The embrace by prominent figures from the Middle East - including members of the Saudi royal family and a former Syrian defense minister - of blood libel over the past few years has been well-documented.The most influential government-controlled newspapers in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and elsewhere similarly have promoted the claim that Jews incorporate blood from Muslim and Christian children in Passover matzo.
The blood libel tale made headlines again this year after MEMRI reported that a new Jordanian TV channel, Al-Mammou, began airing the series "Al-Shatat" during Ramadan. "Al-Shatat is a Syrian-produced, Hezbollah-backed, Al-Manar TV series that was first shown in 2003 and includes scenes of Jewish rabbis kidnapping Muslim children to use their blood for "tasty" Passover matzo. Since 2003, the program has been rebroadcast throughout the Muslim world, in countries such as Lebanon and on Iranian TV channels 1 and 2 (in 2004) and Sahar TV (in 2005).
After severe criticism, the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, D.C., sent a press release to notify MEMRI that the series had been pulled. This unprecedented move by an Arab country should be applauded.
Unfortunately, the spread of the blood libel theory from Jordan was not a one-time event. The secretary-general of the Islamic Action Front Party in Jordan, Sheik Hamza Mansour, appeared on Saudi Al-Majd TV on March 22, 2004, and said, "As the Koran says, You shall find the bitterest of people in enmity against the believers to be the Jews ... This is their sick psychological nature. This is the nature that makes matzo out of innocent children's blood."
A Jordanian-produced series titled, "Stories From the Koran," which aired on Saudi Iqra TV in February 2005 included a scene about how Jews "altered" the Torah and discussed the Jewish "trait" of hating. A Jewish character, Huyay, recited the following dialogue: "We are the slayers of prophets, and we live off their blood! ... Once they are dead, we finish off their followers." Jewish characters in the series also played with voodoo dolls of Islam's Prophet Muhammad.
Other notable blood libels from the Arab and Iranian press include:
* "The Talmud, the second holiest book for the Jews, determines that the 'matzos' of Atonement Day [sic.] must be kneaded 'with blood' from a non-Jew. The preference is for the blood of youths after raping them!!!" Dr. Mahmoud Al-Said Al-Kurdi wrote in Al-Akbar of Egypt on March 25, 2001.
* "Unfortunately, the West has forgotten two horrendous incidents, carried out by the Jews in 19th-century Europe ... In 1883, about 150 French children were murdered in a horrible way in the suburbs of Paris, before the Jewish Passover holiday. Later research showed that the Jews had killed them and taken their blood ... A similar incident took place in London, when many English children were killed by Jewish rabbis." - From a December 20, 2005, discussion on Iran's Jaam-e-Jam 2 TV about denial of crematoriums at Auschwitz, in which Iranian political analyst Dr. Hasan Hanizadeh also discussed the subject of Passover.
* The bestial drive to knead Passover matzos with the blood of non-Jews is [confirmed] in the records of the Palestinian police, where there are many recorded cases of the bodies of Arab children who had disappeared being found torn to pieces without a single drop of blood. The most reasonable explanation is that the blood was taken to be kneaded into the dough of extremist Jews to be used in matzos to be devoured during Passover," Adel Hamooda of Al-Ahram in Egypt wrote October 28, 2000.
* "I would like to clarify that the Jews' spilling human blood to prepare pastry for their holidays is a well-established fact ... How is it done? For this holiday, the victim must be a ... Christian or Muslim. His blood is taken and fired into granules. The cleric blends these granules into the pastry dough ... For the Passover slaughtering ... the blood of Christian and Muslim children under the age of 10 must be used, and the cleric can mix the blood [into the dough]..." Dr. Umayma Ahmad Al-Jalahma of King Fahd University said in Saudi Arabia's Al-Riyadh in March 2002.
* "The Jews slaughter non-Jews, draining their blood, and using it for Talmudic religious rituals," Hussam Wahba, a columnist for the religious Egyptian magazine Aqidati - published by a foundation linked to President Mubarak's National Democratic Party - wrote in a August 2004 article.
Sadly, these are just a few of the countless examples of blood libels emanating from the Middle East press. To learn more, see MEMRI's Antisemitism Documentation Project (http://memri.org/antisemitism.html).
Mr. Stalinsky is the executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute.