[This is the Second Edition of this pamphlet].
One of the oldest and vilest canards ever to be levelled against the Jewish religion is that of ritual murder, specifically that the Talmud calls for the periodic ritual consumption of the blood of Christians usually effected by the sacrificial murder of a young boy. Although accusations of ritual murder have been made on sworn testimony, and at times Jews have even confessed to such crimes, reputable scholars nowadays concur that such charges were based on hearsay and superstition and that such confessions as have been made were extracted under torture. There have even been cases in which Jews have been fitted up by people in authority, something we have heard rather too much of lately with a deluge of terrorist and non-terrorist murder convictions being overturned, the former with an anti-Irish rather than anti-Jewish slant.
Let us examine a few historical examples. In the 1255 case - Little St Hugh (1) - after a boy fell into a well, a Jew named Joppin or Copinus who was arrested for the boy’s murder, was promised by a judge that if he confessed, his life would be spared. He did so, and a total of 91 Jews were arrested; 19 were subsequently hanged (including Copinus himself) and others were jailed.
In the 1475 case - Simon of Trent (2) - a German Jew named Wolfgang was accused of participating in the boy’s murder. Simon, who was two and a half years old, disappeared at Easter, 1475. (3) Early the following year, Bishop Heinrich of Regensburg, who was on his way back from Rome, obtained a copy of Wolfgang’s confession. (4) Under torture he implicated more than 20 other Jews in an alleged ritual murder case in 1467, 17 of whom were subsequently arrested. Prima facie evidence of ritual murder was indeed found when the cellar of one of the accused was dug up and human remains were unearthed, but even the superstitious peasants of 15th Century Europe were skeptical when it was reported that at this time men had been seen removing bones from a Christian cemetery. (5) After four and a half years, all the accused were released. (6) Jews, not unreasonably, most often put such cases down to pure unbridled anti-Semitism, although very often it isn’t.
In the Simon of Trent case the fact that most of the accused were community leaders leads to suspicions of a political motive. A more common ulterior motive was financial. At a time when many Jews were involved in usury (what we would nowadays call banking) a nobleman who wanted to rid himself of his creditors could do so by laying charges of ritual murder against them and hanging the lot!
In another German case (Worms), on 18th March, 1563, a twenty year old saddler journeyman claimed to have seen a Jew, whom he identified, buy a boy from a woman, a camp follower (Kriegsfrau), hide him under his overcoat, and take him into the ghetto at Worms. (7) When the Jew denied it, he was imprisoned and tortured; the accuser was also imprisoned, but the Jew maintained his innocence even under torture. No corpse was ever found, and the entire case was based on the one witness and hearsay.
Under Blood Accusation, The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia points out that “Fines levied on the Jewish communities were always welcome additions to a prince’s treasury.” (8)
Philip Augustus King of France used such a pretext to replenish his funds with Jewish money, while on another occasion a Hungarian count had 30 of his Jewish creditors burned alive. (9) This smacks rather less of anti-Semitism than of pragmatism.
The anti-Semitic ritual murder canard may have originated in the 12th Century, but even then there was nothing new under the sun. The early Christians were accused of ritual murder; Tertullian, the theologian who lived c160-c225 wrote, “We are called the most villainous of mortals because of the secret practice of killing and eating children.” (10)
It is thought that this arose out of a misinterpretation of Christian ritual: that eating the host is literally eating the body of Christ, and that drinking the wine is literally drinking his blood. Charges of ritual murder have also been levelled against Christian missionaries in China (1870) and against foreigners in Madagascar, (1891), particularly the English and the French. It is perhaps ironic that nowadays members of extreme right organisations often make derogatory remarks about blacks practising cannibalism when a hundred years ago blacks were making the same charges against them. (11)
A far more recent case was that of Mendel Beiliss. This case which has been well-documented by the Jewish writer Maurice Samuel, was centred on the 1911 murder of 13 year old Andrei Yushchinsky in Kiev. Jewish ritual murder leaflets were circulated, Russkoye znamya - an anti-Semitic newspaper - blamed it on ritual murder. (12) Poor Beiliss wasn’t the only person falsely accused of the boy’s murder. The parents were arrested and held for two weeks on suspicion of a financial motive, but rumours of a trust fund proved groundless. (13) The Beiliss case caused an international furore, but in spite of attempts to fit him up good he was eventually acquitted. Later, Beiliss (who was 39 at the time of his trial, an ex-soldier and the father of five children), emigrated to Palestine then to the United States. The strange thing about this case is that Mendel Beiliss was an ordinary working man and not particularly religious.
Coming right up to date, an article which appeared in an American anti-Semitic newspaper entitled Oprah, The Jews And Ritual Murder revealed that:
“On May 1, 1989, the Oprah Winfrey show had as its guest a person who, as a young girl, was forced to participate in a ritual in which an infant was sacrificed. The amazing thing about the guest is that she was not affiliated with some unknown radical blood letting cult, but that she was a JEW. (14)
According to an article on the show in the Chicago Tribune, the woman was ‘undergoing long-term psychiatric treatment,’ apparently because of her horrible experience. The newspaper article is quoted below in its entirety.”
The article is from the 7th May issue, is credited to the New York Times News Service, and is entitled Jews Protest Sacrifice Tale on Oprah Show. Apparently, hundreds of people, the leaders of Jewish organisations and civil liberties groups, all protested against the airing of the young woman’s allegations.
The pseudonymous “Rachel” had claimed that she had witnessed the ritual sacrifice of Jewish children and that she had been the victim of long term abuse. She claimed also that other Jewish families across the country engaged in such practices, and linked them to the recent mass murder of 13 people at Matamoros, Mexico.
Oprah Winfrey said this was the first time she had heard of Jews sacrificing children, and the woman told her, “When I was very young, I was forced to participate in that, and which I had [sic] to sacrifice an infant.” At one point, says the article, the woman asserted that ritual sacrifices occurred in other Jewish families, and that they were known to the police. The rest of the three pages of the photocopied article contains an overtly anti-Semitic interpretation of more traditional tales of Jewish ritual murder. What are we to make of Oprah Winfrey’s guest?
The fact that she was “undergoing long-term psychiatric treatment” is undoubtedly far more relevant than the fact that she was Jewish. The furore created by Jewish groups is understandable, particularly with their undeniably extreme touchiness about anything which could be even vaguely construed as anti-Semitic. Had these lurid claims emanated from a non-Jewish source, they would have been immediately branded as such, yet they needn’t be. The simple fact is that “Rachel’s” experiences and other, modern day tales of ritual murder, have rather less in common with anti-Semitic folklore than with “urban legends”.
The claims usually levelled at Jews concerning ritual murder is, of course, that they sacrifice Gentile children, mostly young boys. Rachel however states that the victims in the cases she knows about, including the one she allegedly participated in, were Jewish. Why? Because she has heard ritual murder tales, she has heard tales of Satanic murder, and has melded the two together. Had she come from a Christian family she would undoubtedly have related tales of Satanic abuse in a Christian context.
Robert D. Hicks, a former police officer, has made a protracted study of alleged Satanic abuse and has shown such claims to be utter nonsense. (15) Most urban legends are totally innocuous folk tales, many of which may be based on actual incidents, but tales of Satanic abuse, like alien abduction fantasies, are weird stories which are spread by fantasists, the mentally ill, publicity seekers, and, as is possibly the case with Communion author Whitley Strieber, (16) honest men and women who confabulate (confuse dreams and fantasies with reality). It has even been known for two or more people to share the same delusion. The “witness” on the Oprah Winfrey show has already found her way into the anti-Semitic literature; there is a subtle irony here in that the people who will use her tall stories to “authenticate” contemporary tales of Jewish ritual murder believe that the Jews control the media lock, stock and barrel. They even refer to TV as the electronic Jew, to the news media as the Jewsmedia, and the US government as ZOG, (Zionist Occupation Government). I put the following questions to Lady Birdwood, who remains [now deceased] an uncritical believer in all this nonsense. (17)
“Do you actually believe that this woman witnessed this ritual murder?”
“Yes, I don’t think Oprah Winfrey would lie like that.”
“...if these scheming Jews have got so much power in the media, they’re not going to allow any negative images of themselves to be projected. Wouldn’t the Jewish conspiracy, as it were, stop this?”
“It’s a very strange story, this one. I don’t know this woman Oprah Winfrey - she’s black, I think - I think she’s got a very strong mind of her own. It came out of the Chicago Tribune didn’t it? That’s where it appeared, and she got hold of it. Well, for reasons best known to the Chicago Tribune editor, this appeared.” (18) Evidently the Jewish conspiracy, (ZOG or whatever), let this one slip through the net. No doubt they’ll be more watchful in future.
Oprah Winfrey herself claimed this was the first time she had heard of Jews allegedly sacrificing children. This is remarkable indeed and shows what a law abiding bunch America’s Jews really are, because if one is to give any credence at all to some of the wilder claims about ritual murder, Satanists are busy snatching people off the streets in every city in America, babies are bred for the specific purpose of sacrificing to Satan, organised rings of paedophiles have infiltrated nurseries across the country, and kids are incited to devil worship by playing Dungeons and Dragons. (19)
Then there are the even more unbelievable but usually benign stories of UFO “contactees” and alien abductions. Exactly how these stories come into circulation is a matter for folklorists; like the ritual murder canard, most of them have been going the rounds for centuries. The only thing that changes is outward manifestations of the phenomena. Nowadays people see aliens, in a previous era they saw fairies. The case of “Rachel” falls into a slightly different category; many alien contactees and similar people are not mentally disturbed in the conventional sense. Some of them are victims of confusion and particularly of confabulation. (20) It might also be added that some such people are not fantasists, confabulators or mentally disturbed, but conscious liars. George Adamski, the man who launched the UFO contactee cult, was undoubtedly one. (21)
Let us return now to the Dark Ages, those before television! Between the 15th and 17th Centuries, a wave of witchcraft hysteria swept across Europe. This was so intense that between 1450 and 1700, as many as 100,000 people were executed for witchcraft. (22)
In his biography of Matthew Hopkins, the notorious “Witch Finder General”, Richard Deacon writes, “...in Toulouse four hundred people were executed in a single day on charges of witchcraft.” (23) While Rachel Hasted, writing on the trial of witches in Pendle, Lancashire says, “The border-line between magic and religion was not clear cut in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Protestants often spoke of Catholic practices as a form of conjuring, and referred contemptuously to their prayers as charms.” (24) Deacon says that the wave of witch finding that swept over England in the 17th Century arose when exorcism went out of fashion and says of the Puritans, “...when a farmer’s cattle became sick and the farmer suspected some poor old hag...[they] would simply have tried and condemned her on the flimsiest evidence.” (25)
And, when no evidence existed, they invented it! Not that they often needed to go to that extreme, the standards of evidence were extremely poor; such cases would never come to trial today.
In 1633, nineteen women were arrested on a charge of witchcraft on the word of one boy, Edmund Robinson. (26) They were committed to jail (Lancaster Castle). When at last they came to trial, seventeen of the women were convicted, but four of the cases were referred to the King and Privy Council. Eventually, Robinson confessed that he’d made up the story on the spurring of his father, who had tried to extract money from women he was accusing. By this time, several of them had died in prison. The quality of evidence was further tainted by confessions extracted under torture:
“The ubiquitous instrument of torture in Europe before the French Revolution was the strappada, by which the suspect’s hands were tied together behind his back...Hoisted in midair, the poor fellow was left to hang for some time; often weights were added to his feet...A few jolts usually sufficed to loosen joints as well as tongues, and only the hardiest did not break down and confess.” (27)
This was all written into the criminal codes of the time. Some of the confessions border on the absurd, like this from the Pendle witch trial:
“In Elizabeth Clarke’s actual confession she admitted she had had ‘carnal copulation with the Devil six or seven years...’ This was the ‘confession’ of a one-legged octogenarian...all carefully supported by evidence of other witnesses.” (28)
And: “Sylvie de la Plaine in 1616 confessed that the Devil’s penis was ‘like that of a horse, and, in penetrating, it is cold as ice, and his semen likewise cold’.” (29)
Men confessed to witchcraft too, and educated people, and not all confessions were extracted under torture or even by threats. Hasted points out sarcastically, “As today’s police know, not every confession is sure evidence of guilt.” (30)
Of course, none of this proves that no Jew has at any time in any place never committed ritual murder anymore than it proves that no one ever practised witchcraft. Certainly, non-Jews (and Jews) practised magic, and do to this day. The Jews of Medieval Europe were steeped in mysticism, but they weren’t the only ones. There are even occasional well-documented contemporary instances of murders with Satanic connections today, the most notorious of which is probably still the 1969 murders of Sharon Tate and others by the Manson “family”. (31) However, there is no evidence of widespread ritual Satanic abuse, and the absurd claims of Christian fundamentalists and “cult cops” as documented by Robert Hicks in his excellent In Pursuit of Satan (32) really have no basis in fact. Neither do the accusations of ritual murder by Jews.
The current writer is willing to believe that there have been occasional ritual murders of Christian children by renegade Jews, but only with the caveat that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. Gratuitous murder or even ritual murder is not so extraordinary, it does not require violation of the laws of physics. Like all murders, it requires only that we believe in man’s inhumanity to man, which, sadly, is rather ordinary and commonplace. Ritual murder requires also that we believe people hold absurd beliefs and are willing to kill for them. This too is commonplace.
On 1st July, 1986, at the Central Criminal Court, London, 26 year old Mirella Beechook was given two life sentences for the murders of two children the previous September; one of the victims was her own daughter. Social workers claimed she had tried to poison another of her children seven years prior to the murders. (33) Beechook was said also to have believed in witchcraft and voodoo.
In February, 1992, in one of the most macabre cases in American criminal history, one that received worldwide publicity, Jeffrey Dahmer was convicted of the murders of 15 men and boys. He confessed to a total of seventeen killings, and was known to have practised necrophilia and cannibalism. (34)
Dahmer was white, all his known victims were non-whites, most of them blacks. Yet even today when charges of racism are levelled at any white person who so much as uses the word “nigger”, no racial motive was imputed in Dahmer’s case. He simply chose his victims where he could find them. Likewise, mass murderers John Wayne Gacy and Dennis Nilsen murdered only men, not because they were man-haters, but because they were homosexuals; again, a question of expediency.
Still in the United States, a gang of men known as the Chicago Rippers indicted on a total of six murder charges were known to have practised sickening rituals and cannibalism. (35) In 1984, Richard Kasso, a seventeen year old “Satanist” and James Triano, 18 were arrested for the murder of seventeen year old Gary Lauwers. They’d practiced blood drinking and animal sacrifice. Their victim was tortured to death. Kasso later hanged himself in his cell. Rather than human sacrifice, this was an ordinary, brutal, drug-related murder. (36)
A Jewish serial killer was responsible for a reign of terror in New York in the mid-seventies. David Berkowitz, (37) better known as the Son of Sam, murdered six people and wounded seven others in gun attacks between 29th July 1976 and 31st July 1977. His specialty was shooting courting couples in parked cars. At his trial, he claimed that voices made him kill. There is nothing terribly original about Berkowitz - an oddball and a loner - he did not fool the jury, was found sane and jailed, hopefully forever. British serial killer Peter William Sutcliffe (the Yorkshire Ripper) also claimed to have heard voices. Sutcliffe, who murdered thirteen women, was also found sane but was later transferred to a secure hospital when it became apparent that he really was mad. (38) Finally, a case which could have provoked even more outrage than it did. In May 1924, two Jews kidnapped and murdered a fourteen year old boy. Leopold and Loeb were spoiled rich kids who killed for kicks. This case might well have gone down in the annals of crime as a ritual murder of sorts, and found its way into the anti-Semitic literature, but for one small fact. Their victim was also Jewish. (39)
All these abominable, senseless crimes can be said to have an element of ritual in them, but this is not really what is meant by ritual murder, Jewish or otherwise.
Let us not stop at this though, let us take the worst possible case. In his pamphlet, Jewish Ritual Murder, the British fascist and fanatical anti-Semite Arnold Leese, citing a Jewish source, claimed there had been 39 documented allegations of Jewish ritual murder in the 19th Century and many earlier ones. (40) It is often claimed nowadays that rape is a much under-reported crime, even to the extent of only one rape in ten being reported. Ignoring the fact that such statistics are tossed around by militant, man-hating feminists to prove how evil men really are, and almost certainly have no basis in fact, let us apply the same methodology to Jewish ritual murder. Assuming that only one in ten is ever reported as such, that would make 390 cases of Jewish ritual murder in the 19th Century. Gilles de Rais (1404-40), the original Bluebeard, was thought to have murdered as many as three hundred children, while the Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathory (1560-1614) may have tortured to death and murdered as many as 700 of her servants. (41) This means that between them, one Catholic and one Protestant, (both “Aryans” of “good breeding”), were responsible for more than twice as many murders as the wildest ravings of one of this country’s most deranged anti-Semites could have unreasonably postulated in the entire Nineteenth Century.
Like all anti-Semitic propaganda, the essence of the ritual murder charge or Blood Libel is that all evil is Jewish, or that the Jews are somehow more evil than the rest of mankind. A random walk through The New Murderers’ Who’s Who, The Encyclopaedia Of Serial Killers, or any other popular chronicle of murder, war, or man’s inhumanity to man, will convince the reader just how absurd that belief really is.
Although stories of missing children and ritual murder will continue to be exploited by anti-Semitic propagandists, they should not be classified as specifically anti-Semitic fabrications, but merely as manifestations of urban legends which have been given another, and in this case, particularly nasty, twist.
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