Yesterday, Rachel Neuwirth informed AT readers about the return of the ancient blood libel against Jews, in the form of a book by (of all people) a professor at Israel's Bar Ilan University. Today, we learn from Haaretz that the author, Professor Ariel Toaff, is repudiating his claim that Jews actually killed Christian children to consume their blood.
In his book "Pasque di Sangue" [Passovers of blood], Toaff discusses at length the possibility that Jews murdered Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals, and argues that confessions to such acts extracted under torture should not be dismissed. [...]
Toaff uses as an example the blood libel of Trent in 1475, and suggests that Jews did murder the young child, Simon, who is at the center of the affair.
He now wants to make it clear that the Jews of Trent did not murder Simon or any other Christian children for ritual purposes. Toaff will also make it clear that the blood of dead Christians could not possibly have been used, whether in food, beverages or for medicinal or magical purposes, because the blood traded by Jews and Christians at the time came from living donors, not corpses. His conclusion is that Jews could not possibly have murdered Christian children for their blood.
Rachel Neuwirth noted that Bar Ilan University had dismissed critics of the book. However, it appears to have changed its collective mind:
As a result of the public uproar caused by the book's publication, Toaff decided to suspend its distribution as well as any new printings, and to donate his profits from the 3,000 copies already sold to the Anti-Defamation League. BIU President Prof. Moshe Kaveh summoned Toaff for a private talk last week, after which the university issued a press announcement in which it "strongly condemns and repudiates what is seemingly implied by Toaff's book and by reports in the media concerning its contents."
Update: More on the domestic uproar in Israel.