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Gallery of Antisemitism: Example 3

Religious Antisemitism: Blood Libel

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The Blood Libel canard is one of the worst and oldest forms of Jew-hatred. Originally it was falsely claimed that the Jews murdered Christian children in order to consume their blood during religious rituals – notwithstanding that both murder and drinking of blood are considered sins in Judaism. During history, especially in mediaeval times, the unexplained disappearance of children was frequently followed by persecution of Jews. There are instances of such pogroms following blood libel accusations continuing up into the twentieth century in England, and the allegation is still very much alive in Middle Eastern antisemitism. The belief may also have resurfaced in the QAnon conspiracy theory with the belief that a global cabal (including prominent Jews) is involved in rituals of child sacrifice.

Warning: the following article was written by Harold Covington, a Nazi.

The following extract is from The Murder of William of Norwich : The origins of the blood libel in medieval Europe by E.M. Rose (2015, Oxford University Press, p. 2):

In 1150 Thomas of Monmouth, a Benedictine monk living in the cathedral priory in Norwich, East Anglia, began collecting notes for a narrative that he completed more than twenty years later, called the Life and Passion of William of Norwich.

Thomas’s text exists in a single contemporary manuscript now in the Cambridge University library. Brother Thomas, as we shall call him, reported that a few years earlier, before he had arrived in Norwich, a young apprentice leatherworker in the city, named William, had been persuaded to leave home with the promise of a job in the archdeacon’s household.

He was taken instead to the house of an eminent Jew where he remained for a few days. Thereafter at the direction of the homeowner, one of Norwich’s leading bankers, William was secretly held, subjected to ‘All the tortures of Christ’ and finally murdered. According to Thomas, after the Jews had crowned William with Thorns, tightened a knotted rope around his head and placed a gag in his mouth, they took the young man’s mutilated body out to the woods and hung it up. The body was eventually found under a tree outside the city walls.

Brother Thomas claimed that Jews performed this alleged ritual in imitation and in mockery of the Crucifixion and in mockery of the Christian religion and that William should therefore be regarded as a Saint. His account comprises two books, in which he details William’s life and suffering, and five further books, in which he recounts the miracles the saint was said to have performed after death.

The example below occurred as recently as 1928, and is described in Edward Berenson’s 2019 book The Accusation: Blood Libel in an American Town

Here is another modern example of blood libel. In 2015 Stop the War published a poem by Heathcote Williams entitled Evil on the Streets. It recounts an incident in 2016 when a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, Ahmad Saleh Manasra, was run over in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank, and was then screamed at, taunted and beaten by Jewish settlers. The incident, recorded on video, was truly shocking. Ahmad was later convicted of attempting, with his cousin (who was shot by the IDF), to murder two Israeli boys who had been seriously injured, just a little while before this incident. We must say that we see all the children in this tragic incident as victims of the conflict, and that we absolutely do not condone the settler behaviour. The important thing here, however, is the language Williams uses. In addition to using many Nazi and Holocaust comparisons in the poem, it suggests that cruelty is inherent to Jews, rather than a product of a particular modern conflict, when it describes the political situation in the following lines:

And the Middle East is ground into dust

By history’s treadmill – a murderous contraption 
Still controlled by Moloch, eater of children. 
Two thousand years ago the Sicarii, Jewish zealots, 
Targeted their Roman oppressors with knife attacks

Which brought forth the wrath of Rome and the destruction
Of Jerusalem’s Temple and half the city itself.
The so-called Holy Land can only be sanctified if it’s shared 
And not monopolised by Israel’s tribal madmen.'

and, later in the poem,

At Hallowe’en, Walmart advertises an ‘Israeli Soldier’s Uniform for Kids’
While Israelis enjoy serial killing Palestinian children
And ‘Gas all Arabs’ is spray-painted on the walls of Hebron –
Orders from an apartheid state mentored by King Herod.

Moloch is the Biblical name of an ancient Canaanite god associated in Jewish rabbinical tradition with child sacrifice, through fire or war. Of course, in St Matthew’s Gospel the Jewish King Herod ordered the death of all male children under two year of age around Bethlehem, in an attempt to kill the infant Jesus (this story is now accepted to be a myth).

You can read the whole poem here:

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