A Knight Without a Horse

“Protocols” Dramatized For Arab TV

Given the dramatic potential of the Jewish conspiracy as described in the Protocols, it was only a matter of time before such a promising plot was taken up by television.

On November 6, 2002 (the first night of Ramadan), some Arab television channels (including Egyptian State Television) aired the first episode of a 41-part series called A Knight Without a Horse. Significant elements of the plot of the series are based on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It should be noted that the nights of Ramadan are considered the peak of prime time viewing in Arab and Muslim countries.

In fact, the series was slated to be shown on Ramadan of the previous year, but the broadcast was postponed due to production delays. In anticipation of the broadcast, the Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Yousuf published a story on the series together with an interview with its director and leading actor, Muhammad Subhi.[24] In the interview, Subhi stated that one of his sources of inspiration for making the series was ‘Abbas al-‘Aqqad’s aforementioned book on world Zionism, and the latter’s explanation that by comparing historical events with the plan outlined in the Protocols, one can see for oneself what elements of the Protocols have already been implemented and what further developments should be anticipated.

In this scene from A Knight Without a Horse, the hero explains to his friends the danger of the Zionist conspiracy: “… The serpent is the Zionist symbol, and its progress is drawn on the map, step by step. The first step was in Europe in 429 BCE, in Greece, in the days of Pericles…” (Al-Manar TV)

The series sparked protests in the West, with the U.S. State Department calling on the Egyptian government to prevent the broadcast – a demand that was rejected out of hand by Egyptian Information Minister Safwat al-Sharif. The series was viewed and approved for broadcast by a committee appointed by the Egyptian censor. An Egyptian Radio and Television Association committee declared the series “a landmark in the history of Arab drama.” The Egyptian Information Minister stated that “the dramatic views expressed by the series contain nothing that can be considered anti-Semitic.”[25] Nevertheless, under the pressure of criticism from abroad, the producers were obliged to change the wording of the opening introduction, prefaced to each of the episodes. The original introduction included the following statement: “Some of the events [of the series] are real and some are imaginary, some have already occurred and some are expected to occur.” The revised, more circumspect, version stated: “The series is not intended to confirm the veracity of what is known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which has not been historically authenticated.”[26]

A Knight Without a Horse aroused much debate in the Egyptian and Arab press. Most of the Egyptian and Arab press praised the series and vilified the Americans and Jews for their supposedly impudent request that it not be aired. There were nonetheless some voices in the Arab press that criticized the series and blamed its producer for having based it on a known forgery.[27] Among the Arab writers who publicly denounced the Protocols as forgeries are Syrian philosopher Dr. Sadeq Jalal al-‘Azm, President Mubarak’s advisor Usama al-Baz,[28] and Dr. Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri, an Egyptian authority on Jewish history and author of an Arabic-language encyclopedia of Judaism.[29]

Yet the overall tone in the Arab media was that the Zionist world conspiracy constituted a real threat. A typical example of this was an Al-Jazeera interview program dedicated to the topic of the Protocols that was aired on March 19, 2002. The program, “The Opposite Direction” (al-ittijah al-mu’akis) is widely viewed and its moderator, Dr. Faisal Al-Qasim, is a media celebrity throughout the Arab world. Two guests were invited: Mauritanian journalist Muhammad Jamil ibn Mansur, who argues that the authenticity of the Protocols as a document is a moot question while the substance of the Protocols has been confirmed by history, and the Iraqi Kurdish journalist Kameran Qurra Daghi,[30] who contends that the Protocols is an anti-Semitic fabrication that is irrelevant to the problems of the Arabs today and that taking it seriously is “an insult to Arab intelligence.” The moderator, in his introduction, however, not only presents the view that the Protocols truly document a Jewish scheme as a legitimate one, but even raises the possibility that it is the Jews themselves who disseminate the Protocols in order to strike fear in the hearts of their enemies.

Following is the moderator’s introduction:

…Have the Arabs read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion? Have they understood it? What have they done about it? And this at a time that it is being implemented night and day before their very eyes. That is what some people are asking, and for the benefit of those who do not know much about the Protocols, here is [a brief introduction]:

It is a book that contains 24 protocols authored by a group of Zionists more than 100 years ago in which they laid out their plans to achieve domination over Palestine and the Arabs, and afterwards over the rest of the world.

The Protocols have not ceased to stir controversy to this day. There are those who claim that they were concocted by the Russian secret police and have nothing to do with the Jews, and there are those who assert that it is an evil Jewish scheme based on Jewish doctrines that are found in the Jewish holy books. Those who hold this position believe that the Protocols are in essence the intellectual and theoretical assumptions, indeed the very constitution, of the Zionist enterprise, and that what is going on in the world now, on the political, economic, media, and cultural levels, is in fact a literal implementation of the Protocols. And, in fact, the Jews have taken control, as they promised more than a century ago. They have taken hold of the economy, finance, and the media in the world.

Likewise, they are the first to have glorified terrorism, a terrorism which is now being practiced in Palestine and in other countries in the world. Terrorism, as some people believe, was invented, produced, and marketed by them. According to their opinion, the political terrorist is a martyr, as becomes clear from Protocol 19.

Those who cast doubt on [the authenticity] of the Protocols see them as a mere attempt by the enemies of the Jews to damage them and to smear them, and on this basis, to persecute them, as occurred in Russia and Germany.

Still others believe that the circulation of the Protocols is a service that has been given free to the Zionists, as it exaggerates Zionism’s capabilities and its greatness. Would it be wrong to assume that the Jews themselves are behind the circulation of these false conceptions, which turn their rivals into prisoners of the big delusion that the Jews are a secret power that cannot be defeated and a frightening octopus that reaches into every country?

Still others maintain that if Zionism is really at the helm of political, economic, and media affairs in the West, then that is to their credit, since the West is on top – technologically, economically, and as in terms of the media.

These are questions that I throw out into the air, directly to [journalist] Mr. Kameran Qurra Daghi and to Muhammad Jamil ibn Mansur, one of the leaders of the Democratic Powers Bloc in Mauritania, a writer and an anti-Zionist activist, president of the Committee of the National Union For Resisting Zionist Penetration.”[31]

One year after the airing of Knight Without a Horse, another, even more virulent series, was aired in Ramadan 2003 during prime time. The 29-part Syrian-produced series Al-Shatat (“The Diaspora”), purported to show Jewish life in the Diaspora and the emergence of Zionism, and was broadcast by Hizbullah’s Al-Manar satellite station. It included gruesome scenes such as a Jew’s ritual murder of a Christian boy and the ritual execution by Jews of a Jew who married a gentile. The series also shows how Amschel Rothschild, the founder of the supposed secret world Jewish government, instructed his sons from his deathbed to ignite wars and corrupt society all over the world to serve the financial interests and the political goals of the Jews.

It is interesting to note that the producers of Al-Shatat, conscious of the previous year’s outcry against Knight Without A Horse, took pains to screen a disclaimer at the beginning of each episode stating that the series was not based on the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion but on historical facts and research, including writings by Jews and Israelis. Nevertheless, not only did the plot of the series focus on a secret Jewish global government as described in the Protocols, but Episode 22 actually did deal with it. In this episode, the “global Jewish government” convenes to celebrate the deaths of 1,000,000 in WWII, and their leader explains why killing Europe’s Jews served the goals of their secret government:

The higher the number of Jews killed in this war, the more we will be able to convince the world that the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ is nothing more than a lie invented by the Christian world to increase people’s hatred for the Jews. After public opinion is persuaded that this book is nothing more than a lie, we will launch a secret and quiet offensive to prove the truth of this book, until the world again fears us deep inside, and will be defeated by us without a war. Now, let’s toast to this Great War.

The Syrian government denied reports that Syrian state television had been involved in producing the series. However, the credits at the end of each episode show that the Syrian government itself assisted in the production.[32]  Al-Shatat was not to be a show for one season or one channel only. For Ramadan 2005, the Jordanian TV channel Al-Mamnou’ aired the Syrian-produced series. It was also aired by two Iranian channels during Ramadan 2004.[33] Again, on the occasion of Ramadan 2009, Iran’s Channel 2 began airing the series, with Farsi dubbing.[34]

As one might expect, given the large media fallout from these television programs, the circulation of the Protocols has become more widespread. In addition, the Internet has been playing an important role in disseminating the Protocols, and it may today be found on hundreds of websites. The following is just one example of this phenomenon.

The Arab nationalist website Arabrenewal.com published in January 2003 (that is, a few months after the airing of the Egyptian series A Knight Without a Horse) the full text of the Protocols in Nuweyhid’s translation. It was prefaced with a disclaimer of sorts:

The [Arab] Renewal family would like to make it clear that the fact that we are publishing this document does not signify a confirmation of its authenticity. However, in view of the commotion aroused by the television series A Knight without a Horse and in view of the connection between the American and Zionist campaign against this series and the references to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion that are in it, and since we firmly believe in the public’s right to know, and since this document, regardless of whether it is authentic or forged, has entered history and aroused a big controversy, we deem it important to publish it here.

A few days later one of the readers wrote to the site, and after congratulating the site on the great service they were doing in publishing the Protocols, he said:

I have noticed your disclaimer about the authenticity of the Protocols… You are of course fully entitled to publish such a disclaimer. I am however concerned about a serious complex which plagues us Arabs… namely that we accept the American media as truthful and we disbelieve anyone who tries to expose its lies and fabrications. … I do not need to go far [for an example]; the Protocols themselves contain the proof of their authenticity. Even if we assume that they were fabricated, what is going on in the world is identical with what is described in the Protocols.[35]


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