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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's Wrong With Sarah Palin Using the Term Blood Libel?

Man some people are just looking for something to pick at.  As reported earlier today, Sarah Palin released a heartfelt video this morning expressing her grief over the tragedy at Tucson, relaying her prayers for the wounded and families of all the victims, and throwing the progressive nonsense suggesting that Palin, the Tea Party, and/or right leaning media had anything to do with inciting the violence.  Her speech spoke just the right tone and was delivered with dignity as opposed to bravado. But as they always seem to do, the left found something to attack, the use of one phrase. Blood libel.
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.
 For example Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post said:
Blood libel is a term with a specific and terrible history. It refers to the scurrilous accusation that Jews kidnapped and murdered Christian children to use their blood to prepare Passover matzoh. Charges of blood libel have spurred massacres of Jews throughout the centuries; the myth was revived by Hitler and persists today from Russia to the Arab world.

Using the phrase "blood libel" is akin to making a Holocaust analogy: It is almost always a bad idea. Very little compares to the murder of thousands or millions of Jews simply because of their religion.
Howard Kurtz at his new gig at the Daily Beast added:
Blood libel, for those who are not familiar, describes a false accusation that minorities—usually Jews—murder children to use their blood in religious rituals, and has been a historical theme in the persecution of the Jewish people. Had Palin scoured a thesaurus, she could not have come up with a more inflammatory phrase.
 Throughout the liberal world accusations began to spring up suggesting that Palin's use of the phrase blood libel was some how an affront to the Jewish people.

As a Jew who has studied and often writes about Jewish issues, the Holocaust and Antisemitism in general allow me for a second to comment on the claims of those progressive commentators.  Horse Crap!

While it is true that blood libel is a uniquely Jewish experience it is not  nearly as raw in the hearts and minds of  modern Jews in the U.S.  it is not even on the same planet! The reason for the difference is threefold.

First all, for most Jews, the Holocaust is a more recent event .Thankfully many Holocaust survivors are still with us, are the children who grew up seeing a number tattooed on the forearm of parent, grandparent or some relative or family friend as a constant reminder.

Secondly the Holocaust is associated with one event.  The blood libel is a venomous tactic used against Jews as part of other events, be it the Inquisition, the Russian pogroms, or Crusades  just to name a very few examples. (the Crusaders didn't want their families to be subject to the influence of the Jews so they killed man, women and child before they went off to fight the Muslims in the holy land).

The third reason may be because  the Holocaust was a much more concentrated event visa viz the blood libel that we have face ever since Moses left Egypt with the Children of Israel.

Over 3,500 years ago in the land of Egypt: "Slaves were we to Pharaoh in Egypt," the Torah recounts. The 10th and final plague hit the firstborn sons of every Egyptian. However, the Torah tells us, by smearing the blood of a slaughtered lamb on the doorposts of the Jewish homes the  death passed over them. Since that day, the stain of that  Pessah blood seems to follow us.

Josephus tells us that already in Roman times, the Greeks spread rumors that the Jews slaughtered a Greek in the Temple in Jerusalem and ate his intestines as part of our rites.

In 12th-century England, there were repeated stories of children being killed by the Jews for ritual purposes.

The tale was usually the same. The holiday of Pessah is celebrated in spring; the unleavened bread is an integral part of the feast. The ugly rumor proclaimed that the matza was not fit for use unless the blood of a Gentile child was kneaded into the mixture. Though today the story changes a bit, "horrible Israeli soldiers deliberately killing children," usually accepted by the mainstream and spread by the media without question even though they are false. One such blood libel the al Durah hoax, where a young child was supposedly shot by Israeli forces, was picked up by the world media and incited a Palestinian intifada which caused the deaths of more than a thousand Palestinian and Israeli citizens.  The only problem was the entire thing was staged by a Palestinian Cameraman who worked for one of the French TV Networks.


Every time Israel acts to defend herself, the mainstream media is rich with blood libel invented by Israel's enemies and accepted as truth by reporters.

When it comes to Governor Palin's use of the term blood libel, it was totally justified. The progressive media created a lie about Palin causing the death of a child, Christina Taylor Greene. Their charge was blood libel just the same way as the media spreading the al Durah myth, or the way the media spread  bogus charges of Israeli massacres during the recent war with Hamas in Gaza (or in the case of Reuters falsified pictures).

Allow me to suggest that the media should not try to push their progressive bias by assuming the role of policing the worldwide use of the term blood libel. They would be much better served trying to ensure that they do not become the conduits for the spread of blood libels, either be it directed toward Israeli soldiers, or conservatives in the United States.


Karla Fisk said...

Many people, Jews and goyim alike, know that Hitler used the myth of blood libel as part of his anti-Jewish propaganda leading up to and during the Holocaust. So "blood libel" is still a powerful phrase in our common discourse. Too bad for Palin (and her speechwriter) that she didn't really understand what she was playing with.

Karla Fisk said...

Also, if by "liberal media" you mean every media outlet other than Fox or right-wing talk radio, I've been listening and watching since Saturday and nowhere have I seen or heard any direct responsiblity placed on Palin for the horrific shooting in Tucson.

The commentators I have heard have been careful to speak thoughtfully about political speech and the right to free political speech.

(Actually, in taking down her site,, I think she is drawing the connection herself.)

She is not directly to blame, but she is responsible for contributing to the deluge of violent and incendiary political rhetoric from some very popular people on the right who have a large stage and a lot of influence.

Bill589 said...

It was all over the Left's media especially on day one. They started toning it back when they saw how stupid it made them look.

Liberal commentators often think they know more and are smarter than other readers.

Especially liberals with PDS.

sashal said...

hello, RW hack.
Just found a bundle laying forgotten in front on my store.
Opened it up and that was your shame..

Unknown said...

Lefties like Fisk will never be as clever as they apparently think they are. Of course lib pundits have been accusing Palin of having culpability in the shooting. The term "direct" is relative here, though, because every lefty with a microphone is drawing a line from Loughner to her and others. The fact she took down the images shows she's sensitive to the fact that, because people are pointing and yelling "hey, look at that!", others will feel hurt by them (the images) in light of the shootings, and she obviously didn't want that. (Ya think?!?)

There have been several online personalities who have easily shown that "Blood libel" is a) NOT uniquely tied to Jews, and b) quite easily used by both Left and Right over just the past three or so years with absolutely no backlash whatsoever.

it's intellectually dishonest and lazy for you, Fisk, to come along and treat lefty commenters with kid gloves while slamming talkers on the right for a "deluge of violent and incendiary political rhetoric". Where was this outrage when all the leftists/Progs where: Calling Bush a murderer, calling for his death (see "Death of a President" and the positive reactions to it on the Left), accusing him of masterminding 9/11, or just about any thread on Kos and HuffPo? The bottom line is that the side you're white-knighting for took a walloping in November, and will continue to do so long as its platform is anathema to what the U.S. stands for, and its speech typifies that.

Unknown said...

Fisk-"Blah blah blah"...If you want to know why the side you're white-knighting for took such a walloping in November, just re-read your two posts.

There's that part that wants to ask why crap like those two posts are allowed, but then, they self-evidence the mindset in question, which is better for everyone, long term.