Not much that Sarah Palin does can shock me these days, so I wasn’t particularly surprised when she backtracked from her “crosshairs” poster and had her aides claim the crosshairs were just “surveyor marks.” Sarah Palin is a uniquely weak character—she can dish it, but she can’t take it, just like she can run for Vice President, but can’t hack four years as governor of a state with fewer people than my neighborhood.
My expectations were already low when she posted a gauzily-lit, platitude-filled response to the criticism on her Facebook page.
My jaw dropped at about the halfway mark, when 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 that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”
Blood libel, for those of you who did not grow up with anti-Semitism, is the the anti-Jewish propaganda that Jews murder Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals, and therefore Christians must protect themselves from the Jewish threat. It was used for centuries as an excuse for pogroms and genocide and is still frequently invoked by the anti-Zionist Muslim media and Holocaust deniers like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hutton Gibson. In the US, blood libel is included in the dogma of neo-Nazi groups like the Aryan Nation and White Aryan Resistance. To anyone who espouses anti-Semitic ideology, it’s a familiar term—a dog-whistle, of sorts—especially as it’s used here to describe the media, which anti-Semites believe is Jewish-controlled. The fact that Gabrielle Giffords is Jewish makes it even more outrageous. (Read more discussion here on Politico)
That was a carefully crafted statement. Like most politicians, Sarah Palin probably did not write it herself. But “blood libel” is not a term that’s used in casual conversation–it has a very specific, very ugly meaning. The term was used for a reason. I want Sarah Palin to explain just what that reason was.