Fearing a book released last week by Israeli historian Ariel Toaff which gives credence to blood libel would fuel anti-Semitism, Italy's Jewish community has condemned the work. Italian rabbis issued a statement recalling that Jewish law has always banned ingesting blood or using it for rituals.
"It is absolutely improper to use statements extracted under torture centuries ago to construct eccentric and abhorrent historical theses," the statement said. Toaff's 91-year-old father has been silent about the book and didn't sign the statement, but news reports and Jewish community officials said he agreed with the criticism.
Historian gives credence to blood libel
The first few thousand copies of the book were released on Thursday, and publishing house Il Mulino said it had already ordered a reprint. There were no immediate plans for editions in other languages.
In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Toaff claimed that his work had been partly misunderstood. He said he did not intend to imply that ritual murders had really occurred.