The other day I came across this loony video where a Muslim cleric accuses the Jews of mixing in human blood to make their matzos.
I was instantly reminded of the false accusations made against the early church by pagans who apparently misunderstood the nature of communion which they took to involve cannibalism (Thyestean feasts). Athenagoras in his Embassy for the Christians complains:
Three things are alleged against us: atheism, Thyestean feasts, Œdipodean intercourse. But if these charges are true, spare no class: proceed at once against our crimes; destroy us root and branch, with our wives and children, if any Christian is found to live like the brutes. And yet even the brutes do not touch the flesh of their own kind; and they pair by a law of nature, and only at the regular season, not from simple wantonness; they also recognise those from whom they receive benefits. If any one, therefore, is more savage than the brutes, what punishment that he can endure shall be deemed adequate to such offences? But, if these things are only idle tales and empty slanders, originating in the fact that virtue is opposed by its very nature to vice, and that contraries war against one another by a divine law (and you are yourselves witnesses that no such iniquities are committed by us, for you forbid informations to be laid against us), it remains for you to make inquiry concerning our life, our opinions, our loyalty and obedience to you and your house and government, and thus at length to grant to us the same rights (we ask nothing more) as to those who persecute us. For we shall then conquer them, unhesitatingly surrendering, as we now do, our very lives for the truth’s sake.
It is interesting to me that the feeble mind of hatred should produce such similar lies in such disparate times. It just goes to show you how powerful a tool cultural taboos can be in the process of “othering” your enemies.