Photo: Visual Photos
Publication of book to be halted (Illustration)
Photo: Visual Photos

Historian stops publication of book on ‘blood libels’

Professor Ariel Toaff decides to halt distribution of his book studying Jewish blood libels in Middle Ages after it was interpreted as justifying anti-Semitic accusations. Bar-Ilan University slams book’s 'insensitivity and harm to Judaism'

Professor Ariel Toaff has decided to halt distribution of his book on Jewish blood libels in the Middle Ages after it was interpreted as justifying anti-Semitic accusations.


Toaff, a professor at Bar-Ilan University, released an official statement expressing his deepest apologies for what he considered to be the “horrible distortions” and misunderstandings of his book, "Pasque di Sangue" (Bloody Passovers) released in Italy. The book's publication and reception caused an uproar in the Jewish world.


“I extend my sincerest apologies to all those who were offended by the articles and twisted facts that were attributed to me and to my book,” the statement read.


Toaff, a rabbi who holds dual Italian and Israeli citizenship, said he directed the Italian El-Molino publishing house to stop distribution in order that he may “re-edit those passages which comprised the basis of the distortions and falsehoods that have been published in the media.”


“I am taking these steps in order to prevent the further misuse of my book as anti-Semitic propaganda,” the statement said.


Toaff also promised to donate all forthcoming funds from the sale of his book to the Anti-Defamation League to express his “profound regret regarding the misrepresentations that were attributed to me and which hurt the Jewish people.”


Immediately following its publication and exploitation by anti-Semitic elements to justify blood libels against the Jews, Bar-Ilan University expressed its “severe reservations” concerning the controversial book.


The university released a statement


 “great anger and extreme displeasure at Prof. Ariel Toaff, for his lack of sensitivity in publishing his book about blood libels in Italy.


“Prof. Toaff should have demonstrated greater sensitivity and caution in his handling of the book and its publication, in a manner that would have prevented the distorted and offensive reports and interpretations,” the statement said.


פרסום ראשון: 02.14.07, 18:24
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