Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bar Ilan University Professor Promoting Medieval Blood Libel

1. A Palestinian State is NOT the answer:
See also

2. Abbas is no moderate, Senator:

3. Peas in a Pod:

4. More Et Tu, Bar Ilan:

By evening every neo-nazi crank on the planet will be citing this. This
would have been poor taste even if it were a Purim prank, which it is not.

Bar Ilan Professor endorsing medieval blood libels against Jews:
Historian gives credence to blood libel

Lisa Palmieri-Billig, THE JERUSALEM POST Feb. 7, 2007


An Israeli historian of Italian origin has revived "blood libel" in an
historical study set to hit Italian bookstores on Thursday. Ariel Toaff,
son of Rabbi Elio Toaff, claims that there is some historic truth in the
accusation that for centuries provided incentives for pogroms against Jews
throughout Europe.

Toaff's tome, Bloody Passovers: The Jews of Europe and Ritual Murders,
received high praise from another Italian Jewish historian, Sergio
Luzzatto, in an article in the Corriere della Serra daily entitled "Those
Bloody Passovers."

Luzzatto describes Toaff's work as a "magnificent book of history...Toaff
holds that from 1100 to about 1500...several crucifixions of Christian
children really happened, bringing about retaliations against entire
Jewish communities - punitive massacres of men, women, children. Neither
in Trent in 1475 nor in other areas of Europe in the late Middle Ages were
Jews always innocent victims."

"A minority of fundamentalist Ashkenazis...carried out human sacrifices,"
Luzzatto continued.

Toaff offers as an example the case of Saint Simonino of Trent. In March
1475, shortly after a child's body was found in a canal near the Jewish
area of Trent, the city's Jews were accused of murdering Simonino and
using his blood to make matzot.

After a medieval trial in which confessions were extracted by torture, 16
members of Trent's Jewish community were hanged.

Toaff reveals that the accusations against the Jews of Trent "might have
been true."

Toaff refers to kabbalistic descriptions of the therapeutic uses of blood
and asserts that "a black market flourished on both sides of the Alps,
with Jewish merchants selling human blood, complete with rabbinic
certification of the product - kosher blood."

Dr. Amos Luzzatto, former president of the Union of Italian Jewish
Communities said, "I would expect a more serious statement than 'it might
have been true.'" He also expressed dismay at the sensationalism with
which Corriere della Sera, Italy's leading daily, treated the issue.

"It is totally inappropriate to utilize declarations extorted under
torture centuries ago to reconstruct bizarre and devious historical
theses," declared 12 of Italy's chief rabbis in a press release refuting
Toaff's claims.

"The only blood spilled in these stories was that of so many innocent
Jews, massacred on account of unjust and infamous accusations," the
statement continued.

The town of Trent, near the Austrian border, commemorated Simonino's
"martyrdom" for five centuries, until, in 1965, the Vatican published the
Nostra Aetate, which aimed at extirpating anti-Semitsm from Catholic
doctrine. The Bishop of Trent signed a decree proclaiming that the blood
libel against the city's Jews of that city was unfounded.

Alessandro Martinelli, the Catholic Church's delegate for Interreligious
Dialogue in the Diocese of Trent, recalls a well-documented DVD and
historical monograph by historian Diego Quaglioni disproving Jewish
responsibility for Simonino's death. A plaque the community had erected to
mark the tragedy of the Jews who were martyred called for atonement and
reconciliation between Catholics and Jews based on adherence to historical

To all this, Dr. Amos Luzzatto comments, "Even if the author should manage
to prove that a deviant sect existed for centuries...clearly it could
never be identified as a Jewish group, or as part of a Jewish community.
This would be comparable to saying that the rabbis who were present at
[Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad's Holocaust Denial Conference in
Teheran represent mainstream Judaism."

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