The FBI has been slammed over a ‘reckless’ tweet where it shared a link to the anti-Semitic hoax text ‘The Protocols of Learned Elders of Zion’ that inspired Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’.
The FBI Records Vault, the bureau’s Freedom of Information Act Library consisting of thousands of files and records, tweeted a link to a 139-page selection of files on ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ Wednesday afternoon.
The tweet provided no context or information other than the title of the notorious text, leading many outraged social media users to accuse the bureau of condoning and even promoting the text’s anti-Semitic messaging.
The Auschwitz Memorial, which preserves the site of the Nazi concentration camp where millions of Jewish people died in the Holocaust, blasted the FBI for sharing the files without any ‘context’.
‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ was a hoax text that claimed to prove Jews were planning world domination.
It was first published in Russia in 1903 before being translated into multiple languages and shared worldwide.
Despite being proven as a hoax in 1921, it was widely circulated by automaker and anti-Semite Henry Ford through the 1920s, was used in Nazi propaganda to justify the persecution of Jews and continues to be held up as genuine by neofascist groups despite being proven to be a hoax.
The FBI tweeted a link to a file that includes the text along with records denouncing it as a ‘fabricated “historic” document.’
However, with the tweet being sent without context or a disclaimer, social media users voiced concerns the bureau appeared to be promoting the ‘Protocols.’
The Auschwitz Memorial Twitter account blasted the FBI tweet saying it proved the necessity of providing context alongside offensive historical documents.
‘Context REALLY matters. FBI Records Vault tweets out files it is releasing by including the subject. Without context,’ they wrote.
The tweet pointed out that the FBI files detail the fraudulent and anti-Semitic nature of the text but that this message was lost in the FBI’s tweet.
‘Judging by the responses, it did not go well this time. Quite the contrary. The context of the horrible antisemitic hoax is there. Hidden deep inside the PDF,’ the Auschwitz Memorial wrote.
Several other social media users slammed the bureau over its actions.
‘What in the holy Hell is happening?’ one outraged person tweeted.
‘Has Henry Ford taken over the #FBI twitter account?’ another asked, referring to the carmaker who funded the printing of 500,000 copies of the book.
Another branded the bureau’s actions ‘reckless’ for ‘seemingly validating’ the book’s anti-Semitic messaging.
‘What were you thinking? Seriously? Seemingly validating anti-semites world wide was beyond reckless,’ they tweeted.
Another wrote: ‘So the FBI is distributing the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion without mentioning that it’s an antisemitic paranoid conspiracy-theory hoax.
‘That’s fun. FBI account tweets out Protocols of Learned Elders of Zion without context.’
Several people warned of the dangers of fueling hate at a time of deep divides across America.
‘Unbelievable. At a time when antisemitic attacks are going up. With friends like these…,’ one person tweeted.
Another wrote: ‘A government account shared the most anti-Semitic document in history.
‘This is unconscionable, but sadly consistent with Trump’s penchant for promoting white supremacy & anti-Semitism. Nothing less than the soul of our nation is on the line.’
The FBI post had retweeted more than 12,000 times by Wednesday evening.
The FBI later expressed ‘regret’ for the ‘distress’ caused by its tweet and said the social media post was the automatic work of a bot.
Records requested under the FOIA are posted on the Vault and then an automated system promotes their release on Twitter.
‘Earlier today FOIA materials were posted to the FBI’s Vault and FOIA Twitter account via an automated process without further outlining the context of the documents,’ the bureau told DailyMail.com in a statement.
‘We regret that this release may have inadvertently caused distress among the communities we serve.’