February 13, 2007

Bar-Ilan University Statement on Professor Ariel Toaff's research regarding blood libels

(Communicated by the Bar-Ilan University Spokesman)

Following is a statement by Bar-Ilan University Spokesman Shmuel Algarbali:

"Professor Ariel Toaff is among Israel's and the world's senior researchers in medieval Jewish communities and the Italian Jewish community. Bar-Ilan University ( www.biu.ac.il/index_eng.shtml ) - like other universities - champions freedom of academic and scientific expression as the basis for its research activity.

However, Bar-Ilan University expresses its strongest reservations over reports in the media
regarding Prof. Toaff's latest research regarding blood libels against European Jews in the Middle Ages. Bar-Ilan University - its officers and researchers - have condemned, and condemn, any attempt to justify the awful blood libels against Jews.

According to the principles of academic research and in order to prevent the dissemination of false accusations, the Bar-Ilan University management believes that it would be proper to wait until the research itself and explanations from Prof. Toaff are received before taking up the issue. As of yet, there has been no contact with Prof. Toaff, who is traveling abroad. Immediately upon his return to the country in the coming days, Bar-Ilan University President Prof. Moshe Kaveh will summon Prof. Toaff and ask from him explanations regarding his research. Until then, we believe that we should refrain from relying on baseless reports that have been denied by Prof. Toaff himself and which, apparently, lack any connection to the research itself. Bar-Ilan University calls on all elements dealing with the matter to wait for precise information, which Prof. Toaff will provide to the University administration in the coming days."
For further details, please contact Bar-Ilan University Spokesman Shmuel Algarbali at 03-5318121, 050-7401016, 03-6106666 #1781 or spokesman.office@mail.biu.ac.il.