Bar Ilan satisfied with blood libel book defense

Bar-Ilan University on Tuesday said it would take no disciplinary action against the professor who wrote a book about the centuries-old charge that Jews killed Christians in ritual murders during the middle ages in Europe. After speaking to the professor, Ariel Toaff, Bar-Ilan officials decided they were satisfied with his explanation of the research that went into his book, Pasque di Sangue or "Bloody Passovers," a university spokesman said - despite reports it indicated that "blood libels" might have had some basis in fact. In interviews with the Italian media and in parts of his book, Toaff has suggested some Jewish zealots might have murdered Christians to seek revenge for a slew of massacres, forced conversions and persecutions suffered by German Jewry from the First Crusade of 1096 onward. Those killings might have triggered the "blood libel" accusations that Jews used the blood of Christian children for rituals. Shmuel Algarbali, a Bar-Ilan spokesman, said the university was "completely satisfied" with Toaff's explanation: that the book was only about anti-Christian sentiment among a small group of Ashkenazi Jews in northern Italy.