There has been considerable discussion in the press over the term “Blood Libel.” Dating back to the middle ages, it was used by Anti-Semites for centuries as the false accusation that Jews sacrifice Christian children either to use the blood for various “medicinal” purposes or to prepare Passover Matzoh (unleavened bread). It is also a signifier for vengeance. (Above: representation of the alleged ritual murder.)
As words and image, Blood Libel is one of the major “slanders,” integral to the practice of Anti-Semitism. It spread from Middle Europe to the Middle East as early as 1775, when there was a blood libel in Hebron. A second blood libel occurred in Damascus in 1840 and one occurred in Cyprus in the same year. Jump to the twentieth century, the Nazis made use of Blood Libel as one of the tools for demonizing Jews (below: Blood Libel illustration in the Nazi Newspaper Westdeutcher Beobachter of Cologne, published by Robert Ley, and a blood-sucking spider in the 1930s book “Jahwe: The God of the Jews.”)
For more on the truth behind Blood Libel go here.