4 October 1888
THE Whitechapel murders are so unparalleled in their horror that the wildest theories are afloat as to their perpetrator. The fact that there is a considerable Jewish population in the district has led to the revival of some the anti-Semitic slanders that have so strange a vitality. The Vienna correspondent of the Times has made himself responsible for the repetition of certain charges made during the notorious Cracow murder trial. "There is no doubt," he says, "that the man was innocent; but the evidence touching the superstitions prevailing among some of the ignorant and degraded of his co-religionists remains on record, and was never wholly disproved." The particular superstition here referred to is an atrocious form of the "blood accusation." We have on several occasions shown the baselessness of this mediaeval fable. Dr. DELITZSCH, Dr. CHWOLSON, our own Professor THEODORES, and many others have exposed the charge of human sacrifice which credulity, at once ignorant and cruel, has brought against the Jews. It has been a favourite weapon in the hands of the persecutor. When Christianity was a young society surrounded by a hostile pagan world, its disciples were charged with sharing in obscene and murderous rites. The same accusations were brought by the "orthodox" against the "heretics" of the early and middle ages. These falsehoods formed the chief pretext for the long, bitter, and deadly persecutions of the Jews by which mediaeval Christendom were disgraced. They have reappeared in recent years in such cases as the Tiaza Esslar trial. If the anti-Semites were not for the most part ignorant fanatics, they might be reminded that they are merely reviving the cruel falsehoods originally invented by the heathen in their struggle against the inroads of Christianity. Dr. HERMANN ADLER, and Dr. M. GASTER have each written to the Times protesting against this revival of the blood accusation. There is, of course, no justification in the "Talmud" for the charge. "I can assert without hesitation," says Dr. ADLER, "that in no Jewish book is such a barbarity even hinted at. Nor is there any record in the criminal annals of any country of a Jew having been convicted of such a terrible atrocity." It would add to the danger of the situation if the powerlessness and inability of the police so far to arrest the Whitechapel monster were to lead to any recrudescence of the anti-Semitic prejudices amongst the panic-stricken people of the East End. It is the duty of all who have the opportunity to protest against the false scholarship and false witness upon which the Judenhatze has to rely.