Was the Medieval Blood Libel Rational?

The accusation that Jews murder Christian children for ritual purposes can be traced back to Roman times, but the form of the libel that has persisted to this day first emerged in 12th-century England, when the death of young William of Norwich was blamed on local Jews. In a recent book on the subject, E. M. Rose argues that the accusation tended to originate with individuals who had a vested personal interest (usually in the form of large debts owed to Jewish moneylenders) in the outcome. In a review, Madeleine Schwartz questions the underlying thesis:

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Read more at Nation

More about: Anti-Semitism, Blood libel, British Jewry, History & Ideas, Middle Ages

Iran’s Elections Could Complicate U.S. Plans to Renew the Nuclear Deal

June 11 2021

This week, after the International Atomic Energy Agency announced its suspicions that the Islamic Republic is hiding nuclear materials from its inspectors, the White House decided to lift some sanctions on Iranian oil, and still plans to forge ahead with nuclear negotiations. Meanwhile, Iran will hold its presidential elections next week. The exercise is not particularly democratic—the supreme leader approves the candidates in advance, and his minions have from time to time fixed the results—but neither is it entirely meaningless. While there are important differences among the candidates, not one can be dubbed a moderate, even by the standards of this brutal Islamist theocracy. Reuel Marc Gerecht explains why this matters:

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Ali Khamenei, Barack Obama, Iran nuclear program, Joseph Biden