History Of Blood Libel From 1144 Until 2007

“I am going through old Spanish college books and Catholic websites to see if they mention the “blood libel” term under any other circumstance than what’s out there in the media, which can be misinterpreted.” This should be a “tweet” but hey, when it comes to Sarah Palin, anything and everything must be researched to a tee.

I decided to post here from the website Religious Tolerance-which should be what the world needs so much. Sad to read, but glad that is in the past. Now a somewhat irregular term to get a point across and aim at a problem that has unfolded from Saturday on.

Read on (emphasis mine):

Blood libel accusations against Jews:

In 1144 CE, an unfounded rumor began in eastern England, that Jews had kidnapped a Christian child, tied him to a cross, stabbed his head to simulate Jesus’ crown of thorns, killed him, drained his body completely of blood, and mixed the blood into matzos (unleavened bread) at time of Passover. The rumor was started by a former Jew, Theobald, who had become a Christian monk. He said that Jewish representatives gathered each year in Narbonne, France. They decided in which city a Christian child would be sacrificed.

The boy involved in the year 1144 hoax became known as St. William of Norwich. Many people made pilgrimages to his tomb and claimed that miracles had resulted from appeals to St. William. The myth shows a complete lack of understanding of mainline Judaism. Aside from the prohibition of killing innocent persons, the Torah specifically forbids the drinking or eating of any form of blood in any quantity. However, reality never has had much of an impact on blood libel myths. This rumor lasted for many centuries; even today it has not completely disappeared. 1

Pope Innocent IV ordered a study in 1247 CE. His investigators found that the myth was a Christian invention used to justify persecution of the Jews. At least 4 other popes subsequently vindicated the Jews. However, the accusations, trials and executions continued. In 1817, Czar Alexander I of Russia declared that the blood libel was a myth. Even that did not stop the accusations against Jews in that country.

“Holy shrines were erected to honor innocent Christian victims, and well into the twentieth century, churches throughout Europe displayed knives and other instruments that Jews purportedly used for these rituals. Caricatures of hunchbacked Jews with horns and fangs were depicted in works of art and carved into stone decorating bridges. Proclaimed by parish priests to be the gospel truth, each recurrence of the blood libel charge added to its credence, thus prompting yet more accusations. This vicious cycle continued to spiral.” 7

Nicholl reports that “there are 150 recorded cases of the charge of ritual murder, and many led to massacres of the Jews of the place.2

Some of the incidents were:

bullet 1144 CE: Jews in Norwich, England were accused of the ritual murder. This is believed to be the first recorded case of the “blood libel” myth. Jewish leaders in the area were executed.
bullet 1171: Jews in Blois, France were accused of ritual murder. All of the Jews in that town (34 men, 16 or 17 women) were “dragged to a wooden tower where they were given the option of baptism or death. None chose the former.” 7 They were burned alive. A second source says that 31 were killed.
bullet 1181: More accusations at Bury, St. Edmund, England
bullet 1181: Three Christian boys disappeared after playing on a frozen river in Vienna, Austrai.  Several “witnesses” swore that Jews had slaughtered the boys. Three hundred Jews were burned at the stake. After the spring thaw, the bodies of the boys were recovered. They had drowned, and were otherwise unharmed. 7
bullet 1183: More accusations in Bristol, England
bullet 1192: More accusations in Winchester, England
bullet 1199: More accusations and Jewish executions in Erfurt, Bischofsheim.
bullet 1235: More accusations and Jewish executions in Lauda, Fulda.
bullet 1244: London Jews were accused of ritual murder and fined heavily.
bullet 1250: Jews in Saragossa, Spain, were accused of ritually killing a child, San Domenichino de Val.
bullet 1255: The body of a little boy, Hugh, was found in a cesspool near the house of a Jew in Lincoln, England. The latter was tortured, confessed that he had engaged in ritual murder, dragged through the streets, and finally hung. 100 Jews were transported to London and charged with ritual murder. One was acquitted; 2 were pardoned; the rest were hanged, either with or without a trial. One source states that 19 Jews were hung without benefit of trial.
bullet 1263: A Dominican monk published a theory that God had inflicted Jews with a terrible disease because they had murdeed Yeshua. He reasoned that the only cure was to kill an innocent Christian child and consume its blood.
bullet 1283-5: Following a series of ritual murder charges, 10 Jews were murdered by a mob in Mainz; 26 were executed in Bacharach, 40 in Oberwellil, and 180 in Munich.
bullet 1431: After ritual murder charges, several Jewish communities were destroyed in southern Germany: Ravensburg, Uberlingen and Lindau. 7
bullet 1451: Pope Nicholas V appointed John of Capistrano to organize the Inquisition of the Jews. John repeated the old charges of ritual murder and host desecration.
bullet 1475: A few days before Easter, Samuel, a Jew in Trent, Italy, found the body of a Christian infant named Simon. He had apparently drowned in a nearby river. A number of Jews were arrested and tortured. All confessed to murdering the infant. They were burned at the stake. Stories spread of miraculous cures which were believed to have been caused by contacting Simon’s bones. Simon was canonized as a holy martyr by Pope Gregory XIII. Simon’s beatification was reversed in 1965. 7
bullet 1492: Tomas de Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition engineered a blood libel case in La Guardia, Spain. Jews who had converted to Christianity were accused and tortured. They confessed to helping the chief rabbi to abuse and crucify a Christian child. 7
bullet 1541: John Eck, a Roman Catholic writer, wrote a pamphlet  “Refutation of a Jewish Book.” He repeated the ritual murder and host desecration myths.
bullet

1840: An elderly Italian monk-priest, Padre Tommaso, and his servant disappeared in Damascus, Syria, after having visited the Jewish quarter in the city.  A French consol to the Ottoman Empire, Ratti-Menton, promoted a groundless theory of ritual murder that the local Muslim government largely accepted. Jewish leaders were arrested and tortured. Sixty of their children were held hostage and starved to pressure their parents into confessing. One source said that four adults died from the mistreatment; another states that two died and some were permanently disabled. 7 Most of the rest confessed involvement in a ritual murder. 3 Yhe consul then requested permission from the Syrian government to murder the rest of his suspects. As a result of widespread protests from Sir Moses, Montefiore, Adolphe Cremieux, Solomon Munk, and others, the lives of the survivors were spared.

This event introduced the blood libel myth to the Arab world, where it is still circulating. It also led to an organized effort by Jews in Europe and the Middle East to protect themselves. This affair spurred early Zionist writers like Hess to promote the Zionist cause. 13,14

bullet 1853: Two Jews of Saratov, Russia, were convicted of ritually murdering two Christian children. 7
bullet 1870′s: “With the rise of the modern antisemitic movement in the late 1870s, the traditional blood accusation merged easily with the new scientific racial arguments, serving as a lowest common denominator to unite its secular (and often anti-Christian), Catholic, and Protestant members.3 Roman Catholic Bishop Martin of Pederborn, Germany, wrote that Jews ritually murdered Christian children.
bullet 1881: A Roman Catholic journal, Civilta Cattolica, started a series of articles which attempted to prove that ritual murder was an integral element of the Jewish religion. They argued that the ritual murders occurred at Purim rather than Passover. “It is in vain that Jews seek to slough off the weight of argument against them: the mystery has become known to all.” (Not quite all. Historians have rejected the stories of blood libel as myth.) 3
bullet 1911-3: The Beilis case, an accusation of ritual murder of a boy by the name of Andriusha  Yustchinsky, surfaced in Kiev, Russia. At first, his mother looked like a possible suspect. Although the boy had disappeared eight days before his body was found, she had not notified the police. She showed no emotion when her son’s body was discovered. Upon his death, she inherited 500 rubles, which had been held in trust. Suspicion later fell on Vera Tchebiraik who was involved with a gang of thieves. Andriusha was a schoolmate of her son, and would often stay overnight in her home. The boy might have heard about or seen some criminal act by the gang and been murdered to assure his silence. However, this was a time of great unrest in the country, and widespread anti-Jewish sentiment. Soon, the blood libel myth surfaced.  “Mendel Beilis was a Jew arrested in 1911 by the Czarist secret police in Kiev and accused of ritually murdering a Christian boy to use his blood in baking matzoh. He was jailed for almost two and one-half years, under horrible conditions, while awaiting trial. In 1913, after a dramatic trial, he was [unanimously] acquitted by an all Christian jury.6,7,8,12
bullet 1920s: Mendel Beilis emigrated to the U.S. and wrote his autobiography, called “The Story of My Sufferings.6
bullet 1960s: Bernard Malamud wrote a novel called “The Fixer.” He received both a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Although he claimed that this was an original story, some analysts believe that Malamud took most of the events and details from Beilis’ book. 6
bullet 1930′s +: Hitler re-used the blood-libel myth as justification for the Holocaust. The Nazi periodical, Der Stürmer, often published special issues devoted to allegations of ritual murder by Jews. Hitler had asked that a propaganda film be made of the 1840 Damascus case. World War II ended before it could be made.
bullet 2000′s: The Jewish blood-libel myth continues to circulate among many Muslim countries. Egyptian film producer is making a movie about the Syrian case in 1840, called “The Matzoh of Zion.” Director Albert Maysles is making a film about the Beilis case.
bullet 2007: Ariel Toaff, an Israeli historian of Italian origin, published a book that has revived the blood libel story. It is titled: “Bloody Passovers: The Jews of Europe and Ritual Murders.” Toaff suggests that several crucifixions of Christian children occurred from 1100 to about 1500 CE. He wrote:

“My research shows that in the Middle Ages, a group of fundamentalist Jews did not respect the biblical prohibition and used blood for healing. It is just one group of Jews, who belonged to the communities that suffered the severest persecution during the Crusades. From this trauma came a passion for revenge that in some cases led to responses, among them ritual murder of Christian children.”

He bases his book on the testimony given under torture. Twelve of Italy’s chief rabbis issued a press release stating:

“It is totally inappropriate to utilize declarations extorted under torture centuries ago to reconstruct bizarre and devious historical theses. … The only blood spilled in these stories was that of so many innocent Jews, massacred on account of unjust and infamous accusations.”

Sergio Luzzatto, in an article in the Corriere della Serra wrote:

“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.” 15

About thepalinexpress

I'm just a beginner blogger. Love to read the news, books and a self-confessed Fox-a-holic. I am Catholic, so my apologies!/

Posted on January 12, 2011, in Sarah Palin and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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