Passover is a Jewish holiday which takes place in the spring every year. They are commanded to avoid bread and leavened foods. Instead, they eat Mazah, an unleavened bread [similiar to a hard cracker] for seven days. This custom and a special traditional ‘seder’ night feast are designed to commemorate the exodus of the Jewish nation from Egypt, dated to 1312 BC.
A blood libel (also known as blood accusation) dates back to ancient times and expresses fabrications accusing Jews of murdering Christians (mainly children) in order to use their blood for Matzah baking and other ritual purposes. This clearly ignornes the fact that “thou shalt not murder” is one of the Ten Commandments, Judaism’s main laws, and that eating blood (of any creature) is forbidden. With time, the expressions expanded to include accusations regardless of Passover or children, or as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) put it: “a false, incendiary claim against Jews.”
Blood libels are extremely ancient and referred to as “old antisemitism,” however they are common in the new era as well. Besides for projecting false claims and harming the Jewish public image; blood libels have caused tremendous pain for Jewish people throughout the history, and have justified genocides, murders and pogroms. In this article, we will review a few of the most common libels and their consequences, and see how they still hold impact today.
England to begin the slanderous phenomenon, when a child went missing in the woods in Norwich in 1144, and later found dead. His hagiographer told a story resembling what we know today as “The Protocol of the Elders of Zion.” Selected Jews gathered to decide from where will be the next victim for the annual Passover sacrifice. The story became a slanderous libel and the child, William a martyr. As the stories piled up, by 1190 over 150 Jews were attacked, and in other cases executed and expelled. The libel spread through France to the rest of Europe, and was reused time and time again. Reporting a missing child was enough to convict Jews, even without presenting a valid argument, and often made use of false witnesses.
At the Renaissance transpired blood libels became even more vicious, especially in the context of rivalry based on religious faith. The belief in supernatural powers made it easy for the common man to attribute “witch’” powers to the unfamiliar Jew.
One of the most famous tales is of Simon of Trent, Italy, 1475. A body of a two year old infant was found at the Samuel’s cellar near Passover. The authorities were called, and the entire Jewish community was arrested, and forced to confess under torture of having used the child for demonic purposes. Those who agreed to be baptized were beheaded; others sentenced to death and burnt on the stake. Overall 15 Jews were killed and the rest were expelled from Trent. The rumor of the event spread, and sparked pogroms against Jews all over Italy.
Since the establishment of the state of Israel, relations with Arab countries diminished. Mosques and state leaders made up stories of blood libels. Several of these had severe consequences for Israeli Jews, inspiring Muslim Shahids to seek revenge for the false “murder” of Palestinian and Arab children.
A Facebook post by the Palestinian activist, Bassem Tamimi used doctored photos and claimed the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) used the Palestinian population for organs. In 2016 Mahmoud Abbas, the Head of the Palestinian Authority argued to the European Union that Rabbis in Israel called to poison drinking wells in order to commit mass murder towards the Palestinians. After heavy condemnations by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Abbas apologized for the falsehoods.
These are just minor examples describing the use of blood libels against Jews in the Palestinian media, some of which include absurd claims that Israel spreads AIDS, drugs, diseases, commits organs theft, and killings. These lies along with dehumanization of Jews, are prevalent in the Muslim media, network and education system, harming Jews everywhere.
Source: Wikipedia, Moment, Palestinian Media Watch
By Roni Zedek