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“Blood Libel”

Last year Palins Political Action Committee targeted Congressional districts represented by Democrats, including that of Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

A few days after the horrific shootings in Tucson, Arizona, Sarah Palin, whose Political Action Committee put cross-hairs as if aiming a rifle over election districts where Democrats voted for the national health care bill (including that of Representative Gabrielle Giffords), responded:

If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. 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. 

A “blood libel” is a term that has been used repeatedly to justify the most virulent anti-Semitism and violence against Jews, accused of killing Christian children to use their blood in the baking of Passover matzos, or unleavened bread. The Congressperson who was shot through the head, Gabrielle Giffords, is Jewish. There has long been a villification of journalists in the United States, and in particular The New York Times, as Jewish.

In her statement addressing a ramped-up anger in this country, Palin follows her use of an image that invokes the violent targeting of politicians with words that engage the vilest sectarian epithet. Yet this time she wants to place herself as a victim when it is others who have lost their lives and suffered enormous trauma.

But it is not that different than Republican “pundit” and Palin ally Rush Limbaugh, who claims that Jared Loughner, the suspected gunman in the Arizona shootings, has the “full support” of the Democratic Party.

How do we then define “reprehensible”?


  1. Robert De Leon wrote:

    S Palin is who she is period. What irk’s me is the Media attention. In an effort to sell themselves, and gather followers viewer/listeners they pay attention to a person such as S Palin. Ignore the B**ch and all other haters and person’s who want to stand out against the main stream. Love the uniters and ignore the dividers. TV programs Radion talk shows that glorify radical views sshould not receive attention from a nuetral meda. As Joe Friday flatly stated ‘JUST THE FACTS PLEASE. If I wish to listen to the radical right or left it is my constitutional choice. But the news programs are paid to broadcast the news only.

    Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink
  2. Nacho wrote:

    Thanks for this post. I disagree with Robert above. Part of the problem of ignoring folks who hate and spew that hatred is precisely a poisoning of hearts, minds, and the environment for all. It is akin to pollution. We can fool ourselves into thinking it only does damage just in some little corner, but we all pay dearly for it in uninmagined ways. Civility, honesty, decency, and calling us to the better angels of our nature are practices we need to both practice and encourage.

    Reprehensible these folks are indeed. And Palin is particularly good at pious fake victimage. But then again, her politics (and the resonance of those politics for many that follow her) are precisely about that imagined cultural chaos scenario that is held ever so piously.

    Images do a lot of work here, and I’m no longer surprised at how little media and others understand the power of images to shape consciousness — and to tap into the ambient discourse not only in a referential way, but in a manner that constitutes and positions/orients folks in particular ways.

    For all their supposed Xtian beliefs folks like Mrs. Palin don’t seem to take to heart the Biblical injunctions against sowing discord.

    Thanks for a great site!

    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

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