A slight furor, or perhaps simply raised eyebrows, came about when Sarah Palin used the phrase ‘blood libel’ to describe the attention paid to her (and pundits like her) rhetoric. Jewish American public figures from Dershowitz to Foxman to David Harris gave across the board responses (Muffti will let you try to figure out who said what. Cheaters and curious verifiers can check here.
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.
Palin has every right to defend herself against these kinds of attacks . . . [s]till, we wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase â€œblood-libelâ€ . . . . While the term â€œblood-libelâ€ 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.
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 â€œblood libelâ€ against her and others. 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 centuriesâ€”and given that blood libels are so directly intertwined with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism around the globe, even today.
The term â€œblood libelâ€ is not a synonym for â€œfalse accusation.â€ 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.
Palin herself said:
It goes back to the Jewish people being falsely accused…A group of people being falsely accused of having blood on their hands.
Personally, Muffti thinks this whole pogrom is ridiculous. Sarah is right – mere rhetoric is not the problem and getting rid of it would be no final solution. The lamestream media has attempted a babi yar on right wing commentators and Muffti just hopes that the Gifford tragedy doesn’t end up being seen in retrospect as a kristallnacht for poor Palin. Her treatment is comparable to Dreyfus’. Fear not friends; this holocaust of accusations will end soon.