While the newest manifestation of white supremacism has traded hoods and burning crosses for khakis and tiki torches, the tropes and mendacity they utilize go back to the 3rd century C.E. As organized Christianity continued its stumbled towards Rome and away from Jerusalem, followers of Jesus did all that they could to separate themselves from Judaism. This included developing the so-called blood curse, an interpretation of Matthew 27:25 that lays perpetual “guilt” upon the whole of the Jewish people for killing Jesus.
This is a faulty interpretation for a wide variety of reasons, but it remains potent to this day. Early in Christian history, there is a connection between the Jewish people and Christian blood, which eventually manifests in the so-called blood libel. This outlandish contention held that Jews collected blood, particularly that of children, for Passover ceremonies. Interestingly, during the Middle Ages, these same sorts of stories were levied against Christian groups that dared step outside the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. It was a propaganda tool meant to incite the passions of people who were largely ignorant of Jewish law and practice.
I first learned about antisemitism from an episode of Little House on the Prairie called “The Craftsman,” in which Albert Ingalls thought the kindly Jewish craftsman named Isaac wore a hat because he has horns on his head. Of course, Albert is shown that such is not the case, intimating that neither do the Jews who live around the present viewership. My senior year in high school, I was in a production of Diary of Anne Frank as Mr. Van Damm, who steals food from the children. We also went to hear Elie Wiesel speak, which led to me taking classes on Judaism when I was at Kalamazoo College.
Fast forward about 8 years. When I was in graduate school, I took a course called “Healing Deadly Memories.” It focused on perceived antisemitism in the Christian scriptures and traced the misuse of biblical traditions to justify horrific violence against the Jewish people. James Carroll’s incredible book, Constantine’s Sword, was our main text for a six-week intensive. The class changed my life, in that I have since never remained silent about the ridiculousness of both the blood curse and the blood libel.
Why I Wrote This
I recently helped put out the call to report the FB page pictured above because even a cursory glance at the posts revealed the recycling of debunked, outlandish, fantastical stories about ritual murders of Christian children. The posts present themselves as researched and documented, offering readers an insider’s view of horrific atrocities. But they are malicious fictions, repackaged and presented to new audiences who wish only for supposed proof of their tribalistic assumptions and prejudices.
Facebook did not agree.
Too many people continue to think that stories such as those on this page are harmless. It is simply a new iteration of a very old tale. The Protocols of the Elder of Zion are a perfect example. Each generation it reappears, often regarded as truth by people will considerable influence, like Henry Ford. And the most recent propagators seem intent on crying freedom of speech, even though history shows, again and again, that tolerating claptrap such as that peddled on the aforementioned FB page has a direct link to lives and communities being destroyed.
Facebook has made it clear they don’t care about two millennia of antisemitic malarkey has a well-documented kill list. As a society, we have devalued the expert so much that all opinions must be respected; we’re told to agree to disagree about facts.
I say bullshit.
What We Can Do
Our culture has fallen into the shorthand of using the term “snowflakes” to disparage people who need safe spaces. It is difficult to find a single comments section on a public page–even if the topic is grooming Siamese cats underwater on the full moon–that won’t have at least one angry white dude picking the wrong homonyms to insult anyone who does not accept the claim that he’s the victim of cultural genocide. They dismiss real history–such as I write about here–pertaining to the actual genocide of the First Nations and the centuries of inhuman enslavement perpetrated upon Africans. They’ll instead arrogantly argue that anyone who does “research,” which as someone with going on five advanced degrees I can say would not have passed muster when I taught research writing, will know that Africans enslaved one another much more than did Europeans. This is demonstrably false. Also false is the claim that Irish were enslaved in the colonies.
They do this with impunity, and it’s dangerous because the internet allows nonsense to be presented as “truth” that the communist, Nazi (right? like, how does that work?) lib-ruhls are trying to destroy in order to exterminate the white man. It is read and believed by more and more khakis-wearing kids who think they are tough until their faces are posted all over the internet.
We are not going to make one iota of difference if we do not take serious steps to address the myriad and egregious historical wrongs that have been perpetrated in the last 500 years. We are a terribly racist country. The “live and let live” philosophy cannot prevail, as we can not tolerate speech that has literally two thousand years of violent history. We know how this story goes. “Never again” doesn’t start at the ovens, it ends there.
Please, continue to report pages such as the one under discussion. If you see people posting antisemitic memes or articles, please take the time to link to this blog or one of the sources embedded herein. I know that we are all fatigued, that there are endless battles, and this might seem small, but as a pastor who has written books on World War !! and the Holocaust. I can assure you it does not end small.