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Blood and BeliefThe Circulation of a Symbol between Jews and Christians$
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David Biale

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520253049

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520253049.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 28 May 2020

From Blood Libel to Blood Community

From Blood Libel to Blood Community

Self-Defense and Self-Assertion in Modern Jewish Culture

(p.162) Chapter 5 From Blood Libel to Blood Community
Blood and Belief

David Biale

University of California Press

This chapter discusses some responses to the blood libel and then turns to the way Jews incorporated the language of blood into what became one of the main responses to modern anti-Semitism, namely, Jewish nationalism. These two themes may seem as unrelated as the two types of anti-Semitic blood accusations. It claims that they, too, are linked both historically and conceptually. Between the violence of the blood libel and the utopianism of the blood community runs a much darker current: the blood of the Jews spilled in the greatest genocide in human history. It was this, and not the accusations against the Jews, that constituted the real ritual murder of the twentieth century. And if the Nazis irretrievably polluted the concept of a blood community, perhaps their bloody deeds created a very different kind of blood identity: solidarity with the victims.

Keywords:   blood libel, modern anti-Semitism, Jewish nationalism, utopianism, genocide, ritual murder

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