Blood libel against Jews

Blood libel against Jews

Blood libels against Jews are false accusations that Jews use human blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays.

Although the first known instance of blood libel against Jews was in the writings of Apion, an early 1st century pagan Greco-Egyptian who claimed that the Jews sacrificed Greek victims in the Temple, no further incidents are recorded until the 12th century, when blood libels began to proliferate in Christian Europe. Blood libel accusations have often asserted that the blood of Christian children is especially coveted, and historically blood libel claims have often been made to account for otherwise unexplained deaths of children. In some cases, the alleged victim of human sacrifice, child or adult, has become venerated as a martyr, a holy figure around whom a martyr cult might arise. A few of these have been even canonized as saints.

Although broadly discredited, these libels have persisted among some segments of Christians to the present time, and recently Muslims as well. In Jewish lore, blood libels were the impetus for the creation of the golem of Prague (a commonly known Jewish legend) by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the Maharal.

Many popes have either directly or indirectly condemned the blood accusation, and no pope has ever sanctioned it, [Strack, Blut in Glauben and Aberglauben (Munich, 1900), 177 and v.] though the assertions are usually spread and promoted by local clergy.

Descriptions of alleged ritual murder

In general, the libel alleged something like this: a child, normally a boy who had not yet reached puberty, was kidnapped or sometimes bought and taken to a hidden place (the house of a prominent member of the Jewish community, a synagogue, a cellar, etc.) where he would be kept hidden until the time of his death. Preparations for the sacrifice included the gathering of attendees from near and far and constructing or readying the instruments of torture and execution.) Jews were prohibited from engaging in these rituals and were punished for doing so (, )

Professor Israel Jacob Yuval of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem published an article in 1993 that argues that the blood libel myth 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 found that they were greatly distorted with claims that if Jews could kill their own children they could also kill Christian children. Yuval rejects the blood libel story as a Christian fantasy that was impossible due to the precarious nature of the Jewish minority's existence in Christian Europe. []

*"The Matzah Of Zion" was written by the Syrian Defense Minister, Mustafa Tlass in 1986. The book concentrates on two issues: renewed ritual murder accusations against the Jews in the Damascus affair of 1840, and "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion". [Frankel, Jonathan. "The Damascus Affair: "Ritual Murder," Politics, and the Jews in 1840", pp. 418, 421. Cambridge University Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0-521-48396-4] The book was cited at a United Nations conference in 1991 by a Syrian delegate.


* On October 21, 2002, the London based Arabic paper "Al-Hayat" reported that the book, "The Matzah of Zion", was undergoing its eighth reprint and was being translated into English, French, and Italian.
* In 2001 an Egyptian film company produced and aired a film called "Horseman Without a Horse", partly based on Tlass's book.

* Multiple branches of the Syrian government, including the Damascus Police Command and the Department of Antiquities and Museums, the security ministry, the culture ministry, created an antisemitic television TV series called "Ash-Shatat" ("The Diaspora".) This series originally aired in Syria and in Lebanon late 2003, and was broadcast by "Al-Manar", a satellite television network owned by Hezbollah. This TV series is based on the antisemitic forgery "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion", shows the Jewish people as engaging in a conspiracy to rule the world, and presents Jews as people who murder Christian children, drain their blood, and use this blood to bake matzah. [ [ U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2004 - Syria] February 2005] [ [ L'antisémitisme dans la région du Proche-Orient et de l'Afrique du Nord] (US Embassy in Morocco)] [ [!OpenDocument Written statement submitted by the Association for World Education, a non-governmental organization on the Roster] RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION. QUESTION OF VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD. PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS. UN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS. 60th session. E/CN.4/2004/NGO/5. 10 February 2004]

* In a twist on the libel of Jews using blood in matzah, a Passover food, in 2002, a Saudi newspaper claimed that Jews use blood in homentashn, triangular cookies eaten on the Jewish holiday of Purim. The story celebrated on Purim, recounted in the Book of Esther, takes place in ancient Persia (modern-day Iran).

* A 2004 drama from Iran speaks of the Israeli government stealing the eyes of Palestinian children in Israeli hospitals. [ [ Israel Is 'Stealing Palestinian Children's Eyes,' Iranian TV Series Says] by Susan Jones (CNSNews) December 23, 2004]

* In early January 2005, some 20 members of the Russian State Duma publicly made a blood libel against the Jewish people. They approached the Prosecutor General’s Office, and demanded that Russia "ban all Jewish organizations”. They accused all Jewish groups of being extremists, and of being “anti-Christian and inhumane, which practices extend even to ritual murders”.:Alluding to previous antisemitic Russian court decrees which accused the Jews of ritual murder, they wrote that “Many facts of such religious extremism were proven in courts.” The accusation included traditional antisemitic canards, such as “the whole democratic world today is under the financial and political control of international Jewry. And we do not want our Russia to be among such unfree countries”.:This demand was published as an open letter to the prosecutor general, in "Rus Pravoslavnaya" ( _ru. Русь православная, "Orthodox Russia"), a right-wing conservative newspaper. This group consisted of members of the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democrats, the Communist faction, and the nationalist Motherland party, with some 500 supporters. Тhe mentioned document is known as "The Letter of Five Hundred" ("Письмо пятисот"). [ [ Письмо пятисот. Вторая серия. Лучше не стало ] ] [ [ Русская линия / Актуальные темы / "Письмо пятисот": Обращение в Генеральную прокуратуру представителей русской общественности с призывом запретить в России экстремистские еврейские организации ] ] Their supporters included editors of nationalist newspapers as well as journalists. By the end of the month this group had received stiff criticism, and retracted its demand.

* At the end of April 2005, five boys, ages 9 to 12, in Krasnoyarsk (Russia) disappeared. In May 2005, their burnt bodies were found in the city sewage. The crime was not disclosed, and in August 2007 the investigation was extended until November 18, 2007. [ [ The investigation of the murder of five schoolboys in Krasnoyarsk was extended again (Regnum, August 20,2007)] ] Some Russian nationalist groups claimed that the children were murdered by a Jewish sect with a ritual purpose. [ [ "Jewish people were accused with murder of children in Krasnoyarsk" ("Regnum", May 12, 2005)] ] [ [ Russian nationalistic publishers "Russian Idea", the article about the antisemitic movement "Living Without the Fear of the Jews.", June 2007: "...the murder of five children in Krasnoyarsk, which bodies were bloodless. Our layer V. A. Solomatov said that there is undoubtedly a ritual murder..."] ] Nationalist M. Nazarov, one of the authors of "The Letter of Five Hundred" alleges "the existence of a 'Hasidic sect', whose members kill children before Passover to collect their blood," using the Beilis case mentioned above as evidence. M.Nazarov also alleges that "the ritual murder requires throwing the body away rather than its concealing". "The Union of the Russian People" demanded officials thoroughly investigate the Jews, not stopping at the search in synagogues, Matzah bakeries and their offices. [ [ Hasids were accused in Krasnoyarsk children murder, the Beilis Affair was reanimated (Regnum, May 16, 2005)] ] [ [ KavkazCenter (September 21, 2006): "Are the burnt children the Hasid's victims?"] ]

* During a December 20, 2005, discussion among Iranian political analysts that aired on Jaam-e Jam 2 Iranian TV, "Tehran Times" contributor and author of the book "The History of the Jews" Dr. Hasan Hanizadeh alleged that "the Jews" had carried out "two horrendous incidents" in 19th century Europe: :

In 1883, about 150 French children were murdered in a horrible way in the suburbs of Paris, before the Jewish Passover holiday. Later research showed that the Jews had killed them and taken their blood. ... A similar incident took place in London, when many English children were killed by Jewish rabbis. ..." [ [ Iranian TV Blood Libel] ] [cite news
author = Steven Stalinsky
url =
title = Passover and the Blood Libel
work = The New York Sun
publisher = The New York Sun, One SL, LLC
page = Foreign, page 6
date = 2006-04-12
accessdate = 2007-01-14

* Gary Busey appeared in the 2006 Turkish film, "Valley of the Wolves Iraq," as a Jewish-American Army doctor who harvests fresh organs from injured Iraqi prisoners to sell to rich people in New York, London and Tel Aviv for transplantation.


*In late 1553 or 1554, Suleiman the Magnificent issued a firman formally denouncing blood libels against the Jews. [cite book |last=Mansel |first=Phillip |title=Constantinople : City of the World's Desire, 1453–1924|year= 1998|publisher= St. Martin's Griffin |location= New York |pages= 124 |isbn= 978-0312187088]

*The Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram published a series of articles by Osam Al-Baz, a senior advisor to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Amongst other things, Osam Al-Baz explained the origins of the anti-Jewish blood libel. 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. [ [ Al-Ahram Weekly Online, January 2-8, 2003 (Issue No. 619)] ]

Views of the Catholic Church

The attitude of the Roman Catholic Church towards these accusations and the cults venerating children supposedly killed by Jews has varied over time. The church sometimes opposed them, but it generally did little to stop them, and in some cases gave its clear approval. Pope Benedict XIV permitted the continuation of the cult of Anderl von Rinn as a local cult, but refused to canonize him as a saint. On the other hand, Pope Gregory X issued a letter rejecting the blood libel accusations.cite web | url= | title=Medieval Sourcebook: Gregory X: Letter on Jews, (1271-76) - Against the Blood Libel | author=Pope Gregory X | accessdate=2007-05-07 ]


Further reading

*Jewish Encyclopedia article on "Blood Libel"
* ISBN 0-87668-179-8 The Beilis Transcripts. The Anti-Semitic Trial that Shook the World. by Ezekiel Leikin
* R. Po-chia Hsia, "The Myth of Ritual Murder: Jews and Magic in Reformation Germany" (New Haven: Yale UP, 1988). ISBN 0-300-04120-9 (cloth), ISBN 0-300-04746-0 (pbk.).
*cite book
last = Dundes
first = Alan
year = 1991
title = The Blood Libel

publisher = University of Wisconsin Press
id = ISBN 978-0299131142

External links

* [ Resources > Medieval Jewish History > Blood Libels] Jewish History Resource Center, Project of the Dinur Center for Research in Jewish History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
* [ Urban Legends Reference Pages: Religion (Blood Feast)]

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