The religion that taught the world to prohibit murder was absurdly accused of cold-blooded murder during the Middle Ages. Same holds true today.
The most astonishing part of the medieval blood libel against the Jews — that they deliberately murdered Christian children in order to use their blood for baking matzah — was not the hatred. It was the absurdity.
The Torah prohibits murder. The Torah prohibits the consumption of blood. The Torah disqualifies matzah if it is made of anything but flour and water. These are all easily accessible teachings. These are all easily observed Jewish practices. No murder. No blood. No complex matzah.
And yet, anti-Semites harbored these prejudices for centuries. People committed murder on the basis of these prejudices. Hatred of Jews blinded the haters to the sheer absurdity of the charges. They seem unbelievable to any rational person.
Fast forward a few centuries.
Witness the same absurdity.
The hatred of the past becomes eminently believable in light of the recrudescence of these charges in 21st-century terms. You know, don’t you, that Israel intentionally, deliberately, kills children in Gaza? Jews in Europe once murdered Christian children. Now, Jews in Israel murder Muslim children.
It’s exactly the same hatred, the same prejudice, just dressed in slightly different geographical clothing and slightly adjusted nomenclature. Now, the villains live in the Middle East; now, they are called Zionists. It’s exactly the same anti-Semitism, exactly the same malice.
With exactly the same intent: the delegitimation of Jews, or, to put it in reverse, the legitimation of genocide talk about Zionists.
That genocide talk is also updated in 21st-century terms. Today it’s called “war crimes” and “disproportion”; its bible is not the likes of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion but UN special reports.
One cannot reason with the Zionists-intentionally-kill-children-in-Gaza crowd any more than one could reason with the Jews-kill-Christian-children-for-blood crowd. There is no debate. There is, however, much to decry, to denounce and to censure.
Copyright © 2014 by the Intermountain Jewish News