Throughout history quite a number of reasons and excuses for hating Jews have been found. What they had in common is that they were directed at an entire people as a collective. The crucifixion of Jesus, the evil exploitation of wealth, the sowing of socialism and capitalism and the dismantling of Russia and Germany are only a small part of the "crimes and sins" for which an entire nation was tried and convicted in its absence and to which moral turpitude was attributed for generations.

In those dark days we were able to stand united and strong against the cruel prosecutor. At that time this was essential, taking into consideration our bleak situation of being without a state and without sovereignty. It is only possible to be amazed at the fact that in such circumstances we did not become paranoid and we were not convinced of our wickedness.

But there was an exception: In the 16th century in Padua in Italy the Jew David Morpugo ran screaming through the streets of the city that a 3-year-old girl, the daughter of his Christian neighbor, should be sacrificed to him. Fortunately for him, his insanity was so obvious that the incident did not deteriorate into a pogrom.

We have disburdened ourselves of the yoke of indefatigable righteousness. Of what do we have to be ashamed? From the very fact of the possibility that at one time an extreme and despicable sect that claimed to be Jewish indeed carried out acts of ritual murder on the grounds of a religious obligation? What do we have to do with this abomination?

And what if one day it turns out that Professor Ariel Toaff's claims are accurate and conform to all the requirements of "academic objectivity"? What then? Will this deny us our right to a sovereign state and to expressing opinions on moral issues, and will the fact of our existence be cast in doubt? After all, no one doubts the Russian nation's right to exist because Christians in Kishinev (which is in today's Moldova) at the beginning of the 20th century stuck nails into the eyes of Jewish children.

There will be those who will justify the criticism of Toaff as an attempt to prevent "a deadly weapon" from reaching the hands of anti-Semites.

These are completely unacceptable arguments. We must stop existing at the world's mercy and pushing ourselves onto the defendants' bench. Those who hate us as a people will not leave us alone as a result of this. We must not panic at the fact that there were and there still are good Jews and bad Jews, just as in any other people or religion.

I assume that it did not occur to Toaff to accuse the Jewish people, but that he wanted to state a fact that has long been known, that never has a people arisen on earth without monsters of its own.

The writer directs the ideological activity of the association of graduates of the Na'aleh Program.