Descendants of Mendel Beilis have long argued that in writing The Fixer, Malamud plagiarized from the 1926 English edition of Beilis's memoir, The Story of My Sufferings. One of Beilis's sons made such claims in correspondence to Malamud when The Fixer was first published. A 2011 edition of Beilis's memoir, co-edited by one of his grandsons, claims to identify 35 instances of plagiarism by Malamud.
Responding to the allegations of plagiarism made by Beilis's descendants, Malamud's biographer Philip Davis acknowledged "some close verbal parallels" between Beilis's memoir and Malamud's novel. Davis argued, however, "When it mattered most, [Malamud's] sentences offered a different dimension and a deeper emotion."
Jewish Studies scholar Michael Tritt has characterized the relationship between Malamud's The Fixer and Beilis's The Story of My Sufferings as one of "indebtedness and innovation".