Ariel Toaff: Israeli University Will Ask Professor to Explain Research Behind Controversial Book

Historians in the News

Israel’s Bar-Ilan University expressed “its strongest reservations” on Sunday about a book by one of its professors that reportedly suggests that some ritual murders of Christians by Jews might have actually taken place in the Middle Ages, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The book, by Ariel Toaff, was published in Italy last week as Pasque di Sangue, or Bloody Passovers. It delves into centuries-old allegations that Jews added the blood of Christian children to wine and unleavened bread for Passover. Such accusations, which historians have long dismissed as racist, have resulted in “blood libel” persecutions of Europe’s Jewish communities over the years.

Shmuel Algarbali, a spokesman for Bar-Ilan, told the Post that university officials “condemn any attempt to justify the awful blood libels against Jews,” but were withholding judgment on Mr. Toaff’s book because they have not yet seen it. He said that Mr. Toaff would be asked to explain his research when he returns from Italy.

In interviews, Mr. Toaff has said that his research has been misunderstood, and that he does not believe ritual murders took place.
Read entire article at Chronicle of Higher Education

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