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It is instructive because it demonstrates yet again that, given the necessary mind frame, people can be induced to believe what has been formally refuted, which can then be used to justify the most unspeakable atrocities.
| ||Message from the Director-General of UNESCO to the participants in the Seminar on “The Centenary of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion: A Paradigm for Contemporary Hate” (Venice, 7-8 December 2002)|
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07-12-2003 - It is a bitter lesson of history that still today, one hundred years after it was created by the Russian Czarist secret police and despite its being exposed over and over again as a forgery, the document known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion continues to exercise its terrible power as an instrument of anti-Semitism.
For this reason, I commend the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s affiliate ARARE and the Italian Historical Studies Centre Olokaustus for convening a seminar around this document which offers a paradigm for conspiracy theories. I welcome your efforts to grapple with this founding text of modern anti-Semitism and to examine its role as a vector of hatred against Jews throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first.
All forms of racism are anathema to UNESCO and require the Organization to denounce them as such. UNESCO therefore hails this initiative, both as a means of once again discrediting and delegitimizing the Protocols and as an exposure of the frightening potential of disinformation in the service of discrimination, oppression, slaughter and genocide.
It is my hope that, following your deliberations, you will formulate recommendations on concrete measures to combat the literature of hate, whatever group or community may be its target, and taking into account the principle of freedom of expression.
You may be sure that UNESCO will do all it can to support and promote such measures, in partnership as appropriate with the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, in the name of the democratic principles enshrined in its Constitution of the dignity, equality and mutual respect of all human beings.
I wish you every success in your deliberations.