The following translation was performed free of charge to protest an injustice: the destruction by the ADL of Ariel Toaff’s BLOOD PASSOVER on Jewish ritual murder. The author is the son of the Chief Rabbi of Rome, and a professor of Jewish Renaissance and Medieval History at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, just outside Tel Aviv.
Cover: Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. Woodcut from the Ritual Responsals (Sheelot w-teshuvot) of Asher b. Yechiel, Constantinople, 1517.
Dr. Toaff is uniquely qualified to write this book, being thoroughly familiar with the derivative literature in English, French, German and Italian, as well as the original documentary sources in Latin, Medieval Italian, Hebrew and Yiddish. This is not something he worked on in secret. On the contrary, he worked on it openly with his university students and colleagues in Israel for several years; one of his students was even going to publish a paper on the subject. The author is extremely careful about what he says, and his conclusions must be taken seriously. It reads like a detective story.
If it had been published in Israel, in Hebrew, no one would have cared. There are large bodies of literature in Hebrew that Jews do not wish Gentiles to know about. But Dr. Toaff’s announcement of its publication in Italy, in Italian, raised a worldwide firestorm of fury. Under unbearable pressure, the book was withdrawn from publication, and is not to be re-issued.
You can strike a blow against censorship by circulating this text by e-mail or posting in on the Internet. No one can sue hundreds of people. It has been posted on http://www.vho.org/aaargh/fran/livres7/pasque.pdf for months, as well as at http://wnlibrary.com/Portabel%20Documents/Ariel-Toaff-BLOODPASSOVER.pdf. As far as we know nothing happened legally (the latter version is much preferable as it retains the original footnote numeration).
If the text is all over the Internet, and everybody has it and everybody knows what is in it, the cat will be out of the bag, and it will have to be published – sooner or later.
Come in out of the darkness, and strike a blow for the light.
READ AND PASS ON.
– Gian Marco Lucchese and Pietro Gianetti, 2007