Jewish Folklore and Ethnology


New rumors and legends about spy animals, attack animals, and attempted mass poisonings, all purportedly the work of Israel, circulate in Middle Eastern newspapers, television, and radio. This essay answers two sets of questions regarding these narratives, one regarding belief and the other regarding antisemitism. The analysis shows that the rumors and legends express attitudes in addition to conveying information. Whether or not any, some, or all these transgressions occurred, the narratives ineluctably serve to assert and confirm the depravity of a constructed enemy. They reveal unexpected continuities with age-old antisemitic folklore.