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Friends of Raed Salah: Ilan Pappe says the blood libel isn’t anti-Semitic

The Immigration Tribunal ruling upholding the Home Office’s ban of Raed Salah takes as established fact that the cleric said this in East Jerusalem in 2007:

“We have never allowed ourselves, and listen well, we have never allowed ourselves to knead the bread for the breaking of the fast during the blessed month of Ramadan with the blood the children. And if someone wants a wider explanation, you should ask what used to happen to some of the children of Europe, whose blood would be mixed in the dough of the holy bread. God Almighty, is this religion? Is this what God wants? God will confront you for what you are doing.”

There is no other interpretation as a matter of history or elementary literacy for such a statement than the following: Raed Salah was presenting the blood libel — i.e. the medieval conspiracy theory that Jews bake bread with the blood of Gentile children — as legitimate. “God Almighty, is this religion?” clearly refers to Judaism in this context, not to Islam or to Christianity, as having incorporated cannibalism or vampirism into its holy ritual, thereby distinguishing beween such alleged barbarism and the purity of Islam (“We have never allowed ourselves…”).

Crucially, Raed Salah, the court tells us, seems to understand that the blood libel is anti-Semitic and yet he somehow denies that this is what he has advanced. His defence has argued, to quote from the court ruling summary of the defence’s case, that

The reference to the holy bread was a metaphor used to convey an example of those who had falsely used religion to justify their crimes. It refers to the actions of Israelis who use religion to subject the Palestinians to oppression. The Appellant drew a parallel with the crimes of the Spanish Inquisition. The Appellant’s evidence is supported by that of Professor Ilan Pappe who although describing the Appellant’s address as at times incoherent and emotive, said the Appellant did not invoke the blood libel in this or any other speech, and made a clear distinction between Jews as a race and the actions of Israeli officials. The words used by the Appellant on this occasion did not amount to blood libel because he did not refer to Jewish bread; the message of the address was not anti-Semitic or even anti-Zionist, but directed to the violation of Muslim rights in Jerusalem.

I have two questions.

1. Why is Ilan Pappe, a well-known Israeli anti-Zionist, defending medieval anti-Semitism by resorting to a critical analysis of a text that not even an unlettered schoolchild would believe?

2. Who the hell do these fucking people think they’re kidding anymore?