jews and the Japanese Mind"
- "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Aum, and Antisemitism in Japan" (PDF). (336 KB) by David G. Goodman at HUJI
- Article Fugu Plan.
- Kavgam ve Siyon Protokolleri, Ayşe Hür, Radikal 2, 13.03.2005
For more information on popularity of antisemitic literature in Turkey, see:
- Confronting Reality: Antisemitism in Australia Today by Jeremy Jones. Fall 2004
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