||A volume by Binyomin W. Segel on the history of the famous anti-Semitic tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Segel's work has been translated and reissued by Richard S. Levy, with the title: A Lie and a Libel: The History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is an antisemitic literary forgery that purports to describe a Jewish plot to achieve world domination.Numerous independent investigations have repeatedly proven it to be a plagiarism and a hoax. Most scholars believe it was fabricated in the early 1900s as part of a plan by the Okhrana, the secret police of the Russian Empire. Among the most notable early refutations of the Protocols as a forgery were a series of articles printed in The Times of London in 1921. This series revealed that much of the material in the Protocols was plagiarized from earlier political satire that did not have an antisemitic theme. Since 1903, when the Protocols appeared in print, its earliest publishers have offered vague and often contradictory testimony detailing how they obtained their copy of the rumored original manuscript.
The Protocols are widely considered to be the beginning of contemporary conspiracy theory literature, and take the form of an instruction manual to a new member of the "elders," describing how they will run the world through control of the media and finance, and replace the traditional social order with one based on mass manipulation.
The work was popularized by those opposed to Russian revolutionary movement, and was disseminated further after the Revolution of 1905, becoming known worldwide after the 1917 October Revolution. It was widely circulated in the West in 1920 and thereafter. The Great Depression and the rise of Nazism were important developments in the history of the Protocols, and the hoax continued to be published and circulated despite its debunking.
Continued usage of the Protocols as an antisemitic propaganda tool substantially diminished with the defeat of the Nazis in World War II. It is still frequently quoted and reprinted by antisemites, and is sometimes used as evidence of an alleged Jewish cabal, especially in the Middle East.