May 20, 2010 Special Dispatch No. 2966

Egyptian Professor of Hebrew Literature Ibrahim Farid Denounces Endorsement of Antisemitic Myths by Arab Media and Institutions

May 20, 2010
Special Dispatch No. 2966

In a recent interview, Dr. Ibrahim Farid, professor of Hebrew literature at Ein Shams University in Cairo, rejected The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a blood libel and myth stemming from a conspiracy against the Jewish people. "These are rumors that belong to the realm of folklore. We cannot take them seriously and treat them as historical fact," Farid said.

In the interview, which aired on the Egyptian Al-Faraeen TV channel on April 9, 2010, Farid said that the Bibliotheca Alexandrina should not have bought demagogic, inciting books like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, comparing the situation to the Library of Congress having a book that incites to hatred of Islam.

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina removed its copy of The Protocols in 2003, following criticism from the U.S. State Department, the United Nations, and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, initiated by MEMRI's exposure of the display of the book as an authentic document.[1]

To view excerpts of the interview on MEMRI TV, visit

Any Correspondence between The Protocols and Reality Is an Historical Coincidence

Dr. Ibrahim Farid: "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion does not include any Talmudic texts. If whoever wrote The Protocols was really Jewish, he would have relied on..."

Interviewer: "So The Protocols of the Elders of Zion has nothing to do with the Talmud."

Dr. Ibrahim Farid: "There is absolutely no mention of any Talmudic text in it. Perhaps whoever wrote The Protocols..."

Interviewer: "The connection is contextual, in light of what has happened."

Dr. Ibrahim Farid: "The Protocols corresponds to things written in some parts of the Talmud, and in general, it corresponds to what the Old Testament calls for."

Interviewer: "So we can say that the ideas presented in The Protocols are identical to the ideas presented in the Talmud?"

Dr. Ibrahim Farid: "That is a very volatile and explosive statement. This question could be classified as incitement. You give the answer even before you ask the question.

"In my opinion, any correspondence between The Protocols and the reality – the Israeli violence or the rift that we are witnessing among the Palestinians – is a type of historical coincidence, but we cannot say that this is an implementation of The Protocols, because this would constitute demagoguery. We would be saying what the uneducated people want to hear – people who have no knowledge of what happened at that time, when there was a kind of conspiracy against the Jews."

Interviewer: "We are trying to get to the truth, one way or another, through dialogue, because Al-Faraeen TV is a liberal channel, which accepts all views, ranging from the far right to the far left. Ultimately, the important thing is to get to the crux of the matter. We don't have any ulterior motive." [...]

The Claim that the Jews Used to Poison Wells and Slaughter Gentiles "Are Rumors that Belong to the Realm of Folklore"

Interviewer: "It is said that [the Jews] had done some inappropriate things, which made people hate them..."

Dr. Ibrahim Farid: "This is tantamount to saying that the Jews were all bad and the others were all good. Saying this..."

Interviewer: "This was mentioned in The Protocols."

Dr. Ibrahim Farid: "The Jews were accused of this in The Protocols, but this is wrong. The claim that the Jews used to poison wells and slaughter the Gentiles – the blood libel, which claimed that they would slaughter Gentiles for Passover – all these rumors..."

Interviewer: "So you view these as rumors..."

Dr. Ibrahim Farid: "These are rumors that belong to the realm of folklore. We cannot take them seriously and treat them as historical fact. [...]

"The violence that the Palestinians use among themselves is worse than the violence used by Israel. What Hamas and the PA are doing to the Palestinian people is worse than what Israel is doing." [...]

"It's Wrong to Place a Book Inciting to Hatred of the Jews in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina"

Interviewer: "The Bibliotheca Alexandrina kept a copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and as you know, it was removed from the library following an official Israeli protest. Was the Bibliotheca Alexandrina right to keep this book in its library, or was this a mistake, which was later corrected?" [...]

Dr. Ibrahim Farid: "The Bibliotheca Alexandrina should not be buying such demagogic books, which incite to hatred. Imagine that a book that attacks Islam was placed in the Library of Congress, or in any other library. As a Muslim, I would raise an uproar, and say that there is a book that incited people to hatred of Muslims. This is wrong. Similarly, it's wrong to place a book inciting to hatred of the Jews in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina."


[1] For the report in MEMRI, posted on December 3, 2003, see: Jewish Holy Books On Display at the Alexandria Library: The Torah & the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion'. On the aftermath of the exposure, posted by MEMRI on March 2, 2004, see:

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