Last week, in front of the European Parliament, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, claimed that Israeli rabbis had instructed Jewish residents to poison Palestinian water supplies. Blood libels have long faced the Jews. There were those who believed Jews were baking Passover matzah with the blood of Christian children. Need a scapegoat because a child went missing? It must have been those Jews.
Blood libels have been around for a long time and eventually morphed into water libels. When the Black Death hit Europe in the 14th century, the Jews were blamed.
The rationale was that the Jews were affected less, thus they must have been poisoning wells and collecting water elsewhere. Five hundred and ten Jewish communities were massacred between 1348 and 1350. On February 14, 1349, 900 Jews were burned alive in Strasbourg as a preventive measure; the plague had not even arrived there yet. Yet, the main cause of the Black Death’s sweep of Europe was most likely poor hygiene, assisted by fleas and rats.
Shamefully, a Jewish organization helped the latest incarnation of this ancient blood libel emerge from Abbas. Breaking the Silence (BTS), best known for spreading false allegations of misdoings within the Israel Defense Forces, has apparently expanded the scope of their work.
On June 14, 2016, Yehuda Shaul, a co-founder of BTS, was filmed allegedly telling a group of tourists that Israeli settlers had poisoned the water system of a Palestinian village a few years ago, causing its residents to be displaced. In the anti-Semitism business, that was all that was needed for the story to spread.
On June 16, the PLO expanded the rumor, claiming that Rabbi Shlomo Melamed, chairman of the Council of Settlement Rabbis, had given permission to settlers to poison the wells in Palestinian neighborhoods across the West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) followed on June 20, claiming on television that the Council of Settlement Rabbis was trying to either scare away or kill Palestinians by poisoning their drinking water. The Arab League condemned the supposed act – and then of course, Abbas took to the international stage with it. What all of these alleged human rights agents forgot to mention is that Rabbi Shlomo Melamed and the Council of Settlement Rabbis do not exist.
A few days later, an extremist American Jewish organization, The New Israel Fund, sent out a donor request for Breaking The Silence. As John Proctor asks in The Crucible, “Is the accuser always holy now?” Breaking The Silence does not deserve awards, let alone any funding from American Jews.
Academic David Firester has asked on these pages, “how can smart people hold such dumb views? It has often been said that there is no cure for stupid, while ignorance is easily treated through education.” One wonders how can American Jews assist in blood libels.