Sarah Palin Charges Critics With ‘Blood Libel’

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Sarah Palin released a video statement Wednesday calling the rush to pin blame on conservatives for the Tucson shooting a “blood libel.”

“Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own,” she said. “They begin and end with the criminals who commit them.”

In the eight-minute video, Palin says, “…especially 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 they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

Palin’s use of the charged phrase “blood libel” – which refers to the anti-Semitic accusation from the Middle Ages that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood to make matzoh for Passover – touched off an immediate backlash.

“The blood libel is something anti-Semites have historically used in Europe as an excuse to murder Jews – the comparison is stupid. Jews and rational people will find it objectionable,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a New York-based Democratic political consultant and devout Jew. “This will forever link her to the events in Tucson. It deepens the hole she’s already dug for herself… It’s absolutely inappropriate.”

Palin has faced criticism this week for images that look like gun crosshairs she used to identify the districts of Democrats who were vulnerable in the 2010 elections, including that of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot on Saturday.

But in her first extended response to the shooting – released hours before President Obama is to visit Tucson – Palin said that “responsibility lies not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.”

Though some “claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently,” Palin said it has always been “heated.”

“…when was it less heated? Back in those ‘calm days’ when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols?” she asked.

“In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government. Our Founders’ genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure.”

FULL TEXT OF STATEMENT:

Like millions of Americans I learned of the tragic events in Arizona on Saturday, and my heart broke for the innocent victims. No words can fill the hole left by the death of an innocent, but we do mourn for the victims’ families as we express our sympathy.

I agree with the sentiments shared yesterday at the beautiful Catholic mass held in honor of the victims. The mass will hopefully help begin a healing process for the families touched by this tragedy and for our country.

Our exceptional nation, so vibrant with ideas and the passionate exchange and debate of ideas, is a light to the rest of the world. Congresswoman Giffords and her constituents were exercising their right to exchange ideas that day, to celebrate our Republic’s core values and peacefully assemble to petition our government. It’s inexcusable and incomprehensible why a single evil man took the lives of peaceful citizens that day.

There is a bittersweet irony that the strength of the American spirit shines brightest in times of tragedy. We saw that in Arizona. We saw the tenacity of those clinging to life, the compassion of those who kept the victims alive, and the heroism of those who overpowered a deranged gunman.

Like many, I’ve spent the past few days reflecting on what happened and praying for guidance. After this shocking tragedy, I listened at first puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness, to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event.

President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

The last election was all about taking responsibility for our country’s future. President Obama and I may not agree on everything, but I know he would join me in affirming the health of our democratic process. Two years ago his party was victorious. Last November, the other party won. In both elections the will of the American people was heard, and the peaceful transition of power proved yet again the enduring strength of our Republic.

Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions. And after the election, we shake hands and get back to work, and often both sides find common ground back in D.C. and elsewhere. If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially 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 they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those “calm days” when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government. Our Founders’ genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure.

As I said while campaigning for others last March in Arizona during a very heated primary race, “We know violence isn’t the answer. When we ‘take up our arms’, we’re talking about our vote.” Yes, our debates are full of passion, but we settle our political differences respectfully at the ballot box – as we did just two months ago, and as our Republic enables us to do again in the next election, and the next. That’s who we are as Americans and how we were meant to be. Public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis, but of our enduring strength. It is part of why America is exceptional.

No one should be deterred from speaking up and speaking out in peaceful dissent, and we certainly must not be deterred by those who embrace evil and call it good. And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.

Just days before she was shot, Congresswoman Giffords read the First Amendment on the floor of the House. It was a beautiful moment and more than simply “symbolic,” as some claim, to have the Constitution read by our Congress. I am confident she knew that reading our sacred charter of liberty was more than just “symbolic.” But less than a week after Congresswoman Giffords reaffirmed our protected freedoms, another member of Congress announced that he would propose a law that would criminalize speech he found offensive.

It is in the hour when our values are challenged that we must remain resolved to protect those values. Recall how the events of 9-11 challenged our values and we had to fight the tendency to trade our freedoms for perceived security. And so it is today.

Let us honor those precious lives cut short in Tucson by praying for them and their families and by cherishing their memories. Let us pray for the full recovery of the wounded. And let us pray for our country. In times like this we need God’s guidance and the peace He provides. We need strength to not let the random acts of a criminal turn us against ourselves, or weaken our solid foundation, or provide a pretext to stifle debate.

America must be stronger than the evil we saw displayed last week. We are better than the mindless finger-pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy. We will come out of this stronger and more united in our desire to peacefully engage in the great debates of our time, to respectfully embrace our differences in a positive manner, and to unite in the knowledge that, though our ideas may be different, we must all strive for a better future for our country. May God bless America.

(Source: Politico)


18 COMMENTS

  1. Ir ia not just the left that is engaged in libels. A commenter in the coffee room claimed that a writer who posts on dailykos wanted Giffords dead and linked to a site that claimed that he was the shooter. The comment was accepted even though YWN supposedly has a policy against outside links.

    I posted a comment that contained links that disproved the claim. It was not accepted. I can only conclude that YWN is part of the libel conspiracy on the part of the right.

  2. Hank sheinkopf is a democratic hack. it is just incidental that he is a Jew. Sarah Palin was right on the mark.This IS a blood libel on good Americans and the left continues to use outrageous comments to try to sideline Republicans. The rants and lies that the left has issued in recent days is exactly that: a blood libel-trying to “kill” (in an electoral sense) sarah palin and the tea party. Read Krauthammer-as good a jew as this hack Sheinkopf, and you will be filled with disgust for those pseudo-Jews like Paul Krugman and Hank Sheinkopf.

  3. Insinuating that Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh or anyone else is responsible for 6 murders is just as reprehensible and disgusting as the blood libels of old. I personally am not offended by her use of the term and I suspect neither is Mr. Sheikopf, but as a democratic political consultant, he will surely do the reprehensible thing and milk this for all its worth.

  4. Charlie-
    I know your a liberal, but I was under the impression that even liberals have the ability to think. I guess not.
    Your argument is flawed.
    First you assume that YWN does not accept outside links. Although I’m not sure of YWN policies, I’ve seen people post outside links in the past. So no, this may have nothing to do with politics.
    Next you assume that your comment was not accepted because it helped your cause. I don’t know what sites you linked to and frankly I don’t care. But perhaps, YWN felt that, that site was not appropriate for their site.
    Lastly, you conclude that the (non)actions taken by YWN somehow means that they are “part of the conspiracy on the right”. Your argument of flawed so is your conclusion.

  5. Sarah Palin’s words were so touching my eyes teared up
    No one wants to claim responsibility or accountability put rather blame

    what a shame time to take responsibility and accountability which here is far and square on killer

    Any one buying a magazine with 31 bullets needs to be investigated very very well. What business does a 22 year old buying such ammunition when they are not in the police or other public service.

  6. What I find amazing is that Talk Show Talking Heads have spewed violence against “liberals” for over 30 years. Liberals, Liberal Media, Liberal Agenda, Socialism, the list goes on and on…only the RIGHT has given these labels and have railed against people of UNLIKE thinking. I blame the talking heads on this tragedy and others that will spring up as long as these talking heads and their treasonous rhetoric continues. We are one country of many people of different thoughts only the “right” wants to stop all dialogue and thought. Many conservative values are just that good solid values but those that point a finger to single out a group that doesn’t think like “conservatives” are bad or called the “left”. These things will continue as long as the talking heads are allowed to spew their venom!

  7. Charlie,
    I was that commenter and here is my response:

    Nowhere have I stated that a writer on DailyKos wanted Giffords dead, and my link never claimed that the writer was the killer. I linked to the site simply to note the irony on the left. The left immediately scrambled to blame Palin and the Tea Party while they had statements, that were worse, in their own backyard. The site never suggested that the writer was the killer, it simply asked a question; in our America, questions are permitted. Of course, you will go great lengths to protect the DailyKos, but I believe that it was scrubbed for political purposes. Obviously, once many websites published the screen shot, the hypocrites put it back with an apology. I don’t know why YWN deleted your links, as I haven’t read them thoroughly, but that site you linked to is known to engage in foul language occasionally.

    Charlie, I always admired your honesty and forever looked forward to debate with you. However, I am truly disappointed in you. I always knew that you’re a liberal, but never knew that you spin as they do. I now call on you to quote the (exact) words that indicate and support your charge against me.

    YWN may be conspiring for the right – every “Fair & Balanced” site would do that. We must have sites that report the honest truth (often dubbed “conservative reporting”). We must know more than what Keith Olberman and Paul Krugman dream about. I consider a conspiracy when many individuals get together to commit a horrendous crime. The “journolists” did it once more at this horrific tragedy and now further try to slam her statement. I’m Jewish and I agree with her “Blood Libel” statement; only liberal Jews won’t take it – as they can’t take any words that come out of a Republican.

    I was also horrified to see that the left turned this tragic incident into a fundraising idea. While the right joined many on the left in mourning and prayer, some liberals were politicizing this tragedy to raise funds. Had it been Conservative Senator, the DailyKos and Charlie Hall would be crying foul long ago. This is what I call hypocrisy and profiting from tragedies. I can state that some on the left are happy that this tragic incident occurred.

  8. If you see how the phrase has been used by politicians over the last few years, it appears to have acquired a secondary definition of a false accusation designed to incite the hearer (the portrayals of Presidents Bush and Obama by the opposite-side of the spectrum media being a good example).

    Both the right and left have lately been making wild accusations against each other – none of which apparently had any impact on Arizona (the guy apparently is insane and non-partisan, though perhaps not so much as to avoid executing him).

    The Washington Post today had an article suggesting this will work in favor of Governor Pawlenty who is a soft spoken “nice guy”.

  9. Just goes to prove that Charlie Hall is a liberal hack with no thinking on his own. Blinded by the sheker of the left. Liberalism is dangerous not only to the county its dangerous to people.

  10. frdm, you don’t listen or read enough of this stuff. I’ve heard real liberal hacks. The right has to accept that there can be thinking liberals, just as they don’t all want to be lumped with the fringe or ill-spoken (referring to the people who might be on the ball on a good many things but are distasteful to listen to) right wing.

  11. bneal613 has a very selcetive memory….”only the Right has given these labels” ???? You an pick up any liberal paper from the time of our President George Bush and find much worse incitement than what is said over the radio…A movie- yes ,an actual movie- was made about the assasination of GEORGE BUSH- not a fictitious character but our President. Where was all the leftist outrage then? That leftist hack, Chris Matthews said- on camera- that Limbaugh should have a bomb put into his mouth and explode…did I hear ANYTHING from you on this ,leftist apologists? It is outrageous and a disgrace how the left has behaved this week and , above all a rancid and cynical political calculation. The American people- thank G-d- have not fallen for it.

  12. Rabbi of Berlin,
    Check out my post in the Coffee Room (the one that’s driving Charlie mad), it has links to the rhetoric and hate you mentioned.

  13. I’m not sure if it’s more ridiculous to hear a condemnation of media slander from the woman who accused the President of mandating ‘death panels’ against the elderly, or to hear criticism of media irresponsibility from a woman who works for FOX news.

  14. shintav—you are just a shill. FOX news is the most balanced media outfit and all you have to do is look at the ratings…your cherished “mnsbc” ratings are in the proverbial…..outhouse while fos goes from strength to strength….HA!

  15. rabbiofberlin:
    You can’t prove that Fox News is balanced because of its ratings. Balance isn’t proven by ratings but by content.
    It is popular and, IMO, populist, and it presents much of its content from a right/conservative perspective.

  16. to rabbiofberlin: I dont have a selective memory i have been listening to talk radio since the 80’s the beginning of “RUSH” the rhetoric has not changed…he foments revolution and the “liberals” are his target. A liberal is anyone that doesnt agree with a “conservative” thats the same agenda as YMSH hitler, stalin, marx, mao tzedung,…no difference. We as a nation must trash the “labels” and move forward for the betterment of the US folks. These talking heads are bringing us to the brink of destruction and must be stopped. By the way I am a frum yid and am a worker within my local community. Just FYI.

  17. “Check out my post in the Coffee Room ”

    You claimed that the shooter was a dailykos contributor. I posted a link that proved that was not true. YWN refused to accept it. YWN is complicit in your slanderous lies.