Entries in blood libel (2)


Death Threats Against Sarah Palin at 'Unprecedented Level,' Aides Say

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An aide close to Sarah Palin says death threats and security threats have increased to an unprecedented level since the shooting in Arizona, and the former Alaska governor's team has been talking to security professionals.

Since the shooting in Tucson, Palin has taken much heat for her "crosshairs" map that targeted 20 congressional Democrats in the 2010 midterm election, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was the main target of Saturday's attack.

Friends say Palin, a possible 2012 contender, was galled as suggestions of her role in the tragedy have swirled.

Palin responded in detail Wednesday to the attacks leveled against her, but while her intentions may have been to shift the blame away from herself, she instead put herself in the hot seat again.

"Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn," she said in an early-morning Facebook post Wednesday.

The term "blood libel" has been used historically to falsely accuse Jews of using Christian children's blood to prepare their Passover matzoh. The myth is said to have begun in Europe as early as the 12th century, perpetuated by the death of a small boy in England in 1144.

It's a term that Jews say has been used to incite anti-Semitism and justify violence against them for centuries.

Palin's use of the word has triggered some deep emotions, even among those who believe Palin has been a target of unfair criticism since the Tucson shooting.

The Jewish Fund for Justice assailed Palin for abusing a tragic episode in Jewish history.

"We are deeply disturbed" by her commentary, president Simon Greer said in a statement Wednesday. "Unless someone has been accusing Ms. Palin of killing Christian babies and making matzoh from their blood, her use of the term is totally out of line."

But not all Jews are offended by the term. Liberal political commentator and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz pointed out that the term has been used frequently as a metaphor and in a broader context.

When asked by ABC News why the former Alaska governor chose the term "blood libel," a Palin aide responded with Dershowitz's comments and a list compiled by the National Review of recent examples of the use of "blood libel" in the media.

Politicians on both sides of the political aisle have been, for the most part, mum on the issue, although Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., did imply Wednesday that Palin likely didn't understand the implications of using such a heavy-handed term.

"Intellectually, she seems not to be able to understand what's going on here," Clyburn said in a radio interview.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Sarah Palin Accuses Media of Blood Libel

Photo Courtesy - Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASILLA, Alaska) -- Now is not the time for people to "apportion blame" for the weekend rampage that left six people dead and an Arizona congresswoman clinging to life, Sarah Palin said in a video statement posted on her Facebook page.

"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," Palin said.

"That is reprehensible."

Defiant in the face of those who charge that her heated rhetoric encourages such violence, Palin noted that criminals are responsible for their own actions, "not those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle."

"After this shocking tragedy, I listened at first puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness, to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event," she said.

The video followed earlier comments in which Palin said, "I hate violence." That was her reaction to the shooting in Tucson of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others that has once again placed the former Alaska governor in the middle of the national political discussion.

The words were part of an email exchange read by conservative commentator Glenn Beck on his syndicated radio show and first reported by Jonathan Martin on Politico.

Here is the full email as read by Beck:

"I hate violence. I hate war. Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence. Thanks for all you do to send the message of truth and love. And God has the answer. - Sarah"

Palin's comments come amidst the swirl of rhetoric concerning the most discussed "crosshairs" in political memory. On her Facebook page last year, Palin posted a map of 20 Congressional districts being targeted by her political action committee, "SarahPac," in the 2010 midterm election. Gabrielle Gifford's Arizona district was one of them.

At the time Giffords herself responded.

"When people do that, they've gotta realize there are consequences to that action," Giffords said on MSNBC.

Though there are no known ties whatsoever between shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner and Sarah Palin or any part of the Tea Party movement, the "crosshairs" became part of the media coverage of the Tucson shootings from the very beginning.

Rush Limbaugh entered the fray on his radio show today, accusing liberals of "making fools of themselves to take an incident like this and to try to turn it into a political advantage by accusing people that have nothing whatsoever to do with this sordid, unfortunate event, as accomplices to murder. It's silly on its face."

"Don't kid yourself," said Limbaugh. "What this was all about is shutting down any and all political opposition and eventually criminalizing it. Criminalizing policy differences, at least when they differ from the Democrat Party agenda."

Conservative pundits have rushed to Palin's defense. One blogger unearthed graphics produced by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee which featured red target symbols on certain Congressional districts. A graphic produced by the Democratic Leadership Council in 2004 featured bulls' eyes.

Former Pennsylvania Congressman Chris Carney, who himself was in Palin's "crosshairs," told a Pennsylvania newspaper, "I'm not sure if 'blame' is the right word for Ms. Palin, but I think it wasn't helpful, obviously…It would be very useful if she came out and, if not apologize, say that she was wrong in putting that sort of logo on peoples' districts."´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio