The world-historical ignorance required to claim that Israel is little

The world-historical ignorance required to claim that Israel is little more than a colonial power is one reason why it spread so swiftly in the closed containers of Ivy League classrooms.


Nobody expected to have to argue against the historical equivalent of “the earth is flat,” and it was difficult to conceive that something so ridiculous would catch on and spread so swiftly. But it caught on, and here we are. Harry Lewis is correct that “when complex social and political histories are oversimplified in our teachings as Manichaean struggles—between oppressed people and their oppressors, the powerless and the powerful, the just and the wicked—a veneer of academic respectability is applied to the ugly old stereotype of Jews as evil.”

And that gets us to Geoffrey Chaucer, the man who is considered the father of English poetry.


The Canterbury Tales, a collection of twenty stories told by a group of itinerant English characters, is the most well-known work by the titan of literary from the fourteenth century. Among those tales is The Prioress’s Tale, the most well-known recounting of a blood libel in popular culture. It is a rebuttal to the charge that Hugh of Lincoln, a young boy, was ritually murdered in 1255. The Christian clergy in Lincoln most likely made up Jewish guilt for the boy’s death so that the town would profit from little Hugh’s sainthood and capacity to draw pilgrims and tourists. The life of Abraham Lincoln has been the focus of numerous well-known