On Blood Libels – Anthony Julius – Engage Journal – Issue 3 – September 2006

Issue 3 – September 2006
On Blood Libels – Anthony Julius

All versions of anti-Semitism libel Jews. These libels may be grouped under three headings: the blood libel, the conspiracy libel, and the economic libel. The blood libel supposes that Jews entertain homicidal intentions towards non-Jews, and that Jewish law underwrites these intentions; the conspiracy libel supposes that Jews act as one, in pursuit of goals inimical to the interests of non-Jews; the economic libel supposes that Jews, who are self-interested, acquisitive and unproductive by nature, financially exploit non-Jews. The libels share the premise that Jews hate or despise non-Jews. Of the three libels, the blood libel is the master one. (1) The enmity towards non-Jews it supposes is of the deadliest kind; it is an aggravated version of the second libel; it is a routinely deployed metaphor of the third libel. (2) Further, it nests inside most of the versions of anti-Semitism identified in chapter 2. For example, protests about Jewish emancipation were an aspect of the blood libels of the mid- to late-19th century – the Jews must be kept separate, apart, away from us, it was urged, for if they are not, disaster will follow. (3) The blood libel has also played a major part, complex and contradictory (invented, adapted, repudiated, redeployed), in the history of English anti-Semitism.

The charge

The “blood libel” is the generic term for a number of related charges against Jews. These charges are all false – fantastical, pernicious nonsense. They are known collectively as the blood libel partly because they suppose that Jews wish to kill non-Jews (at first, Christians, now more usually Moslems), partly because some of them involve the claim that Jews require non-Jewish blood for ritual purposes, and partly because so much Jewish blood has been shed in consequence of them. They are libellous because they are damaging to the good name of the Jewish people. In the narrative of these libels, Jews are both fantasy perpetrators and real victims; the only “ritual murders” that take place are the judicial executions of falsely accused Jews. To those who believe the blood libel to be true, it is a matter of indifference that Jews are enjoined by their religion not to commit murder, not to consume blood (Leviticus3:17, 7:26, 17:10-14; Deuteronomy 12:15-16, 20-24), and to regard child sacrifice with horror (Leviticus 20:2-5; Kings 21:6; Jeremiah 7:31). Blood is not sacred to Jews. The prohibition in Jewish law against consuming blood is notan affirmation of its magical properties. Blood sustains life, of course. But the shedding of blood brings no benefit to the slaughterer; it does not give him access to the divine. The Jews were prohibited from consuming blood precisely to teach them these truths.

This prohibition amounts not to a sacralisation, but a desacralisation, of blood. It is a repudiation of the pagan illusion that power is to be secured in the violation of living energy. The sacrificial rituals prescribed by Jewish law, writes the scholar L.E. Goodman, are extreme only in the chastity of their symbolism, thereby reducing the frisson of violation to a minimum, taking it out of private hands, limiting its venue and occasions, and thus weaning Israel away from the notion of propitiation. (4) More broadly, Jewish law puts many obstacles in the way of Jews who might otherwise be inclined to adopt superstitions regarding the efficacy of blood – superstitions that were widespread in ancient and medieval times (blood was thought to cure leprosy and inflammations of the throat, menstrual blood was thought to alleviate gout, etc.). (5) The blood libel is not just an attack on Jews, it is an attack on Judaism. It does not just assert, “This is what Jews do.” It asserts, “This is what Judaism demands.” It proposes that Jews secretly embrace what they insist that their religion rejects. It thus makes of Jews liars as well as murderers. It turns Jewish self-understanding on its head. It makes the killing of children Judaism’s object, rather than the object of its most defining repudiation. The blood libel is anti-Semitism’s most radical break with reality.

The principal charge is that Jews kidnap and then kill non-Jewish children; the murder is usually preceded by abuse and torture. Jewish motives are said to be diverse. The Jews murder to repeat the Crucifixion; they murder because they cannot bear the victim’s innocence and purity; they murder because they are offended by his (or much less frequently, her) joyous, laudatory singing in celebration of the Christian faith; the child’s blood has medicinal or aphrodisiac properties; the blood is used to make unleavened bread for Passover, or in the preparation of a surrogate eucharist, (6) or to sprinkle in a synagogue; (7) the Jews will never obtain their freedom or return to the land of their fathers without the shedding of blood; (8) they need blood transfusions to fortify themselves following the experience of the Nazi death camps (a version of the libel that circulated in post-War Poland); (9) they offer up the child as a sacrifice in conformity with a practice that began with God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac; they seek to avenge their condition of subordination by acts of violence on Christians; (10) bloodguilt for Jesus’ death afflicts the Jews with a disease that can only be palliated by the use of Christian blood; (11) the coming of the Messiah will be hastened by the blood of sacrificed Gentile virgins. (12) According to the Catholic theologian, Johannes Eck (1486-1543), blood was indispensable to Jewish ritual. In addition, he claimed, blood was used to anoint rabbis, to cure eye ailments, to remove body odours, and to remove from Jewish babies the two tiny fingers stuck to their foreheads at birth. (13) The Jews are held to be masters of blood. (14) They are blood-thirsty; they are “blood-eaters.” (15) “The Jews slaughtered a Christian,” went an old German song, “for them it was a blameless deed.” (16) Jewish law is said to enjoin ritual murder or ritual cannibalism (the principal versions of the blood libel); the Jews are thus most law-fearing when they are most criminal. (17)

The blood libel meant that local Jews would be blamed if a corpse was found washed up on a riverbank, abandoned in a wood, or hidden on a Jew’s property, or if a child disappeared and was reported missing. This defamatory assumption assisted the authorities by indicating to them the most likely class of suspects. There rarely were witnesses. No one would report actually having seen the murder being committed, though it is a trope of the blood libel that humble Christians in Jewish service sometimes report strange or sinister happenings. (18) The Jewish suspects arbitrarily chosen were often tortured; confessions were extracted (any failure to confess could be attributed to Satan’s intervention); (19) “experts” would confirm the truth of the slanders. Occasionally, elements among the local populace would find themselves in conflict with sceptical representatives of the authorities. Many Jews died in consequence of these blood libels, some by judicial means, others at the hands of local mobs. In several instances, whole communities were expelled. In two cases, the deceased child was honoured by the Church (Blessed Andreas of Rinn, St. Simon of Trent). Sometimes the Jews were able to avert disaster – as in Moravia in about 1343, when a woman offered her child to some Jews for a price. She was asked to return the following morning, whereupon the authorities, notified by the Jews, were waiting to arrest her. (20)

Jews are supposed to be most active at Easter-time, while being opportunistically ready to kill throughout the rest of the year. It is Easter-time both because this commemorates the Passion and because it coincides with the Jewish festival of Passover. Blood binds the plagues – the first was the plague of blood, the tenth, the death of the firstborn males of Egypt. It was in the execution of this tenth plague that the Angel of Death passed over (“Passover”) the Jewish first-born children, killing only the Egyptian children. The Jews were ordered to slaughter lambs, and to make red signs on their doorposts with the lamb’s blood. The Jews thus celebrate their survival by the sacrifice of lambs, or the symbolic lamb’s bone on the Seder plate. Christians identified the Passover lamb with Christ. The blood libel supposes this sequence: The Jews consume the Passover lamb each year; the Jews killed Jesus, the Lamb of God; the Jews kill a Gentile child each year. Passover thus acquires the character of a national religious crime. (21)

Jews are also thought to be active during Purim, taken to be another favoured killing time. Purim is the festival that commemorates the events related in Esther; some of the early stories of Jewish murders of Christians relate them to ritual re-enactments of Haman’s execution. Esther was not much admired in the Christian tradition, and the commemorative Jewish festival of Purim, even less so. Luther commented that the Jews “love the book of Esther, which so well fits their bloodthirsty, vengeful, murderous greed and hope.” (22) Jewish high-spirits were always to be deprecated, while the hanging of effigies of Haman was frequently misunderstood (23) as a blasphemous parody of the Passion. The 5th century historian, Scholasticus Socrates relates an incident concerning some drunken Syrian Jews at Purim time. They put a Christian boy on a cross, he says, and then abused and killed him. (24) Purim attracted some of Christianity’s darkest fears about Jewish ill will.

Ritual murder was taken to be indicative of the depth of Jewish enmity towards Christians. “Throughout the centuries the Jews’ hatred of Christ and Christians was enormous,” wrote the 17th century Bollandists. “They cursed Christians daily and atrociously persecuted them, stealing Christian children in secret and cruelly killing them.” (25) Their fabled cruelty was held to be both innate and general in application; indeed, Jews were said on occasion to have killed even their own children. The narratives of Masada, of the First Crusade, (26) and of the York massacre, were all taken to confirm their readiness to make this intolerable sacrifice. During the violence of the Crusades, chroniclers were appalled to find that many Jewish mothers, in particular, would rather kill their children than have them (as the Jews saw it) scalded in the “seething waters” of baptism (27) or (as the Christians saw it) nourished by the Eucharist. (28) The killing of Jewish children by their fathers, upon discovery that the child has converted, or wishes to convert, was likewise an established story in sermon literature. (The miraculous rescue of one such child is depicted in the Lady Chapel in Winchester). (29) Why then, so the reasoning went, would Jews be troubled by any call on them to kill the children of Gentiles? (30) It is a short step from the killing of one’s own threatened-with-baptism or baptised child to the killing of any Christian child.
The blood libel is substantially derived from the following aspects of Christian exegesis, doctrine and ritual:

Typology In accordance with typological principles, various events in the Tanach were read as prefigurations, or anticipations, of the Passion. It fulfilled these anticipations in two senses. First, it made their meaning manifest; Jesus was as the reality is to the shadow. Second, it completed them, or made them perfect. The binding of Isaac, the sacrifice of animals in the Temple – both were interpreted by reference to these two senses. Christian anti-Semites added a third sense. The prefigurations were also taken to demonstrate a specifically Jewish culpability for Jesus’ sacrifice and death. And here, the story of Cain and Abel was the proof text. Cain is the rejected one, the killer of his brother, the man condemned to wander. Abel is the one embraced by God, Cain’s victim. Cain is the Jew; Abel is Jesus and the Church. “You reject the Jews like the hateful Cain,” wrote the cleric Peter the Venerable (c. 1092-1156), “and you do not light a fire on their offerings. But you do desire the hosts of the Christian people, just like the offerings of Abel.” (31) The Cain and Abel story was a favourite of the blood libellers. (32)

Deicide The blood libel is the deicide libel, subject to an endless repetition. It converts the singular event of the Passion into an open series of murders. Just as Jesus’ death is projected back into the Tanach, so it is projected forward into secular history. Just as Abel is Jesus, so too is every Christian child slaughtered by the Jews. The blood libel supposes a singular, lethal confrontation between Jew and Gentile. In the extreme poverty of its understanding, the whole of human history, both sacred and secular, is reduced to a set of variations upon one scene – the murderous Jew, knife in hand, facing the passive Gentile, blessed by God and pure.

Redemption It is Jesus’ blood that has renewed us. We are now “justified by [Christ’s] blood,” and so “we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9). “We have redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians1:14). “The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, [shall] purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14). “[You will be redeemed] with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 2:19). Jesus is both High Priest and sacrificial offering, atoning for the whole world by the shedding of his own blood. (33) He addressed the Jews, saying: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51). Christians, according to Hebrews, are both washed in the blood of the lamb and drink it. (34)

Eucharist The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215, proclaimed as dogma the doctrine of transubstantiation (or “Real Presence”), that is, the belief in the conversion in the Eucharist of the whole substance of the bread into the body and of the wine into the blood of Christ, only the appearances of bread and wine remaining. (35) The Eucharist, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, and the consecrated elements, especially the bread, is the “adoration of the flesh of Christ in the mysteries” (Ambrose), (36) the holy mystery of the Lord’s body. In the Middle Ages, the Eucharist was at the centre of Christian faith. Celebrants were addressed: “Behold and believe!” (37) It was the foremost sacrament. The entire salvation of the world was said to lie in this mystery. (38) Christ is immolated every time the sacrament is performed. It is thus not just a sacrament; it is also a sacrifice. It was a common medieval miracle for the bread of the Eucharist to be transformed in the priest’s hands into a small, living child, then slain and dismembered in front of the congregation. (39) Such miracles persuaded doubters, rebuked heretics, (40) rewarded the faithful, raised the dead and caused Jews to convert. They offered “proofs by blood” (41) and were a vindication of church doctrine. (42)

The Lateran Council represented the Church as a community of believers sharing Christ’s Eucharistic body; Jews were expressly excluded. (43) The Jews represented nothing more than a death-in-life, one without prospect of salvation. They were not “ministers of the new testament;” they were, and remain, of “the letter [that] killeth,” and not “the spirit [that] giveth life” (2 Cor. 3:6). They are mired in literalist readings and vicious rituals. Though they need blood, it does not redeem them. On the contrary. While the Christian’s consumption of Jesus’ blood guarantees him eternal life, the Jew’s desire for Christian blood drives him to extremes of hellish depravity. A Polish anti-Semite, writing in the 1930s, asserted that for Jews, “murdering and drinking the blood of their victims” is the same as Holy Mass and Communion for Catholics. (44) The blood libel supposes two practices, then, the ritual consumption of Jesus and the ritual murder of Christian children. The one is fundamental to Christian worship, the other, fundamental to Jewish criminality. This is the Jews’ historic, inherited guilt. What they did openly then, they do covertly now. If they were able to, they would crucify Jesus anew every day. (45) All Jews are implicated in these crimes. They plan them collectively; their crimes are committed in the name of Judaism. The Jews may be taken to declare in respect of their victims, may their blood be upon our heads.

Related libels that emerged in the 13th and 14th centuries, concerning the desecration of hosts and the poisoning of wells, were taken up with what a 19th century English author termed “an eager credulity.” (46) It was rumoured that Jews were in the habit of stealing communion wafers, torturing them in symbolic torture of Jesus himself. The wafer would take on the appearance of a child, identifiable as Jesus. It would bleed, just as the ritually murdered child bleeds. But while the child is merely a metaphor of Christ, the wafer is Christ – by the miracle of transubstantiation. By libelling the Jews thus, Church dogma was affirmed (though there were some contemporaries who saw through this “pious fraud”). (47) The tortured child and the tortured wafer are Christ’s proxies. Through their suffering, Jesus suffers. This vicarious suffering, a re-crucifixion, re-enacts the Passion. The murdered are martyrs; they are witnesses to Christianity’s truth. Christ is thus the ultimate object of this imagined Jewish violence. The Jews are “blasphemers and desecrators of the Passion” (48) – so much so, they are even ready, if given the chance, to crucify or otherwise profane images of the crucified Christ. (49) Somewhat later, in the mid-14th century, and in explanation for the ravages of the Black Death, Jews were said to be well poisoners, mass murderers of Christians. There was no special symbolism in the method of the killing; it was a genocidal malignity. It appeared that one Christian every year no longer satisfied them; they were ready to discard ritual in the realising of their greater plan – to destroy Christendom and rule the world. (50) In Strasbourg alone, on 14 February 1349, 900 Jews were burned at the stake because of this defamation. (51) Many hundreds more Jews died elsewhere that year.

Host-desecration, utterly dependent for its credibility on Catholic dogma, did not survive the decline of the Middle Ages. The allegations dwindled, as did sermonising on the topic, and it no longer even served as a literary theme. The poisoning libel, by contrast, when interpreted as indicative of Jewish misanthropy, was much more robust. Drumont alleged that the Jews poison Christian minds with false doctrines; (52) during the pogrom of 1892 in the Russian mining town of Iuzovka, the mob shouted that Jewish doctors had “poisoned our brothers;” (53) in his final “political testament,” In the Protocols, the Jews declare their aim to be “utterly [to] exhaust humanity” by, among other devices, “the inoculation of diseases.” (54) Hitler described “International Jewry” as “the universal poisoner of all peoples.” (55) The libel continued to circulate in the 20th century. In May 1988, for example, an African-American activist alleged that Jewish doctors inject black babies with AIDS as part of a plot to take over the world. The poisoning libel is exemplary of every conspiracist fantasy about the Jews – they plot together, they are tireless in advancing their own interests, and they wish us harm.

Jews have been thus “incontinently indicted” (57) throughout the course of nearly 900 years. It is a simple misconception to hold that these indictments were confined to the Middle Ages; it is a more sophisticated misconception to hold them to be medieval in character. What was regarded in the Middle Ages as a religious obligation, in more modern times has come to be regarded as a racial or national imperative. Either way, the Jews are driven to act criminally. The blood libel is immensely versatile, immensely fecund – and immensely resilient. It has survived all its refutations and the acquittal of every single unjustly accused Jew. It has been a millennial disaster for Jews; it was responsible – together with its derivatives, the host desecration libel and the poisoning libel – for the deaths of thousands of Jews in the Middle Ages; it continues to overshadow many Jews’ lives today. It affects the honour of all Jews. (58)

The instances

The incidence of blood libel allegations, and its development as a discourse, can be divided into six periods. (59)

The first period

A proto-version of the blood libel, a rumour of Jewish cannibalism, circulated in pre-Christian times. The rumour was sustained by perplexity and by malice. Their monotheism made the Jews a puzzling phenomenon in the pagan world. Their disavowal of human sacrifice was an even greater puzzle. Perhaps the disavowal was a lie; perhaps it concealed an especially horrible ritual, one conceived in enmity toward non-Jews, murderous and secret? Or so the pagan world seems to have reasoned. The reasoning was a speculation, no more than that. Speculation of this sort attached itself to the early Christians, and they retaliated in kind against their pagan enemies. They accused the Carthaginians and Phoenicians of child sacrifice in efforts to refute pagan charges that Christians themselves killed and even ate adults or children. (60)

These enmities, spawning fantastic rumours, only ever half-believed and derived from nothing more than an inventive ill-will, must be distinguished from the blood libel itself, a Christian invention of the 12th century. It was one among several “discourses of blood” in the Europe of this period. (61) Medieval people were fascinated by blood (62) – mystics bleeding from stigmatic wounds, (63) knights bathing in blood, priests drinking the blood of Christ, physicians practising bloodletting, Jews killing Christian children for their blood.
The first period, then, begins in the mid-12th century and lasts until the mid-16th century. The incidence of the blood libel – that is, specific deaths or disappearances of children attributed to local Jews – is confined in this period largely to Western and Central Europe. The Norwich libel is the first recorded instance; of the sources for the affair, the most detailed by far is Thomas of Monmouth’s The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich. (64) According to Thomas, the child was crucified, but not bled. It was not until 1235, in the German town of Fulda, that it was alleged against Jews that their primary object was to obtain blood. (65) The blood libels of this period all had a strong theological complexion, which contributed to the emergence of the host desecration libel. There was a proliferation of versions of the blood libel, a fertility of invention. There were related, lesser charges – in 1220, for example, it was alleged that Jews in the English town of Stamford have played a game that mocked Christianity. (66) Jews were tortured, convicted, and executed (hundreds are killed, often by burning), and there was much regulated and unregulated collective punishment – pogroms, massacres, burnings, and expulsions. Rulers exploited the libels for extortion purposes; others upheld the blood libel, and some even legislated against it. (67) The blood libel was also used by authorities to justify harshly anti-Semitic measures. It is deployed, for example, in the mid- to late-15th century by senior clerics of the Spanish Inquisition to justify the expulsion of the Jews. (68) On occasion, however, high authorities intervened to suppress prosecutions or reverse verdicts; there were also considered, powerful condemnations of the blood libel by several Popes (69) and an Emperor.

Events unrelated to the blood libel came to be interpreted by reference to it. The blood libel served as a kind of trope for Jews and Judaism generally; it was the lens through which a wide-range of Jewish activities was viewed. In the Bray incident of 1192, for example, the Christian murderer of a Jew was handed over by their overlord (Countess Mary of Champagne) to the Jewish community for execution. On the Jewish account of the affair, written by Ephraim of Bonn, he was hanged on Purim; but on the Christian account, by the monk Rigord, the execution took place during Easter. The former interprets the affair as a version of the danger-and-salvation narrative of Esther; the latter interprets the affair as a version of the blood libel narrative, the repetition by the Jews of the great sin of their corporate existence, the crucifixion of Jesus. (70) They bribed Mary to surrender the Christian to them, and then “inspired by ancient hatred, led [him], with hands bound behind his back, crowned with thorns, beating him, throughout the entire town, and later hung him on a cross.” (71) The king of France intervened to punish the Jewish community for executing the Christian murderer. Large numbers of Jews were killed. (72)
At the end of this period, the blood libel emerged as an aspect of intra-Christian polemic (for example, Johann Eck argued that, in the matter of the blood libel, the defenders of the Jews were Reformers: “It is the devil who speaks through you Lutherans; he would like nothing better than to acquit the Jews of their murders”). (73) There were no blood libels in England after 1290 – but only because there were no longer any Jews. Following the mid-16th century, there were very few anywhere else in Europe until the mid-19th century, save for in Poland-Lithuania.

The second period

In this second period, which stretched from the 16th to 18th century, the incidence of the blood libel was mostly (74) restricted to Poland-Lithuania, the main centre and reserve of world Jewry, (75) where there was a continuous series of libels, in many cases leading to prosecutions. Many of these trials would last for several years. According to one assessment, between 1547 and 1787, there were no less than eighty-one cases of ritual murder accusations; (76) in the mid-18th century, they became practically annual events. (77) Additionally, earlier host desecration accusations continued to resonate during this period. (78) A class of so-called “experts” emerged, posing as “specialists on the Jewish question,” (79) ready to propagandise against Jews in general, and to testify against Jewish defendants at trials. Towards the end of this period, and in response to the frequency of the blood libel, it appears that Jews abandoned the practice of using red wine during the Passover Seder meals, for fear that it would be taken for blood. (80)

The Sandomierz blood libel of 1710-1713 is a representative incident. A prostitute threw the body of her dead illegitimate son into the yard of the rabbi of the local Jewish community. On advice from senior members of the community, he fled the town. Several other Jews were then arrested, among them the rabbi’s son, Abraham. He confessed under protracted torture and was baptised. At trial, he gave evidence, along with another new convert, that the Jews of his community had received orders from the Jewish elders of Raków to deliver Christian blood. After deferrals and a transfer of the proceedings, the Jewish defendants were convicted and executed. (81) Throughout the affair, a local priest actively propagandised against the Jews, intervening in the trial, publishing his own work on ritual murder and arranging for a Jewish convert to publish a second one, which was republished several times and as late as 1934 “continued to enjoy a certain vogue.” (82) By the end of the 18th century, ritual murder trials disappeared in Poland, in part because of the stance taken by the Apostolic See, and in part because of the abolition of torture in court proceedings by the Sejm (the Polish parliament) in 1776. (83)
The blood libels that followed, in the mid- to late-19th century, were part of a broader Eastern Europe phenomenon. (84)

The first and second period in blood libel discourse

During the first and second periods, most of the themes in the blood libel discourse were established. While the series of blood libels was coming to an end in Poland, in Western Europe – and specifically in France – the blood libel discourse was enlarged to take in post-Christian aspects.
Until the 18th century at least, the blood libel was always to be found inside a broader Christian discourse. It was affirmed, and disseminated, in poems and hagiographies, woodcuts, engravings and pictures, (85) and festivals, commemorative rites and pilgrimages. (86) It became an aspect of folk belief; it was something taken for granted, circulating in the culture. It was fortified by images: monasteries acquired paintings of martyred children, represented at the moment of death, Jews at work on their helpless bodies. The paintings themselves became objects of devotion, attracting thousands of pilgrims, often centuries after the alleged events portrayed by them. The façade of the Posen church – which displayed the image of a rabbi cutting the throat of a child, assisted by other Jews, holding bowls to collect the blood – reminded worshippers that hatred of Jewish perfidy was an aspect of Christian devotion. The mural of St. Simon of Trent in Frankfurt daily reminded the city’s citizens that Jewish wickedness was an aspect of European history. (87) The blood libel was what everyone knew about the Jews. That the Jews were guilty was taken for granted, both because of their character as enemies of humanity and as God’s persecutors.

The blood libel also prompted much bogus scholarship:

History The medieval stories were related with additional glosses and supporting observations. So, for example, in the Nova legenda angliae, the English historian and theologian John Capgrave (1393-1464) augmented the received accounts of the circumstances of Hugh of Lincoln’s death with the suggestion that the child “was eviscerated – it is said for purposes of necromancy or augury.” (88) The 17th century Jesuit Bollandists of Antwerp and Louvain confirmed the medieval blood libel stories in their forensic restatement of the lives of the saints, the Acta Sanctorum. (89) One might think that at least on occasion, the extravagance of invention would have made a sceptic of even the most credulous reader, (90) yet it would not appear so.

Theology A few decades later, in 1710, Andreas Eisenmenger’s immensely influential Judaism Exposed purported to demonstrate that “the Jews do not scruple to kill a Christian,” – not only adults but also “young, innocent children.” They sometimes buy or steal children in order to torture them. They kill them mostly at Easter because that was when they crucified Jesus. But they will kill whenever it is convenient to them to do so, that is, when the murders can be committed secretly and without danger. The murders are often accompanied by the words, “Let us kill him, just as we did the God of the Christians, Jesus, who is nothing. Thus must all our enemies perish.” (91) This two-volume work was in print practically continuously through the 18th and 19th centuries. Eisenmenger’s work was plagiarised by Röhling in his The Talmud-Jew (1870).

Theology and history In the late 19th, and early 20th, centuries, Italian Jesuits published essays in the Catholic journal La civiltà cattolica relating blood libels as established facts. Even some recent Catholic scholarship has not been clear enough about the falsity of the blood libel allegations. (92)
The discourse served many purposes, one of which was to offer plausible explanations for the relative infrequency of ritual murder. Arguments developed during the first and second periods are still deployed today by blood libellers. The Bollandists, for example, suggested that the Jews “vented their rage in the blood of innocent Christians more frequently than it would please historians to report in chronicles or than God would permit to become known publicly.” (93) Eisenmenger had a different idea: “because in former days Jews were dealt with very sharply when such crimes were committed, it is not to be doubted that they now refrain from shedding blood solely because of the fear of punishment.” (94) Later writers proposed that the Jews buy up and destroy any books that describe their crimes – the very paucity of material that affirms the blood libel is itself proof of the libel’s truth. (95) Alternatively, it was said that few crimes are discovered, because the nations are foolish and their police are weak. (96)

A counter-discourse emerged as well. In addition to Papal and Imperial condemnations, there were also scholarly refutations. The tract composed by Andreas Osiander (1498-1552), Whether It Be True and Credible That the Jews Secretly Strangulate Christian Children and Make of Their Blood (1529), advanced what had become standard defences, effective against everyone but anti-Semites. Osiander observed that Jewish law forbids murder and the ritual use of blood. He further observed that the early Christians were likewise accused of ritual murder. He also observed that in every case of alleged ritual murder, the guilty parties turn out to be Christians. And he asked, if the Jews need Christian blood, then how do the Jews of Turkey fare? (97) But this scholarly, mocking refutation was never likely to undo the blood libel, while the Papal condemnations were compromised both by the complicity of local churches and priests in allegations of ritual murder and the failure of the Church itself to repudiate the cults of the two beatified children, said to have been murdered by Jews in hatred of Jesus Christ. (98)

In the 18th century, there were two developments. First, the blood libellers extended their attack on the Jews to an attack on their Scriptures. But second, those engaged against the blood libel were able to characterise their opponents as victims of superstition, and everything that was reactionary, benighted. More needs to be said about each one of these developments. There were augmentations both to the blood libel, and to defences against the blood libel.

Augmentations to the blood libel

Between the 12th and 17th centuries, Christian anti-Semites tended to advance one or more of the following “proofs.” They said: the Jews themselves have confessed. They also said: the Talmud mandates the sacrifice of Gentiles. And they said: human sacrifice is a secret doctrine that is passed down orally from generation to generation. But they did not say: the Tanach demands it; ritual murder follows the practices of the Jews of the Hebrew Scriptures. They did not say it because they could not say it. It would have meant a repudiation of the very thing that they had appropriated. They could reject the Jews; they could not reject their Scriptures. They could even condemn the ancient Jews for killing their prophets; but they could not condemn them for killing the prophets in accordance with Jewish law. (99) This was the state of affairs as at the mid-18th century.

Enlightenment anti-Semitism changed all that. It was left to the first generations of post-Christian anti-Semites to root the blood libel in the Tanach itself. Anti-Semites unembarrassed by conventional Christian beliefs, were ready, as Christians were not, to attack the Jews through their Scriptures. In the Philosophical Dictionary, for example, Voltaire writes, “Why should the Jews not have been cannibals? It would have been the only thing the people of God lacked to be the most abominable on earth.” Having related the stories of Jephthah’s sacrifice of his daughter and Samuel’s slaying of the Amalekite king Agag, Voltaire writes, “Human blood sacrifices were thus clearly established. No historical detail is better attested. A nation can be judged only by its archives and by what it tells about itself.” (100)

These libels have been a staple of post- and non-Christian anti-Semitism ever since. During the 1913 blood libel trial in Kiev, the prosecutor told the jury that blood sacrifices constitute the essence of Judaism, and that “since the Temple was destroyed, the rites of sacrifice continue.” (101) The English Fascist Arnold Leese began his pamphlet on ritual murder with this claim:

It is incontestable that the ancient “Semites” manifested a peculiar leaning towards the practice of bloody sacrifices to their gods. Typical is the Jewish story of Abraham offering to slay with a knife his first-born, Isaac, as an offering to Yahweh who had commanded him so to do. More typical still is the Semitic idea that his god would require such a murder to be done. (102)

In 1936 Leese was prosecuted and convicted for his libels on Jews. The pamphlet was written while he was serving his jail sentence. It now circulates on the Internet, along with other anti-Semitic accounts of the story of Abraham and Isaac – in the Jewish tradition, “binding of Isaac” (or the Akedah), and in the Christian tradition, the “sacrifice of Isaac.” (103) Leese’s pamphlet is cribbed by many post-War blood libellers – an Egyptian publication, The Danger of World Jewry to Islam and Christianity (1960), draws heavily on him, for example. The author writes, “The God of the Jews is not content with animal sacrifices; he must be appeased with human sacrifices.” (104) The pamphlet itself is available on several Islamic sites. (105)
Augmentations to defences to the blood libel Here is an early instance, Lettres chinoises (c. 1742), a work by the French Enlightenment deist, the Marquis d’Argens:

… what use would it be to the Jews to sacrifice a child on the day of the death of the Christians’ lawgiver? In which of their books is there the slightest trace of a like custom? How is it that in countries where they enjoy great freedom … nothing similar has ever been attributed to them? Moreover, what is the purpose of this ridiculous sacrifice? (106)

Ridicule, then, was the new note that was struck, and superstition, the new charge. The characterising of certain beliefs as “superstitions” began as a Reformation practice, ammunition to be directed by Protestants against Catholics. In the 18th century, Christianity itself became vulnerable to this kind of characterisation. (107) “The superstition about the use of Christian blood was so deeply instilled in me,” wrote Masaryk, “that whenever I chanced to meet a Jew I never went close to him. I always started at his fingers to see if there was blood on them. This stupid habit remained with me a long time.” (108)

The third period

Just as the 18th century marked the emergence of a non-Christian version of the blood libel, so the 19th century inaugurated an Islamic version. It is in this period, that is, that the blood libel first appeared in Islamic lands. There were numerous blood libels in the Ottoman Empire in the second half of the 19th century. Their appearance may be attributed to the growing financial and cultural penetration of the Empire by the European powers and, in particular, to the European-backed wars of the Greeks against the Turks – from the 1860s, there was hardly a year without a blood libel of Greek origin. The Turkish Government rejected the libels; (109) the stance of its subjects was somewhat more complex. Though the blood libel had been known in Turkey in the 15th and 16th centuries, the responsibility for its appearance, or reappearance, in the 19th century seems to have been largely the work of foreign monks, distributing blood libel material in Arabic translation. (110) Gradually, the blood libel came to infect Muslim public opinion. It did not have to overcome especially strong resistance, it would seem; travellers to Syria in the first decades of the 19th century had noticed considerable Muslim hostility towards Jews. (111)

The principal instance in this period was the Damascus blood libel of 1840. On 5 February 1840, two residents of Damascus, Father Tommaso, an Italian Friar of the Capuchin Order, and Ibrahim Amara, his Moslem servant, disappeared. Their bodies were never recovered, and the cause of their deaths remains unknown (if indeed they did die at that time). Since Roman Catholics in the Ottoman Empire were then under the protection of France, the French consul in Damascus, Count de Ratti Menton, undertook the investigation into the disappearance of the Friar and his servant. A Jewish barber was arrested and tortured into implicating some prominent local Jews in the commission of his own non-existent crime. The consul also retained astrologers to confirm that these Jews were responsible for the murder. (112) They were arrested and tortured. Two were tortured to death, and one converted to Islam and was then released. The others refused to confess and were held prisoner until, upon the intervention of European powers, and the urgent petition of a deputation of Jews from England and France, they were released by order of Mehemet Ali, the ruler of Egypt, who at that time also controlled Syria. During the period of their imprisonment, many more Jews – approximately seventy in total – were tortured to secure confessions or evidence, and a further sixty-four Jewish schoolboys were detained to pressure their parents to co-operate with Ratti Menton’s bogus investigation. In Damascus at that time, the total population was in the order of 75000 Muslims, 14000 Christians and 6000 Jews. (113) We must suppose that these 6,000 Jews lived in a state of terror for months.

Ratti Menton was a somewhat seedy, disreputable character. He was reactionary in his politics, and careless in his private affairs. He had been bankrupted twice; he had been recalled from two previous postings; he had, reported the London Times, “everywhere rendered himself obnoxious.” (114) For no reason other than his own anti-Semitism, (115) he concluded that Jews had ritually murdered the two men. His excuse for seizing on the Jews – that the two men were said to have been seen on the morning of their disappearance in the Jewish Quarter – was flimsy in the extreme, though entirely in accord with the received blood libel narrative, in which the “Jewish Quarter” is always a place of danger for non-Jews. He was very quick to reject evidence from both Moslem and Jewish witnesses who had seen the men elsewhere, and on the afternoon of their disappearance. He accused the Jews of a calculated affront to French interests. “It is a challenge to the tutelary action of His majesty’s Government and as such as well as because of the outrage to human society of these fiendish sacrifices, it is advisable to impose a salutary terror upon the Jews …” (116) Ratti Menton did not relent. He went so far as to have an Italian pamphlet on the blood libel translated into Arabic and then had copies given away to the Damascene population. (117)

Ratti Menton had the active support of the Governor of Damascus, Sherif Pasha, (118) and the more passive support of the local English consul, N.W. Werry. He also had support in France, at the highest levels. The then Prime Minister of France, Thiers, rebuked a critic of Ratti Menton’s, “You protest in the name of the Jews, and I protest in the name of Frenchman who has hitherto fulfilled all his duties with honour and fidelity” (which of course was not true – but how easily this rebuke must have come to Thiers, and how it must have stung the critic, the distinguished French statesman, Achille Fould). Ratti Menton was opposed by the Austrian consul, G.G. Merllato, and in due course by the Austrian and British Governments.

It is in this period that the blood libel first acquired some of the characteristics of a cause célèbre. It divided nations; it got caught up in power politics. The affair had something of the character of a war by proxy; the opposing stances on the Affair taken by the French on the one hand, and the British and Austrian on the other, mirrored the Great Power divisions in respect of Mehemet Ali and Turkey. The blood libel also acquired a different kind of international resonance; the events were followed as they unfold. A strongly philo-Semitic sentiment developed, characterised by a campaigning advocacy undertaken by non-Jews on behalf of Jews. There was also the parallel emergence of Jewish organisations, accompanied by utterly fantastic overstatements by anti-Semites of the influence of these organisations. Promoters of the blood libel began to make a distinction between the generality of Jews and what comes to be described as a fanatical, backward sect within Jewry. Opponents of the libel, for their part, struggle to formulate a decisive refutation – perhaps, one suggested, all the rabbis of Europe should be assembled and invited to swear that Judaism does not prescribe human sacrifice? (119) Last, in those circles in which the blood libel was dismissed as so much pernicious nonsense, it was taken for granted that nothing quite so nonsensical could ever arise in what was customarily described as a “civilised” nation. (120)

Following the events of 1840, blood libels recurred throughout the region. In the vicinity of Damascus alone, there were nine incidents between 1840 and 1900. In Palestine, there were four incidents during the same period. In 1844, there were two incidents in Egypt, one in Cairo, instigated by Muslims, and one in Alexandria, instigated by the Greek Orthodox. The historian Tudor Parfitt continues the account:

In 1866, in Hamadan in western Iran, eighteen Jews were massacred following a ritual murder accusation – two more were burnt alive while the rest of the community only managed to escape the fury of the mob by converting en masse to Islam; there were further libels in Alexandria in 1870, in Smyrna in 1871, and Damanhur (Egypt) in 1871 and 1873, initiated by Muslims, and again in Smyrna in 1873. In 1875 there was a blood libel in Aleppo, as a result of which the Pasha of Aleppo had to send troops to guard the Jewish quarter. In 1876 there was another blood libel in Smyrna and one in Constantinople, while 1877 saw libels in Damanhur and Mansura, where the local Muslims accused the Jews of kidnapping a Muslim child and killing it in order to use its blood for matzot. (121)

The blood libel had arrived in the East.

The fourth period

In this period, from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, far more limited in duration than either the first or second periods, there were numerous libels, across much of Europe. While there were blood libel incidents in Germany, Hungary, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, France, and of course in Poland too, the preponderance of incidents remained east of the Rhine. (122) Accurate information on the number of instances is unavailable, but one account has it that in the 5-year period between 1887 and 1891, at least 22 cases were raised in Europe. (123) On another account, there were 128 public accusations between 1881 and 1900 (an assessment derived mainly from examination of German and Austrian newspapers). On a third account, there were 79 public accusations between 1891 and 1900, mainly in Austria-Hungary, Germany and Bulgaria. Between 1879 and 1913, there were six major trials, including at Tisza Esler (Hungary, 1882-1883), at Polnà (Austrian Bohemia, 1899-1900), and at Kiev (Russian Ukraine, 1911-1913). There were twelve trials between 1867 and 1914 in Germany and the Austrian Empire alone; (125) not every trial ended in a conviction. (126) Put it another way. There were more recorded instances of the blood libel between 1870 and 1940 than in the entire preceding period of some 700 years. (127)

They were part of a more general intensification of anti-Semitic activity. There were anti-Semitic pamphlets, newspapers, books, movements and parties; riots and pogroms (including: Pomerania, 1881; Galicia, 1898); ritual murder trials (including Tiszar Eszlar, 1882; Xanten, 1891; Polna, 1899); the first anti-Semitic international congress (Dresden, 1882); and the Dreyfus Affair. (128) The blood libel became a staple of more general anti-Semitic agitation and polemic. It was exploited for the purposes of incitement, the aspect of anti-Semitism understood by professional Jew-haters to have the most immediate appeal to the masses. To some of these propagandists, it could be mobilised as an aspect of the fearfulness of Eastern Europe, a place where ritual murder and other depravities are endemic. “The seeds of this horrific monomania,” wrote Drumont, “are present there in a state of constant incubation …” (129)

That these libels were on the one hand dismissed by enlightened opinion as evidence of a residual, medieval barbarism (though in fact they presaged the entirely modern barbarism that came to power some fifty or sixty years later), but were on the other hand defended as the work of unregenerate, primitive Jews who still practised the murderous rites of their forefathers, (130) indicates the extent to which their character and reception replicated the Damascus precedent. Much of their character, indeed, was redolent of Damascus – the international interventions, the febrile press coverage (both hostile and sympathetic), the involvement of “experts.” It was perhaps the moment at which it first became evident that the East, so to speak, might one day take the lead in the development and promotion of the blood libel. The instances were also taken up by anti-Semitic campaigners, and exploited by political parties. Sensationalist newspapers dedicated to the dissemination of anti-Semitic lore played an important role in the promoting of blood libels. (131) Crooks, charlatans, men “on the make,” defrocked priests (132) and demagogues searching for a constituency, all exploited the blood libel to advance or revive their careers. Anti-Semitic propagandists manipulated the folkloric aspects of the distinctness of Jews for their own purposes. (133)

The incidents in Polnà and Kiev are exemplary of certain aspects of the period.
Polnà Agnes Hruza was murdered on 29 March 1899 in a forest near Polnà, a town on the Bohemian-Moravian border. Her body was discovered on 1 April, the day before Easter Sunday. It was said that the body had been drained of blood. The rumour soon spread of ritual murder. Leopold Hilsner, the son of a poor Jewish widow, was arrested. He was a lazy, feckless person, supported by his mother and rarely in work. He was tried twice, and each time convicted of murder (on the second occasion, he was also convicted of a second murder). The evidence was entirely circumstantial; it was, indeed, preposterous. (134) Neither his innocence, nor the best efforts of Thomas Masaryk, (135) then a Professor at the Czech University in Prague, could protect Hilsner from the anti-Semites on the juries and the bench, and in the press. He was sentenced to death. (136) The State prosecutor concluded: “I was not present, and there were no witnesses to see what he did and who delivered the fatal blow. But I am absolutely convinced that Hilsner was present at the murder.” The counsel for the victim’s family said: “Just imagine the plight of this virtuous young girl when her clothes were torn off, when she saw herself at the mercy of three strangers, who obviously belonged to a different race, obnoxious to her, when they threw themselves on her, the sacrificial lamb.” And then he added: “[The Jews living in the vicinity of Polna] wanted to murder a Christian person, an innocent girl, in order to get her blood.” (137) In 1968, Agnes’s brother confessed to the murder on his deathbed. (138)

Kiev On 12 March 1911, a 13-year old boy disappeared; eight days later, his mutilated body was found in a cave. Menachem Beilis (1874-1934), a Jewish clerk who worked at a nearby brick factory, was arrested and charged with murdering the boy. He was tried in September – October 1913. Two experts testified that the murder was a ritual one; other experts testified to the falsity of the blood libel. At least one of the prosecution expert witnesses was bribed, while another was a charlatan-priest, an anti-Semite utterly incompetent even to read the Jewish texts on which he claimed to rely. (139) Beilis was acquitted; there was never any real doubt that the charges against him had been fabricated. The jury also held, however, that the boy had been ritually murdered (a view shared by the Tsar, among others). (140) The authorities had let the case go to trial knowing the identities of the true culprits – members of a criminal gang who had murdered the boy to stop him informing on them. (141) In his closing address, the prosecutor remarked:

[…] I don’t want to speak against the Jews, but when one reads the Jewish press, Jewish publications, and Jewish defence organs, one cannot escape the conclusion that in criticising them, one invites instant rebuke and disapproval. In doing so, you are either a reactionary, an obscurant, or a member of the Black Hundred. Having monopolised the press, they’ve become so arrogant as to believe that no one will dare level such an accusation against them … (142)

There is a test for the contemporary reader in this passage. The complaint is, of course, a familiar one. Criticise the Jews (or Israel), and one is immediately called an anti-Semite. They think that that they are beyond criticism. And so on. The test is as follows. Does finding the complaint in the mouth of a defender of the blood libel modify one’s sense of its current merit? If not, why not, and if yes, how? In any event, in 2006, the allegations against Beilis were revived in a Ukrainian periodical. (143) Though each of these cases was described as Dreyfus Affairs for their respective nations, this was a misdescription. The Dreyfus Affair was a cause célèbre; the Polnà and Kiev cases were mere scandals. The scandal is a cut-price, low rent version of the cause célèbre. A scandal raises no new issues; no national interests are at stake; it does not enlarge understanding; it is miserable, undistinguished, sordid, vulgar. People behave badly; even those engaged on the side of justice take no pleasure in their involvement.

It was also the case, however, that during this period the blood libel seemed at times to be somewhat on the defensive, somewhat diminished in its authority, and this was reflected in a somewhat uncertain handling of the trope in much of the anti-Semitic discourse of that time. First, anti-Semitic polemicists often deployed it merely as a makeweight. Following Dreyfus’s conviction, for example, it was said that the Jews would revenge themselves on France by engineering “an immense financial crash, a Franco-German bloodletting …” and – oh yes, as if in afterthought, “a series of ritual murders.” (144) Even when not a makeweight, the blood libel was subordinated to ostensibly more pressing, secular themes. During the pogroms of 1903-1906, for example, it was a common combination to allege both that the Jews were conspiring with the Japanese (with whom Russia was at war) and were engaged in acts of ritual murder. (145) Second, in certain contexts, killing Jews barely seemed to require any pretext. During the first wave of pogroms in Russia, the pogroms of 1881-1884, the violence against Jews was not provoked by any fabricated or misrepresented acts of the Jews at all, let alone the murder of a child. (146) Last, there were acquittals; it could no longer be assumed that a prosecution would produce a conviction. An anti-Semitic paper plaintively asked its readers: “Can we, after the outcomes at Skurz and Xanten and after today’s expected outcome at Konitz, still have confidence that murders of Christian children will be punished and expiated?” (147) In the first decades of the 20th century, Jews – and other, less personally threatened students of anti-Semitism – might have been forgiven for believing that the blood libel, at least, was fast becoming a thing of the past.

The fifth period
That is to say, the Nazi period, 1933-1945. There were no trials, and barely even any “incidents” – few fresh reports of missing children, few unsolved murders, attributed to Jews. But there was a persistent, even unrelenting, agitation on the subject, undertaken by Julius Streicher in his weekly newspaper, Der Stürmer. (148) He was first prosecuted for the libel in 1921, and further prosecutions followed thereafter; (149) even during the war, the blood libel remained a regular theme, with a lengthy series of articles beginning in 1943. (150) Repetitious though these allegations were, (151) Streicher outdid himself on 1 May 1934, when the entire edition of the Stürmer was dedicated to the subject of ritual murder. (152) The front-page headline announced, “The Jewish Murder Plot Against Non-Jewish Humanity Is Uncovered.” (153) Grisly detail was invented: “The procedure is as follows. The family head empties a few drops of the fresh and powdered blood into a glass, wets the fingers of the left hand with it …” etc.. (154) This is what Jews do; this is what Jews have done on this occasion. The only constraint was the imagination of the fabricator; no detail would be too salacious, too horrible to be rejected by the readers. The detail could go in any direction; it was a kind of pornography. The Nazis added a theme, Jewish blood defiles: “For hours, the black-haired Jewish boy, with satanic joy in his face, lies in wait for the unsuspecting girl, whom he defiles with his blood, and thereby steals her from her people … Just as he systematically corrupts women and girls, he does not hesitate to tear down the blood-barriers for others to an even greater extent.” (155) Eleven columns listed alleged ritual murders from 169 BCE to 1929. (156) This last date was a reference to the Manau blood libel. There was a photograph of a dead child, with the caption “Slaughtered on 17 March 1929, near Manau, shortly before the Jewish Passover.” (157) That the Jews practice ritual murder is proof that they comprise nothing more than a well-organised gang of murderers and criminals, (158) wrote Streicher, on behalf of his own gang of murderers and criminals.

The Nazis believed that the blood libel would assist in turning their enemies towards anti-Semitism. Himmler, for example, encouraged his Chief of Security Police to arrange for extracts of a book on the blood libel to be broadcast to England and America. (159) The book itself he ordered distributed to the Einsatzkommandos, “especially to those actively engaged in the Jewish question.” (160) But there was little else made of the blood libel for domestic consumption. The date of the Stürmer issue is significant. The Jews were still – just about – members of civil society. The blood libel is about murders perpetrated by neighbours, that is, people living within the same social space. It assumes a certain intimacy of relation between Jew and non-Jew, as well as access to a common system of justice. As the persecutions escalated, and the segregation of Jews became a reality, the Nazis went beyond the blood libel. Of course Streicher continued to prate on about ritual murder, but genocide called for a greater justification. The blood libel did not answer, so to speak, to the immense, metaphysical threat posed by the Jews to the world as a whole, one which could only be combated by the killing of all the world’s Jews, without exception.

This period concludes with the pogrom on 4 July 1946 in Kielce, Poland. Forty-two Jews were killed, and as many as eighty wounded, by a mob drunk on rumours of a child-kidnapping. (161) This was the worst attack of many such attacks across the period 1944 to 1947, which left between fifteen hundred and two thousand Jews dead. They were pulled from trains to be beaten and murdered, Jewish institutions were bombed, there were pogroms in about a dozen cities and towns. Many of these pogroms were accompanied by blood libels. (162) The first one, in Rzeszów, took place on 12 June 1945; (163) Kielce was the last and worst of the pogroms. (164) It was in all a year-long terror, and it had the effect of driving most of Poland’s remaining Jews out of the country for good. An epilogue: in the mid-1980s, a documentary film-maker recorded interviews with inhabitants of Kielce. One interviewee said that so many people believed the charge of ritual murder to be true, “there had to be something in it.” Another interviewee said, with a noncommittal smile, “It is their [i.e., the Jews’] secret.” (165)

The sixth period

This runs from the 1950s to the present. The new developments are first, an immense increase in the blood libel’s dissemination in Muslim lands, (166) and second, the disappearance of prosecutions as a vehicle for renewing the libel. There is a connection between these two developments, of course. Unconstrained by forensic considerations, the blood libel becomes a free-floating trope of Jewish, and especially Zionist, criminality. It conditions the representation of current events. Against such deployments of the blood libel, Jews are mostly powerless. It is almost impossible to refute generalised charges, or to expose the manipulated presentation of filmed or photographed deaths. When they are exposed, it is usually too late or the libel persists regardless of the fact that it has been discredited.

This contemporary dissemination of the blood libel explicitly rehearses earlier themes. The leading newspaper of the Arab world, Al-Ahram, reports that Jews may only live in their “sacred cities” (Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed, Tiberias) when they have eaten blood matzot. (167) In a newspaper cartoon, Ariel Sharon stands on a pile of infants’ corpses, hands dripping with their blood, holding another infant aloft, and with a Star of David hanging from his neck. In another cartoon, a religious Jew wearing a large skullcap is putting a baking tray in an open oven, and on the tray is a Palestinian child. (168) And so on. Purim has excited the attention of blood libellers. (169) And as one might expect, there are also vindications of the Damascus blood libel – principally in the best-seller The Matzah of Zion (1983), written by Mustafa Tlas (b. 1932), the very long-serving Syrian Minister of Defence. (170) According to its cover blurb, “this study describes in fine detail and with scientific precision, the blood rites of the Jews, who slaughter Christians and Muslims so they can mix their blood into the matzoth they use on Yom Kippur.” (171) The Syrian government printing house publishes the book. It has been in continuous print for over twenty years. There have been other deployments of the Damascus blood libel by Arab politicians and diplomats. (172) There are also restatements of basic blood libel doctrine (as it were). For example, in Human Sacrifices in the Talmud (1962), published by the Egyptian Ministry of Education, the Jews are characterised as “a people that does not recoil from resorting to the vilest methods in order to achieve its aims, irrespective of whether it involves killing, money or debauchery.” (173) The book was a reprint of an 1890 work, revised for 20th century readers.

But more innovative versions of the blood libel have also been put into circulation. (All the cartoons identified below appeared in newspapers published in the Arab world, unless stated otherwise).

The blood libel has acquired an anti-Zionist character.

It is now a commonplace for Zionists / Israelis to be characterised as child-murderers. (174) The death of Mohammed al-Dura on 30 September 2000 in circumstances that are still unclear, (175) but which almost certainly were not the consequence of deliberate action by Israeli forces, was represented as disclosing the criminal essence of Zionism. And Zionism in turn was represented as Judaism Unmasked. The Zionist does openly what his co-religionists hitherto did in secret:

… what the media shows us every day about Israeli conduct in the occupied territories is no different than what their history shows us about their inhumane practices towards humanity as a whole. One need only point out that they are ‘blood suckers’ according to the Talmudic dictates, which urge them to murder and draw the blood of Muslims in particular, and Christians even more so, and to use this blood in religious Israeli rituals. (176)

The Syrian-produced TV series Al-Shatat (“Diaspora”), first broadcast on Hizbollah’s Al-Manar television channel during Ramadan 2003, tells the story of Zionism from 1812 up to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It reproduces the blood libel in a medieval version – blood for the matzo. Two Iranian channels also aired Al-Shatat during Ramadan 2004. (177) Though it represents a modest enlargement of its received meaning, it is legitimate to treat as a blood libel the lie that the Jewish State plots the genocide of the Palestinian people. (178)

The poisoning libel has been revived, but as a variation on the blood libel.

We may write now of an “infanticide libel.” For example, in 1983, a rumour developed that Israel was infiltrating school classrooms with a colourless, odourless poison gas. (179) And in 1997 it was alleged that Israeli doctors were deliberately injecting the AIDS virus into Palestinian children. (180) The libel inevitably grew into a genocide allegation. In November 1999, in a speech given in the presence of Hillary Clinton, Suha Arafat accused the Israeli forces of causing “severe damage … by the intensive daily use of poison gas.” (181) During the al-Aqsa Intifada, Arafat and his spokesmen repeatedly broadcast similarly false allegations, claiming that poison gas (which they called “black gas”) and depleted uranium projectiles were being used against Palestinian civilians. (182) As late as November 2003, Arafat was still making this latter claim, dutifully reported by the Palestinian National Authority State Information Service. (183) There was a widespread belief among Palestinians that Arafat himself did not die of natural causes, but instead was killed, poisoned by the Israelis. (184)

There is now a strong vampire theme. (185) Among examples of cartoons that represent Jews as consumers of human blood, consider the following. (a) An Israeli soldier gives his mother a present, a bottle filled with the blood of a Palestinian child. (b) The Jews drink the blood of the American people through a straw. (c) Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir toast each other with Arab blood. (d) Ariel Sharon celebrates the New Year by drinking from a bottle labelled “Martyrs’ blood.” (e) Ariel Sharon drinks Palestinian blood from a straw, sitting on and squashing the globe (f) The Israeli electorate drinks blood from a bottle provided by Ariel Sharon. In a satirical television programme, shown on an Abu Dhabi television channel in 2001, Ariel Sharon is running a bottling plant manufacturing cola made with Arab blood. Dracula telephones him to protest.

– Dracula: Sharon, Sharon, bewitched blood thief. How dare you use my name and prepare a drink behind my back and distribute it without telling me? Sharon, Sharon, I’ll send you to a thousand dooms.
-Sharon: Dracula, my friend, I didn’t mean to harm you. If you want a small percentage of the sales, I’ve got no problem with it. This is your friend Sharon. We are both vampires. I have some Dra-cola.
The old stories have been given topical twists. The Jews slaughtered the Arabs of Sabra and Shatila to use their blood for baking matzos, it has been said, one lie wrapped inside another lie. (188) The Jews want peace because they need their victims to be well-disposed towards them; hatred contaminates blood, and so hatred of Jews is the best defence against them. (189)

A film about the Damascus blood libel has been announced, in which Father Tomas is murdered to prevent him speaking about a Zionist plot to move Jews from Damascus to Palestine. (190)
Both Christian and post-Christian themes are exploited. There are instances both of the deicide libel and of attacks on the Jews through their Scriptures. Palestinians are often pictured nailed to a cross; the Jews crucify Arafat, or the Palestinians, as they once crucified Jesus. The French newspaper, Libération, for example, published a cartoon of Sharon, gripping nails between his teeth, and spitting out the mordancy, “No Christmas for Arafat, but he’s welcome to an Easter.” (191) But there are also representations of the “Jewish God,” hungry for human sacrifice. In one cartoon, the American cartoonist Bendib draws God holding a fat bag of dollars. On it the names of major Jewish organizations are written: ‘ADL, AIPAC, ZOA.’ God outstretches his hand to Bush, who slaughters a child on the altar of the Holyland Foundation for needy Muslim children. The caption reads: “And the Almighty dollar said: ‘Sacrifice me, a Muslim son, or else.’ And George the W. said ‘You’ve got it Lord, if this improves my chances for a second term.'” (192) And then there are the posters addressed to Americans. In one, Herzl is pictured in a “Your country needs you” pose, and the message is, “Israel needs your sympathy. It needs your $. ISRAEL NEEDS YOUR CHILDREN’S BLOOD To build our ‘Shitty little State.'” In another cartoon, Sharon is pictured, and the message is, “Hail Sharon. King of the Jews. Bring forth your children, that I may offer them to the G-d of Zionism. […] Israel is a shitty little state.” (193)

Cartoons are now the dominant element in the dissemination of the blood libel.

A compiler of blood libel, and other anti-Semitic cartoons now circulating in the Muslim world, prefaces his collection thus: “There are so many of these cartoons that I could select only a few.” (194) In the generality of the cartoons, indignation is the presiding note – the visual equivalent of a shrill, abusive scream. A token satire is put at the service of an incontinent anti-Semitism. Most of the cartoonists are no freer than their journalist colleagues to express their own views. (195) They must work within prescribed perspectives; they may only attack prescribed targets. But if they are not free to choose their enemies, they compensate in the violence with which they attack them. They are thus subversive of nothing but human decency. Those independent-minded few who operate outside these constraints tend to live outside the Muslim world, and/or die prematurely – consider the career of the late Naji Salim al-Ali, murdered in London in 1987. (196)

The safest topics tend also to be the ones most susceptible to dishonest treatment – and none is safer, or more dishonest, than the topic of the blood libel. In the blood libel cartoons, the cartoonists’ pencils lie. (197) These lies are especially dangerous because cartoons are hard to contest; it is difficult to argue with them, because they themselves are not discursive. They comprise not so much an allegation as a representation of reality. They simplify, condense, and intensify. They cross linguistic and national borders. They have all Jews in their sights. Their most immediate precedents are the cartoons of Philip Ruprecht (“Fips”) that appeared in Der Stürmer from December 1925 until 1945, (198) their somewhat earlier precedents are to be found among the woodcuts and engravings of medieval times.

Writing in 1972, the Israeli soldier and scholar Y. Harkabi noted the infrequency of the blood libel in the literature of the conflict, and concluded that it had not been adopted by Arab public opinion. (199) Though it remains hard to tell the extent to which the blood libel is accepted as true by the generality of Arab and Muslim audiences, sponsorship of the blood libel by state, party, and religious institutions, and its deployment in the Arab and Muslim media (radio and television broadcasts, cartoons, newspaper and journal articles, books and pamphlets) at something approaching saturation level, has made it now the master trope in anti-Israel / anti-Zionist discourse. Versions and derivatives of the blood libel now comprise a significant resource for the rallying of Israel’s adversaries, and the teaching of Israel’s history, and the history of Zionism, is taught; they also provide material for the abuse of Jews and others perceived to be supporters of Israel. On 2 June 2001, members of the Association of Ilford Muslims heckled the local MP Mike Gapes with the taunts “Racist”, “Murderer” and “How many children have you killed today?” (200) At a Hamas-organised children’s rally in Gaza City on 12 August 2006, “the children chanted in one voice ‘Death to child-killers, death to enemies of the people, and death to enemies of freedom.'” (201)

The rhetoric is much the same in Ilford as in Gaza. It did not matter, then, to the hecklers whether Gapes himself was a child murderer. It was not as if he himself was charged with presiding over a war against insurgents (“Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”) It was enough for the hecklers that he was a Jew – in the event, mistakenly assumed to be a Jew. (202) The Jews are the worst people in the world; the worst, therefore, may be believed about them.
Several observations suggest themselves.

To begin with, some statistics compiled by B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. In the period December 1987-December 1993 (the first Intifada), 1095 Palestinians were killed by Israel’s security forces, of whom 51 were under 13 years old, and 146 were between 13 and 16 years old. During the first three years of the Intifada, a further 359 Palestinians were killed by fellow Palestinians. The figure for Israeli dead across approximately the same period is 144. (203) Between 29 September 2000 and 30 July 2006 (the second Intifada), 3691 Palestinians were killed by Israel’s security forces, of whom 742 were under 18. In the same latter period, 1009 Israelis were killed, of whom 119 were minors (80 in Israel, 39 in the Occupied Territories). (204) Of the 742 Palestinian minors, 67 were killed while participating in hostilities, and an unspecified further number were killed while being used as shields; (205) of the 119 Israeli minors, none was killed while participating in hostilities.

The ratios change at around the 9-year old mark: of children under the age of 10 years killed, 91 were Palestinian, and 35 were Israeli. (206) Israeli authorities have foiled very many suicide bomb missions; in one month alone, 11 May to 10 June 2003, 20 suicide bombers were intercepted. (207) The object of the suicide attack is to cause mass casualties: on 20 June 2006, for example, a suicide bomber was intercepted before she carried out her planned attack at a major Israeli hospital, the Soroka Medical Centre in Beersheba. (208) In November 2004, an Amnesty-International report concluded that “all killings of Israeli children by Palestinian armed groups have been committed in deliberate attacks against civilians, which have been widespread and perpetrated as part of a publicly announced policy to target civilians. They therefore meet the definition of crimes against humanity.” (209)

In Israel’s history, there have been two major atrocities committed against groups of children. In the 8 May 1970 Avivim school bus massacre, carried out by Palestinian agents originating in Lebanon, 9 children (aged between 6 and 9 years) were killed; (210) in the 15 May 1974 Ma’alot massacre, carried out by a PLO-affiliate, the DFLP, 21 children at an elementary school were killed. In addition, 9 children were among the dead in the 11 April 1974 Kiryat Shmona massacre, carried out by the PLFP, and 12 under-18s were among the 21 killed in the 1 June 2001 Dolphinarium discotheque massacre, carried out by Hamas. In response to massacres such as these, certain Moslem clerics have argued that children may indeed be killed, provided that the killer does not set out to murder them. Some clerics have gone further, and have proposed that Mohammed’s prohibition on killing children does not apply if the children being targeted “knowingly” participated in combat, or aided the enemy war effort, or “encouraged” the enemy. (211)

As for the enlisting of children as combatants, according to the 2001 report Child Soldiers: Global Report by the London-based “Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers,” in the Summer of 2000, nearly 50,000 Palestinian children were enrolled in military-style camps, which included training in the use of light arms. The number of children in the first Intifada reached an average of 73% of all participants, with 7 to 10 year-olds given the task of rolling tires onto the middle of roads and setting fire to them, 11 to 14 year-olds placing large stones on roads to slow down traffic, and 15 to 19 year-olds throwing smaller stones. Communiqués from the various factions that comprised the leadership of the Intifada, urged the children on: “O our people and the youths and girls of Palestine, further sacrifice for the sake of Palestine.” (212) The Coalition’s 2004 report lists several suicide attacks by minors, each one of which had been planned by a Palestinian political faction. (213) In July 2004, another NGO, the Defence for Children International (Palestine Section) proposed that “all resistance groups … sign a compulsory covenant forbidding the recruitment of Palestinian children in the course of armed struggle.”

This exploitation of children is endorsed by some Moslem clerics, and is celebrated in the Palestinian media (which recruits child “martyrs”). During a TV debate in the Gulf, according to BBC monitoring, Dr Yusuf Qaradawi said, “The Israelis might have nuclear bombs but we have the children bomb and these human bombs must continue until liberation”. (214) On 28 June 2006, an item about Mohammed al-Dura was broadcast on Palestinian TV. It began with an invitation in his name to Palestinian children: “I am waving to you, not in parting, but to say, follow me …” A voice-over then intoned: “How sweet is the fragrance of the martyrs, how sweet is the fragrance of the earth, its thirst quenched by the gush of blood flowing from the youthful body … ” The item concluded with the image of a boy playing with his kite in heaven. (215) This is child abuse, as indeed is the teaching of much pernicious nonsense about Jews in schools and at summer camps (216) in Gaza and the West Bank. Teaching children to hate Jews would appear to be a well-established, widespread practise of Islamist groups, (217) though not limited to them. It also remains, for example, an official aspect of Egyptian educational policy. (218)

Towards what conclusions does this material point? The most modest conclusion is that the circumstances of the deaths of Palestinian children do not warrant the deployment of blood libel motifs. The history of these deaths cannot be written as melodrama, black-hearted predator confronting pure victim. Still less can it be written in the language of the blood libel. To do so grievously misrepresents the truth and thus insults the memory of the dead. And if the blood libel is deployed illegitimately, it is also deployed opportunistically, as an aspect of a broader discursive assault on the Jewish State. It does not emerge from any authentic Islamic discourse; it has instead been appropriated by Islamic antagonists of Israel and Zionism, the better to defame the Jews. It resonates with Western audiences, of course. Look, the Islamic promoters of the blood libel urge – the Jews are doing to us what for centuries they did to you! There is, however, a still further conclusion that may be drawn. The utterly incontinent deployment of the blood libel betrays a certain anxiety about the killing of Israeli children and the use of Palestinian children for that purpose. It attributes to Israel what is most characteristic of a certain kind of Palestinian indiscriminate terror – an indifference to human life, an embracing of death, a hatred of the enemy that is insatiable.
Last, consider the career of Samir Kuntar (b. 1962). On 22 April 1979, Kuntar and associates entered Israel by boat from Lebanon, coming ashore in the coastal town of Nahariya. They killed a policeman, and then broke into a house, taking the family hostage – Danny and Smadar Haran, and their two children, 4 year-old Einat and 2 year-old Yael. There was a shoot-out with the police. Kuntar shot and killed the father at close range in front of his daughter Einat, and then murdered her by smashing her head with the butt of his rifle, crushing her skull. Smadar, who had managed to hide from the gang, accidentally suffocated her younger daughter Yael to death. (219) Kuntar was captured, tried and convicted, and given four life-sentences.

Now, Hezbollah has for some time been demanding his release, (220) and expected to trade him for the Israeli soldiers it kidnapped in July 2006. (221) On 13 March 2006, the Palestinian Authority announced that it was granting honorary citizenship to Kuntar. (222) The campaign to release him has set up a website. It describes Kuntar as a “detainee.” And this is how it describes the incident of 22 April:

Bassam Kuntar has a special relationship with the brother he has not seen for 27 years. The youngest brother of Samir Kuntar, the longest serving Lebanese prisoner in Israel, Bassam, 28, has been communicating with Samir for five years through a Web site dedicated to the detainee. “When Samir was taken away, he was 16 years old,” Bassam said, “and I was just a year old. So I never knew him or played with him like any two brothers would normally do. Just when my life was beginning his was ending.” Israeli troops arrested Kuntar, a resident of the village of Abey, Aley, on April 22, 1979 for his involvement in an attack on an Israeli patrol at Nahariya that cost the lives of six soldiers from the Hebrew State. Two of Kuntar’s comrades were also killed in the attack.(223)

And here is another account from the website:

The group departed from the seashore of Tyre in South Lebanon using a 55 horse-powered motorized rubber boat with an 88 km/hr speed. The goal of the operation was to attack one of the biggest military bases located in Naharya, 10 kms away from the Lebanese border and 8 kms north of the city of Acca. It was an attempt to prevent the establishment of more permanent residences of Jews in Palestine. What was so special in the “Nasser Operation” (and portrayed Kuntar as very dangerous by the Israelis) was Kuntar’s success in crossing and reaching the Naharya settlement. He first maneuvered his motorboat through sixth squadrons of warships; then hid the boat right under the noses of the Israeli seashore guards and radar; and then managed to enter the settlement, after fighting with an Israeli patrol squad.
The operation lasted from 2:00 to 5:00 a.m. Kuntar and his colleagues reached the seashore of Naharya where, in addition to the military base, there were also a police military academy, the coastal guards and artillery the naval alarm network, and the headquarters for the Israeli warship group.
Kuntar and his colleagues fought, at first, with a police patrol where an Israeli sergeant was killed. The group burst into a high building (number 61) in Jabotinski where they parted into two groups.
The battle that ended the operation took place when Kuntar tried to get closer to his boat at the seashore. Abdel Majeed got killed and Mhanna was seriously wounded in the head and later died. Kuntar had five bullets all over his body (a fact he mentioned in one of his letters). He was under fire from all directions; after Kuntar fell to the ground, he was unable to move. The Israelis imprisoned Kuntar and his colleague Ahmed Al Abrass (who was later released in 1985 in a prisoners exchange operation).
The result of the operation was the death of 2 of the commando’s group members, and the imprisonment of Kuntar and Al Abrass. On the Israelis’ side, 5 were killed and 12 others wounded.

This website displays photographs of bandaged Lebanese children, victims of the Israeli bombing of Beirut. (225) Evasion and accusation comprise a pair. Another text, however, takes this conceit further, representing the imprisonment of Kuntar as itself an illegitimate act against a minor. The following is from an article by Simon Assaf “The hidden story of Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails,” in “Socialist Worker,” 19 August 2006:

“The most high profile prisoner in Israel is Samir Kuntar, who is serving a life sentence. Kuntar was captured by Israel in 1979 during an operation by a left wing Palestinian group. He was 16 at the time.”

The child murderer becomes the injured child (“He was 16 at the time”).

Of course, in addition to the Muslim appropriation and exploitation of the blood libel, and its echoes in the West, the blood libel continues to be a theme in the literature and on the websites of the Far Right. (226) It would seem that belief in its essential truth remains widespread among some sections of the population in Poland, (227) and perhaps elsewhere too in Europe. The libel continues to fasten upon particular instances of unexplained murder or disappearance. For example, a few years ago human remains were found in the sewage system of the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. An anti-Semitic activist, Mikhail Nazarov, publicly alleged that they were the remains of children who had disappeared on the Eve of Passover. (228) This reflected a revival of the blood libel among elements on the Russian Right, who regard the murder of the tsar and his family as itself a symbolic ritual murder carried out by Jews. (229) In February 2005, twenty Russian MPs signed a letter, along with 500 intellectuals, accusing Jews of ritual murder and Satanism, and calling for all Jewish organisations to be banned. (230)

This sixth period is, then, an epitome of the blood libel discourse. All the elements in earlier periods are present, often in jumbled form; all the themes of the blood libel are recapitulated. The whole world is now alive to the discourse, but without any consciousness of its history in fabrication and persecution. The blood libel began in England, it spread through Western Europe, and it then reached the Muslim lands. It is now a global phenomenon. In the Middle Ages, there were Popes and Emperors ready to deny its truth. Until the last decades of the 20th century, it was taken to be symptomatic of everything that was reactionary, oppressive and false. But now it is mostly (231) tolerated, even when it is recognised for what it is. It has thus become, once again, unabashed:

Mohammed Salmawy, who edits the state-owned newspaper, Al-Ahram Hebdo, defends the use of old European myths like the blood libel – the accusation that Jews use the blood of Christians when making the matzo bread for Passover. He says journalists are merely digging around – using the equivalent of Greek myths or fairy stories – to convey their horror at the Israeli occupation. “The real question is why the actions of some people bring to mind these myths: Sharon’s policy is bloody and discriminating and anti-Semitic – and remember, the Palestinians are also Semites.” (232)

This is where we are, then – a place where the blood libel has ceased to be a “real question.” At the same time, however, it exercises a kind of magnetic appeal to many of Israel’s adversaries, just at it did to earlier generations of Jew-haters. (233) They cannot resist using it; they cannot leave it alone.
A conclusion
The blood libel has a greater density of reference, a greater historical and ideological resonance, than the more commonplace, everyday lies that people tell. But the blood libel will always be a lie, nonetheless. It is a demonstration of that great counter-intuitive truth that there can sometimes be smoke without fire.

At the end of the 11th century the armies of the First Crusade made their way through the Rhineland killing, raping and plundering Jews. Entire communities were destroyed; hundreds of lives were lost, while the lives of those Jews who survived were ruined. Among the leaders of these massacring bands was one Count Emicho. He and his cohorts fell upon the city of Worms on 18 May 1096, and immediately encountered a problem. How to incite the local populace to assist them in their planned assault on the city’s Jews?

They took a trampled corpse of theirs, which had been buried thirty days previously, and carried it through the city, saying, “Behold what the Jews have done to our comrade. They took a gentile and boiled him in water. They then poured the water into our wells in order to kill us.” (234)

That is to say, they just made it up. It was a ruse de guerre, or more accurately, a ruse de massacre. The lie seems to have worked; almost the entire community was killed. It also seems to have been a new one. The received historical wisdom is that the allegation of well-poisoning was not made until early in the 14th century. (235) The lie is perhaps best regarded as a preparatory to far greater, more consequential lies. But it invites one conclusion. What began in deceit and defamation continues to this day in deceit and defamation.

Anthony Julius


(1) Masaryk called the blood libel “the backbone of anti-Semitism.” I.R. Polak “Mendel Bejlis,” in Benjamin Epstein, trans., Thomas G. Masaryk and the Jews (New York, 1949), p. 262. Léon Poliakov regarded the blood libel as an aspect of “the most secret cannibal projection of the anti-Semitic mechanism.” The History of Anti-Semitism (London, 1975) Vol. III, p. 416.
(2) This is so common a trope that to give examples is probably unnecessary, but see, say, Kenneth Stow Jewish Dogs (Stanford, Ca., 2006), p. 28. From an early-16th century tract: “[The Jews] are after our wealth and our livelihoods; they are even thirsting for the blood of our children.” See Heiko A. Oberman The Roots of Anti-Semitism (Philadelphia, 1984), pp. 41-42. And from a late 20th century tract, Jews are “bloodsuckers” who block black advancement in the USA: Louis Farrakhan, quoted in Daniel Pipes Conspiracy (New York, 1997), p. 6. Soviet anti-Semites gave the trope a leftist twist, accusing world Jewry of “suck[ing] the blood of the international working class.” See Emanuel Litvinoff, ed., Soviet Anti-Semitism: The Paris Trial (London, 1974), p. 15.
(3) See Helmut Walser Smith The Butcher’s Tale (New York, 2002), pp. 84-85, 113-115; Jonathan Frankel The Damascus Affair (Cambridge, 1997), p. 413.
(4) God of Abraham (Oxford, 1996), p. 228.
(5) Hermann L. Strack The Jew and Human Sacrifice (London, 1909), p. 129.
(6) In 1329, the Jews of Savoy were accused of using blood as an ingredient in their Passover haroseth; eating it on lettuce or matzoh was said to grant salvation: Kenneth Stow Jewish Dogs (Stanford, Ca., 2006), p. 122.
(7) Helmut Walser Smith The Butcher’s Tale (New York, 2002), p. 110.
(8) Quoted: Robert Bartlett England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings: 1075-1225 (Oxford, 2000), p. 356.
(9) Jan T. Gross Fear (New York, 2006), p. 74.
(10) See B. Netanyahu The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain (New York, 2001, 2nd ed.), pp. 821-830.
(11) See B. Netanyahu The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain (New York, 2001, 2nd ed.), p. 823. Though this is a Jewish misconception, remarked one theologian; only the true blood of Christ can help. The Jews murder Christians to no avail! See Léon Poliakov The History of Anti-Semitism (London, 1974) Vol. I, p. 57.
(12) Hermann L. Strack The Jew and Human Sacrifice (London, 1909), p. xiv.
(13) Uli Linke Blood and Nation: The European Aesthetics of Race (Philadelphia, Pa., 1999), p. 165. See also Simon M. Dubnow History of the Jews in Poland and Russia (Bergenfield, NJ, 2000), p. 83, for an example of similarly wide claims made by another Christian anti-Semite.
(14) Stories circulated concerning Jewish doctors who prescribed blood as a cure for leprosy and for other serious ailments. It was popularly believed in the 15th century that a Jewish surgeon had prescribed the transfusion of children’s blood to save Pope Innocent VIII in his last illness, with fatal results for donor and patient. See Cecil Roth “The Feast of Purim and the Origins of the Blood Accusation,” in Alan Dundes, ed., The Blood Libel Legend(Madison, Wisconsin, 1991), p. 268. See also Hermann L. Strack The Jew and Human Sacrifice (London, 1909), pp. 63-65.
(15) The word used by the Trent magistrates, when passing sentence upon one of the Jewish accused. R. Po-Chia Hsia Trent 1475 (New Haven, 1992), p. 89.
(16) See Helmut Walser Smith The Butcher’s Tale (New York, 2002), p. 17.
(17) This was a trope of Christian anti-Semitism. The Jews, a 16th century Polish Church document relates, “unscrupulously combine holiness with ungodliness.” See Simon M. Dubnow History of the Jews in Poland and Russia(Bergenfield, NJ, 2000), p. 36.
(18) Robert Bartlett England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings: 1075-1225 (Oxford, 2000), p. 357.
(19)See Zenon Guldon and Jacek Wijacka “The Accusation of Ritual Murder in Poland 1500-1800,” in Gershon David Hundert, ed., Polin: Jews in Early Modern Poland (London, 1997), p. 123.
(20) “Blood libel,” Encyclopedia Judaica (Jerusalem, 1972), Vol. 4, p. 1123.
(21) See Otto Fenichel “Elements of a Psychoanalytic Theory of Anti-Semitism” in Ernst Simmel, ed., Anti-Semitism: A Social Disease (New York, 1946), pp. 57-58. I have not followed his elaboration of the connection between Passover and the blood libel in every respect.
(22) “On the Jews and their lies” (1543), quoted in Elliot Horowitz Reckless Rites (Princeton, NJ, 2006), p. 12.
(23) But not, according to Elliot Horowitz, always misunderstood. See Reckless Rites (Princeton, NJ, 2006), p. 18.
(24) Ecclesiastical History (Eugene, OR., 2003), pp. 296-7. Socrates repeatedly assures the reader that he has taken all possible pains to ascertain facts from available records (see p. xviii). But this is a story without any ostensible supporting evidence, and in particular, no testimony is cited. See also Elliot Horowitz Reckless Rites (Princeton, NJ, 2006), pp. 213-217.
(25) Kenneth Stow Jewish Dogs (Stanford, Ca., 2006), p. 60.
(26) See Jeremy Cohen Sanctifying the Name (Philadelphia, PA, 2004).
(27) Chronicle of Rabbi Eliezer bar Nathan, relating to the massacre of the Xanten Jews in 1096; see Jeremy Cohen Sanctifying the Name (Philadelphia, PA, 2004), p. 74.
(28) Kenneth Stow Jewish Dogs (Stanford, Ca., 2006), p. 26. It was more likely that, in many cases, what motivated these desperate Jews was the wish not to be killed by their enemies. See Abraham Gross “Historical and Halakhic Aspects of the Mass Martyrdom in Mainz: An Integrative Approach,” in Yom Tov Assis et al., eds., Facing the Cross (Jerusalem, 2000), p. xv.
(29) Robin R. Mundill England’s Jewish Solution: Experiment and Expulsion: 1262-1290 (Cambridge, 1998), p. 53.
(30) Israel J. Yuval “Vengeance and Damnation, Blood and Defamation: From Jewish Martyrdom to Blood Libel Accusations,” Zion Vol. LVIII No. 1, 1993, p. viii.
(31) Quoted in Jeremy Cohen “Christian Theology and anti-Jewish Violence in the Middle Ages: Connections and Disjunctions,” in Anna Sapir Abulafia Religious Violence between Christians and Jews (New York, 2002), p. 51.
(32) For example: from a speech at the 1899 Polna blood libel trial: “After the first murder in the world, the blood of the victim cried aloud for revenge. Here [in the Polna case] the blood did not call for revenge because there was no blood left, but her whole body called for revenge.” Ernst Rychnovsky “The struggle against the ritual murder superstition,” in Benjamin Epstein, trans., Thomas G. Masaryk and the Jews (New York, 1949), p. 192.
(33) Ian Bradley “Sacrifice,” in Adrian Hastings, ed., The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought (Oxford, 2000), p. 637. Some modern Christian theologians, writes Bradley, believe that the notion of sacrifice should be abandoned, because “it takes us back to an unappealing world of ritual slaughter and cultic blood-shedding to appease an angry deity.”
(34) Adrian Hastings “Blood,” in Adrian Hastings, ed., The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought (Oxford, 2000), p. 76.
(35) Jaroslav Pelikan The Christian Tradition Vol. 3 (Chicago, 1978), pp. 203-204.
(36) Henry Bettenson, ed., Documents of the Christian Church (Oxford, 1967), p. 308.
(37) Leah Sinanoglou “The Christ Child as Sacrifice: A Medieval Tradition and the Corpus Christi Plays,” Speculum 48 (1973), p. 499.
(38) Jaroslav Pelikan The Christian Tradition Vol. 3 (Chicago, 1978), pp. 184-185.
(39) Leah Sinanoglou “The Christ Child as Sacrifice: A Medieval Tradition and the Corpus Christi Plays,” Speculum 48 (1973), p. 491.
(40) Jaroslav Pelikan The Christian Tradition Vol. 3 (Chicago, 1978), p. 201.
(41) Bettina Bildhauer Medieval Blood (Cardiff, 2006), p. 17.
(42) Uli Linke Blood and Nation: The European Aesthetics of Race (Philadelphia, Pa., 1999), p. 125. This is Linke’s gloss on the Eucharist: “Christian theology focused its spiritual practices on the oral incorporation of a male deity … By ingesting the deity’s corporeal substance, Christian worshippers were able to assimilate the god’s spiritual and redemptive powers into their own mortal bodies. … One of the central rituals of Western Christianity was thus embedded in a cannibalistic fantasy.” (pp. 139-139).
(43) Bettina Bildhauer Medieval Blood (Cardiff, 2006), p. 155.
(44) Dariusz Libionka “Antisemitism and the Polish Catholic Clergy,” in Robert Blobaum, ed., Antisemitism and Its Opponents in Modern Poland (Ithaca, NY, 2005), p. 257.
(45) Jeremy Cohen The Friars and the Jews (Ithaca, 1982), p. 239.
(46) W.E.H. Lecky History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne (London, 1869), vol. i, p. 415.
(47) See Simon M. Dubnow History of the Jews in Poland and Russia (Bergenfield, NJ, 2000), p. 38.
(48) From the official statement on the blood libel trial in Trent, 1475. See R. Po-Chia Hsia Trent 1475 (New Haven, 1992), p. xix.
(49) See Heinz Schrekenberg The Jews in Christian Art (New York, 1996), pp. 259-260, figs. 4, and 6-8.
(50) Mordechai Breuer “The ‘Black Death and Antisemitism,” in Shmuel Almog, ed., Antisemitism Through the Ages (Oxford, 1988), pp. 140, 150. It was frequently said, however, that the poison was made from the hearts of Christians and fragments of the Host: Norman Cantor In the Wake of the Plague (London, 2001), p. 155.
(51) Norman Cantor In the Wake of the Plague (London, 2001), pp. 156-157.
(52) “The Jews hate Christ in 1886 as they hated him in the time of Tiberius Augustus; they heap the same humiliation on him. Whipping the crucifix on Good Friday, profaning the Host, soiling holy images: such was the great joy of the Jew during the Middle Ages, such is his great joy today. Once he attacked the bodies of children; today, it is their soul he targets with atheistic teachings. Once he bled, now he poisons: which is better?” Edouard Drumont, quoted by Michel Winock Nationalism, Anti-Semitism, and Fascism in France (Stanford, Ca., 1998), p. 91.
(53) Hans Rogger “Conclusion and Overview,” in John D. Klier and Shlomo Lambroza, eds., Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History (Cambridge, 1992), p. 339.
(54) Protocol X, para 19, p. 30 – see note 6, bibliography, below. See also Daniel Pipes Conspiracy (New York, 1997), p. 54.
(55) Richard Bessel Nazism and War (London, 2004), p. 172.
(56) The activist was one Steven Cokely. See Richard S. Levy “Introduction,” in Richard S. Levy, ed., Antisemitism in the Modern World Lexington, MA, 1991), p. 1, and Daniel Pipes Conspiracy (New York, 1997), p. 3.
(57) Menasseh ben Israel Vindiciae Judaeorum (1656), in Lucien Wolf, ed., Menasseh ben Israel’s Mission to Oliver Cromwell (London, 1901). p. 115.
(58) Joseph Jacobs “The Damascus Affair of 1840 and the Jews of America,” Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 10 (1902), p. 124.
(59) See “Blood libel,” Encyclopedia Judaica (Jerusalem, 1972), Vol. 4, p. 1120-1131; Emily Rose “Ritual Murder (Medieval,” and Hillel J. Kieval “Ritual Murder (Modern),” in Richard S. Levy, ed., Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution (Santa Barbara, CA, 2005), pp. 602-8.
(60) Shelby Brown Late Carthaginian Child Sacrifice (Sheffield, 1991), pp. 25, 155. These charges against Christianity were revived in the 19th century by the German radical anti-Christian, Georg Friedrich Daumer (1800-1875). “The idea of the human victim,” he wrote, “sacrificed to God, is the fundamental idea of Christianity. […] Once at Golgotha in the original, and an infinite number of times in imitation.” See Léon Poliakov The History of Anti-Semitism (London, 1975) Vol. III, p. 411. Daumer’s work was taken seriously in its day, and earned even Marx’s endorsement: “We know that the supreme thing in Christianity is human sacrifice. Daumer now proves in a recently published work that Christians really slaughtered men and at the Holy Supper ate human flesh and drank human blood. […] This story, as presented in Daumer’s work, deals Christianity the last blow.” “Minutes of Report to the London German Workers’ Educational Society on November 30,1847, Daumer regarded the Damascus trial as evidence that the Jews had not been able to purge Judaism of this primitive cult. See Jonathan Frankel The Damascus Affair (Cambridge, 1997), p. 412. “Daumer,” says Frankel, “follow[ed] the most extreme Voltairean traditions, in violent opposition not only to Judaism, but also to the established churches and schools of Christian theology in Germany.”
(61) See Uli Linke Blood and Nation: The European Aesthetics of Race (Philadelphia, Pa., 1999), p. vii.
(62) Bettina Bildhauer Medieval Blood (Cardiff, 2006), p. 1.
(63) Uli Linke Blood and Nation: The European Aesthetics of Race (Philadelphia, Pa., 1999), pp. 104-105.
(64) It consists of seven “books.” Though there is consensus among scholars on when the whole work was concluded, there is disagreement on whether parts of the work were completed at earlier dates. Gavin Langmuir proposes that the first book was probably completed in 1150, the second through to the sixth books, by about 1155, and the seventh book by about 1172 or 1173. “Thomas of Monmouth: Detector of Ritual Murder,” Towards a Definition of Antisemitism (Berkeley, Ca., 1990), p. 228. John McCulloh proposes that books one to six were completed in 1154/5. “Jewish Ritual Murder: William of Norwich, Thomas of Monmouth, and the Early Dissemination of the Myth”Speculum 72 (1997), pp. 706-9. Others told the story of William of Norwich too. It is in the final continuation of the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, written at Peterborough in or about 1155. It is in Nova Legenda Angliae, compiled by John Capgrave (1393-1464), the English chronicler and hagiologist. Capgrave’s book was a recension of the Sanctilogium, completed in 1366 by John of Tinmouth, a monk of St Albans, who in turn borrowed from the Sanctilogiumof Guido, abbot of St Denis. Capgrave lifted direct from Thomas the story of William’s martyrdom. Wynkyn de Worde printed the Nova Legenda in 1516 and again in 1527. It tells of William’s mother’s vision when pregnant, and of the miracles performed by the child before the Jews killed him: “… on an Easter day he was taken privily by the Jews / and they in despite of our Lord mocked him / and cruelly martyred him / they thrust all the blood out of his head with cords / and then they did shave his head and pricked it with thorns / and put him upon a Cross and thrust him into the left side grievously / and so by great martyrdom he went to our Lord …” Thomas’s book is mentioned or alluded to in the works of other 15th and 16th century writers. Bale’s Acts of English Votaries (1550) refers to “St. William of Norwich” who “was crucified of the Jews.” Augustus Jessopp and M.R. James, eds., The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich by Thomas of Monmouth (Cambridge, 1896), pp. lvii, lix (spelling modernised).
(65) Bettina Bildhauer Medieval Blood (Cardiff, 2006), p. 164.
(66) Robin R. Mundill England’s Jewish Solution: Experiment and Expulsion: 1262-1290 (Cambridge, 1998), p. 52.
(67) Alfonso the Wise, king of Castile (1221-1284), incorporated in the legal code Las Siete Partidas the following provision: “And because we have heard that in some places Jews celebrated, and still celebrate, Good Friday … by way of contempt – stealing children and fastening them to crosses and making images of wax and crucifying them, when they cannot obtain children – we order that etc.” See Léon Poliakov The History of Anti-Semitism (London, 1974) Vol. II, p. 145.
(68) B. Netanyahu The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain (New York, 2001, 2nd ed.), pp 833, 1089-1092
(69) Innocent III’s condemnation was concerned specifically with ritual cannibalism, and not ritual murder (that is, crucifixion). Langmuir suggests that the pope’s “silence could easily be interpreted as tacit permission to continue crucifixion allegations.” See Gavin I. Langmuir Towards a Definition of Antisemitism (Berkeley, Ca., 1990), p. 260.
(70) See Robert Chazan “The Bray Incident of 1192,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, 1969, Vol. XXVII, pp. 10-11.
(71) Quoted: Robert Chazan “The Bray Incident of 1192,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, 1969, Vol. XXVII, p. 13.
(72) Robert Chazan “The Bray Incident of 1192,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, 1969, Vol. XXVII, p. 14.
(73) Quoted: Heiko A. Oberman The Roots of Anti-Semitism (Philadelphia, 1984), p. 37.
(74) In 1670, Raphael Lévy was condemned to death in the French city of Metz for stealing and murdering a Christian child. He was burned alive. France’s leading Biblical scholar, Richard Simon, wrote a pamphlet in his defence. There was no pogrom; the Jewish population of the city continued to grow. In the early 1760s, two Jews were condemned to death in Nancy for host desecration; one was executed. See Arthur Hertzberg The French Enlightenment and the Jews: The Origins of Modern Anti-Semitism (New York, 1968), pp. 20, 34.
(75) Zenon Guldon and Jacek Wijacka “The Accusation of Ritual Murder in Poland 1500-1800,” in Gershon David Hundert, ed., Polin: Jews in Early Modern Poland (London, 1997), p. 98. Norman Davies somewhat understates the significance of the record when he writes, “There were occasional riots against the Jews, provoked by the time-honoured blood libel. In the worst such incident, in Cracow in 1637, some eight Jews lost their lives.” God’s Playground: A History of Poland (Oxford, 2005), Vol. I, p. 148. This is all he has to say on the blood libel.
(76) “Most of these accusations took place at a time when ritual murder trials in Western Europe had been consigned to history.” Zenon Guldon and Jacek Wijacka “The Accusation of Ritual Murder in Poland 1500-1800,” in Gershon David Hundert, ed., Polin: Jews in Early Modern Poland (London, 1997), pp. 139-140. See also Simon M. Dubnow History of the Jews in Poland and Russia (Bergenfield, NJ, 2000), pp. 45, 77-79, 83-87, 119.
(77) Simon M. Dubnow History of the Jews in Poland and Russia (Bergenfield, NJ, 2000), p. 86.
(78) In 1399, the Jews of Poznań (then part of Poland) were accused of host desecration. 13 elders of the community, and one woman, were roasted alive on a slow fire. The community was further punished by the imposition of an “eternal fine,” paid annually to the local Domnicans. The fine was still being exacted in the 18th century. See Simon M. Dubnow History of the Jews in Poland and Russia (Bergenfield, NJ, 2000), p. 22.
(79) Simon M. Dubnow History of the Jews in Poland and Russia (Bergenfield, NJ, 2000), pp. 43, 83; Louis W. Bondy Racketeers of Hatred: Julius Streicher and the Jew-Baiters’ International (London, 1946), p. 67.
(80) Louis Jacobs, “Blood Libel,” The Jewish Religion: A Companion (Oxford, 1995), p.
(81) Zenon Guldon and Jacek Wijacka “The Accusation of Ritual Murder in Poland 1500-1800,” in Gershon David Hundert, ed., Polin: Jews in Early Modern Poland (London, 1997), pp125-128.
(82) Cecil Roth The Ritual Murder Libel and the Jew. The Report by Cardinal Lorenzo Ganganelli (London, n.d), p. 25.
(83) Zenon Guldon and Jacek Wijacka “The Accusation of Ritual Murder in Poland 1500-1800,” in Gershon David Hundert, ed., Polin: Jews in Early Modern Poland (London, 1997), p. 140.
(84) Keely Strauter-Halstead “Jews as Middleman Minorities in Rural Poland,” in Robert Blobaum, ed., Antisemitism and Its Opponents in Modern Poland (Ithaca, NY, 2005), p. 46.
(85) See Heinz Schrekenberg The Jews in Christian Art (New York, 1996), pp. 273-291, figs. 1-16.
(86) Uli Linke Blood and Nation: The European Aesthetics of Race (Philadelphia, Pa., 1999), p. 151.
(87) The mural was next to Frankfurt’s busiest gate. It was painted in the last years of the 15th century, and restored in 1678. See David Frankfurter Evil Incarnate (Princeton, NJ, 2006), pp. 205-206.
(88) Kenneth Stow Jewish Dogs (Stanford, Ca., 2006), p. 59.
(89) See Kenneth Stow Jewish Dogs (Stanford, Ca., 2006), passim.
(90) For example, from a 1524 German pamphlet: “… [the Jews], the obstinate blind dogs, … purchased seven children … pierced [them] with needles and knives, tortured, and finally killed them. Then they prepared the blood with pomegranates and served it for dinner.” See Heiko A. Oberman The Roots of Anti-Semitism (Philadelphia, 1984), p. 99.
(91) These quotations are taken from extracts from Eisenmenger’s work in Richard S. Levy, ed., Antisemitism in the Modern World: An Anthology of Texts (Lexington, MA, 1991), pp. 33-36.
(92) Kenneth Stow Jewish Dogs (Stanford, Ca., 2006), p. 38. For example: “Ritual murder as a Jewish institution has been learnedly and conclusively disproved … and in the case of St. William the evidence is totally insufficient. It seems, however, quite possible that in some cases at least the deaths of those victims were due to rough usage or even deliberate murder on the part of Jews and that some may actually have been slain in odium fidei [hatred of the faith].”
(93) Gavin I. Langmuir Towards a Definition of Antisemitism (Berkeley, Ca., 1990), p. 287.
(94) See Richard S. Levy, ed., Antisemitism in the Modern World: An Anthology of Texts (Lexington, MA, 1991), p. 36.
(95) Y. Harkabi Arab Attitudes to Israel (Jerusalem, 1972), p. 271.
(96) Y. Harkabi Arab Attitudes to Israel (Jerusalem, 1972), p. 274.
(97) Heiko A. Oberman The Roots of Anti-Semitism (Philadelphia, 1984), p. 35.
(98) This compromises Ganganelli’s report, because he must acknowledge that Simon of Trent and Andreas of Rinn were indeed martyred – though he does all he can, notwithstanding this acknowledgment both to cast doubt on these stories and to deny their representative status. (“A crime committed by one member of a family and of a nation, cannot and ought not to be imputed to other relatives or fellow-citizens.” Cecil Roth The Ritual Murder Libel and the Jew. The Report by Cardinal Lorenzo Ganganelli (London, n.d.), pp. 85-86. It was only in 1965 that the Church repudiated the Trent blood libel (see “Blood libel,” Encyclopedia Judaica [Jerusalem, 1972], Vol. 4, p. 1124). It was only in 1984 that the cult of Andreas was suppressed.
(99) Masaryk, in connection with the 1899 Polna blood libel: “It is blasphemy for a Christian to state that ritual murder comes from the spirit of the Jewish religion. The Christian has taken over the whole of the Old Testament, which is the very spirit of the Jewish religion.” Ernst Rychnovsky “The struggle against the ritual murder superstition,” in Benjamin Epstein, trans., Thomas G. Masaryk and the Jews (New York, 1949), p. 211.
(100) Philosophical Dictionary (London, 2004), pp. 40, 256-257. Poliakov writes of “Voltaire’s obsession with ritual murder:” The History of Anti-Semitism (London, 1975) Vol. III, p. 89.
(101) Ezekiel Leikin The Beilis Transcripts (Northvale, NJ, 1993), p. 212.
(102) My Irrelevant Defence, Being Meditations Inside Gaol And Out On Jewish Ritual Murder (London, 1938), p. 3. This is also online.
(103) See here.
(104) Y. Harkabi Arab Attitudes to Israel (Jerusalem, 1972), pp. 273-274.
(105) Joël et Dan Kotek Au nom de l’antisionisme (Bruxelles, 2005), p. 44.
(106) Léon Poliakov The History of Anti-Semitism (London, 1975) Vol. III, p. 79.
(107) See Anthony Julius Transgressions: The Offences of Art (London, 2002), pp. 154-155.
(108) Jan Herben “Thomas G. Masaryk, Jews and Anti-Semitism,” in Benjamin Epstein, trans., Thomas G. Masaryk and the Jews (New York, 1949), p. 3.
(109) Jacob Barnai “‘Blood libels’ in the Ottoman Empire of the Fifteenth to Nineteenth Centuries,” in Shmuel Almog, ed., Antisemitism Through the Ages (Oxford, 1988), pp. 191-192.
(110) Tudor Parfitt “‘The Year of the {Pride of Israel.’ Montefiore and the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840,” in Sonia and V.D. Lipman, eds., The Century of Moses Montefiore (London, 1985), p. 144.
(111) Tudor Parfitt “‘The Year of the ‘Pride of Israel.’ Montefiore and the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840,” in Sonia and V.D. Lipman, eds., The Century of Moses Montefiore (London, 1985), p. 133.
(112) Albert H. Hyamson “The Damascus Affair – 1840,” Transactions of the J.H.S.E., Vol. XVI (1940), p. 47.
(113) Tudor Parfitt “‘The Year of the {Pride of Israel.’ Montefiore and the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840,” in Sonia and V.D. Lipman, eds., The Century of Moses Montefiore (London, 1985), p. 131.
(114) 18 May 1840, quoted in Albert H. Hyamson “The Damascus Affair – 1840,” Transactions of the J.H.S.E., Vol. XVI (1940), p. 47. The great Jewish historian, H. Graetz was in no doubt regarding Ratti-Menton. He was “a heartless and conscienceless fortune-hunter” and a “downright rascal and arch-enemy of the Jews.” Popular History of the Jews Vol. V (New York, 1923), p. 505.
(115) Tudor Parfitt speculates that Ratti Menton’s motivation might not have been “Jew-hatred,” though Parfitt does not offer an alternative explanation. See “‘The Year of the {Pride of Israel.’ Montefiore and the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840,” in Sonia and V.D. Lipman, eds., The Century of Moses Montefiore (London, 1985), p. 138.
(116) Tudor Parfitt “‘The Year of the {Pride of Israel.’ Montefiore and the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840,” in Sonia and V.D. Lipman, eds., The Century of Moses Montefiore (London, 1985), p. 142.
(117) Albert H. Hyamson “The Damascus Affair – 1840,” Transactions of the J.H.S.E., Vol. XVI (1940), p. 67.
(118) Tudor Parfitt “‘The Year of the {Pride of Israel.’ Montefiore and the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840,” in Sonia and V.D. Lipman, eds., The Century of Moses Montefiore (London, 1985), p. 131. In addition, writes Parfitt, “the Arab population at large” gave “general support to the persecution of the Jews.”
(119) Léon Poliakov The History of Anti-Semitism (London, 1975) Vol. III, p. 349.
(120) “We who live in an age in which half-civilised countries still afford instances of attacks upon Jews, and of absurdly false charges [i.e., blood libels] made against them, can, while we congratulate ourselves upon our own progress, estimate at their true value some of the accusations made by our forefathers.” Luke Owen Pike A History of Crime in England (London, 1873), Vol. I, pp. 194-195.
(121) “‘The Year of the {Pride of Israel.’ Montefiore and the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840,” in Sonia and V.D. Lipman, eds., The Century of Moses Montefiore (London, 1985), p. 144-145.
(122) Helmut Walser Smith The Butcher’s Tale (New York, 2002), p. 123.
(123) Cecil Roth The Ritual Murder Libel and the Jew. The Report by Cardinal Lorenzo Ganganelli (London, n.d), p. 16.
(124) See Hillel J. Kieval “Ritual Murder (Modern),” in Richard S. Levy, ed., Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution (Santa Barbara, CA, 2005), p. 607.
(125) Daniel J. Goldhagen Hitler’s Willing Executioners (London, 1997), p. 64.
(126) For example, in one year alone (1893), in and around Moravia, there were three ritual murder-related trials, each one of which resulted in the conviction and punishment of the fabricators of the accusation. Jan Herben “Thomas G. Masaryk, Jews and Anti-Semitism,” in Benjamin Epstein, trans., Thomas G. Masaryk and the Jews (New York, 1949), pp. 9-10.
(127) Arnold J. Band “Refractions of the Blood Libel in Modern Literature,” Studies in Modern Jewish Literature (Philadelphia, PA, 2003), p. 317.
(128) Hans Rogger Jewish Policies and Right-Wing Politics in Imperial Russia (London, 1986), p. 1.
(129) Stephen Wilson Ideology and Experience: Antisemitism in France at the Time of the Dreyfus Affair (London, 1982), p. 479.
(130) See, e.g., Shlomo Lambroza”The Pogroms of 1903-1906,” in John D. Klier and Shlomo Lambroza, eds., Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 196-197. The Viennese anti-Semite Joseph Deckert published an article in an influential daily newspaper in which he asserted, “the blood-ritual is handed down as a secret tradition among the Chassidim.” Robert S. Wistrich The Jews of Vienna in the Age of Franz Joseph (Oxford, 1990), p. 296.
(131) Shlomo Lambroza “The Pogroms of 1903-1906,” in John D. Klier and Shlomo Lambroza, eds., Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History (Cambridge, 1992), p. 204; Helmut Walser Smith The Butcher’s Tale(New York, 2002), pp. 29-30, 56.
(132) Ippolit Liutostanskii, Polish-born, defrocked after being tried for rape, turned to anti-Semitic polemics as a way of making money: Helmut Walser Smith The Butcher’s Tale (New York, 2002), p. 117.
(133) See Uli Linke Blood and Nation: The European Aesthetics of Race (Philadelphia, Pa., 1999), pp. 201-206.
(134) Steven Beller “The World of Yesterday Revisited: Nostalgia, Memory, and the Jews of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna,” Jewish Social Studies (1996), Vol. 2, p. 47.
(135) “The campaign over the Hilsner affair was a bad business, in which I had to struggle with the superstition about ritual murder. At first I took no interest in the case, but a former student of mine, the Moravian writer Sigmund Münz, came from Vienna to see me and prevailed upon me to take part.” Karel Čapek President Masaryk Tells His Story (London, 1934), p. 187.
(136) The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment; in 1918, Hilsner was pardoned. He died in 1928.
(137) See Ernst Rychnovsky “The struggle against the ritual murder superstition,” in Benjamin Epstein, trans., Thomas G. Masaryk and the Jews (New York, 1949), pp. 189-194.
(138) Joël et Dan Kotek Au nom de l’antisionisme (Bruxelles, 2005), p. 32.
(139) Ezekiel Leikin The Beilis Transcripts (Northvale, NJ, 1993), pp. 9, 12, 14-16, 39.
(140) Upon being told of Beilis’s acquittal, the Tsar commented: “It is certain that there was a ritual murder. But I am happy that Beilis was acquitted, for he is innocent.” Hans Rogger Jewish Policies and Right-Wing Politics in Imperial Russia (London, 1986), p. 48.
(141) However, “there had been no grand design; there had not even been a tactical plan. There had been an experiment, conducted by a small band of unsuccessful politicians and honest maniacs to see how far they could go in imposing their cynicism and madness upon the state. They had succeeded beyond all expectation …” Hans Rogger Jewish Policies and Right-Wing Politics in Imperial Russia (London, 1986), p. 55.
(142) Ezekiel Leikin The Beilis Transcripts (Northvale, NJ, 1993), p. 164.
(143) See Wikipedia, and the link to the periodical.
(144) Stephen Wilson Ideology and Experience: Antisemitism in France at the Time of the Dreyfus Affair (London, 1982), p. 411, but see also pp. 551-553.
(145) Shlomo Lambroza “The Pogroms of 1903-1906,” in John D. Klier and Shlomo Lambroza, eds., Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History (Cambridge, 1992), p. 214. See also Simon M. Dubnow History of the Jews in Poland and Russia (Bergenfield, NJ, 2000), pp. 451-457.
(146) It was an aspect only of the last pogrom in the series, in Nizhnii-Novgorod, ostensibly triggered by a rumour that local Jews had kidnapped a Christian child, but in reality an example of nothing more than imitative violence. The pogroms had established themselves by then, remarked one commentator of the time, as an annual tradition in Russia. John D. Klier and Shlomo Lambroza “The Pogroms of 1881-1884,” in John D. Klier and Shlomo Lambroza, eds., Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 40-42.
(147) Peter Pulzer Jews and the German State (Detroit, MI, 2003), p. 141.
(148) “Streicher is … the chief propagandist for the horrible lie that accuses Jews of ‘ritual murders’…” N. Kornev “Julius Streicher – Nazi King of Smut,” New Masses, 27 August 1935, p. 11.
(149) For example, on 4 November 1929, Streicher was sentenced to 3½ months imprisonment, following expert evidence from a Munich theologian refuting the blood libel. See Shlomo Glickstein The Forgeries and Falsifications in the Anti-Semitic Literature and My Lawsuit against Julius Streicher and Company (New York, 1939), pp. 51-52.
(150) Randall L. Bytwerk Julius Streicher (New York, 1983), pp. 12-13, 129. The last prosecution of Streicher for the blood libel was in 1932, in the last months of the Weimar Republic: Dennis E. Showalter Little Man, What Now? Der Stürmer in the Weimar Republic (Hamden, CT, 1982), p. 103.
(151) See Dennis E. Showalter Little Man, What Now? Der Stürmer in the Weimar Republic (Hamden, CT, 1982), pp. 104-108.
(152) See, for example, Louis W. Bondy Racketeers of Hatred: Julius Streicher and the Jew-Baiters’ International (London, 1946), pp. 58-9.
(153) Saul Friedländer Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939 (London, 1997), pp. 123-124.
(154) Quoted in Haig Bosmajian The Language of Oppression (Washington DC, 1974), pp. 23-4.
(155) Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf, quoted by Uli Linke Blood and Nation: The European Aesthetics of Race (Philadelphia, Pa., 1999), p. 200.
(156) Martin Gilbert The Holocaust (London, 1987), p. 43.
(157) The corpse of a small boy had been discovered on the island of Manau. The police described it as a sex crime. There was no clue as to the perpetrator’s identity. Streicher reported that the local people had decided that it was “too close to Easter” for the police explanation to be correct. Dennis E. Showalter Little Man, What Now? Der Stürmer in the Weimar Republic (Hamden, CT, 1982), pp. 107-108. The Manau blood libel continues to excite attention from anti-Semites. (“Technically it was a ritual slaughter in the ‘lawfully manner’ prescribed by the Jewish law of Human Sacrifice. The child’s body was completely drained of blood. On the right thigh and right forearm there were marks of where pressure had been applied. This indicated that the boy must have been held upside down for a while to insure that he bled to death quickly. There was no blood found at the scene of the murder. It had been curried away. All these clues proved that Karl Kessler was the victim of a Ritual Murder. Also the killing occurred just before Passover. It was suspicious that the day after the murder a Jewish butcher from Hofheim disappeared forever …”etc.)
(158) Jonathan Frankel The Damascus Affair (Cambridge, 1997), p. 431.
(159) Martin Gilbert The Holocaust (London, 1987), p. 518. He also suggested that Security Police people be put to work tracing British court records and police descriptions of missing children, “so that we can report in our radio broadcasts to England that in the town of XY a child is missing and that is probably another case of ritual murder.” Raul Hillberg The Destruction of the European Jews (New York, 1985), Vol. III, p. 1022.
(160) Raul Hillberg The Destruction of the European Jews (New York, 1985), Vol. III, pp. 1021-1022.
(161) Jan T. Gross Fear (New York, 2006), p. 93. Bodies were brought to the morgue almost naked, robbed of possessions and clothing.
(162) Martin Gilbert The Holocaust (London, 1987), p. 819.
(163) See Jan T. Gross Fear (New York, 2006), pp. 73-80.
(164) Michael C. Steinlauf “Poland,” in David S. Wyman, ed., The World Reacts to the Holocaust (Baltimore, 1996), pp. 111-112.
(165) Jan T. Gross Fear (New York, 2006), p. 119.
(166) Robert S. Wistrich Anti-Semitism (London, 1991), pp. 206-207, 234-236; Gabriel Schoenfeld The Return of Anti-Semitism (San Francisco, 2004), pp. 14-15, 17-20, 35-36. “The Blood Libel is still current in the Arab and Muslim world, and crops up even in the most important government newspapers. Some writers rehash and recycle these familiar accusations, putting a new twist on them, such as, for example, that on the Jewish holiday of Purim, Jews use human blood for their traditional pastries. Blood libel accusations in the Arab media are most commonly encountered in the context of criticism of Israel’s actions against the Palestinians. One instance of this caused the Paris Supreme Court, in August 2002, to subpoena Ibrahim Nafi’, editor of the Egyptian daily ‘Al-Ahram’. Nafi’ was charged with incitement to antisemitism and racist violence for having permitted the publication of an article entitled ‘Jewish Matza is Made from Arab Blood’ in the October 28, 2000 edition of ‘Al-Ahram.’ The article connected the 1840 Damascus blood libel with Israel’s activity in the occupied territories. It is worthwhile noting that the charges against Nafi’, who is chairman of the Arab Journalist Union, aroused a storm of protest and outrage throughout the Arab world. They were described in the Arab media as ‘intellectual terrorism,’ ‘a blow to freedom of expression,’ ‘a Zionist attack on the Egyptian press,’ ‘extortion by the Zionist lobby in France,’ and even as ‘an insult to the entire Arab press,’ as Nafi’ is its senior representative.” Menachem Milsom “What is Arab Antisemitism?” MEMRI Special Report – No. 26, 27 February 2004.
(167) ‘Al Ahram’ 28 October 2000, quoted in Joël et Dan Kotek Au nom de l’antisionisme (Bruxelles, 2005), p. 82. The newspaper’s content is controlled by the Egyptian Ministry of Information.
(168) The cartoons are in Joël et Dan Kotek Au nom de l’antisionisme (Bruxelles, 2005), p. 83.
(169) See Livnat Holtzman and Eliezer Schlossberg, “Fundamentals of the Modern Muslim-Jewish Polemic,” “Israel Affairs,” Vol. 12, No. 1, January 2006, p. 14-15; Y. Harkabi Arab Attitudes to Israel (Jerusalem, 1972), p. 271.
(170) Gabriel Schoenfeld The Return of Anti-Semitism (San Francisco, 2004), pp. 19-20; Reuven Erlich “Anti-Semitism in the Contemporary Middle East,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies, Jerusalem, April 2004, pp. 64-65.Tlass is also the author of The Young Martyr of Prague, the story of a young convert to Christianity murdered by his Jewish father. See also Kamil Sa’fan Jews, History and Doctrine (1981), cited in Raphael Israeli “Anti-Jewish Attitudes in the Arabic Media, 1975-1981,” in Robert S. Wistrich, ed., Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism in the Contemporary World (New York, 1990), p. 118. Transcripts of the Damascus interrogation protocols were first published, translated back into Arabic from the French, in 1899. See Jonathan Frankel The Damascus Affair (Cambridge, 1997), p. 416.
(171) See Arieh Stav Peace: The Arabian Caricature (Jerusalem, 1999), p. 232.
(172) Jonathan Frankel The Damascus Affair (Cambridge, 1997), p. 418, and fns. 57-59.
(173) Y. Harkabi Arab Attitudes to Israel (Jerusalem, 1972), pp. 270-271.
(174) The Soviets pointed the way here. See, e.g., Emanuel Litvinoff, ed., Soviet Anti-Semitism: The Paris Trial (London, 1974), p. 12. However, the ritual murder theme appears not to have been deployed in Soviet anti-Israel cartoons, at least not in the period immediately following the Six Day War. See Yeshayahu Nir The Arab-Israeli Conflict in Soviet caricatures 1967-1973 (Tel Aviv, 1976), p. 80.
(175) See http://www.seconddraft.org.
(176) Hussam Wahba “The Jews Slaughtering Non-Jews, Draining their Blood, and using it for Talmudic Religious Rituals,” Al-Gomhuriya, 10 August 2004. Wahba is a columnist for a religious Egyptian weekly magazine. Seehere.
(177) See MEMRI Special Dispatch Series – No. 1011. In one scene, Jews in a Romanian ghetto murder a Christian child and use his blood to make Passover matzos. View the clip. The following is the transcript.
– Rabbi: ” We have a mission from the leadership, and we must carry it out quickly.”
– Nathan: “What is it?”
– Rabbi: “Listen. We want the blood of a Christian child before Passover, for the matzos. Don’t think too hard. Joseph, the son of Helen, your neighbour.”
– Nathan: “Joseph? Why Joseph specifically?”
– Rabbi: “I’ll explain it to you later. First do it.”
– Rabbi: “Nathan is very late.”
– Speaker 3: “True. I am beginning to worry.”
– Rabbi: “If anyone suspects anything, we will abort the operation, and tell Nathan to say he brought Joseph here just for a walk.”
– Nathan: “Hello.”
-Speaker 3: “Hello. Did anyone see you?”
– Nathan: “No.”
– Speaker 3: “Are you sure?”
– Nathan: “Of course.”
– Rabbi: “Let’s start immediately.”
– Joseph: “Nathan, I want to go home.”
– Nathan: “Of course, my dear. We’ll go in a little bit.”
– Joseph: “Nathan, where are you taking me?”
– Nathan: “Don’t be afraid, Joseph. Don’t be afraid.”
– Joseph: “Nathan, take me back!”
– Nathan: “Don’t be afraid, my dear, don’t be afraid.”
– Joseph: “Mama! Help me! Mama!”
(The Jews slaughter Joseph.)
– Rabbi: “Hello.”
– Non-religious Jew: “Hello.”
– Rabbi: “Good Passover.”
– Non-religious Jew: “Good Passover to you too.”
– Rabbi: “Isn’t it a mistake to have Passover without inviting the Rabbi?”
– Non-religious Jew: “Never mind, Rabbi. You know me. I’m not religious.”
– Rabbi: “This is why I’m looking for you. I want to let you taste the holy Passover matzo. Then, maybe you will come back to your religion.”
– Non-religious Jew: “No, thanks, I don’t want to.”
– Rabbi: “No, no. You must eat this, if not for my sake, for the sake of God.”
– Non-religious Jew: “Thank you.”
– Rabbi: “How is it? Tasty?”
– Non-religious Jew: ” Plain. Like all the matzos in the world.”
– Rabbi: “No, make no mistake. This one is tastier and holier because it is kneaded with pure blood, the blood of Joseph.”
(178) See, for example, Alan Dershowitz “Chomsky’s new blood libel,” FrontPageMagazine.com 26 July 2006. This is the relevant quotation from Chomsky: “[israel’s] aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation. This has to be said loud and clear for the practice, only half declared and often covert, is advancing fast these days, and, in our opinion, it must be unceasingly and eternally recognized for what it is and resisted.”
(179) Raphael Israeli Poison (Lanham, MD, 2002).
(180) See here.
(181) “Hillary Clinton criticises Mrs. Arafat,” BBC News 12 November 1999.
(182) Benny Morris Righteous Victims (New York, 2001), p. 665. These “barefaced lies,” Morris writes, were merely part of a broader propaganda strategy. “They flatly denied, almost as a matter of form, their involvement in the violence. In reality, however, the specific acts of violence of which the Intifada consisted – the stone-throwing, shooting, bomb attacks – were invariably initiated by the Palestinians, often with the involvement or under direct order of PA officials. By and large, Israeli troops – on order to use live fire only in life-endangering situations – acted with extreme restraint in face of acute provocation.”
(183) “President Arafat: Israel Used Depleted Uranium,” Palestinian National Authority State Information Service 10 November 2003.
(184) Menachem Klein “Arafat as a Palestinian Icon,” Palestine-Israel Journal Vol. 11, Nos. 3 and 4, 2004/2005.
(185) See Joël et Dan Kotek Au nom de l’antisionisme (Bruxelles, 2005), pp. 44-46.
(186) Examples (a) – (c), Arieh Stav Peace: The Arabian Caricature (Jerusalem, 1999), pp. 232-237, (d) – (f), Reuven Erlich “Anti-Semitism in the Contemporary Middle East,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies, Jerusalem, April 2004, pp. 38, 139-140.
(187) For text and video, see here.
(188) Livnat Holtzman and Eliezer Schlossberg, “Fundamentals of the Modern Muslim-Jewish Polemic,” “Israel Affairs,” Vol. 12, No. 1, January 2006, p. 14.
(189) See Yossef Bodansky Islamic Anti-Semitism as a Political Instrument (Houston, TX, 1999), p. 163.
(190) David Aaronovitch “The New Anti-Semitism,” “Observer,” 22 June 2003. “[The film maker] is almost certainly sincere, but his story is nonsense. There were no Zionists in 1840, and Damascus and Palestine were then part of the same Ottoman province. This is just a mutation of the blood libel to suit modern politics, with Jews (sorry, Zionists) plotting to steal land rather than blood. [He] may be an anti-racist, but he is perilously close to being an anti-Semite.”
(191) Joël et Dan Kotek Au nom de l’antisionisme (Bruxelles, 2005), p. 108.
(192) Joël et Dan Kotek Au nom de l’antisionisme (Bruxelles, 2005), p. 71.
(193) See Joël et Dan Kotek Au nom de l’antisionisme (Bruxelles, 2005), p. 105. The hyphenated “G-d” replicates the orthography of Orthodox Jews, unwilling to spell’s God’s name in full, even in English. So much for the distinction between Jews and Zionists.
(194) “Major Anti-Semitic Motifs in Arab Cartoons: An Interview with Joël Kotek,” Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, No. 21, 1 June 2004 / 12 Sivan 5764. Kotek explains: “In Europe, being an anti-racist makes one automatically a leftist. When you fight anti-Semitism however, you are seen as a right-winger – a supporter of the Likud and of Sharon. This is untrue, as I am a conscious Jew who belongs to the peace camp. I see myself as a friend of Israel, yet critical of some of its policies. But once you become aware of the enormous Arab hate and demonization of Israel you have to defend Israel. I am horrified by the impact of anti-Zionism combined with the great ignorance I often find among people about Israel.”
(195) The very extensive political satire circulating today in Arab countries tends to be anecdotal, informal, and private, and thus manages to elude state supervision. See, for example, Khalid Kishtainy Arab Political Humour(London, 1985) passim, but especially p. 8.
(196) See here. Two years before the assassination, Kishtainy wrote of the “revenge squads despatched from the Middle East to the four corners of the world.” Arab Political Humour (London, 1985), p. ix. The Syrian political cartoonist Ali Farzat has not been published in his own country for several years, and his satirical magazine was banned there in 2002. See Dan Isaacs “Hoping for media freedom in Syria,” BBC News, 25 March 2005. In 1989, Saddam Hussein accused Farzat of caricaturing him, banned Farzat from Iraq and threatened his life. See Ali Farzat A Pen of Damascus Steel (Seattle, WA, 2005), p. 17.
(197) “[Of the cartoonist:] il est … contraire à son éthique et sa déontologie propres de faire mentir son crayon.” Joël et Dan Kotek Au nom de l’antisionisme (Bruxelles, 2005), p. 47.
(198) In one of Ruprecht’s cartoons, “The day of vengeance is coming,” a German man, with a bloodied infant in his arms, shakes his fist at a disappearing car full of Jews. See Dennis E. Showalter Little Man, What Now? Der Stürmer in the Weimar Republic (Hamden, CT, 1982), pp. 59-68, 146. In another cartoon, three Jews drink the blood of a woman they have tied to the ground. Ruprecht also exploited blood imagery to represent more general, and financially motivated, homicidal Jewish tendencies. He has, in a wartime cartoon, a sack of “Jewish war profits” floating on a sea of blood. See Randall L. Bytwerk Julius Streicher (New York, 1983), pp. 55-56, 105, 126-129, 140.
(199) Arab Attitudes to Israel (Jerusalem, 1972), pp. 275-276.
(200) Hansard 4 July 2001.
(201) “Palestinian children send messages to passive Arab leaders” The Palestine Information Centre describes itself as the “voice of Palestine.” In a comment piece on this site, “Atrocities in Gaza, Lebanon motivated by Talmudic mentality,” 5 August 2006, the author, Khalid Amayreh, writes: “Israel’s brazenly criminal behaviour towards the Palestinian and Lebanese people have consistently been a practical embodiment of the Talmudic perception of non-Jews. This perception, racist to the hilt if not outright satanic, considers non-Jews as beasts or at best lesser human beings.”
(202) “[Quoting a leaflet circulated in the constituency:] ‘Note there are 300,000 Jews in Britain but over 2 million Muslims in Britain. The Jewish community has over 20 declared MPs while the Muslims have only one MP.’ The implication was that people should be elected on the basis of religion rather than any other criterion. I believe that these people thought that I was Jewish because I am in the Parliamentary Labour Friends of Israel. I am not, but whether I am or am not Jewish is irrelevant …” See Hansard 4 July 2001.
(203) These statistics are contained in Benny Morris Righteous Victims (New York, 2001), pp. 595-596. In a footnote, Morris writes: “All the figures are from B’Tselem to author, July 8, 1996.” Morris adds that the IDF figures are lower, and Palestinian figures are higher, than B’Tselem’s. For the Israeli casualties, Morris relied also on IDF information.
(204) See here.
(205) See NGO-Monitor.org
(206) But compare the statistics provided by the Institute for Counter-Terrorism. According to its “Breakdown of Fatalities: 27 September 2000 through 1 January 2005,” there were 3179 Palestinian deaths, and 1010 Israeli deaths, of which 1099 and 764 respectively were non-combatants killed by the other side. Non-combatants under 12 years killed were 88 and 46 respectively. See here.
(207)See here.
(208) “[The bomber, Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss] stated in her questioning that she had been dispatched as a suicide bomber by the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade infrastructure based in the northern Gaza Strip. Wafa was to use her personal medical authorization documents, allowing her to cross through into Israel to receive medical treatment. Wafa stated that she had been directed to carry out the suicide attack in a crowded Israeli hospital.” See here. The Wafa al-Biss incident received very little coverage in the British newspapers, but see here.
(209)See here.
(210) Another attack on a school bus, on 18 March 1968, left two adults dead and ten children wounded. Benny Morris Righteous Victims (New York, 2001), p. 368.
(211) Rory Miller and Martin Navias “Children now ‘justifiable’ terror target,” Sunday Business Post, 28 August 2005. Five members of an Islamist group were arrested in Jordan in 1998 for attempting to bomb the nursery of the American school in Amman. See also: “All Jewish women in the Zionist entity are fighters … The second case when the killing of civilians and women is permitted is when Muslims must launch a comprehensive attack against their enemies or shoot them from afar. If civilians, women or children are to be killed in such attacks – though they must not be deliberately targeted – there is no blame on those who kill them …” Al-Watan, Kuwait, 31 August 2001 (translation to be found at http://www.ict.org.il/articles, and see also Yael Shahar “The Islamic Justification for Killing Non-Combatants in War,” at the same site). An al-Qaeda document of 24 April 2002 sets out seven exceptions to the rule that women and children are not to be killed: Quintan Wiktorowicz and John Kaltner “Killing in the Name of Islam: Al-Qaeda’s Justification for September 11,” Middle East Policy Vol. X, No. 2, Summer 2003.
(212) Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers: Global Report (London, 2001), pp. 287-290.
(213) See here.
(214) BBC News, 14 July 2005
(215) See Palestinian Media Watch, 4 July Bulletin. See also Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook “Seducing children to martyrdom,” Jerusalem Post 4 July 2006.
(216) “[One of the organisers of a Gaza summer camp in 2006:] We teach the children the truth. How the Jews persecuted the prophets and tortured them. We stress that the Jews killed and slaughtered Arabs and Palestinians every chance they got. Most important, the children understand that the conflict with the Jews is not over land, but rather over religion. As long as Jews remain here, between the [Jordan] river and the sea, they will be our enemy and we will continue to pursue and kill them. When they leave we won’t hurt them.” Avi Issacharoff “Jihad summer camp: Sand, soccer and the Zionist enemy,” Haaretz, 27 August 2006.
(217) The following is an example from al-Da’wa, an Islamist journal published in Egypt from the mid- 1970s to the early 1980s. In the October 1980 edition of the children’s supplement, there is a column “Recognise the Enemies of Your Religion:” “Brother Muslim Lion Cub, Have you ever wondered why God cursed the Jews …In one of their books they say: ‘We Jews are the masters of the world, its corrupters, those who foment sedition, its hangmen!’ … Muslim lion cub, annihilate their existence, those who seek to subjugate all humanity so as to force them to serve their satanic designs.” See Gilles Kepel The Roots of Radical Islam (London, 2005), pp. 113-115.
(218) See Reuven Erlich “‘Hate Industry’ in Egypt under official patronage,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies, Jerusalem, January 2003. The book Wafa Idris and other Palestinian Stories, by Muhammad Salmawi, is among the material examined in the report. It was issued as part of a project sponsored by the wife of the Egyptian President, ” Festival of Reading for all – the child, the youngster and the family.” Salmawi writes that Muhammad al-Dura was murdered by IDF soldiers, “whose hearts know no mercy.” The author then praises the suicide bombers, recounting their deeds in a series of stories.
(219) Smadar Haran Kaiser “The World Should Know What He Did to My Family,” Washington Post May 18, 2003.
(220) Chris McGreal “Israel backs deal with Hezbollah to swap prisoners,” Guardian 10 November 2003. Aluf Benn “Hezbollah: no deal without Kuntar,” Ha’aretz, 10 November 2003. See also Bradley Burston “Free the monster,”Ha’aretz 6 September 2006.
(221) Patrick Goodenough “Hizballah Wants Israel to Free Child-Killer” CNSNews.com 18 July 2006. “Although Kuntar was jailed for an attack launched by a Lebanon-based Palestinian terrorist group before Hizballah was even established, Hizballah depicts itself as the vanguard of the Islamic campaign against Israel and regards winning freedom for the prisoners a ‘sacred duty.'” Rone Tempest “Hezbollah Puts Convicted Killer Atop Wish List,” LA TimesPalestinian Media Watch 13 March 2006. Note also the extracts from Palestinian media sources praising Kuntar.
(223)See here.
(224)See here.
(225) See here. See also Philip de Vier Blood Ritual (Hillsboro, W.V., National Vanguard Books, 2001), as quoted in David Frankfurter Evil Incarnate (Princeton, NJ, 2006), p. 163: “The brutal murder of little Simon kept coming back to my mind … the a stark reality dawned … Most of these were children, entirely helpless to defend themselves against a gang of savage child-abusing killers …etc.”
(226) Robert S. Wistrich Anti-Semitism (London, 1991), pp. 166, and fn. 23, p. 292.
(227) Nazarov has said that he will sue anyone who calls him “an ideologue of neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism.” “We are Orthodox people, and on the basis of Orthodox teaching we strive to defend Russia from destructive forces.” He also condemned President Putin for visiting “holy Judaic places” and “tak[ing] part in Talmudic rituals.” He insists that his campaign is not directed against the Jewish people: “Every Jew can become a member of society with full rights, if he converts to another faith.” Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion
(228) Vadim Rossman Russian Intellectual Antisemitism in the Post-Communist Era (Lincoln, Nebraska, 2002), pp. 231-235.
(229)ListenagainProtocols of the Elders of Zion and the use of Christian blood in Jewish rituals.” Osama El-Baz “Contaminated Goods,” “Al-Ahram Weekly on-line,” 2-8 January 2003. The article describes Mr El-Baz as chief political advisor to President Hosni Mubarak. See also Bernard Lewis Semites and Anti-Semites (London, 1986), p. 208. And note: “There are … a few notable exceptions, among them some prominent figures, who publicly denounced the Protocols as forgeries. These include Syrian philosopher Dr. Sadeq Jalal al-‘Azm, President Mubarak’s advisor Usama al-Baz, and Dr. Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri, an Egyptian authority on Jewish history and author of an Arabic-language encyclopedia of Judaism.” Menachem Milsom “What is Arab Antisemitism?” MEMRI Special Report – No. 26, 27 February 2004.
(231) Kate Clark “Interpreting Egypt’s anti-Semitic cartoons,” BBC News, 10 August 2003
(232) Cf.: “With the formal rise of the anti-Semitic movement in the years 1878-1882, nothing was more natural than for it to adopt the ritual-murder charge that had served to demonize the Jew over a period of seven centuries.” Jonathan Frankel The Damascus Affair (Cambridge, 1997), p. 443.
(233) Thomas Asbridge The First Crusade (London, 2004), 87, quoting from the Mainz Chronicle, written by an anonymous Mainz Jew soon after 1096.
(234) See Joshua Trachtenberg The Devil and the Jews (Philadelphia, 1983), pp. 101-6, and Léon Poliakov The History of Anti-Semitism (London, 1974), I, pp. 104-5. But compare: “The charge of ritual murder, the blood libel, as well as the accusations that Jews desecrated the host and poisoned wells, first appeared in medieval Europe only in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.” Jeremy Cohen “Traditional Prejudice and Religious Reform: The Theological and Historical Foundations of Luther’s Anti-Judaism,” in Sander L. Gilman and Steven T. Katz, eds., Anti-Semitism in Times of Crisis (New York, 1991), p. 96.

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