Palin’s Charge Of ‘Blood Libel’ Spurs Outcry From ‘Jewish Leaders’; Dershowitz Defends Term

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Sarah Palin’s remarks Wednesday in which she accused critics who would tie her political tone to the Arizona shootings of committing a “blood libel” against her have prompted an instant and pronounced backlash from some in America’s Jewish community.

The term dates to the Middle Ages and refers to a prejudice that Jewish people used Christian blood in religious rituals.

“Instead of dialing down the rhetoric at this difficult moment, Sarah Palin chose to accuse others trying to sort out the meaning of this tragedy of somehow engaging in a ‘blood libel’ against her and others,” said David Harris, president of the National Democratic Jewish Council, in a statement. “This is of course a particularly heinous term for American Jews, given that the repeated fiction of blood libels are directly responsible for the murder of so many Jews across centuries — and given that blood libels are so directly intertwined with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism around the globe, even today.”

“The term ‘blood libel’ is not a synonym for ‘false accusation,’ ” said Simon Greer, president of Jewish Funds for Justice. “It refers to a specific falsehood perpetuated by Christians about Jews for centuries, a falsehood that motivated a good deal of anti-Jewish violence and discrimination. Unless someone has been accusing Ms. Palin of killing Christian babies and making matzoh from their blood, her use of the term is totally out of line.”

U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head Saturday and remained in critical condition in a Tucson hospital, is Jewish.

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said “it was inappropriate at the outset to blame Sarah Palin and others for causing this tragedy or for being an accessory to murder. Palin has every right to defend herself against these kinds of attacks, and we agree with her that the best tradition in America is one of finding common ground despite our differences.

“Still, we wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase ‘blood libel’ in reference to the actions of journalists and pundits in placing blame for the shooting in Tucson on others. While the term ‘blood libel’ has become part of the English parlance to refer to someone being falsely accused, we wish that Palin had used another phrase, instead of one so fraught with pain in Jewish history.”

Early Wednesday, Palin posted a lengthy video on the Web in which she defended the provocative speech employed by her and other conservatives — and condemned the violence in Arizona. Yet she also strongly pushed back at any notion that inflamed and sometimes gun-laden rhetoric played any role in the attack. She called allusions to that effect “irresponsible.”

Her critics in the media, she contended, “should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the hatred and violence that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

Prominent conservatives rallied around Palin and the terms “blood libel” soon began circulating — and some were angry that Palin wasn’t more urgently defended by party leaders.

“To the gutless GOP establishment who watches in silence the blood libel against” Palin, wrote commentator Andrew Brietbart Tuesday evening, hours before Palin’s statement was posted. “We will be watching.”

Meanwhile, in an exclusive statement to BigGovernment.com, famed attorney and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz defended Sarah Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” from multiple detractors. Fortunately, there are still plenty of honest liberals around:

The term “blood libel” has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People,its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. 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. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.

(Source: LA Times)


22 COMMENTS

  1. Alan Dershowitz is not the liberal he once was and certainly not on Israeli issues. I find his Views to be very much in line with Likuds (maybe kadima, butcertainly not a leftist).

  2. Not necessarily a Dershowitz fan, but he is absolutely correct in this instance.

    The initial charge against her, blaming her in some way for the murders was ridiculous.

    Making a big deal about the use of the “blood libel” term is just dumb.

  3. There was nothing wrong with Mrs. Palin’s use of this term. Her context was the political reality that liberal political inciters (read r’shoi’im) attempted to establish conservatives as some kind of a predicate or provocation for this monstrous act. The original blood libels were similar – innocent people were linked to monstrous acts of murder.

    I believe the wild eyed liberal responders are simply grabbing an opportunity to trash a lady whom they fear. Had (1) a crazed conservative murdered a bunch of people waiting to meet a conservative politician (G-d forbid) and (2) conservative media personalities declared some (spurious) link between those murders and liberal media commentators, and (3) had Mrs. Hilary Clinton raised her voice in protest and USED THE EXACT SAME WORDS AS MRS. PALIN, these liberal hate mongers would be quiet today. These liberal persons are not intellectually honest. They are devoted to the sick goal of United States national suicide. Where were these liberal sickos when Rev. Jeremiah Wright was spewing his hatred? Where were they when presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama defended the remarks of his dear pastor of 20 years?

  4. I think the term may actually fit. A blood libel: A murder blamed on a specific innocent group of people based on a perceived belief about those people.

    Jews: The murder of a Christian is blamed on an innocent group (the Jews)based on a perceived belief (that Jews use Christian blood for matzahs. Which we don’t.

    Palin: A murder is blamed on an innocent group (loud mouthed conservatives) based on the perceived belief that they are all right-wing, gun toting, violent nuts. Which they are not.

    I think its not exact, but it does fit.

  5. The tactic is – just blame her and make negative news about her in any way you can, and even if it’s obviously rediculous – it still has a sub-concious overall negative effect.

    Liberals can’t distroy someone on issues, but they got all the prapeganda knowladge and machinary…

  6. “David Harris, president of the National Democratic Jewish Council”

    This is a JEWISH leader???–This guy is a Democrat party apparachik!

    What is he saying. Do we have a petent on the English language?

    The term “Blood Libel” has become a powerful metaphor for a false accusation of murder. It is certainly apropo in this case, and Palin has every right to use it.

    I think Mr. Harris has a lot of “Chutzpah!”

  7. Foxman and the rest of the wolf criers are just upset at someone stealing their buzzword.

    Hey Abe! Dont you have another inter-faith breakfast to attend while trying to drum up more donations to your useless organization?

  8. Deepthinker, you are right. Harris and the other apparatchiks should never have made hay of this, and it should never have come to it for Dershowitz to need to defend Palin. Palin had every right to use it, and she used it correctly. I would too if I were in her place; and they had no right to decry it, and play dirty politics with their pulpits. They owe Palin and all decent Jews in America an apology.

  9. Whether Palin used the term in the broad or narrow sense, it was used 100% correctly. To blame Palin for the death of Giffords could not be explained better than to make the analogy to a blood libel.

  10. Gimme a break!! We don’t own specific words or phrases. What a bunch of leftists clamoring for attention they desire but don’t deserve.

  11. I don’t necessarily agree with Palin, and the Democrats have a right to point fingers at her (ie cross-hairs on certain senators which even Palin admitted was a mistake after much criticism). However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Palin using this word; it’s merely a general phrase which can be used to describe a broad scope of false accusations.
    If liberal groups want to target Palin, there’s a lot more outrageous statements they can use than reverting to this.

  12. The Jews always and consistently FAIL to see who is the ally, our pres. Hates Israel and all it stands for Palin loves Israel and all it stands for, the Liberal Jews have been the champion of Obamaides and all the failure we have seen, yes Has-m send s them but when are we as a people going to learn our lesson and drop the democrats like a hot potato??????????? we’re losers and self defeating.

  13. As for ‘blood libel’, it is quite appropriate, and I urge Anthony Weiner, Charles Schumer & Kristen Gillibrand to speak out in support of Palin’s wise criticisms. Those who agree with this should call or e-mail their congress people now and support free speech and forthright criticism from conservatives.

  14. david harris and simon greer are leftist hacks and they will find anything to attack a republican. Where were they when Israel was demonized- anoher blood libel- by Goldstone (afru lepumeih). Where were they when our Administration- the President at its head- savagely accused Israel for its legitimate right to build in our eternal capital and totally ignored the Arab sins? Any Jew who still supports the left in this country is a self-hating jew and should be shunned.

  15. My initial reaction to Sarah Palin’s usage of “blood libei” was that she made a Kiddush Hashem by showing how absurd and false the blood libel was and is. I was appalled by the reactions of Harris Greer and Foxman who somehow could take such an appropriate remark and with their twisted minds and crooked agendas find fault in this expression. Woe is it to us that we have such spokesmen.

  16. There is nothing wrong with the termenology Ms. Palin used,the charges made are totally false.
    It looks like Mr. Dershowitz is doing “teshuva”.

  17. As “frum not crum” said:
    “There was nothing wrong with Mrs. Palin’s use of this term. Her context was the political reality that liberal political inciters (read r’shoi’im) attempted to establish conservatives as some kind of a predicate or provocation for this monstrous act. The original blood libels were similar – innocent people were linked to monstrous acts of murder.”

    Besides for fnc’s omments:
    As can be seen from the news stories today, the alleged murderer was a loner who did not follow the news so he certainly was not a follower of Mrs. Palin nor her target illustrations nor anything else from her nor any other political figure, so this reprehensible allegation that Mrs. Palin is responsible for this tragedy is, of course, nonsense and beyond the pale.

    However, while on the topic, having seen the illustration quoted in a news story, I think it would be wiser to use a more toned down rhetoric rather than a bullseye and the like even if it is 100% clear that she is obviously not suggesting murder, G-d forbid.

  18. As Jeffrey Goldberg put it, Fox News is not Mendel Beilis. The attacks on Palin are no more blood libels any more than Limbaugh’s opponents have been “nazis” no matter what he may have called them.