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:
Was the Medieval Blood Libel Rational?
Why a Government Victory in Southwestern Syria Is Bad News for Israel
Last week, Russia negotiated a ceasefire between the Syrian government and rebel forces in the city of Daraa, where the initial protests that sparked the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began. The agreement ended a 75-day assault on the city, located near the country’s southwestern border, by Russian, Iranian, and Syrian forces. Jonathan Spyer explains the significance of these events: