* Israeli Professor Toaff’s blood libel book being seized on to slander Jews
* NBC TV criticized for broadcasting “anti-Semitic” episode of “Law and Order”
* A Belgian book partly blames the Holocaust on the United States
* This dispatch concerns anti-Semitism, attacks on Israel, and Jewish self-hate.
1. “Passover of blood: European Jews and ritual homicides”
2. “I call for a Nobel Prize to be awarded to the Israeli Jewish historian, the son of the chief rabbi of Rome”
3. “Why do Israeli universities tolerate such liars?”
4. The fraudulent Ilan Pappe, darling of Israel haters at Western universities
5. Belgian book blames the Holocaust on the United States
6. Ramallah isn’t Warsaw
7. Vichy-era law still forces Jews to pay more for French property
8. Perhaps George Soros will speak up?
9. Australian soccer players attacked orthodox Jew
10. NBC TV criticized for broadcasting “anti-Semitic” episode of “Law and Order”
11. “Egyptian researcher Muhammad Al-Buheiri discusses Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Blood Libel which still occurs today” (MEMRI, March 2, 2007)
12. “Bar Ilan’s blood libel scandal” (By Steven Plaut, Jewish Press, Feb. 28, 2007)
“PASSOVER OF BLOOD: EUROPEAN JEWS AND RITUAL HOMICIDES”
The first part of this dispatch is a follow-up to two recent dispatches which included notes on Professor Ariel Toaff, whose new book, published in Italy, claimed that medieval anti-Semitic blood libels were true. (Such fabricated blood libels sparked centuries of pogroms and helped pave the way for the Holocaust.)
Professor Toaff, who teaches at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, has been criticized for being “out of his mind” by other academics. He joins a small but vociferous band of Israeli and Jewish academics who, largely to gain publicity, attention and book sales for themselves, have published outrageous untruths about Israelis and Jews which have played into the hands of anti-Semites everywhere.
After several European Jewish leaders sharply attacked Toaff for promoting anti-Semitism, he asked his Italian publisher to halt distribution of his book (“Pasque di Sangue,” or “Passover of Blood: European Jews and ritual homicides”) so that “clarifications can be inserted”. Prof. Toaff says his research and writings, which he claimed had been misinterpreted, were not in any way meant to be used as a justification for blood libel. Few believe this excuse, and Toaff’s father, who is a former chief rabbi of Rome, says he won’t speak to his son.
* For previous items on Toaff, see the second note in Stanford University to show Turkish blood libel film (& Saudi Prince to build hotel in Tel Aviv) (Feb. 19, 2007), and the thirteenth note in YouTube becoming site of choice for al-Qaeda to spread propaganda (Feb. 21, 2007).
“I CALL FOR A NOBEL PRIZE TO BE AWARDED TO THE ISRAELI JEWISH HISTORIAN, THE SON OF THE CHIEF RABBI OF ROME”
Although Toaff’s book is in Italian, it is being widely and prominently reviewed around the world. For example, it was flagged on the front cover of the prestigious Times Literary Supplement (TLS) of London last week.
The TLS gave Toaff’s book a scathing review, but others have not. Seizing on press reports which have already appeared in mainstream media throughout the world, anti-Semites in the Arab world and elsewhere are – predictably – using the book as justification to slander Jews. (This is despite the fact that publication of the book has been suspended and Toaff has now retracted his thesis.)
For example, Egyptian researcher Muhammad Al-Buheiri, interviewed on Nile Culture TV on February 25, 2007, cites Toaff’s false claim that Jews really did carry out blood sacrifices of gentile children and asks “Have the Jews, with all their extremists, especially in Israel, given up these customs and religious rituals, which are important to them?”
Al-Buheiri, a past recipient of an Egyptian Ministry of Culture prize continues: “The Jews have made great efforts to conceal the issue of the Passover blood. They even called it ‘blood libel.’ In Jewish culture, this is called the ‘blood libel’ lie about the use of Christian blood to prepare matzos.”
He continues: “This man proved scientifically and objectively... He’s an academic, who heads the department of Jewish history at the Israeli Bar-Ilan University. We are not talking about an amateur, a fraud, or someone looking to get famous. We are talking about an academic, who follows scientific and objective principles.”
“I call for a Nobel Prize to be awarded to the Israeli Jewish historian, the son of the chief rabbi of Rome,” Al-Buheiri told TV viewers in Egypt and beyond.
(For more, see the interview below translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute, which I recommend reading in full to see the kind of anti-Semitic lies so prevalent in the media of even supposedly moderate pro-Western Arab states like Egypt. The video, with English subtitles, can also be viewed here.)
“WHY DO ISRAELI UNIVERSITIES TOLERATE SUCH LIARS?”
In the second article attached below, Haifa University professor Steven Plaut, who is a subscriber to this email list, points out that “Toaff would not be the first academic in Israel to produce anti-Jewish materials that are picked up and utilized by anti-Semites. Israel has scores, if not hundreds, of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel radical faculty members.”
Plaut writes: “Had these merely been the charlatan claims of an Islamist extremist or some other garden variety anti-Semite, no one would have paid them any attention. But as every neo-Nazi website on the planet has already publicized with jubilation, here we have an Italian-Israeli ‘scholar’ who has published a book that claims Jews in the Middle Ages engaged in ritual murder and used Christian blood for religious rites.”
Plaut quotes Sever Plocker, a columnist for Yediot Ahronot, who writes, “Professor Toaff’s book has nothing whatsoever to do with academic freedom. The man raised an unfounded argument, which was rejected outright by the world’s finest historians and experts on the period the book refers to.”
Plaut expresses surprise that Bar Ilan and other Israeli universities are so tolerant of the extremists within their midst, however outrageous their lies are. “Professors promoting offensive ideas or exhibiting behavior offensive to their employers have been fired in the U.S. Professors have been stripped of tenure for the mere expression of crackpot ideas in American universities. The University of Colorado’s Ward Churchill, who justified the 9/11 attacks and called the victims inside the WTC towers ‘Little Eichmanns’ was removed from a number of campus positions and may well be fired altogether.
“Similarly, academics caught committing explicit fraud have been fired and dismissed from academic positions. Luk van Parijs was fired from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for fraud, as were a professor in the UK and an economics professor in Northern Kentucky.”
THE FRAUDULENT ILAN PAPPE, DARLING OF ISRAEL HATERS AT WESTERN UNIVERSITIES
Plaut adds: “Within Israel, there have been some well-known cases of blatant fraud in research by Israeli academics. The most famous is the notorious Tantura story pushed by Dr. Ilan Pappe and his MA student Teddy Katz. Katz fabricated a massacre of Arabs in the town of Tantura south of Haifa, supposedly perpetrated by the Palmach Jewish militia in 1948.
“Not a scrap of evidence of any such massacre exists. Katz was sued for libel by the veterans association of the Palmach unit in question. In court and under counsel from his attorney, Katz confessed that he had fabricated the massacre, but later renounced his own confession,” says Professor Plaut. “Pappe, for his part, continues to tout the non-existent massacre in anti-Israel propaganda outlets all over the world.”
* For more on Pappe, see: the seventh note in the dispatch “Israeli Apartheid Week” kicks off around the world (Feb. 13, 2007), and the fifth note in the dispatch AUT 2: British Mideast minister calls for resolution of Israel academic boycott (May 18, 2005).
* The senior staff at MEMRI (cited above) and at the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Yad Vashem (cited below) are, like Professor Plaut, longtime subscribers to this email list.
BELGIAN BOOK BLAMES THE HOLOCAUST ON THE UNITED STATES
Following protests by Jewish organizations, one of Belgium’s largest bookstore chains has stopped selling a novel containing extracts from the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
The Centre Européen Juif d’Information (CEJI) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center had called on the Relay-Press Shop chain to stop carrying the book, a novelized version of the “Protocols.”
CEJI have also called on the Belgian government to investigate the publication of the book, which partly blames the Holocaust on the United States and implicates Western states in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The authors, Belgians Patrick Henderickx and Patrice De Bruyne, claim in the book that they added the text of the “Protocols,” “so that everyone can reach their own judgment.”
The “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a 19th-century forgery, describes a supposed Jewish plot to take over the world. Its publication has been banned in many countries under laws to prevent incitement to racial hatred and anti-Semitism.
CEJI called on the Belgian Center for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism to investigate and press charges against the authors on the grounds of incitement to racial hatred.
“The Protocols have been linked to many anti-Semitic incidents, and as such have been the cause of much harm,” CEJI Director Robin Sclafani said. “The fact that they resurface disguised as a novel is frightening. We hope the Belgian state will make clear that this work, which is banned in neighboring countries, is not welcome here either.”
RAMALLAH ISN’T WARSAW
A top German cardinal, Karl Lehmann, has condemned a statement made by leading members of a group of 27 German bishops following a pilgrimage to Ramallah and Bethlehem last week in which they compared the Palestinian situation to that of Jews in the Nazi ghettos of World War Two Europe.
However, officials at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem said that for Lehmann merely to call such an outrageous comparison “inappropriate” did not go nearly far enough.
Yad Vashem said the bishops’ remarks illustrated “a woeful ignorance of history and a distorted sense of perspective. They serve to diminish the memory of victims of the Holocaust and mollify the consciences of those who seek to lessen European responsibility for Nazi crimes.”
In the Warsaw ghetto alone, some 445,000 Jews were sealed off by the Nazis in a small space, where they were either starved to death, shot, or transported to extermination camps. There were other equally deadly ghettos established by the Nazis and their allies across Eastern Europe.
The Israeli government and some German media commentators also condemned the bishops, but the present pope, Benedict XVI, who is German, has not done so. Predictably, the Islamic Republic News Agency (the official news service for Iran) has welcomed the bishops’ comments.
In an opinion piece for Israel’s biggest paper Yediot Ahronot, Eldad Beck said the comments raised the question of “just how tainted with anti-Semitism the Catholic church and German society remained.”
Various recent polls in Germany show that 30 percent of Germans believe Israel’s attitude to the Palestinians is “identical” to the Nazi attitude towards the Jews.
Last week, vandals attacked a Jewish cemetery in Bad Windsheim, in the southern German state of Bavaria, damaging some 60 graves, roughly half of them beyond repair.
VICHY-ERA LAW STILL FORCES JEWS TO PAY MORE FOR FRENCH PROPERTY
A municipal regulation in the southern French Riviera city of Nice requires buyers of apartments “to have French citizenship and not to be Jewish.” According to the Nice Matin newspaper, the regulation was formulated in the days France collaborated with the Nazis during World War Two, but remains valid to this day.
As a result of the regulation, Jews in Nice who want to buy an apartment need to skirt around the law and pay an added fee of between 900-7,000 Euros ($1,200 – $9,000).
The law states that for someone to own a building, they have to make the following declaration: “[They] are French citizens”, “not Jews” and “are not the spouse of a Jew.”
“Even though is it is not being enforced, that such a regulation remains valid is disgraceful,” Martine Ouaknine, spokeswoman for the Nice branch of the Council of Jewish Institutions in France told French media.
PERHAPS GEORGE SOROS WILL SPEAK UP?
Some Hungarian Jews have expressed concern that Jewish residents and institutions could be attacked by right-wing extremists on the upcoming March 15 Hungarian National holiday. A permanent protest against Jews and foreigners has been set up across from the parliament building and extremists there are asking subway commuters to sign an anti-Semitic petition.
Budapest, home to around 100,000 Jews, today has the highest proportion of Jewish residents of any major city in Europe. One of the best-known Hungarian-born Jews is George Soros. (Soros is now American.) Soros has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to various charities and political organizations, including anti-Israeli ones, but next to nothing to help Jews.
CLARIFICATION: Reliable correspondents in Budapest inform me that “the permanent protest opposite parliament was actually cleared away some time ago and since then parliament has been surrounded by metal fences of about a hundred meters all around. The small right-wing protest is five minutes from parliament. There have been no anti-Semitic incidents such as physical attacks on synagogues or graveyards in the last couple of years and Jewish communal life is thriving. Both government and opposition Fidesz politicians have condemned anti-Semitism.”
However, last week Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said anti-Semitism was rising in an interview with Adam LeBor and Roger Boyes of The Times of London:
The prime minister said: “I have to say there have never been so many anti-Semitic remarks as now [since World War II]. My wife is a lecturer at the department of law. Last week she left the central building of the university, and she was handed a leaflet the likes of which we have never seen in the last 50 years in Hungary. It is very clear and unambiguous anti-Semitic pamphlet. This does not only outrage me because my wife is of Jewish descent. [Last autumn] in this square a list of 50 allegedly Jewish politicians was read out. An hour later Fidesz politicians went up on the same stage. They did not say, ‘Please do not do this, that we don’t need your support at this price.’ There is something horrible happening.”
AUSTRALIAN SOCCER PLAYERS ATTACKED ORTHODOX JEW
Australian police last week charged three men with assaulting Menachem Vorchheimer, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, in an attack that left him with a deep cut to his face.
The assault took place several months ago in Melbourne, after a busload of players from Ocean Grove Football Club passed Vorchheimer as he walked to synagogue with his children. In contrast to the police attitude following attacks on Jews in France and elsewhere in Europe in recent years, the Australian police say they will press charges in a vigorous way.
NBC TV CRITICIZED FOR BROADCASTING “ANTI-SEMITIC” EPISODE OF “LAW AND ORDER”
Several pro-Israel organizations have strongly criticized the popular U.S. television crime series “Law and Order,” for a recent episode referring to “Israeli brutality” and “appearing to promote anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews as disloyal American citizens.”
The plot of the February 27 installment of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” which is broadcast in America on NBC, and later internationally on many networks around the world (including in Israel) centered on a journalist who is poisoned after his girlfriend uncovers a foul-up by Israeli intelligence.
The show depicted Israeli bulldozers destroying Palestinian schools, and a Jewish police captain who agrees to cover up for Israel by closing down a criminal investigation at the urging of the head of a local pro-Israel group. The Irish detective asks the Jewish one: “Are you a Jew first and a cop second?” Another character refers to “Israeli brutality.”
In a statement to The Jerusalem Post, NBC said, “As noted on air, the program is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event.”
-- Tom Gross
“SOME ARABS WANT TO BE HOLIER THAN THE POPE...”
Egyptian researcher Muhammad Al-Buheiri discusses Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Blood Libel which still occurs today
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
March 2, 2007
The following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian researcher Muhammad Al-Buheiri, which aired on Nile Culture TV on February 25, 2007. Al-Buheiri is a past recipient of an Egyptian Ministry of Culture scholarship (1) and maintains a website. (2)
To view this clip visit: www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=1393
Interviewer: “What is this story of the blood matza, which some authors even Arab ones say is antisemitic lies and nonsense, while others say it is true?”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “Unfortunately, some Arabs want to be holier than the Pope...”
Interviewer: “A journalist like Salah ’Issa, for example, wrote in Nahdhat Masr that we don’t need to decide whether the blood matza story was true or not, but that we should examine how we deal strategically with the Jews and the Israelis in the 21st century.”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “That’s true, but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t deal with such issues. Let’s not forget that the West in its entirety globally celebrated Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. So why shouldn’t we do the same? I called for a Nobel Prize to be awarded to the Israeli Jewish historian, the son of the chief rabbi of Rome...”
Interviewer: “He’s the son of the chief rabbi of Italy...”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “He’s the son of the chief rabbi of Rome, who is still alive at 90 years of age.”
Interviewer: “He wrote Bloody Passover, the book we are discussing.”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “This man proved scientifically and objectively... He’s an academic, who heads the department of Jewish history at the Israeli Bar-Ilan University. We are not talking about an amateur, a fraud, or someone looking to get famous. We are talking about an academic, who follows scientific and objective principles. He reached the conclusion that there was indeed a group of extremist Jews, who used to slaughter Christian children, and to collect their blood in order to make the Passover matza. It had to be a child who had not reached puberty. They would abduct him, and put him into a barrel designed for this purpose, which had holes in the sides at the place of the arteries. They would insert iron skewers through the barrel, and make the boy’s blood flow that way. Then they would collect the blood, and use it for Passover. Some sources in Jewish halacha say that preparing a single matza on Passover this way is sufficient for all the Jews. Others believe that such matzos should be prepared in each country separately.”
Interviewer: “They sacrifice Christian children... When was it? In what century?”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “It has been substantiated since the Middle Ages.”
Interviewer: “Since then?”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “Yes.”
Interviewer: “My question is: Until when did it happen?”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “That is the question we must ask. Have the Jews, with all their extremists, especially in Israel, given up... Have they given up these customs and religious rituals, which are important to them? There were very many cases. There were similar cases in Syria. There were similar cases in 1700 and 1800. Such children were abducted.”
Interviewer: “I have another question. Who are the people who prepare these matzos? Are they Jewish extremists or moderates? As a researcher specializing in inter-faith dialogue, do you believe this still occurs in Israel? I’m rephrasing the question.”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “I believe it does, because these are religious rituals.”
Interviewer: “In some Israeli newspapers and media, we have seen that they take an Israeli hen or rooster, and shed its blood, and they say that this is a form of Israeli sacrifice that brings blessing. We have witnessed this on several occasions. The question is why this important book, Bloody Passover, provoked the Jews throughout the world, who said that this renowned Israeli historian is antisemitic.”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “First of all, we should be aware that the Jews always implement a rule they consider basic: A loud voice is capable of erasing the truth.”
Interviewer: “A loud voice?”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “Yes.”
Interviewer: “They are quite loud, aren’t they?”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “Precisely. If they attack somebody, they announce in the media and propaganda tools, which they control so skillfully, throughout the world... They turn the facts upside down. They turn the attacker into the attacked.”
Interviewer: “The media are controlled by the Jews.”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “The Jews have made great efforts to conceal the issue of the Passover blood. They even called it ‘blood libel.’ In Jewish culture, this is called ‘blood libel’ the lie about the use of Christian blood to prepare matzos.”
Interviewer: “Some people say that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and we are talking about the Israeli blood matza is a complete fabrication about the history of the Jews and Judaism. How do you respond to this as a researcher?”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “By Allah, even if I did not have historical proof, like the proof obtained by the Israeli historian Ariel Toaff, the current reality proves that it is true, or, at the very least, raises the possibility that it is true. We await a generation of new Israeli historians, who are characterized by scientific objectivity, and, incidentally, deserve our respect. We’re waiting for them to look into this issue, and it will surely turn out to be true.”
Interviewer: “Are the Jews of the Banu Nazir and Banu Qurayza tribes, from the time of the Prophet Muhammad are they the same Jews who live in Israel today? Some commentators, historians, and professors say that this is not true – that the Jews from the time of the Prophet Muhammad and the Jews of Al-Madina are not the same Jews who live in Israel today. What do you think about this?”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “Of course, this is true. No Israeli researcher can claim that his lineage goes back to the Jews of Banu Nazir or Banu Qaynuqa, or to the Jews of the Arabian Peninsula. They are all from Romanian, Polish, Russian, or English families. Not a single one... Only very few... There are Jewish families who have lived since bygone times in Palestine, and, by the way, these families are very...”
Interviewer: “Your response is very important, because it will make us consider the Jews in Israel in a different light – that they are not the accursed Jews, that they are not the Jews mentioned in the Koran. What do you think?”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “No, the fact that they are the accursed Jews is not restricted to any geographical region. This is because of their religion. If you believe in this religion, you believe some instructions that contradict the true religions and the instructions of monotheistic religion, and therefore, you deserve this curse. So this issue is not connected to any specific geographical region, but to an ideological theory.”
Interviewer: “What you are explaining now is that the Jews of Israel are not the Jews of Al-Madina.”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “That’s right.”
Interviewer: “But this does not mean they are not the Jews cursed in the Koran.”
Muhammad Al-Buheiri: “No, because they were cursed on account of their behavior. If you adopt this religious theory and these rituals, you deserve to be cursed.”
(1) The scholarship was for the completion of his book titled, “The Arabs of 1948 between Persecution & Criticism.”
“ACADEMIC FRAUD, PSEUDO-SCHOLARSHIP AND LIES”
Bar Ilan’s Blood-Libel Scandal
By Steven Plaut
The Jewish Press
February 28, 2007
By now just about everyone in the Jewish world has heard about the blood libel affair that has emerged from Bar Ilan University in Israel. It involves a professor of history there, Ariel Toaff, who claims that Jews used gentile blood for ritual purposes in Italy in the Middle Ages.
Last week, The Jewish Press ran a letter by Prof. Toaff in which he wrote inter alia: “In light of the false and distorted interpretation given to my recently published book, I have requested the Italian publishing house El Molino to immediately stop further distribution of the book in order that I may re-edit those passages which comprised the basis of the distortions and falsehoods that have been published in the media. I was astounded by the sheer force of these misrepresentations, which turned what is a research book into a vehicle used to harm Judaism and the Jewish people and, God forbid, as a justification for blood libel.”
He added that he apologizes to those who have been offended by his “research” and offered to donate royalties from this book to the Anti-Defamation League.
All very nice, except that Toaff has not really repudiated any of his false claims. The real scandal in all of this has to do with academic fraud, pseudo-scholarship and lies. Toaff’s posturing notwithstanding, the problem is not that the media have “distorted” Toaff’s claims, but rather that Toaff made fraudulent claims in the first place, based largely on “confessions” made by Jews being tortured in Inquisition courts.
It was Toaff who assigned the decidedly undistorted title to the book that states everything needed to know about it: Pasque di Sangue, or Passover of Blood. His promise to send any royalties to the ADL that he may or may not receive is a worthless gesture.
To put this matter into perspective, let me emphasize that Toaff would not be the first academic in Israel to produces anti-Jewish materials that are picked up and utilized by anti-Semites. Israel has scores, if not hundreds, of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel radical faculty members. Many of these are documented at www.israel-academia-monitor.com. What is unusual in the Toaff affair is that it comes out of Bar Ilan University, a school established mainly to serve Orthodox Jewish student and that is now refusing to take disciplinary action against a professor publishing fraudulent material about Jews.
There are numerous precedents from all over the democratic world of universities firing tenured professors for fraud and for open promotion of lunatic, obviously false “theories.” Several Holocaust deniers have been fired from tenured jobs, with France’s Robert Faurrison perhaps the most notorious. (Of course, there are open Holocaust deniers who have been allowed to retain academic jobs.)
Professors promoting offensive ideas or exhibiting behavior offensive to their employers have been fired in the U.S. Professors have been stripped of tenure for the mere expression of crackpot ideas in American universities. The University of Colorado’s Ward Churchill, who justified the 9/11 attacks and called the victims inside the WTC towers “Little Eichmanns” was removed from a number of campus positions and may well be fired altogether.
Similarly, academics caught committing explicit fraud have been fired and dismissed from academic positions. Luk van Parijs was fired from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for fraud, as were a professor in the UK and an economics professor in Northern Kentucky. Even people willing to defend the most offensive campus opinions in the name of “academic freedom” generally agree that a professor should be fired if he commits fraud. Professors in Western countries who have endorsed or collaborated with terrorism have also been fired.
Within Israel, there have been some well-known cases of blatant fraud in research by Israeli academics. The most famous is the notorious Tantura story pushed by Dr. Ilan Pappe and his MA student Teddy Katz. Katz fabricated a massacre of Arabs in the town of Tantura south of Haifa, supposedly perpetrated by the Palmach Jewish militia in 1948.
Not a scrap of evidence of any such massacre exists. Katz was sued for libel by the veterans association of the Palmach unit in question. In court and under counsel from his attorney, Katz confessed that he had fabricated the massacre, but later renounced his own confession.
Pappe, for his part, continues to tout the non-existent massacre in anti-Israel propaganda outlets all over the world.
There is some precedent for firing tenured faculty in Israel when fraud has been committed. An associate professor of anthropology was fired by the Hebrew University when it was discovered that she’d published fraudulent research. A half-hearted but unsuccessful attempt was even made within the University of Haifa, where Ilan Pappe is employed, to get Pappe stripped of his tenure and fired.
All of which brings us back to the case of Toaff. Had these merely been the charlatan claims of an Islamist extremist or some other garden variety anti-Semite, no one would have paid them any attention. But as every neo-Nazi website on the planet has already publicized with jubilation, here we have an Italian-Israeli “scholar” who has published a book that claims Jews in the Middle Ages engaged in ritual murder and used Christian blood for religious rites.
True, Toaff says the Jews in question were heterodox sectarians from outside the established Jewish community, but that is not exactly a serious reason for treating Toaff with any leniency.
Toaff’s book is a complete fraud, at least the sections in it about blood rituals (and they raise serious doubts about all the rest of Toaff’s “research”). Of course, no Jew has ever used blood, human or animal, for ritual purposes, other than animal sacrifices in the Temple of Solomon. Nevertheless Toaff writes: “Over many dozens of pages I proved the centrality of blood on Passover. Based on many sermons, I concluded that blood was used, especially by Ashkenazi Jews, and that there was a belief in the special curative powers of children’s blood. It turns out that among the remedies of Ashkenazi Jews were powders made of blood.”
Toaff claims that “a black market flourished on both sides of the Alps, with Jewish merchants selling human blood, complete with rabbinic certification of the product – kosher blood.” Here is the son of a rabbi who apparently does not know that blood of any sort can never be kosher.
Toaff’s fraud has been universally denounced by Jews and Christians. Even Israeli secularists were outraged. Writing in Yediot Aharonot, Sever Plocker (a leftist) wrote: “Professor Toaff’s book has nothing whatsoever to do with academic freedom. The man raised an unfounded argument, which was rejected outright by the world’s finest historians and experts on the period the book refers to. The blood libel against the Jews has remained an evil plot.”
Meanwhile, Bar Ilan University officials, facing a worldwide explosion of rage, have politely distanced themselves from Toaff. But they have not taken any serious action against him, have not stripped him of his tenure for fraud nor fired him, and in fact have been going out of their way to circle the wagons and defend Toaff’s “academic freedom.” Suddenly lies and fraud are protected academic scholarship at Bar Ilan.
As noted, Toaff has offered to pull the book off the shelves for a little while in order to insert some “clarifications.” The problem is not deficient clarity but rather all-too-clear anti-Semitic lies. His duplicitous “apology” aside, Toaff is sticking to his guns about his main claims, and told the Jerusalem Post he would not repudiate them even if it means “he gets crucified” (his words). Accusing Jews of being behind crucifixion is of course entirely consistent with his brand of scholarship.
Toaff’s shenanigans illustrate perfectly why Israeli universities are sinking into a quagmire of mediocrity and how the unwillingness to act against charlatans and fraud is destroying Israeli academia.