The library’s director Ismail Siraj al-Din said on Saturday there was an error in displaying The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The book, which was the text’s first Arabic translation, completed in 1951, had been put on display “several days or several weeks ago” in the manuscripts museum, which is part of the new library in Egypt’s second city, said Siraj al-Din.

It was withdrawn from the museum after articles appeared in the Egyptian and Israeli press. The document was displayed “as a curiosity”, Siraj al-Din said.

“The book was never displayed alongside the Jewish Torah nor has it ever been stated that it is a holy book or the basis for a Jewish constitution,” he said.

The library director said the book’s display showed “insensitivity”, adding the book was a forgery “to ferment anti-Jewish feelings”.

The book, which dates to the beginning of the 20th century, tells of an alleged plot of Jews to take over the world and has been dismissed as a forgery.

The library, destined to be a new beacon of learning and a cultural bridge, succeeding the ancient library which disappeared nearly 16 centuries ago, was inaugurated in October 2002.

It is the second time in little more than a year the book has provoked outcries in Egypt.

In November 2002, a television series Knight Without a Horse, parts of which were inspired by the controversial tract, was met by US and Israeli protests when broadcast on Egyptian national television.