It is no coincidence that the Antisemitic shooting in Overland Park, Kansas happened the day before the Jewish Holiday of Passover. Passover is a key season for violence against Jews, because Passover is blood libel season.
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, the Muslim world, and even in the United States.
It started 3,500 years ago in the land of Egypt: ” we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt,” the story of Exodus says. The 10th and final plague hit the firstborn sons of every Egyptian. To avoid the plague Jews smeared the blood of a slaughtered lamb on the doorposts of the Jewish homes, the death passed over them.
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Josephus tells us that already in Roman times, the Greeks spread rumors that the Jews slaughtered a Greek in the Temple in Jerusalem and ate his intestines as part of our rites.
The story of William of Norwich (d. 1144) is often cited as the first known accusation of European blood libel against Jews. The Jews of 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. The Jews of the town were murdered.
The British blood libel spread throughout Europe. France’s first blood libel took place in Blois in 1171, 31 Jews were burned on the stake as Passover approached.
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. (Jonathan Frankel, “‘Ritual Murder’ in the Modern Era: The Damascus Affair of 1840,” Jewish Social Studies Volume 3, Number 2).
That event is credited with introducing the blood libel myth to the Arab world, where it is still circulating. Passover is a particularly active time because part of the horrible libel is that Jews use children’s blood for matzoh. What makes this Libel particularly disgusting is that the Torah expressly forbids the ingestion of blood. For example Leviticus 17:10-14:
And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that eateth any manner of blood, I will set My face against that soul that eateth 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 maketh 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 eateth it shall be cut off.
The blood libel tale was usually the same. The holiday of Passover is celebrated in spring; the unleavened bread is an integral part of the feast. The ugly rumor proclaimed that the matzah was not fit for use unless the blood of a Gentile child was kneaded into the mixture.
Today the story changes a bit, “horrible Israeli soldiers deliberately killing children,”usually accepted by the mainstream and spread by the media without question even though they are false. One such blood libel the al Durah hoax, where a young child was supposedly shot by Israeli forces, was picked up by the world media and incited a Palestinian intifada, which caused the deaths of more than a thousand Palestinian and Israeli citizens. The only problem was the entire thing was staged by a Palestinian Cameraman who worked for one of the French TV Networks.
Pamphlets distributed in Novosibirsk, Russia, a few years ago warned:
Beware Russian parents. Keep watch over your children before the coming of April 2008, the Jewish holiday of Passover. These disgusting people still engage in ritual practice to their gods. They kidnap small children and remove some of their blood and use it to prepare their holy food (matzah). They throw the bodies (of the children) out in garbage dumps.
In a March 2010 speech on Al-Aqsa TV, Salah Eldeen Sultan founder of the American Center for Islamic Research and the Islamic American University stated :
The Zionists kidnap several non-Muslims – Christians and others… this happened in a Jewish neighborhood in Damascus. They killed the French doctor, Toma, who used to treat the Jews and others for free, in order to spread Christianity. Even though he was their friend and they benefited from him the most, they took him on one of these holidays and slaughtered him, along with the nurse. Then they kneaded the matzos with the blood of Dr. Toma and his nurse. They do this every year. The world must know these facts about the Zionist entity and its terrible corrupt creed. The world should know this.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) is also famous for perpetuating the blood libel myth, by creating Human Rights charges against Israel that they don’t make against the countries that actually commit human rights violations. This is why it was disturbing when President Barack Obama has decided give the Council credibility by joining the (HRC).
Here in the United States the blood Libel is the language of the progressive left. The Daily Kos, the largest progressive website/social community whose annual convention called “Netroots Nation” has been addressed by former Secretary of State Clinton and her husband, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama among others, despite the fact that the Kos site makes it a habit of portraying Jews as blood-thirsty Nazis.
One political cartoon posted on the site shows a bloodstained Israeli flag with the “Jewish Star” morphed into a swastika. Until recently it was part of a post called “Eulogy before the Inevitability of Self-Destruction: The Decline and Death of Israel,” which warns of “A Zionist movement multiplying like cancer cells.”
The illustration for another Kos post, “Zionism was and remains a racist ideology,” (since removed) shows Israeli foreign minister Lieberman as Adolf Hitler. It includes the word Zionism in blood and tattooed on his hand is a skull with a Star of David.
Other recent examples come from the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, supported by our President, Democratic Party leaders, and even DCCC Chairman Long Island Congressman Steve Israel.
The movement ideological hero is author Naomi Klein who claims that “[Some Jews] even think we get one get-away-with-genocide-free-card.” But she does say we have a reason for our genocidal tendencies—money. In her book The Shock Doctrine Klein explains that Israel is run by a vast military-industrial complex that purposely perpetuates war against the Palestinians so they can develop and more importantly sell, new weapons on the worldwide market. The founders of OWS, an organization called Adbusters believes the Jews are forcing the world into bloody wars. In an article Jazz and the Jihad published on their website, they claim Jews forced the US into Iraq and Afghanistan, and are trying to force America into an Iran war.
The Ziocons have some big appetite to satisfy. The same lobbies that led America towards this disastrous invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan are now doing whatever they can to push America towards intervention in Iran and Syria… It currently fights the last sovereign pockets of Muslim resistance. The true aim of the Zionist lobbies is concealed. Instead the Zionist lobbies promote some righteous phony humanitarian alternatives. The American Jewish Committee (AJC), for instance, is aggressively lobbying against human rights abuse in Iran and Darfur. Since human rights issues are really close to my heart, I find myself wondering whether the Jewish organization shouldn’t rather be concentrating on the colossal war crimes that are daily repeated by Israel in Palestine
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The “Five books of Moses” commands Jew to “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt.” As we tell the story of our wondrous delivery from Egypt at our Passover Seders this week, Amalek will still be out there accusing the Jews of a lust for blood. Even worse is the fact our political leaders accept the purveyors of this libel into the mainstream, speak at their conferences, and support their movements. In most cases their support is not due to some latent Antisemitism, but because of a crass desire to put votes over morality.
Near the end of the Seder, Jews open the door to the outside the purpose of which most people say is to symbolically invite the Prophet Elijah to join the meal. But others believe the reason has more to do with the prayer which comes next:
“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.”
It is unique in Jewish Prayer we don’t usually pray for bad things to happen. But Passover is the celebration of our freedom as a people. Perhaps the reason to open the door and make that prayer is a show to the haters like the slime who killed three in Kansas, or those who read the daily Kos, or the U.N., or even politicians who accept hatred in the name of votes, that as a free people we will not stand for your hatred.