search
Arlene Bridges Samuels
In Essentials, Unity

Blood libels Are Spreading Like an Eleventh Plague

Embed from Getty Images

“Blood Libel” is not a familiar term for many of us Christians today since relationships have undergone warmth and cooperation between Christians and Jews especially for the last two decades. However, the modern versions of blood libels have spread like the eleventh plague globally.

The Middle Ages blood libel, a fictitious accusation that Jews murdered non-Jews (such as Christian children) to use their blood in religious rituals, has intensified again since October 7, 2023. While the medieval phrase, “blood libel,” may not be used explicitly, the term’s insidious meaning has lurked for centuries traveling in and out of history, prompting pogroms, mob violence, torture, trials, and the eviction of entire Jewish communities—often ordered by governments.

The alleged death of Nazism after World War II is undergoing an evil renaissance from the new Nazis within Iran’s Islamic regime and its proxies Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthis, and parts of the Palestinian territories in the West Bank. Today, lies are exploding in what we call “fake news or propaganda.” Exploring how social media is poisoning millions of minds with unfounded Jew Hatred, history’s rearview mirror provides an insightful beginning.

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” MARK TWAIN

When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 15th century, it served both good and evil purposes. For Christians and Jews, it was an absolute godsend for printing mass copies of the Old and New Testaments. The printing press enabled news, albeit very slowly, to go global. The invention made the esteemed priest and theologian Martin Luther, the world’s first best-selling author. Luther once observed, “Printing is the ultimate gift of God and the greatest one.” Today, the Bible is still the world’s most popular book. Based on British and Foreign Bible Society research in 2021, Guinness World Records estimates that some 5–7 billion copies have been printed. Now, we even have Bible apps downloaded by hundreds of millions!

So, what harm could come from Luther’s book being printed with Gutenberg’s innovative printing press?
Persistently, blood libels were spread even through this world-changing man, the father of the Christian Protestant Reformation. In 1543, in a change of heart toward the Jews, Luther lashed out in his small booklet, The Jews and Their Lies. He viciously condemned Jews for their refusal to convert to Christianity. He suggested burning their homes and synagogues (“a den of devils”) and confiscating their prayer books. Adolph Hitler seized on Luther’s book and popularized it during the Third Reich.

Kurt Hendel, professor emeritus of Reformation History at Chicago’s Lutheran School of Theology, observed: “They [the Gestapo] very clearly used Luther’s writings that had all this anti-Semitism in them to support their cause.” Hendel went on to say that Luther was not a “Nazi anti-Semite, he was a “religious anti-Semite” because Jews would not convert to Christianity. Either way, Luther’s book descended into a disaster at the hands of the demonic Hitler.

The printing press was a change agent generating a vast effect on global culture and advancements for both greatness and grief. Its reach informs us today about how AI, computer, internet, smartphones, and social media are shaping culture more than 500 years later. Global news is instantaneous, artificial intelligence speeds up Bible translations, and platforms proliferate for both the most holy and the most unholy ideas and voices. Worldwide, there are 5.3 billion internet users, with 4.95 billion using social media.

Advances in technology have moved us from the information age into the digital, AI, or experience age. Evil occupies platforms that disfigure minds using blood libels that in the modern era are known as propaganda. The fake news circulates the globe with one click, one post, one twisted headline without any factual context.

It is imperative that Christians join together in a massive division of information warfare using the weapons of facts and truth to combat the misinformation parroted by mainstream media and its surrogates. Evangelicals’ use of social media to help oppose slander against Israel is an opportunity of colossal proportions—if we choose to take advantage of it.

A list of libels that fuel hate speech and violence could fill pages, since Jew Hatred incidents have increased by 1,180%. Here are a few examples:
• Israel has been accused of illegal organ harvesting. The latest accusation from Hamas and other questionable news outlets says that Israel returned eighty bodies to Gaza with vital organs removed. Israel is rightly returning Palestinian bodies to Gaza, but the malicious lies about illegal organ harvesting are baseless. These rumors are especially malicious and evil coming from terrorists who refuse to return Israeli bodies for proper burial.
• The slogan reverberating in mass anti-Israel demonstrations “from the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free” is a clear call for genocide from most participants. The demonstrators are either dangerously uneducated or downright evil.
• After receiving hundreds of millions in funding, TikTok has propelled this narrative: Palestinians are oppressed, and Israelis are the oppressors.
• Blood libel, a propagandic disease, has bled into American Jewish businesses, universities, and synagogues. It can be seen in violent attacks on streets across America. Plenty of anti-Semitic professors weigh in with their dangerous lies: A Yale professor called Israel “a murderous, genocidal settler state and Palestinians have every right to resist through armed struggle.” When a journalist reminded her that she was talking about innocent civilians she replied, “Settlers are not civilians.”

Finally, the South African government is pushing a case against Israel, accusing them of genocide in hearings at the International Court of “Justice” (ICJ). That court is part of the United Nations. The 1948 Genocide Convention, enacted after the Nazi Holocaust, defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” The judges likely walked in carrying their anti-Israel biases with them. I am curious: Did the judges read the Hamas Charter’s definition of genocide before taking their seats? “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight Jews and kill them.” The definition matches.

In response, South African Christians are standing in support of Israel. Here is part of their document. “This [government’s] silence is more conspicuous given the recent hosting of a delegation from Iran and Hamas in South Africa. Such actions could be interpreted as direct support to Hamas’s tactics, including using civilians as human shields and diverting aid for military purposes and the building of tunnels, rather than humanitarian relief sent to the Palestinian people, which was intercepted by Hamas.”

At this writing, twenty prominent Christian organizations and churches in South Africa have signed this document. The South African Christians have bravely spoken out against their government, a role model for all of us Christians.

Embed from Getty Images

In the meantime, I have not read about any country that has taken Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, or Houthis to the ICJ. Hamas describes the shared ideology in its founding charter: “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight Jews and kill them.” Fortunately, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States reject South Africa’s charges.

Do Christians need any more proof that blood libels/propaganda have infected our world in an unparalleled way? And will Christians step up and join in with information warfare using facts and truth to combat the lies and misinformation? Becoming involved—making a difference—is simple: Begin by sharing weekly facts from trusted Christian news sources like CBNIsrael.com and CBNNews.com, Allisrael.com, and TimesofIsrael.com as well as your favorite pro-Israel Christian ministries on social media.

All of us together can create a groundswell of opposition to poisonous lies and lethal misinformation against our great ally Israel.

About the Author
Arlene Bridges Samuels is a pioneer in pro-Israel Christian advocacy for more than two decades in positions with Israel Always and Earl Cox, Israel's Goodwill Ambassador to Christians and Jews, SE Region Outreach Director at American Israel Public Affairs Committee, (AIPAC) and International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA's project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Since 2020, she is the weekley featured columnist at The Christian Broadcasting Network Israel, and frequent Guest Columnist for Allisrael News and The Jerusalem Connection Report. Arlene co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited. Traveling to Israel since 1990, by invitation she attends the GPO Christian Media Summit and serves on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina.