WASHINGTON – Sarah Palin lashed out Wednesday at her critics, saying it was a “blood libel” when some in the media and on the left said she’d contributed to an atmosphere of violence that may have pushed an Arizona gunman into shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
“If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. … 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,” she said in a video posted on the Internet.
In using the term “blood libel,” though, Palin inadvertently created more controversy. The term refers to the false accusation that Jews murdered Christian children for their blood – one historically used to justify the persecution of Jews – and Palin’s use of it drew instant criticism from Jewish groups.
“While the term ‘blood-libel’ has become part of the English parlance to refer to someone being falsely accused, we wish that Palin had used another phrase, instead of one so fraught with pain in Jewish history,” said Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
Palin, who last March included Giffords’ district on a map of Democrats she’d targeted for defeat – and marked by crosshairs – noted that she’d decried violence while visiting the state the same month.