I’ve repeatedly heard that the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a forgery.  But it was only in reading Will Eisner‘s The Plot that I came to understand the kind of forgery it is.   Protocols was proven to be a forgery by showing that it was plagiarized from a book written decades earlier to impugn not the Jews, but French Emperor Napoleon III.  Eisner puts many passages from the two books side by side so you can see the plagiarism for yourself.

Eisner dwells on the Protocols‘ zombie-like ability to survive despite repeated conclusive disproof.  To me, of course, that’s not surprising at all.  Countless religious and political texts remain sacred to true believers despite conclusive proof of their historical inaccuracies.  What really makes Protocols‘ sales record surprising is its leaden, academic writing.  Apparently Protocols is to anti-Semitism what Hawking’s A Brief History of Time is to popular science: Bought by millions but actually read only by a tiny minority of the buyers.