Just a reminder that in 1888, modern Israel didn’t exist.
Nathan Abrams at Haaretz notes that Victorians would have been primed to accept a Jewish suspect.
Antisemitism wasn’t just a religious trope — it was a literary one as well.
Sinister Jewish stereotypes populated the era’s popular fiction, from Dickens’ Fagin and du Maurier’s Svengali to Sherlock Holmes’ arch-enemy, Moriarty.
“Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula,’” Abrams writes, “would have been understood by contemporary audiences as Jewish, whether explicitly revealed or otherwise. As an immortal yearning for the life force of the virtuous Christian women under his spell, he embodied the Christian blood libel.”
As well, it “was widely thought that no Englishman could be responsible for such brutal and barbaric crimes.”
Furthermore, some cryptic graffiti discovered near one of the crime scenes has been held up as evidence of some kind of Jewish connection to the Ripper murders.
However, as one “Ripperologist” notes at the exhaustive Casebook.org site, “Since the second word of the 12 word phrase has had at least seven different interpretations, the sentence has been rendered entirely too obtuse to make sense of it” at this late date.