‘blood libel’

I’m reluctant to infest this place any more with mention of that woman from Alaska, but in case you want to read commentary on her bizarre self-pitying ‘address to the nation’ today and her extraordinarily ignorant use of the term ‘blood libel’ here are a few links:

Steven Benen at Washington Monthly – The UK Guardian – Adam Clark Estes at Salon – Greg Sargent at the Washington Post – Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post – Howard Kurtz at The Daily Beast – even the right-wing Washington Examiner has its head in its hands

BBC: It’s not clear if she or her advisors understand why “blood libel” will be regarded as offensive by many American Jews. The term is overwhelmingly associated with a false accusation of despicable crimes committed by Jews against Christian children.

Conservative Jennifer Rubin:

And as Josh Marshall put it at TPM, “Today has been set aside to honor the victims of the Tucson massacre. And Sarah Palin has apparently decided she’s one of them.”

This is a seriously great article:

Peter Stanford (UK Independent): Sarah Palin was straining to look presidential. With the Stars and Stripes at her side, the former Governor of Alaska read a scripted address in an effort to rebut persistent claims that she was guilty by association over the deaths of six people and the wounding of a further 13, including the Democratic Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, at an Arizona supermarket.

The charges against her – which arose because the unashamedly gun-toting Palin had placed a rifle target over Arizona during the 2010 election to designate that Giffords was a politician she wanted out of the way – were not only unjust and reprehensible, she intoned soberly, but were “a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they [journalists and pundits] purport to condemn”.

Her use of the two words “blood libel” made my jaw drop.

…this was not just another of Palin’s trademark foot-in-mouth broadcast moments, mixing up North and South Korea, failing to name any of the “many” papers she reads daily, or “refudiating” her opponents’ taunts. No, Palin intended to say “blood libel”. The real question is, did she have any idea what the phrase actually meant and therefore of the offence it might – and has – caused?

The generous view is that she was desperately seeking a way to make “false accusation” seem more dramatic and herself a bit more wounded by the scapegoating slurs of her opponents.

….Palin’s grasp of history isn’t any more celebrated than her geography. She once suggested Russia shared a land border with the USA and described Africa as a country. Indeed her ignorance is seen as part of her charm by her supporters. So why would she know that “blood libel” has a very specific and ugly meaning that, even in 2011, remains odious and to be avoided at all costs?

The blood libel myth, widely practised in the Middle Ages, held that Jews kidnapped Christian children, sacrificed them, and then used their blood in unleavened bread at Passover. If it sounds like the sick fantasy of an internet-only horror flick, then many in medieval Europe took it as gospel and, as a consequence, thousands of Jews were killed or driven out of their homes in pogroms.

…Palin’s use of the emotive words stands out from the usual rough-and-tumble of political posturing for other reasons, not least that the anti-Semitic overtones of the phrase she chose to use jars when 30-year-old Gabe Zimmerman, one of those killed by gunman Jared Loughner, was Jewish, as is his boss, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, still in intensive care after a bullet wound to her brain.

…For Palin to present herself as the real victim when six people are dead and 13 in hospital is wrongheaded and self-centred, but that’s politicians for you.

For her to go on to liken her treatment to the profound injustice done to generations of Jews down the ages when in Tuscon a Jewish man is about to be buried, and a Jewish woman is fighting for her life, took my breath away.

The just-another-of-Sarah’s-inept-gaffes excuse is wearing a little thin.

…Sarah Palin is playing with fire. She has been one of the most effective practitioners of the use of words-as-weapons, damning Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms, for instance, as “death laws”. But just as such poisonous oratory can get the crowds cheering, it can also lay you low. Perhaps the real choice that faces Palin now is whether she wants to join the ranks of politicians whose gaffes and casual ignorance of history make them a joke, or step up into the responsible mainstream.

….if there was, as seems likely, even an iota of calculation in what Palin said – whether by her or her speechwriters – then right now she should be bowing her head in shame.

Read the full article here

23 Responses to “‘blood libel’”

  1. January 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm


  2. January 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    This woman is a rambling idiot, that the news media keep giving a platform. Whenever she come on I turn the channel. This idiot must be stopped. To take a day of mourning for the victims of AZ into something about her is crude and ridiculous. The media fall for her crap, to put it nicely every time is an assault on the public’s intelligence. I despise her and everything she stand for. I pray the American people that follow her will soon see the light. And toss her and her cronies into oblivion.

  3. 4 dotster
    January 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    She may be the most self-serving, self-centered politician we have ever seen. As others have noted, on this day, a day to pay tribute to the victims, she decides to make it all about her poor, persecuted self. It is typical that she used a poor choice of words, blood libel, an anti-semetic slur, and all its implications in this case, to attempt to stir up sympathy for herself. She is a pathetic and detestable person, in every conceivable way.

  4. 6 Ladyhawke
    January 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I like to say Palin tweets and the media repeats and now I can say Palin produces canned videos and the media dutifully broadcasts them. She calls them the lame stream media, but she has no problem with them when they help get her message across unchallenged.

    What I want to know is when will this woman sit down with a real journalist and answer questions live? When will she be challenged with follow-up questions? Actually, the only time I expect to see Sarah Palin interviewed is when she is joined at the tonsils with one of the conservative hosts on Fox Noise or one of the many right wing radio hosts who think she can do no wrong. And even then, she will probably get a list of questions first so that she can be prepared.

    • 7 Theo67
      January 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      She did sit down with a “journalist”. Barbara Walters was granted an interview, and is now on her third day of solicing pity for poor victimized Sarah Palin – even to the point of playing her anti-semitic rant on her show and appealing for people to take time away from mourning the real victims of today and spare a thought for poor Palin. Both Sarah and Barbara are jokes.

      • 8 Ladyhawke
        January 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm

        Thanks Theo67, I forgot all about that interview with Barbara Walters. Now I remember, that’s the interview where the half term governor said she felt she could beat President Obama in a presidential matchup. Hilarious. When I heard about that interview, I lost all respect for Barbara Walters. In her hay day, she might a been a good “journalist” but I am not impressed with her these day. I find her fawning over Palin embarrassing and unseemly.

  5. 9 Theo67
    January 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    What is interesting is the line in her statement that says “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.”

    It’s unfortunate that Palin and her ilk don’t extend the same courtesy to people of Muslim faith, or to the President who according to Palin, “pals around with terrorists”.

  6. 10 tally
    January 12, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    She is so beyond sickening. It doesn’t matter how loud they shout, how many times they deny they have culpability, they all have BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS.

    I’ll say it again. The ONLY difference between this C^NT – actually, no, that word denotes some actual humanity – MONSTER and her ilk – Beck, Bachman, et al – and the Rwandan DJs is BODY COUNT – for now.

  7. January 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    This is trending BIG on twitter right now…She’s in trouble…damage control.

    I just retweeted this from twitt-trend:

    Sarah #Palin Used The Anti-Semetic Term “Blood Libel” To Defend Herself Against Criticism… #blood #libel

  8. 12 cat48
    January 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    It’s sorta sad really….neither she nor her handlers? know what they’re doing. She’s just not ready for primetime. If she ever were president, it would be one big gaffe. Those “elitist Ivy League Universities” can come in handy for a president; OR a healthy appetite for information and for learning new things, like History and Religions of the World. You have to be president to everyone whether one cares to or not.

    Will this never end with the media forever reporting on her??

  9. 13 Fred
    January 12, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Sarah Palin is so arrogant and out of touch she waited 4 days to speak and once she did;she used a terrible analogy in regards to Jews and on the same day that everyone wants to hear THE President of the United States.

    She is trying to get some shine as we say and she even had the guts to include the President’s name in her ranting.

    She seems to suffer from selective amnesia.She seems to have forgotten the chants of ” kill him” and ” shoot him” “bomb him” and ” hang him” at the McCain-Palin rallies? They are ALL over the internet.

    She seems to have forgotten the “he pals around with terrorists” and just last week again said that our President is ” hell bent on weakening America”

    This lady will NEVER be on the same level as President and Mrs Obama.NEVER!

  10. 14 Asher in Boston
    January 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Hehehe, karma is a b***h. With her stupidity out there for the entire world to see, and all, her own doing, now all Iam left to do is sit back, feet up with my popcorn and watch her dig herself deeper into that pit that I hope she is never able to crawl out of.

  11. 15 tally
    January 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I don’t know what’s worse – that she DOES or DOESN’T know the meaning and origin of that term.

  12. 16 S. Holland
    January 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Amazing isn’t it…….she, is the victim in all of this……that’s all she sees..no injured people, no people who have died, no people clinging to life..no people who’s lives have been destroyed…just Sarah, the victim…..I wish there were a more suitable word than total disgust……………..

  13. 18 Sue in Minnesota
    January 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I will waste none of my energy on her today, of all days. In the furture, perhaps we can come up with construct ideas that can be implemented to action to put pressure on our MSM to course correct. Today, is for reflection, healing and focusing on the opportunities we are being confronted with to be better and do better.

    My heartfelt gratitude to Chipsticks and all the community here for keeping Hope alive. And special blessings and gratitude to our remarkable President and FLOTUS, I know they will lead us to a better place.

  14. January 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    What Sarah Palin needs from this country is Shunning. It would save all of our ears, truly, not to mention our eyes, and certainly our political discourse.

  15. 20 tally
    January 12, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    And Palin’s speech writer is fired in 3… 2… 1…

  16. 21 tally
    January 12, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Oh and….

    Sarah need to have business cards made up that say, “Sarah Palin, Professional Victim”

  17. 23 Eleroy
    January 12, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    What a sociopath!!! Horrid and self-absorbed!!! Disgraceful!!!

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