Arizona shooting: Palin ‘blood libel’comment upsets American Jews

Thursday, January 13, 2011

LONDON - Former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has upset American Jews by using the term “”"blood libel”"” against her critics in connection with last weekend’s shootings in Tucson, Arizona.

ccording to The Guardian, Palin’s use of the phrase “blood libel” historically refers to the false accusation that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was one of the victims of the shoot-out, and remains in critical condition after being shot in the head, is the first Jewish Congresswoman from Arizona.

Palin showed that she has no intention of toning down the confrontational language in a video released three days after the shootings by Jared Lee Loughner that killed six people and wounded 14 others, including Giffords.

“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,” said Palin.

“There are those who claim that political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow got more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those calm days when political figures literally settled their difference with duelling pistols?”

Some critics accused Palin of insensitivity. Others questioned whether she spoke through ignorance of the meaning of the term.

A pro-Israel lobby group, J Street, called on Palin to apologise for the reference because her use of it “pains and offends” many Jews.

The Anti-Defamation League, a group in New York that campaigns against anti-Semitism, said that while it “was inappropriate at the outset to blame Palin and others for causing this tragedy”, it objected to her language.

Julie Roginsky, a Democratic party strategist, said the term “”"blood libel”"” is so loaded with bigotry and historic persecution that it should be consigned to the ash heap of history where the darkest days of anti-Semitism dwell.

Whether she was aware of its historical context is irrelevant. She is a national figure with a huge following and so she should use her words carefully,” Roginsky wrote in a Politico blog.

Palin had been directly accused by Giffords of “firing people up” with a campaign poster that put the Democratic Party congresswoman and others in the crosshairs of a rifle.

Palin”"”s sudden reappearance has led to suggestions that she was seeking to upstage President Barack Obama by releasing the video hours before the latter was to address a memorial service in Tucson and meet families of the dead and wounded. (ANI)

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