Dave's Rating:

4.5

… fascinating …

Who's in It: Marc Levin and a lot of crazy anti-Semites

The Basics: Documentary filmmaker Levin goes on a modern fact-finding mission about the origins and consequences of the publication of the anti-Jewish tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

What's the Deal? In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, a weird story began to emerge among conspiracy-lovers. It went like this: No Jews were killed on 9/11 because they all got the secret memo to stay home that day. Meaning that 9/11 was part of a Jewish plot to control the world. The story got crazier, assigning an actual number of 4,000 people to the allegedly spared. Of course, all types of people died that day, plenty of them Jewish. Levin spends this fascinating movie chasing down the strange lie.

The Protocols of What? It's an anti-Semitic booklet published around 1905 and assumed to have been fabricated somewhere in Russia around the time of anti-Jewish pogroms. It has endured thanks to never-ending religious intolerance and Middle East conflict.

Crazy People and Their "Facts": Did you know that Rudy Giuliani is not Italian but Jewish, because the first syllable of his last name sounds like "Jew"? Did you know that 33 cents from every Pepsi you buy goes to Israel? No? Well then you aren't spending enough time hanging out on New York City streets listening to windbag nut-jobs the way Levin does here.

Weirdest Interview: The hip-hop Arab kids from Brooklyn who spout conspiracy theories about the Masons. That's the best one. And the Orthodox Jewish drag queen with the 5 o'clock shadow that Levin comes across at a Passover Seder is so fascinating that she deserves her own documentary.

Most Bizarre Found Footage: A loony, incendiary video miniseries called The Diaspora, which dramatizes the Protocols and from which clips are shown, including the one about murdering Christian children and using their blood to make matzo.

Cast-Iron Pair: While Levin doesn't say anything new here about religious bigotry, he's to be commended for his neutrality about Israeli-Palestinian issues and for going into scary territory, most notably a rally in support of a radical Muslim and to a white-power compound.

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