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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sarah Palin's "Blood Libel" Libel

Posted by on Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 4:25 PM

"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."
— Sarah Palin

To be absolutely clear, as both a pundit and a Jew, I have never accused Sarah Palin and her Tea Party cohorts of murdering children to use their blood in religious rituals. Although it wouldn't surprise me.

(Honestly, I'm just too stunned at Palin's choice of words to produce anything more than a snarky quip, so for the moment, what Andrew Sullivan said.)


Comments (49) RSS

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Sargon Bighorn 1
I suspect Palin had "Bible on the brain" syndrome when she mis-used that phrase.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 12, 2011 at 4:28 PM · Report this
Well, Goldy, there's only one successful response to a blood libel accusation. Get your shovel and meet me at the clay pit. We're makin' a Golem and goin' all Prague on these illiterate cretins.
Posted by Doug in SC on January 12, 2011 at 4:34 PM · Report this
Eric Arrr 3
Cast into the skin of this cannon by order of Louis XIV, the phrase Ultima ratio regum means the final argument of kings. We can assume that he knew, like any stateman of his day, that all political change occurs along a continuum with reason and democracy at one end, and violent overthrow at the other. Any politician who enthusiastically embraces the thematic use of firearms as metaphor in political discourse has no right, none, to snivel and bitch and play the victim when the bullet goes through someone else's brain.
Posted by Eric Arrr on January 12, 2011 at 4:34 PM · Report this
I've been sitting here trying to figure out whether co-opting the use of a anti-semitic accusation in order to cast oneself as a victim is more or less offensive than outright antisemitism ...
Posted by SeaExile on January 12, 2011 at 4:39 PM · Report this
Is she putting on weight? Or is it just me....
Posted by random reader on January 12, 2011 at 4:39 PM · Report this
I may have been watching too much of that "Lie To Me" show on the TV, but anyone notice how she shakes her head "no" at various times? "I agree with the sentiment..." (shake shake shake no I don't) etc.
Posted by g on January 12, 2011 at 4:44 PM · Report this
ssemekim 7
I love that you can see the teleprompter in her glasses!
Posted by ssemekim on January 12, 2011 at 4:45 PM · Report this
@7 - ha! Kinda amazed that she didn't stumble on "precepts"...
Posted by g on January 12, 2011 at 4:47 PM · Report this
We are all getting an education: 'Blood libel' has particular, painful meaning to Jewish people…

Sara Palin is just too much....if we ignore her would she fade away?
Posted by wahomeowner on January 12, 2011 at 4:56 PM · Report this
JF 10
wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. A liberal jew?
Posted by JF on January 12, 2011 at 5:00 PM · Report this
pissy mcslogbot 11
cue Dueling pistols music. pew da pew da doo da pew da pew.

pew Da pew da pew da Pew, bang. *wink*

"blood libel"
Posted by pissy mcslogbot on January 12, 2011 at 5:01 PM · Report this
rob! 12
Eric Arrr @3, that was an exceptionally fine and pithy comment, and it cuts right through all the seesawing arguments we've been hearing for the last four days.
Posted by rob! on January 12, 2011 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Last of the Time Lords 13
Surprised Sarah didn't ask for her followers to seek blood atonement against those who attacked her
Posted by Last of the Time Lords on January 12, 2011 at 5:25 PM · Report this
Pretty certain that Sarah Palin has (or had until today) absolutely no idea what the term 'blood libel' means. She probably just heard it somewhere and thought it sounded a lot more serious than just plain libel or figured it must refer to libeling someone as having blood on their hands.
Posted by Rhizome on January 12, 2011 at 5:28 PM · Report this
Stupid is as stupid does (or says, in this case).
Posted by StuckInUtah on January 12, 2011 at 5:32 PM · Report this
Last of the Time Lords 16
Sarah Palin must ask for Blood Atonement to be extracted from those who have harmed her.

If she does not her Blood Libel claim is empty!!
Posted by Last of the Time Lords on January 12, 2011 at 5:34 PM · Report this
onion 17
ha ha ha, yeah, Palin is like the persecuted European Jews during the Holocaust. ha ha ha ha.
holy crap lady. holy crap.
Posted by onion on January 12, 2011 at 5:38 PM · Report this
Last of the Time Lords 18
sorry about the double post, the web browser crashed on me while I was posting and it didn't look like my first one made it.
Posted by Last of the Time Lords on January 12, 2011 at 5:38 PM · Report this
onion 19
but i simply can't BELIEVE that palin would use a term like that now without googling it first. you think she would know to google everything she says in advance.
i think she knew the historical meaning, and went for it anyway. she has a fierce persecution complex
Posted by onion on January 12, 2011 at 5:40 PM · Report this
Oh I don't think that is hard to believe. In fact I don't think it is hard to believe even that some dolt she has writing for her edited what she was going to say and was too clueless to catch that also.
Posted by Rhizome on January 12, 2011 at 5:48 PM · Report this
Fnarf 21
But Sarah, I don't even eat matzohs.
Posted by Fnarf on January 12, 2011 at 5:52 PM · Report this
onion 22
well, i simply must invite sarah to my family's next seder.
Posted by onion on January 12, 2011 at 5:58 PM · Report this
@19 - no way. I will lay money that she had as little clue as to the origins of that phrase as she had to the fact that Giffords is, herself, Jewish. Watching Palin dig this hole would be totes hilarious if there weren't a bunch of dead people as the punchline.
Posted by teamcanada on January 12, 2011 at 6:01 PM · Report this
"Why is the media engaged in this pogrom to discredit me?"
Posted by Proteus on January 12, 2011 at 6:07 PM · Report this
If Sarah Palin really wants us to stop having outrageous reactions to the things she says and does, she needs to stop saying and doing outrageous things.
Posted by bsmithbrown on January 12, 2011 at 6:56 PM · Report this
doesurmindglow 26
I'm not that concerned about her misappropriation of "blood libel." While obviously insensitive and either misinformed or politically malicious, misinformed and politically malicious is pretty much expected at this point from Sarah Palin.

My bigger concern is that we've suffered a tremendous national tragedy and all Sarah seems concerned about in this clip is, well, Sarah. She's may even be right to believe she's a victim here, but it's very clear to most of us that she's not the victim here.

The victims are those who were shot and killed in Arizona last Saturday, and their families. I think it's more appropriate to recognize their loss right now than to talk about Sarah's.
Posted by doesurmindglow on January 12, 2011 at 7:05 PM · Report this
Paul Pearson 27
The hilarious part is that just using the word "libel" would have sufficiently made her point. I guess whenever she has the chance to use "blood" as part of her catchphrase, she just can't pass it up.
Posted by Paul Pearson on January 12, 2011 at 7:14 PM · Report this
Cynic Romantic 28
She's going to make a great president.
By great president I mean ignorant, ass kickin', Good Ole Boy Party president.
Posted by Cynic Romantic on January 12, 2011 at 7:17 PM · Report this
Anthony Hecht 29
Oh boy. I think she might have really sank herself here. Besides the insensitivity, self-obsession, and general cluelessness of what she says, they put her in this dark suit, in front of a flag, to try to make her look presidential. She does not. She clearly doesn't understand the words coming out of her mouth. She's a bad actress.

Her supporters in powerful positions on the right will see this and know she's hopeless.

I mean, that's what would happen if we lived in a sane world. Things being as they are, it's equally likely they'll declare she should get the Nobel prize for this speech alone.
Posted by Anthony Hecht on January 12, 2011 at 7:29 PM · Report this
Remind me to have Sarah Palin eulogize me if I were to die anytime soon. She'd make everyone at my funeral want to go home and drink their sorrows away.
Posted by apres_moi on January 12, 2011 at 8:05 PM · Report this
I see that her flag lapel pin has gotten larger. Is that a means to distract the wavering faithful teabaggers from her hypocrisy and idiocy and to convince them of her nationalism?
Posted by StuckInUtah on January 12, 2011 at 8:57 PM · Report this
venomlash 32
@27: For your consideration, the "Blood Kid".
Posted by venomlash on January 12, 2011 at 9:34 PM · Report this
lizzief 33
Agree with @19 and @20, I just can't believe someone in her 'camp' wouldn't catch the blood libel reference. I highly doubt she writes her own speeches - seems almost all politicians have a team putting together speeches (and I hesitate to call her a politician, I liked the term actor used in another post). Does anyone feel like this was purposely released to keep the vitriolic mood going and increase the left/right divide? I just don't understand how anyone takes her seriously and it scares me that people in this country actually do.
Posted by lizzief on January 12, 2011 at 9:35 PM · Report this
svensken 34

Not all politicians use writers. Biden was caught plagiarizing when he ran for president in the 80' but from everything I've heard, Obama writes all his speeches.
Posted by svensken on January 12, 2011 at 10:05 PM · Report this
lizzief 35
I hear ya @34, but who does the spell and fact check for self-written speeches? I just can't imagine a politician writing their speech and not reviewing it with someone. BTW, I thought Obama's speech tonight was great.
Posted by lizzief on January 12, 2011 at 10:18 PM · Report this
onion 36
so wait, what is Jon Favreau's official position at the White House?! Who is he writing speeches for?
Posted by onion on January 12, 2011 at 10:44 PM · Report this
Merlin D. Bear 37
@2 I'll see your Golem and raise you a Portal to Hell
Posted by Merlin D. Bear on January 12, 2011 at 10:57 PM · Report this
She didn't sink her chances. Her speechwriters were talking to her base. Anything that mentions the people her base hates (Jews, blacks, liberals, etc.etc.etc.) helps her chances.
Posted by sarah68 on January 12, 2011 at 11:01 PM · Report this
Is that flag photoshopped in the background? How can it be scalloped just so where the fireplace rock edges are?

What a phony little patriot!
Posted by jcricket, the original on January 12, 2011 at 11:10 PM · Report this
Phoebe on NE 79th 40
Alan Dershowitz disagrees:
The term “blood libel” has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People,its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. 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.
Posted by Phoebe on NE 79th on January 12, 2011 at 11:39 PM · Report this
Goldy 41

Oh... well, if Alan Dershowitz says so, then I guess the rest of us should just shut up.

Yeah... Sarah Palin is right. The real victim in Saturday's shooting was Sarah Palin.
Posted by Goldy on January 13, 2011 at 12:01 AM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 42
Holy fuck. Palin has sunk to a new low. Even for her. She hasn't a shred of human decency left.

I can understand that she feels a bit defensive right now, and I can understand that she doesn't want to admit that her words and graphic images had anything to do with the shooting (even if she knows it herself). But really, the best thing she can do for herself right now is just shut the fuck up. Let it blow over a bit. Let people grieve. Let the news cycle move on to the next big thing. But no. She can't do that. She has to notch it up yet another level.

I used to just laugh at her idiocy. Now I just despise her.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on January 13, 2011 at 12:23 AM · Report this

I am having difficulty understanding Palin's speech writer's use of the phrase, "blood libel." Could it be that she does not understand it's historical connotation, but perhaps decided (a la Humpty Dumpty) that it simply means either a) "to accuse a group of people for the actions of a single person"--as in falsely accusing the Tea Party for the actions of Jared Loughner,
or b) to falsely accuse Sarah Palin?

Neither of these definitions are analogous to the historical meaning of "blood libel" which refers
to false accusations that lead to actual violence and murder of those who were the victims of the accusation. The elements of a blood libel are present--there ARE victims of murder and Palin IS asserting false accusations against herself and the Tea Party, but the use of "blood libel" seems illogical because no alleged victim(s) of accusations were actually harmed. Surely, she could not be equating harm to one's reputation with deadly violence.

But this actually makes sense if Palin's speech writer was referring to potential violence in the future against the Tea Party or Sarah Palin. Whereas Palin critics see her crosshairs and "reload" rhetoric as contributing to a dangerous/poisonous environment conducive to violence, the speech writer is appropriating this very same argument--but replacing the roles of Palin
the inciter and the actual Tucson victims with the media and Palin critics as the inciters and Palin herself or members of her party as potential future victims.

She seems to be saying that her critics are putting Palin herself in harm's way with their harsh words ("journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn").

Here she explicitly acknowledges that words can "incite... violence."

But wait a second! In the very same speech, Palin condemns and denies the notion of collective responsibility (including the notion that others words could incite violence) using Ronald Reagan's words and places blame solely in the hands of the gunman who chose to kill of his own free will.

Is the speech writer asserting that some words DO NOT have the power to incite violence ("don't retreat, reload"), while others ("blood libel"; any accusations against herself) do?

Posted by ben21 on January 13, 2011 at 1:14 AM · Report this

I just found the "hidden symbols" that Loughner must have been looking at:

Yes, silly right? You can find your bogeyman everyway, can't ya?
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on January 13, 2011 at 2:04 AM · Report this
svensken 45
So #40&44

Are you requesting that Giffords issues a full apology for placing her head in the way of Sarah Palins ambitions? Because it sure sounds like it.
Posted by svensken on January 13, 2011 at 2:19 AM · Report this
svensken 46

I cant really recall, but I think there is an official position in the whitehouse as a fact-checker and speech proofer. It's been so damn long since I studied the in's and out's of the presidency that I'm not sure.

I havent listened to his speech yet, I was going to wait till I'm getting ready for work and my brain is warmed up.
Posted by svensken on January 13, 2011 at 2:24 AM · Report this
Nofo 47
When did Sarah Palin start using words like "purport"? She's gonna TOTALLY lose her base if she starts talking all educated and shit.
Posted by Nofo on January 13, 2011 at 10:33 AM · Report this
venomlash 48
@47: Don't hold your breath.
Posted by venomlash on January 15, 2011 at 12:59 AM · Report this
Judging the use of the vulgar language that some of you folks are using,I must presume that #1 you fear and hate Sara,#2 You dont fear God,or love Him,and #3 You are probably extreme left. God loves you anyway Bill
Posted by popqson on January 16, 2011 at 4:18 PM · Report this

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