Blood libel

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Blood libel or ritual murder libel (also blood accusation) [1] [2] is an antisemitic canard [3] [4] [5] accusing Jews of murdering Christian children in order to use their blood as part of religious rituals. [1] [2] [6] Historically, these claims—alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration—have been a major theme of the persecution of Jews in Europe. [4]

Antisemitic canards are unfounded rumors or false allegations that are defamatory towards Judaism as a religion, or defamatory towards Jews as an ethnic or religious group. Since at least the Middle Ages they often form part of broader Jewish conspiracies theories.

Christians people who adhere to Christianity

Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós (Χριστός), a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach (מָשִׁיחַ).

Well-poisoning is the act of malicious manipulation of potable water resources in order to cause illness or death, or to deny an opponent access to fresh water resources.


Blood libels typically claim that Jews require human blood for the baking of matzos for Passover, although this element was allegedly absent in the earliest cases which claimed that then-contemporary Jews reenacted the crucifixion. The accusations often assert that the blood of the children of Christians is especially coveted, and, historically, blood libel claims have been made in order to account for the otherwise unexplained deaths of children. In some cases, the alleged victim of human sacrifice has become venerated as a Christian martyr. Three of these  William of Norwich, Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, and Simon of Trent   became objects of local cults and veneration, and in some cases they were added to the General Roman Calendar.[ who? ] One, Gabriel of Białystok, was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Matzo unleavened flatbread in Jewish cuisine; an element of the Passover festival

Matzo, matzah, or matza is an unleavened flatbread that is part of Jewish cuisine and forms an integral element of the Passover festival, during which chametz is forbidden.

Passover Jewish holiday celebrating the Israelites liberation from slavery in Egypt

Passover, also called Pesach, is a major, biblically derived Jewish holiday. Jews celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible, especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. According to standard biblical chronology, this event would have taken place at about 1300 BCE.

Crucifixion of Jesus Jesus crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels

The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea, most likely between AD 30 and 33. Jesus' crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament epistles, attested to by other ancient sources, and is established as a historical event confirmed by non-Christian sources, although there is no consensus among historians on the exact details.

In Jewish lore, blood libels were the impetus for the creation of the Golem of Prague by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel in the 16th century. [7] According to Walter Laqueur:

Judah Loew ben Bezalel Czech rabbi

Judah Loew ben Bezalel, alt. Löw, Loewe, Löwe, or Levai, widely known to scholars of Judaism as the Maharal of Prague, or simply The Maharal, the Hebrew acronym of "Moreinu Ha-Rav Loew", was an important Talmudic scholar, Jewish mystic, and philosopher who, for most of his life, served as a leading rabbi in the cities of Mikulov in Moravia and Prague in Bohemia. Due to his unprecedented impact on Jewish study, he is considered one of the most important rabbis of all times.

Walter Ze'ev Laqueur was an American historian, journalist and political commentator. He was an influential scholar on the subjects of terrorism and political violence.

Altogether, there have been about 150 recorded cases of blood libel (not to mention thousands of rumors) that resulted in the arrest and killing of Jews throughout history, most of them in the Middle Ages. In almost every case, Jews were murdered, sometimes by a mob, sometimes following torture and a trial. [8]

The term 'blood libel' has also been used to refer to any unpleasant or damaging false accusation, and it has taken on a broader metaphorical meaning. However, this usage remains controversial, and Jewish groups have objected to such usage. [9] [10] [11]

Jewish law against murder, sacrifice, and consumption of blood

The supposed torture and human sacrifice alleged in the blood libels run contrary to the teachings of Judaism. According to the Bible, God commanded Abraham in the Binding of Isaac to sacrifice his son, but He ultimately provided a ram as a substitute. The Ten Commandments in the Torah forbid murder. In addition, the use of blood (human or otherwise) in cooking is prohibited by the kosher dietary laws (kashrut). Blood from slaughtered animals may not be consumed, and it must be drained out of the animal and covered with earth (Leviticus 17:12-13 ). According to the Book of Leviticus, blood from sacrificed animals may only be placed on the altar of the Great Temple in Jerusalem (which no longer existed at the time of the Christian blood libels). Furthermore, the consumption of human flesh would violate kashrut. [13]

Bible Collection of religious texts in Judaism and Christianity

The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Rastafarians.

Abraham Biblical patriarch

Abraham, originally Abram, is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenant of the pieces, the special relationship between the Jewish people and God; in Christianity, he is the prototype of all believers, Jewish or Gentile; and in Islam he is seen as a link in the chain of prophets that begins with Adam and culminates in Muhammad.

Binding of Isaac story from the Hebrew Bible

The Binding of IsaacAqedat Yitzhaq, in Hebrew also simply "The Binding", הָעֲקֵידָה Ha-Aqedah, -Aqeidah) is a story from the Hebrew Bible found in Genesis 22. In the biblical narrative, God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Moriah. Abraham begins to comply, when a messenger from God interrupts him. Abraham then sees a ram and sacrifices it instead.

Also stated in Leviticus is that "it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, in all your settlements: you must not eat any fat or any blood," [14] and that "you must not eat any blood whatever, either of bird or of animal, in any of your settlements." [15]

While animal sacrifice was part of the practice of ancient Judaism, the Tanakh (Old Testament) and Jewish teachings portray human sacrifice as one of the evils that separated the pagans of Canaan from the Hebrews (Deuteronomy 12:31 , 2 Kings 16:3 ). Jews were prohibited from engaging in these rituals and they were also punished for doing so (Exodus 34:15 , Leviticus 20:2 , Deuteronomy 18:12 , Jeremiah 7:31 ). In fact, ritual cleanliness for priests even prohibited them from being in the same room with a human corpse (Leviticus 21:11 ).


The earliest versions of the accusation involved Jews crucifying Christian children on Easter/Passover because of a prophecy. There is no reference to the use of blood in unleavened matzo bread, which evolves later as a major motivation for the crime. [16]

Possible precursors

The earliest known example of a blood libel is from a certain Democritus (not the philosopher) only mentioned by the Suda, [17] who alleged that "every seven years the Jews captured a stranger, brought him to the temple in Jerusalem, and sacrificed him, cutting his flesh into bits." [18] The Graeco-Egyptian author Apion claimed that Jews sacrificed Greek victims in their temple. This accusation is known from Josephus' rebuttal of it in Against Apion . Apion states that when Antiochus Epiphanes entered the temple in Jerusalem, he discovered a Greek captive who told him that he was being fattened for sacrifice. Every year, Apion claimed, the Jews would sacrifice a Greek and consume his flesh, at the same time swearing eternal hatred towards the Greeks. [19] Apion's claim probably repeats ideas already in circulation because similar claims are made by Posidonius and Apollonius Molon in the 1st century BCE. [20] Another example concerns the murder of a Christian boy by a group of Jewish youths. Socrates Scholasticus (fl. 5th century) reported that some Jews in a drunken frolic bound a Christian child on a cross in mockery of the death of Christ and scourged him until he died. [21]

Professor Israel Jacob Yuval of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem published an article in 1993 which argues that the blood libel may have originated in the 12th century from Christian views of Jewish behavior during the First Crusade. Some Jews committed suicide and killed their own children rather than be subjected to forced conversions. Yuval investigated Christian reports of these events and stated that they were greatly distorted, with claims that, if Jews could kill their own children, they could also kill the children of Christians. Yuval rejects the blood libel story as a fantasy of some Christians which could not contain any element of truth in it due to the precarious nature of the Jewish minority's existence in Christian Europe. [22] [23]

Origins in England

The crucifixion of William of Norwich depicted on a rood screen in Holy Trinity church, Loddon, Norfolk Death of William of Norwich.jpg
The crucifixion of William of Norwich depicted on a rood screen in Holy Trinity church, Loddon, Norfolk

In England in 1144, the Jews of Norwich were falsely accused of ritual murder after a boy, William of Norwich, was found dead with stab wounds in the woods. William's hagiographer, Thomas of Monmouth, falsely claimed that every year there is an international council of Jews at which they choose the country in which a child will be killed during Easter, because of a Jewish prophecy that states that the killing of a Christian child each year will ensure that the Jews will be restored to the Holy Land. In 1144, England was chosen, and the leaders of the Jewish community delegated the Jews of Norwich to perform the killing. They then abducted and crucified William. [24] The legend was turned into a cult, with William acquiring the status of a martyr and pilgrims bringing offerings to the local church. [25]

This was followed by similar accusations in Gloucester (1168), Bury St Edmunds (1181) and Bristol (1183). In 1189, the Jewish deputation attending the coronation of Richard the Lionheart was attacked by the crowd. Massacres of Jews at London and York soon followed. In 1190 on 16 March 150 Jews were attacked in York and then massacred when they took refuge in the royal castle, where Clifford's Tower now stands, with some committing suicide rather than being taken by the mob. [26] The remains of 17 bodies thrown in a well in Norwich between the 12th and 13th century (five that were shown by DNA testing to likely be members of a single Jewish family) were very possibly killed as part of one of these pogroms. [27]

After the death of Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, there were trials and executions of Jews. [28] The case is mentioned by Matthew Paris and Chaucer, and thus has become well-known. Its notoriety sprang from the intervention of the Crown, the first time an accusation of ritual killing had been given royal credibility.

The eight-year-old Hugh disappeared at Lincoln on 31 July 1255. His body was probably discovered on 29 August, in a well. A Jew named Copin or Koppin confessed to involvement. He confessed to John of Lexington, a servant of the crown, and relative of the Bishop of Lincoln. The church stood to gain from the establishment of a martyr's cult. Copin's confession was probably in return for the promise that his life should be spared. He is said to have confessed that the boy had been crucified by the Jews, who had assembled at Lincoln for that purpose. King Henry III, who had reached Lincoln at the beginning of October, had Copin executed and 91 of the Jews of Lincoln seized and sent up to London, where 18 of them were executed. The rest were pardoned at the intercession of the Franciscans or Dominicans. [29] Within a few decades, Jews would be expelled from all of England in 1290 and not allowed to return until 1657.

Continental Europe

Simon of Trent blood libel. Illustration in Hartmann Schedel's Weltchronik, 1493 Ritualmord-Legende.jpg
Simon of Trent blood libel. Illustration in Hartmann Schedel's Weltchronik, 1493

Much like the blood libel of England, the history of blood libel in continental Europe consists of unsubstantiated claims made about the corpses of Christian children. There were frequently associated supernatural events speculated about these discoveries and corpses, events which were often attributed by contemporaries to miracles. Also, just as in England, these accusations in continental Europe typically resulted in the execution of numerous Jews — sometimes even all, or close to all, the Jews in one town. These accusations and their effects also, in some cases, led to royal interference on behalf of the Jews.

Thomas of Monmouth's story of the annual Jewish meeting to decide which local community would kill a Christian child also quickly spread to the continent. An early version appears in Bonum Universale de Apibus ii. 29, § 23, by Thomas of Cantimpré (a monastery near Cambray). Thomas wrote, "It is quite certain that the Jews of every province annually decide by lot which congregation or city is to send Christian blood to the other congregations." Thomas of Cantimpré also believed that since the time when the Jews called out to Pontius Pilate, "His blood be on us, and on our children" (Matthew 27:25), they have been afflicted with hemorrhages, a condition equated with male menstruation: [30]

A very learned Jew, who in our day has been converted to the (Christian) faith, informs us that one enjoying the reputation of a prophet among them, toward the close of his life, made the following prediction: 'Be assured that relief from this secret ailment, to which you are exposed, can only be obtained through Christian blood ("solo sanguine Christiano").' This suggestion was followed by the ever-blind and impious Jews, who instituted the custom of annually shedding Christian blood in every province, in order that they might recover from their malady.

Thomas added that the Jews had misunderstood the words of their prophet, who by his expression "solo sanguine Christiano" had meant not the blood of any Christian, but that of Jesus  the only true remedy for all physical and spiritual suffering. Thomas did not mention the name of the "very learned" proselyte, but it may have been Nicholas Donin of La Rochelle, who, in 1240, had a disputation on the Talmud with Yechiel of Paris, and who in 1242 caused the burning of numerous Talmudic manuscripts in Paris. It is known that Thomas was personally acquainted with this Nicholas. Nicholas Donin and another Jewish convert, Theobald of Cambridge, are greatly credited with the adoption and the belief of the blood libel myth in Europe. [31]

The first known case outside England was in Blois, France, in 1171. This was the site of a blood libel accusation against the town's entire Jewish community that led to around 31–33 Jews (with 17 women making up this total [32] ) [33] [34] being burned to death. [35] [36] on 29 May of that year, or the 20th of Sivan of 4931. [37] The blood libel revolved around R. Isaac, a Jew whom a Christian servant reported had deposited a murdered Christian in the Loire. [38] The child's body was never found. The count had the about 40 adult Blois Jews arrested and they were eventually to be burned. The surviving members of the Blois Jewish community, as well as surviving holy texts, were ransomed. As a result of this case, the Jews garnered new promises from the king. The burned bodies of the sentenced Jews were supposedly maintained unblemished through the burning, a claim which is a well-known miracle, martyr myth for both Jews and Christians. [38] There is significant primary source material from this case including a letter revealing moves for Jewish protection with King Louis VII. [39] Responding to the mass execution, the 20th of Sivan was declared a fast day by Rabbenu Tam. [40] In this case in Blois, there was not yet the myth proclaimed that Jews needed the blood of Christians. [40]

Painting of Werner of Oberwesel as a martyr Werner-vom-Oberwesel.jpg
Painting of Werner of Oberwesel as a martyr

At Pforzheim, Baden, in 1267, a woman supposedly sold said girl over to Jews who, according to the myth, then cut her open and dumped her in the Enz River, where boatmen found her. She apparently cried for vengeance, and then died. The body apparently bled as the suspected Jews were brought to it. The woman and the reportedly involved Jews confessed and were then subsequently killed. [41] That a judicial murder was then and there committed against the Jews in consequence of the accusation is evident from the manner in which the Nuremberg "Memorbuch" and the synagogal poems refer to the incident (Siegmund Salfeld, Das Martyrologium des Nürnberger Memorbuches (1898), pp. 15, 128–130).

In 1270, at Weissenburg, of Alsace, [42] a supposed miracle alone decided the charge against the Jews. A child's body had shown up in the Lauter River. Supposedly, Jews cut into the child to acquire his blood and the child apparently continued bleeding for five days. [42]

At Oberwesel, near Easter of 1287, [43] supposed miracles again constituted the only evidence against the Jews. The corpse of the 16-year-old Werner of Oberwesel (also referred to as "Good Werner") apparently landed at Bacharach and the body supposedly caused miracles, particularly medicinal miracles. [44] Also, there was apparently light coming from the body. [45] Reportedly, the child was hung upside down, forced to throw up the host and was cut open. [44] In consequence, the Jews of Oberwesel and many other adjacent localities were severely persecuted during the years 1286-89. The Jews of Oberwesel were particularly targeted because there were no Jews remaining in Bacharach following a 1283 pogrom. Additionally, there were pogroms following this case as well at and around Oberwesel. [46] Rudolph of Habsburg, to whom the Jews had appealed for protection, in order to manage the miracle story, had the archbishop of Mainz declare great wrong had been done to the Jew. This apparent declaration was very limited in effectiveness. [47]

A statement was made, in the Chronicle of Konrad Justinger of 1423, that at Bern in 1293 [48] or 1294 the Jews tortured and murdered a boy called Rudolph (sometimes also referred to as Rudolph, Ruff, or Ruof). The body was reportedly found by the house of Jöly, a Jew. The Jewish community was then implicated. The penalties imposed upon the Jews included torture, execution, expulsion, and steep financial fines. Justinger argued Jews were out to harm Christianity. [48] The historical impossibilityTemplate:Carify of this widely credited story was demonstrated by Jakob Stammler, pastor of Bern, in 1888. [49]

There have been several explanations put forth as to why these blood libel accusations were made and perpetuated. For example, it has been argued Thomas of Monmouth's account and other similar false accusations, as well as their perpetuation, largely had to do with the economic and political interests of leaders who did, in fact, perpetuate these myths. [50] Additionally, it was largely believed in Europe that Jews used Christian blood for medicinal and other purposes. [51] Despite the unsubstantiated, mythical nature of these claims, as well as their sources, they evidently materially impacted the communities in which they occurred including both the Jewish and non-Jewish populations.

Renaissance and Baroque

From an 18th-century etching from Bruckenturm. Above: The murdered body of Simon of Trent. Below: The "Judensau" Judensau Frankfurt.jpg
From an 18th-century etching from Brückenturm. Above: The murdered body of Simon of Trent. Below: The "Judensau"

Simon of Trent, aged two, disappeared, and his father alleged that he had been kidnapped and murdered by the local Jewish community. Fifteen local Jews were sentenced to death and burned. Simon was regarded locally as a saint, although he was never canonised by the church of Rome. His local status as a saint was removed in 1965 by Pope Paul VI.

Christopher of Toledo, also known as Christopher of La Guardia or "the Holy Child of La Guardia", was a four-year-old Christian boy supposedly murdered by two Jews and three Conversos (converts to Christianity). In total, eight men were executed. It is now believed [52] that this case was constructed by the Spanish Inquisition to facilitate the expulsion of Jews from Spain. He was canonized by Pope Pius VII in 1805. Christopher has since been removed from the canon.

In a case at Tyrnau (Nagyszombat, today Trnava, Slovakia), the absurdity, even the impossibility, of the statements forced by torture from women and children shows that the accused preferred death as a means of escape from the torture, and admitted everything that was asked of them. They even said that Jewish men menstruated, and that the latter therefore practiced the drinking of Christian blood as a remedy.

At Bösing (Bazin, today Pezinok, Slovakia), it was charged that a nine-year-old boy had been bled to death, suffering cruel torture; thirty Jews confessed to the crime and were publicly burned. The true facts of the case were disclosed later, when the child was found alive in Vienna. He had been taken there by the accuser, Count Wolf of Bazin, as a means of ridding himself of his Jewish creditors at Bazin.

Fresco in St Paul's Church in Sandomierz, Poland, depicting blood libel Antisemitic-church-fresco.jpg
Fresco in St Paul's Church in Sandomierz, Poland, depicting blood libel

In Rinn, near Innsbruck, a boy named Andreas Oxner (also known as Anderl von Rinn) was said to have been bought by Jewish merchants and cruelly murdered by them in a forest near the city, his blood being carefully collected in vessels. The accusation of drawing off the blood (without murder) was not made until the beginning of the 17th century, when the cult was founded. The older inscription in the church of Rinn, dating from 1575, is distorted by fabulous embellishments  for example, that the money paid for the boy to his godfather turned into leaves, and that a lily blossomed upon his grave. The cult continued until officially prohibited in 1994, by the Bishop of Innsbruck. [53]

On 17 January 1670 Raphael Levy, a member of the Jewish community of Metz, was executed on charges of the ritual murder of a peasant child who had gone missing in the woods outside the village of Glatigny on 25 September 1669, the eve of Rosh Hashanah. [54]

19th century

One of the child-saints in the Russian Orthodox Church is the six-year-old boy Gavriil Belostoksky from the village Zverki. According to the legend supported by the church, the boy was kidnapped from his home during the holiday of Passover while his parents were away. Shutko, who was a Jew from Białystok, was accused of bringing the boy to Białystok, piercing him with sharp objects and draining his blood for nine days, then bringing the body back to Zverki and dumping it at a local field. A cult developed, and the boy was canonized in 1820. His relics are still the object of pilgrimage. On All Saints Day, 27 July 1997, the Belarusian state TV showed a film alleging the story is true. [55] The revival of the cult in Belarus was cited as a dangerous expression of antisemitism in international reports on human rights and religious freedoms [56] [57] [58] [59] [60] which were passed to the UNHCR. [61]

20th century and beyond

Antisemitic flier in Kiev, 1915: "Christians, take care of your children!!! It will be Jewish Passover on 17 March." 1910s antisemitic flier Andrei Yushchinsky.jpg
Antisemitic flier in Kiev, 1915: "Christians, take care of your children!!! It will be Jewish Passover on 17 March."
Painting of blood libel in Sandomierz Cathedral Sandomierz katedra - mord rytualny.jpg
Painting of blood libel in Sandomierz Cathedral

Views of the Catholic Church

The attitude of the Catholic Church towards these accusations and the cults venerating children supposedly killed by Jews has varied over time. The Papacy generally opposed them, although it had problems in enforcing its opposition.

In 1911, the Dictionnaire apologétique de la foi catholique , an important French Catholic encyclopedia, published an analysis of the blood libel accusations. [95] This may be taken as being broadly representative of educated Catholic opinion in continental Europe at that time. The article noted that the popes had generally refrained from endorsing the blood libel, and it concluded that the accusations were unproven in a general sense, but it left open the possibility that some Jews had committed ritual murders of Christians. Other contemporary Catholic sources (notably the Jesuit periodical La Civiltà Cattolica ) promoted the blood libel as truth. [96]

Today, the accusations are almost entirely discredited in Catholic circles, and the cults associated with them have fallen into disfavour.[ citation needed ] For example, Simon of Trent's local status as a saint was removed in 1965.

Papal pronouncements

Views of Muslims

In late 1553 or 1554, Suleiman the Magnificent, the reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, issued a firman (royal decree) formally denouncing blood libels against the Jews. [100] In 1840, following the Western outrage arising from the Damascus affair, British politician and leader of the British Jewish community, Sir Moses Montefiore, backed by other influential westerners including Britain's Lord Palmerston and Damascus consul Charles Henry Churchill, [101] the French lawyer Adolphe Crémieux, Austrian consul Giovanni Gasparo Merlato, Danish missionary John Nicolayson, [101] and Solomon Munk, persuaded Sultan Abdulmecid I in Constantinople, to issue a firman on 6 November 1840 intended to halt the spread of blood libel accusations in the Ottoman Empire. The edict declared that blood libel accusations is a slander against Jews and to be prohibited throughout the Ottoman Empire, and read in part:

"... and for the love we bear to our subjects, we cannot permit the Jewish nation, whose innocence for the crime alleged against them is evident, to be worried and tormented as a consequence of accusations which have not the least foundation in truth...".

However, despite the firman, pogroms spread through the Middle East and North Africa: Aleppo (1850, 1875), Damascus (1840, 1848, 1890), Beirut (1862, 1874), Dayr al-Qamar (1847), Jaffa (1876), Jerusalem (1847, 1870, 1895), Cairo (1844, 1890, 1901–02), Mansura (1877), Alexandria (1870, 1882, 1901–07), Port Said (1903, 1908), and Damanhur (1871, 1873, 1877, 1891). [102] In the 1910 Shiraz blood libel, the Jews of Shiraz, Iran, were falsely accused of murdering a Muslim girl. The entire Jewish quarter was pillaged, with the pogrom leaving 12 Jews dead and about 50 injured.

Muslims have repeated the blood libel into the present. In 1983, Mustafa Tlass, the Syrian Minister of Defense, wrote and published The Matzah of Zion , which is a treatment of the Damascus affair of 1840 that repeats the ancient "blood libel", that Jews use the blood of murdered non-Jews in religious rituals such as baking Matza bread. [103] In this book, he argues that the true religious beliefs of Jews are "black hatred against all humans and religions", and that no Arab country should ever sign a peace treaty with Israel. [104] Tlass re-printed the book several times, and he stands by its conclusions. Following the book's publication, Tlass told Der Spiegel , that this accusation against Jews was valid and that his book is "an historical study ... based on documents from France, Vienna and the American University in Beirut." [104] [105]

In 2003, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram published a series of articles by Osama El-Baz, a senior advisor to then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Among other things, Osama El-Baz explained the origins of the blood libel against the Jews. He said that Arabs and Muslims have never been antisemitic, as a group, but accepted that a few Arab writers and media figures attack Jews "on the basis of the racist fallacies and myths that originated in Europe". He urged people not to succumb to "myths" such as the blood libel. [106]

Nevertheless, blood libel stories have appeared in modern times on many occasions in the state-sponsored media of a number of Arab and Muslim nations, their television shows and websites, and books alleging instances of the Jewish blood libels are not uncommon there. [107] The blood libel was featured in a scene in the Syrian TV series Ash-Shatat , shown in 2003, [108] [109] while in 2013 the Israeli website Arutz Sheva reported cases of Israeli Arabs asking "where Jews find the Christian blood they need to bake matza". [110]

In 2007, Lebanese poet, Marwan Chamoun, in an interview aired on Télé Liban, referred to the "... slaughter of the priest Tomaso de Camangiano ... in 1840... in the presence of two rabbis in the heart of Damascus, in the home of a close friend of this priest, Daud Al-Harari, the head of the Jewish community of Damascus. After he was slaughtered, his blood was collected, and the two rabbis took it." [111] A novel, Death of a Monk , based on the Damascus affair, was published in 2004.

See also

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Saint Gabriel of Białystok is a child saint in the Russian Orthodox Church and possibly the youngest saint. The legend of his death describes a ritual murder which has been described as a blood libel. His feast day is held on April 20.

The Rhodes blood libel was an 1840 event of blood libel against Jews, in which the Greek Orthodox community accused Jews on the island of Rhodes of the ritual murder of a Christian boy who disappeared in February of that year.

Passovers of Blood: The Jews of Europe and Ritual Murders is a 2007 book by Israeli historian Ariel Toaff. The book analyses a notorious medieval trial regarding accusations of the ritual murder of a child by Jews for the purposes of Passover. The book sparked intense controversy including calls for him to resign from or be fired from his professorship, the questioning of his research, historical method(s), and motives as they relate to his writing of the book, threats to his life, and demands that he be prosecuted.

Justinas Pranaitis Lithuanian priest

Justinas Bonaventura Pranaitis or Pronaitis was a Lithuanian Catholic priest, Russian Master of Theology and Professor of the Hebrew Language at the Imperial Ecclesiastical Academy of the Roman Catholic Church in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Antisemitism —prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews has experienced a long history of expression since the days of ancient civilizations, with most of it having originated in the Christian and pre-Christian civilizations of Europe.

Antisemitism in Turkey refers to acts of hostility against Jews in the Republic of Turkey, as well as the promotion of antisemitic views and beliefs in that country.

Antisemitism in the Russian Empire included numerous pogroms and the designation of the Pale of Settlement, from which Jews were forbidden to migrate into the interior of Russia, unless they converted to the Russian Orthodox state religion.

Timeline of antisemitism in the 19th century

This timeline of antisemitism chronicles the facts of antisemitism, hostile actions or discrimination against Jews as a religious or ethnic group, in the 19th century. It includes events in the history of antisemitic thought, actions taken to combat or relieve the effects of antisemitism, and events that affected the prevalence of antisemitism in later years. The history of antisemitism can be traced from ancient times to the present day.


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  3. Turvey, Brent E. Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis, Academic Press, 2008, p. 3. "Blood libel: An accusation of ritual murder made against one or more persons, typically of the Jewish faith".
  4. 1 2 Chanes, Jerome A. Antisemitism: A Reference Handbook, ABC-CLIO, 2004, pp. 34–45. "Among the most serious of these [anti-Jewish] manifestations, which reverberate to the present day, were those of the libels: the leveling of charges against Jews, particularly the blood libel and the libel of desecrating the host."
  5. Goldish, Matt. Jewish Questions: Responsa on Sephardic Life in the Early Modern Period, Princeton University Press, 2008, p. 8. "In the period from the twelfth to the twentieth centuries, Jews were regularly charged with blood libel or ritual murder  that Jews kidnapped and murdered non-Jews as part of a Jewish religious ritual."
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  95. English translation here.
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Further reading