Historically the weeks surrounding Passover have been a most dangerous time for the Jews. Because of the famous fake anti-Semitic libel, matzah was made from Christian children’s blood. These accusations usually led to violent attacks against Jewish communities.
Blood libel is a term with a specific and terrible history. It refers to the scurrilous accusation that Jews kidnapped and murdered Christian children to use their blood to prepare Passover matzoh. Charges of blood libel have spurred massacres of Jews throughout the centuries; the myth was revived by Hitler and persists today in places like Russia and parts of the Muslim world.
It even exists in the United States (in a different form), preached by people like Former President Obama with his lies that the IDF targets kids, Louis Farrakhan, and others. College campuses in America, especially the most liberal ones, tend to be hotbeds of blood libel. When COVID started spreading, anti-Semitic crazies claimed it was created by the Jews. It was a variation of the same concept as the blood libel —Jews trying to kill others because of blood lust, they claim.
As for the original blood libel lie, anybody who has ever eaten matzah knows that matzah is made from a combination of sheetrock and cardboard (at least it tastes that way). Like many anti-Semitic lies, the blood libel is based on something Jews can’t do. The Torah forbids Jews from consuming blood. As is written in the book of Vayikra (Leviticus) 17:10-14:
And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that eat any manner of blood, I will set My face against that soul that eat blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that make atonement by reason of the life. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel: No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that taketh in hunting any beast or fowl that may be eaten, he shall pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For as to the life of all flesh, the blood thereof is all one with the life thereof; therefore I said unto the children of Israel: Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh; for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof; whosoever eat it shall be cut off.
Part of making meat Kosher is salting the meat, which is done to get rid of the last traces of blood.
The blood libel springs from an action that occurred 3,500 years ago in the land of Egypt,” we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt,” the Torah says. As the biblical account explains, the tenth and final plague hit the firstborn sons of every Egyptian (and their firstborn animals). To avoid the 10th plague, the Jews were told to smear the blood of a slaughtered lamb on the doorposts of the Jewish homes. In that way, the angel of death knew who to pass over–this connected Passover and blood.
About 1,500 years later, Josephus wrote that the Greeks spread rumors that the Jews slaughtered a Greek in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and ate his intestines as part of their religious rites. The ancient Greeks didn’t have split hooves and chew their cud—in other words, they wouldn’t be Kosher.
The story of William of Norwich (d. 1144) is often cited as the first known accusation of European blood libel. Jews in Norwich, England, were accused of murder after a Christian boy, William, was found dead. It was claimed that the Jews had tortured and crucified their victim, and because of that lie, it became “open season” for the Jews.
The Jews of the town who didn’t flee were murdered. Eleven years later, the blood libel resurfaced in England when Jews were attending a wedding in Lincoln. A Christian boy named Hugh was found in a cesspool where he apparently had fallen. After subsequent forced, tortured confessions, 19 Jews were hanged. Soon, the anti-Semites of England accused the country’s Jews of participating in ritual murder.
The British blood libel spread throughout Europe. France’s first blood libel took place in Blois in 1171. Thirty-one Jews were burned at the stake as Passover approached because they refused to convert. The legend is that while they were being consumed by the flames, the martyrs began softly chanting the Jewish prayer, Alenu. A prayer whose theme is that it is our obligation to praise God.
In the year 1235, in the town of Fulda in what is now Germany, Christians accused Jews of killing two boys and retaliated by murdering 34 Jews.
In the 17th century, a catastrophe struck Polish Jewry as Cossack troops attacked and massacred entire Jewish communities during the Chmielnicki Revolt. Rabbi David Halevy Siegel, who lived during that period and authored a commentary on the Shulhan Arukh (Code of Jewish Law) entitled the Turei Zahav, issued a ruling intended to protect Jews from the blood libel. He ruled that the traditional red wine used at the seders should be replaced with white wine in lands of persecution to not arouse suspicion. Rabbi Siegel managed to flee from the Chmielnicki massacres to save his own life, but two of his sons were murdered in a pogrom in Lviv, Poland, in 1654.
In 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 consul to the Ottoman Empire, Ratti-Menton, promoted a groundless theory of ritual murder of Tommaso 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. Most of the rest confessed involvement in a ritual murder. The consul then requested permission from the Syrian government to murder the rest of his suspects. SOURCE:Jonathan Frankel, “‘Ritual Murder’ in the Modern Era: The Damascus Affair of 1840,” Jewish Social Studies Volume 3, Number 2.
That Damascus event is credited with introducing the blood libel myth to the Arab world, which is still circulating.
Today the story changes a bit, “horrible Israeli soldiers deliberately killing children,” usually accepted by the mainstream media, progressive Democrats, much of the EU, and the Arab World. The libel is spread by the media without question, despite that they are false, and the US State Dept. definition calls that blood libels and Antisemitism. Their description of Jew-hatred includes using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus, dual loyalty, or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
One such blood libel was the al Durah hoax, where a young child was supposedly shot by Israeli forces. The story was faked by an anti-Israel French reporting crew and was picked up by the world media. The hoax incited the second Palestinian intifada, which caused the deaths of more than a thousand Palestinian and Israeli citizens. The entire thing was staged by a Palestinian Cameraman who worked for one of the French TV Networks (France 24)—the boy was never harmed by the IDF.
Another blood libel was made live on TV. In October 2015, Israeli police shot a man lunging at them with a knife. MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin claimed the man’s hand was open and couldn’t be holding a knife. This was an anti-Semitic blood libel lie so blatant that MSNBC host Jose Diaz’ Balart used the very same video Mohyeldin filed to show that it was obvious that the terrorist’s hands weren’t open. It certainly looked like he had a knife in his hand. Mohyeldin lied and is still reporting for MSNBC News.
Three days after Bush #43 went into Iraq in 2003 (and three weeks before Passover), anti-Semite and Holocaust denier Pat Buchanan came up with a new angle to the blood libel, Buchanan who is a serial Jew-hater, claimed those damned Jooos pushed us into war, aim
“For whose benefit these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America save oil, which the Arabs must sell us to survive? Who would benefit from a war of civilizations between the West and Islam? Answer: one nation, one leader, one party. Israel, Sharon, Likud.” ( The American Conservative Whose War? 3/24/03)
Former President Obama made a similar claim in a conference call to liberal Jews. On July 31, 2015, Obama’s phone call was organized by the Anti-Israel group J Street and other progressive Jewish groups. Obama’s message could be summed up as, please help because those rich people are helping those warmongering Jews to fight this incredible Iran deal because they don’t like me and want to start a war just like they did in Iraq.
The message was clear to the Jewish participants; William Daroff, Senior Vice President for Public Policy & Director of the Washington office of The Jewish Federations of North America, tweeted during the meeting, “Jews are leading effort to kill #Irandeal. ‘Same people opposing the deal led us into Iraq war,'” he followed with “Canard: Jews got us into Iraq War.”
The truth is that Prime Minister Sharon strongly recommended against the Iraq war, prophetically saying that Saddam Hussein was the West’s only check on Iran and that removing the despot would allow the Iranian regime to dominate the gulf.
Former President Obama often reawakened the medieval anti-Semitic blood libel with false accusations against the Jewish State, refusing to acknowledge the Palestinian’s use of human shields and condemning Israel for any civilian casualties.
This was even though Obama’s own Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, said that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in the recent war in Gaza and that the Pentagon had sent a team to see what lessons could be learned from the operation.
“I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties. In fact, about 3 months ago we sent, we asked [IDF Chief of Staff] Benny [Gantz] if we could send a lessons learned team – one of the things we do better than anybody I think is learn – and we sent a team of senior officers and non-commissioned officers over to work with the IDF to get the lessons from that particular operation in Gaza. To include the measures they took to prevent civilian casualties and what they did with tunneling, because Hamas had become very nearly a subterranean society. And so, that caused the IDF some significant challenges. But they did some extraordinary things to try to limit civilian casualties to include calling out, making it known that they were going to destroy a particular structure. Even developed some techniques, they call it roof knocking, to have something knock on the roof, they would display leaflets to warn citizens and population to move away from where these tunnels.”
Immediately afterward, Jen Psaki, then the spokesperson for the State Department, did what she could to shoot down General Dempsey.
It remains the broad view of the entire administration that they could have done more,” Psaki said during a press briefing Friday when asked about the Dempsey. And they should have taken more feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties.
And, of course, there is Louis Farrakhan, who is loved and respected by Democratic Party members of Congress and the women’s movement. Farrakhan preaches that the Jews are warmongers who enjoy killing. During one of his Saviour’s Day, Speeches, Farrakhan repeated one of his favorites; “It is now becoming apparent that there were many Israelis and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attacks. Israelis had foreknowledge of the attacks… We know many Jews received a text message not to come to work on September 11.”
Murderous Jews are a favorite theme of Farrakhan. In recent history, Farrakhan crawled out from under his rock to blame the death of Michael Jackson on the Jews, and the Jews turned Major Hasan into a killer.
In the weeks leading up to and during the Passover holiday, when we tell how God wondrously delivered our ancestors from Egypt, Jew-haters of all forms will still be out there accusing the Jews of blood lust. While some say Israel or Zionists, there is no difference between the two.
At the end of the Passover Seder, some Jews open the door to the outside to say this prayer:
“Pour out Thy wrath upon the nations that know Thee not, and upon kingdoms that did not call upon Thy name. For they have consumed Jacob, and laid waste his habitation. Pour out Thy rage upon them, and let Thy fury overtake them. Pursue them in anger and destroy them, from under the heavens of the LORD.”
That is unique in Jewish Prayer. We don’t pray for bad things to happen to bad people—we pray for them to change their ways. But Passover is the celebration of our freedom as a people, and the blood libel is now a year-round problem, conveniently blaming Israel because it sounds nicer than Jews making matzoh
Perhaps the reason to open the door and make that prayer is to create a public show for the haters.
But the days we accept the hatred are over. During Passover, a dangerous time for Jews, we remember that Jews everywhere are part of a free Jewish nation. We will no longer hide. We will opem our doors and let the entire world know that we will never stand for hatred against the Jewish people again.
To help fight hatred toward the Jewish nation and our eternal homeland, I joined the Zionist Herut Movement, dedicated to protecting Israel and the Jewish people worldwide Herut is an international movement for Zionist pride and education. It is dedicated to the ideals of pre-World War II Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Jeff Dunetz (The Lid) is an active member and serves on the organization’s board. More about Herut can be found at www.HerutNA.org. Please click on this link and join me in this important movement.