Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Blood Libel" Remark from Palin Sparks Controversy

Posted by Stephanie Condon


Sarah Palin responded in a video this morning to the criticism she has received in the wake of the Tucson shooting, but many people today have been more interested in her choice language than the actual substance of her video response.
"Within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn," Palin said in the video.
She was referring to the criticism she received over her use of images of crosshairs to "target" certain lawmakers during the midterm election cycle.
As the New York Times' Michael Shear explained, "By using the term 'blood libel' to describe the criticism about political rhetoric after the shootings, Ms. Palin was inventing a new definition for an emotionally laden phrase. Blood libel is typically used to describe the false accusation that Jews murder Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals, in particular the baking of matzos for passover. The term has been used for centuries as the pretext for anti-Semitism and violent pogroms against Jews."
The use of that phrase sparked some commotion in the Jewish community and spurred others to come to Palin's defense. While the term has deep connotations, there are other examples of its use in a modern political context.
Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the left-leaning Jewish political group J Street released a statement saying he was "saddened" by Palin's use of the term "blood libel."
The term, he said, "brings back painful echoes of a very dark time in our communal history when Jews were falsely accused of committing heinous deeds. When Governor Palin learns that many Jews are pained by and take offense at the use of the term, we are sure that she will choose to retract her comment, apologize and make a less inflammatory choice of words."
The Anti-Defamation League released a statement that in part defended Palin, saying she had "every right to defend herself against these kinds of attacks." However, the group said, "we wish that Palin had used another phrase, instead of one so fraught with pain in Jewish history."
Former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition's board of directors, did not address Palin's use of the phrase "blood libel," but said, "It it would have been even better if she simply rose above the accusations about her map and focused entirely on the bigger message of loss, tragedy and the greatness of our country.
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who often comments on Israeli affairs, came to Palin's defense, saying that the term has "taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse." Dershowitz said he has used the term himself to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. He added, "There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim."
Ben Smith of Politico also points out that the phrase has been used in a political context before. For instance, the New York Post used it in a 1999 headline "after Hillary Clinton stood by as Suha Arafat accused the Israelis of 'daily and intensive use of poison gas' against Palestinian women and children," Smith reports.
Conservative pundit Glenn Reynolds used the phrase in a Wall Street Journal op-ed just two days ago.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why does this not surprise me! Palin is an attention whore, she will do and say anything to keep her name in the media! How can she be so insensitive!!!

Anonymous said...

Why does she (and the tea baggers) hate America so much? They seem to have a deep seeded hatred for freedom of any sort and are hellbent at introducing Christeo-sharia law upon the land through their terrorist activities.

Heather said...

Sarah Palin is an idiot/moron/bible thumping hick!

Anonymous said...

You liberals are scary scary. Just like the left leaning, crazy left wing goon Jared Loughner. 9/10 times there is a violent rampage, it's because of some drugged up liberal. You kooks and your Palin Derangement Syndrome are a threat to society. You evil horrible, miserable people.

Mary said...

FYI Jared Loughner was not politically motivated Anonymous. Liberals scare you because you are uneducated.

Mike said...

just listening to people on the right and on the left demonstrates the contribution to the decline of this country. People.. we are all proud Americans and regardless of your political outlook this country should take, we can't keep degrading one another, making threats etc. In the long run... it will ultimately destroy us along with this country. Granted... I am no fan of sarah palin.. but she is entitled to her own opinion and beliefs whether we agree with them or not. We don't have to agree, but respect one another. Please think about it.

Thanks

B. said...

Mike, you are quite right that Palin is entitled to her own opinion and beliefs but so are the people who post on this board. She just seems to be a hate mongering, crap spewing individual who brings out the worst in those people who will NOT be brainwashed by her and her brainless rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

The people that give Sarah the most power are you guys that love to hate on her. The more you B(*#$ about her the more I think maybe she isn't so bad. Keep on spewing it, I may even vote for her!

Anonymous said...

i agree thats Palin is an idiot, but whats wrong with that term, blood libel?..., hurt Jews?... r u kidding me?... how abt holocaust? as we know Jews always remaining the world, i think thats hurt Germany. What is anti semit anyway?..., sounds like when they curse Mel Gibson for his movie "Passion Of Christ"....he he he he....

Good Electric, Inc. said...

Bring back idiot Palin! I miss those SNL skits! What kind of idiots give even listen to her garbage?

Sean said...

Point fingers.. Evidence speaks for itself, Palin the catalyst of idiotic, mind-numbing rhetoric has weakened souls of Americans. I'm not going to speak on every occasion where she's "made a mistake" (SO I DON'T SOUND TO LIBERAL FOR THE PEOPLE DEFENDING HER) Fact being, when she does, it leaves you scarred.. " Did I really just hear that? " Well I certainly did, and I'm not going to accept it. For those of you who do, I feel sorry for you. It is obvious you're very uneducated regardless of your political beliefs.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a liberal, though I have some liberal viewpoints, nor am I a conservative, though I share some conservative values/concerns. Sarah Palin is indefensible. With the cunning of a grifter, knowing she was a hot commodity, she quit mid-term as governor of Alaska in order to make MONEY. It was time to cash in on her notoriety and consequently betray the people who voted for her. She is not trustworthy. She has nobodies interests in mind except her own. She's an embarrassment to any thinking person, American, liberal and conservative. I curse the day when John McCain brought her the national attention she so richly does not deserve. I don't wish her dead, I do wish she'd just go away.

Anonymous said...

she got her cash and cnn. - she is still milking it.