An Israeli historian, Prof. Ariel Toaff of Bar Ilan University, has written a book claiming that medieval Jews did actually use Christian blood to make Matzoh.
Of course, he justifies his claims using ‘evidence’ consisting of confessions extracted from Jews under torture.
Toaff’s father, Elio Toaff (who has disavowed the book) is a former chief rabbi of Rome and Italian restaurant owner.
The question of why he would write such a book naturally arises. Literally hundreds of innocent Jews have been murdered over the centuries as a result of the blood libel, and certainly no serious historian has ever suggested that confessions obtained by torture are evidence for anything. The blood libel today is believed by many in the Muslim world and continues to be a part of modern antisemitic literature. And Toaff’s book has already been cited on several antisemitic websites.
So to put things in perspective, Toaff has struck a small blow for Jew-hatred (small because those who believe such things will believe them anyway, and those who don’t won’t be convinced by his ‘evidence’) and perhaps a large one for his personal notoriety.
Update [14 Feb 1225 PST]: Toaff has suspended distribution of his book to “re-edit the passages which comprised the basis of the distortions and falsehoods that have been published in the media.” Apparently it hadn’t occurred to him that what he wrote could have been used for nefarious purposes. Now, of course, we’ll hear that the ‘Jewish lobby’ has ‘silenced’ him.