Facebook refuses to act over ‘blood libel’

Facebook has rejected calls to delete a page which promotes the belief that Jews ritually sacrifice Christian children.

One British rabbi is so incensed at the continuing presence of the “Jewish Ritual Murder” page he has complained to the police.

America’s Anti-Defamation League said that the site “perpetuates age-old antisemitic propaganda” and “should be removed immediately”.

But a spokesman for the social network said taking down the page would not help to defeat prejudice.

The page refers to the 15th century story of Simon of Trent, a two-year-old Italian boy said to have been killed by Jews who wanted his blood to bake matzah. (He was removed as a saint by the Vatican in 1965).

It also cites a number of other incidents including the disappearance of five Muslim and Christian children in Siberia in 2005 “just a week before the beginning of the Jewish Passover”.

Rabbi Neil Janes, of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John’s Wood, said: “So-called Jewish Ritual Murder, also known as the Blood Libel, is one of the oldest and most widespread manifestations of antisemitism, and has incited hatred and deadly violence against Jews through the centuries.”

A spokeswoman for Facebook said: “We have long believed that simply removing such content from Facebook will not help to overcome ignorance. While this tests us all, having the freedom to debate serious issues like this is how we fight prejudice.”

The administrator of the Jewish Ritual Murder Page had not posted anything on the site since April 2012 and most of the comment on it was critical of its content, Facebook noted.

Last updated: 2:16pm, February 20 2014