Palin’s ‘Blood Libel’ Is a Centuries-Old Anti-Semitic Term

Writing on Business Insider, Glynnis McNichol notes that Sarah Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” to describe the media response to her use of crosshairs in a campaign ad a few months before Rep. Gabriela Giffords was shot in Tucson last weekend is “reprehensible,” given the etymology of the term:

Says Palin in her post:

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.

Again, emphasis mine. Blood libel is a strong term with historically violent connotations and one wonders if Sarah Palin is familiar with its actual definition and history. From Wikipedia:

Blood libel refers to a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, almost always Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays. Historically, these claims have–alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration–been a major theme in European persecution of Jews.

Ben Smith points out that Glenn Reynolds used the term in a WSJ op-ed earlier this week so presumably she picked it up from there. Nevertheless, one WSJ column does not cancel out centuries of meaning for a term that has terrible, terrible meaning and repercussions — Jews have been persecuted for centuries using this false claim. The especial irony here being that Palin deploys this term while attempting to criticize the media for inciting violence and calling for responsible rhetoric.

And then there is the extra terrible irony that Rep. Giffords is Jewish.

Perhaps we can look forward to a Facebook note and Vimeo video explaining her choice of phrase.

Yeah, well, don’t hold your breath for that ….


  • Kim
    January 12, 2011 - 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Wikipedia is a joke and I’d really never reccomend using it to prove a point.

    This article above is a polarization of hate people have for Palin, comparing her to Hitler, Nazi’s etc..its idiotic.

    A little searching and you’ll find articles of Palin’s vocal support for Israel.

    I’m a Jew and I understood this! Palin is comparing herself and her party to Jews who were falsely accused, it wouldn’t be any different than McCarthyism. The comparison is Ad hominem.

    You guys are really looking more and more like the Onion, all media is.

    Maybe thats why they’re great.

    January 16, 2011 - 8:09 pm | Permalink

    sarah palin MUST BE PUNISHED !

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