Update: The FBI account has since deleted the tweet.
(JTA) — An official FBI Twitter account drew criticism for tweeting a link to a 139-page selection of the bureau’s files on “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the infamously anti-Semitic early 20th century text that accuses Jews of world domination.
The FBI Records Vault sent the tweet on Wednesday afternoon without context, and some Twitter users took it as a promotion of the message in the “Protocols.” However, the Twitter account regularly tweets declassified archival FBI documents.
“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. We regret that this release may have inadvertently caused distress among the communities we serve,” the FBI said in an email, referencing the Freedom of Information Act. “The FBI often receives information from members of the public, which is captured in our permanent files and released under FOIA law. The FBI must process historical files that were collected in the past some of which may be considered offensive.”
The bureau added that “Per the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC § 552, the FBI makes records requested by three or more requesters available to the public by posting on the ‘Vault.'”
The files in the link include different copies of the “Protocols” text, which claims it is “Proof that Communism is a Jewish world plot to enslave the gentiles and to seize power during the resulting chaos,” as well as letters to former FBI head J. Edgar Hoover about it.
There is also a 1964 report by the Senate Judiciary Committee calling the text “fabricated” and “crude and vicious nonsense.”
The tweet spurred thousands of responses: Some Twitter users cheered it, while others condemned it.
Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish advocacy group, wrote on Twitter: “The @FBI is tweeting out the most famous, fabricated antisemitic text with absolutely zero context. This is the same anti-Jewish lie that inspired Hitler and the Nazi regime. Now it’s coming directly from a white nationalist administration.”
Others echoed the concern: