Blood libel: Palin agrees with her detractors that words can inspire violence

Ask a question and check out Rabbi Hirschfield’s 1:30 P.M. live video Q & A. Sarah Palin describes those who … Continued

Ask a question and check out Rabbi Hirschfield’s 1:30 P.M. live video Q & A.

Sarah Palin describes those who have blamed her for Jared Lee Loughner’s Tucson shooting spree as guilty of spreading a blood libel. Ms. Palin said that “Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”

Palin is certainly right that comments and analysis which serve “only to incite” are inappropriate. She is not correct about the power of the words we use and how they impact others.

As Jesus teaches (Matthew 15:11), what comes out of a person’s mouth renders them impure i.e. there is impact both upon them and upon those around them, as there is in all cases of impurity. While I don’t usually prove things with reference to the New Testament, in this case it seems entirely appropriate to do so.

And although it’s pretty strange, her choice of analogies may have more merit than one might think. Of course, for that to be the case, one must also appreciate that in this case at least, Ms. Palin seems to think that she is Jewish!

First, let’s be clear about what a blood libel is. In the briefest terms, it is the charge that Jews use the blood of non-Jews, typically that of children, for ritual purposes, especially the making of Passover matzah.

The charge, which originated among medieval Catholics, has also been used by Protestants and more recently by Muslims too, to provoke rage at Jews – rage which on many occasions resulted in violence against Jews, and even their murders. That’s what makes Palin’s use of the term so interesting – for the analogy to work, she must be the Jew!

I have no particular problem with people, including gentiles, analogizing their own woes to that of Jews, but does Ms. Palin actually believe that her life is in danger because of the journalists and political talking heads who accuse her of complicity in the tragedy in Tucson?

If she does, then not only does she seem eager to play the Jew, she seems to agree with her detractors about the power of words to inspire violence. It’s amazing how the two sides, each so eager to cast blame upon the other, are so very much alike. Because her analogy, however unintentionally, drives home that point, I think it may be quite apt.

Ms. Palin’s choice of analogies is also a good one because it points to a situation in which people need to cast blame upon others to deflect from their own sins. In the case of the blood libel, it was used not only to create anti-Jewish sentiment, but to justify it.

Jews, it was charged, deserved to be tortured and killed because of their evil deeds. So Jew-haters created a reason for the hate, one which not only inspired increased hate but justified, in their own minds, the hate they already had for Jews.

That is exactly how the charges and counter-charges by Sarah Palin and her detractors are being used. So, while I share the view that the words and images we use do contribute to the culture in which we all live, there is a lesson for all of us in Ms. Palin’s words: stop libeling each other!

As people are burying their dead, and visiting loved ones in the hospital, that seems to be something on which we should all agree, at least for right now.


Brad Hirschfield An acclaimed author, lecturer, rabbi, and commentator on religion, society and pop culture, Brad Hirschfield offers a unique perspective on the American spiritual landscape and political and social trends to audiences nationwide.
  • miglefitz

    It is a deliberate and malicious falsehood to say, as both Hirschfield and Tenety eagerly do, that Palin’s video uses the term “blood libel” to describe “those who imply she bears some responsibility for the shooting”.Here is what Palin actually said: ““Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. 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 that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.” Does anyone see any mention here of herself as a target for the blood libel? You won’t find it. Hirschfield and Tenety are making mischief in very familiar ways and may find more mischief than they bargained for.I applaud Palin’s use of the loaded term, because it will generate interest in the term’s true history and in the characteristic efforts by many Jews to lay exclusive claim to it as a part of their endless special pleading and victimology.[• the possession of an outlook, arising from real or imagined victimization, that seems to glorify and indulge the state of being a victim. Oxford American Dictionary] Holocaust and no end.Here is a part of an historical account of the blood libel: “Propaganda arguing that the Christians literally drank blood based on their belief in transubstantiation was written and used to persecute Christians. Romans were highly suspicious of Christian adoptions of abandoned Roman babies and this was suggested as a possible source of the blood.” This is not a history that many Jews want to share with other people who have been the victims of vicious knowing lies. It’s time they were called to account for it, in my opinion, and I applaud Palin for her courage in the face of the certain baseless charges of “anti semitism” that are already being called down upon her head. But at long last “anti semitism” is a charge that is rapidly losing the special anathema so carefully constructed for it by professional Jewish apologists since the end of World War II. For not much longer will it provide skirts to hide behind.

  • WmarkW

    What about making maps?Is there such a crime as “cartogracide”?

  • areyousaying

    How incredible the political leader of fundamentalist Christians, who still put signs outside their churches that “The Jews Killed Christ,” would use the term “Blood Libel” when their ancestors invented it.

  • edgewalker

    WMARKW (commenting at 1/12, 2:38PM) apparently really (at the least) resents Jews. And, from his post criticizing and challenging both authors’ logical inference (that Palin meant that she was the object of the blood libel), it’s obvious that he doesn’t understand English very well. No small wonder he identifies with Palin. Two peas in a pod.

  • edgewalker

    I ID’D THE WRONG COMMENTER. SORRY WMARKW. I MEANT MIGLEFITZ, NOT WMARKW. HERE’S THE CORRECTED RE-POST:MIGLEFITZ (commenting at 1/12, 12:39PM) apparently really (at the least) resents Jews. And, from his post criticizing and challenging both authors’ logical inference (that Palin meant that she was the object of the blood libel), it’s obvious that he doesn’t understand English very well. No small wonder he identifies with Palin. Two peas in a pod.

  • mykindoftown

    MIGLEFITZ: The “New World Enclyclopedia” is funded by Rev. Moon.

  • abu_ibrahim

    «First, let’s be clear about what a blood libel is. In the briefest terms, it is the charge that Jews use the blood of non-Jews, typically that of children, for ritual purposes, especially the making of Passover matzah.O Rabbi, the charge that Jews use the blood of non-Jews, children, to make Passover matzah, this is not a charge that «Muslims too» use, it is not so, even the ridiculous Professorette on the Arabian Peninsula, she did not claim that Jews use Gentile children’s blood to make their Passover matzah. She claimed that Jews use Gentile children’s blood to make three-cornered pastries for their Feast of Esther, on which they celebrate their massacre of 75,000 Iranian Persian Aryans in the days of Haman, see your Bible. Biggest blood libel, it is the «Bible Libel», it comes from Christian Bible, Gov. Palin was governor of Alaska, Gov. Pilate was governor of occupied Palestine, Gov. Pilate is talking to a mob of Zionists, here is what Christian Bible «book of Matthew» says:«Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.Blood libel, this is a libel, libel means «lie», the whole thing is a lie, none of it ever happened, we know it is a lie because Holy Quran says in Surah 4:157-158, That they said (in boast), «We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah», but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.«Collective guilt», based on this blood libel from Christian «book of Matthew», Christians have used this «collective guilt», they said «all Jews are guilty, they killed our god!», they said this in Europe, Crusades (which killed more Muslims than Jews!), Inquisitions, Pogroms, all based on «collective guilt». Americans, pioneers, colonists, settlers, good people, they set up a Free Country where there is no «collective guilt», where «each individual is responsible for his actions», as our President Reagan said.Conservatives, those (Krugman??) who want to smear conservatives with the blood libel of «collective guilt», they should remember what «collective guilt» was used for in Europe, and whom it was used against (Krugman’s people!!).

  • arancia12

    OMG, our Telepromter-in-Chief wanna be. It’s so abhorrent to the right that our current duly elected president uses a teleprompter that I expected immediate refudiation from Beck, Limbaugh, et al.

  • Kingofkings1

    Isn’t it about time we put palin, beck, emerson, pipes and king where they belong – right there with McCarthy: as a sore on our collective conscience?

  • usapdx

    She should of listen to Gabby speak on the subject on national news from the U.S. capital. Was she reloading?

  • ThishowIseeit

    So far, no Palin’s pal has been able to justify her use of “reload” and her use of the map with targets for a rifle. While most of us just see it as benign, Palin’s pals fail to consider the few disturbed minds in our planet and wrongly denying the possibilty of ” cartogracide” ( or is it cartographcide ?)

  • pseudo1

    Storms are brewin’ in your eyesNot your fault that Christina is dead!Dedicated to: Glen, Rush, Kieth, and last but not least Sarah.”Our words fall on the unhinged and the hinged alike.”

  • BurfordHolly

    A blood libel is used to trigger the slaughter of innocents in the name of protecting children from ritual sacrafice. It also says there is a huge conspiracy to kill white children. This is in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” endorsed Hitler and Henry Ford. Sarah Palin is the one who used a “blood libel” when she cooked up the “death panel” story and claimed that “they” were going to kill litte Trig. It’s understood that “they” are the usual suspects named by Hitler: liberals, eggheads, Marxists, mulattoes (Obama), and of course his Jewish puppetmasters Soros and Alinsky.Sarah Palin is the one using blood libels, the traditional conspiracy theory used to justify acts of genocide. And sure enough, here’s an act of public terror.Sarah is not directly responsible (Pat Buchannan has famously made similar excuses for Hitler), but maybe she feels that way.”The guilty flee where none pursueth.”

  • pseudo1

    “Doggerel might trigger the unhinged.”If doggerel might trigger the unhinged, then how much more will unalloyed hatred trigger it? This is one of the most hateful blogs short of the neoNazis and other crazies, and you can help tone to it down my friend.

  • letitbe

    Mr. HIRSHFiELD et al:”BLOOD LIBEL” (What Ever That Means PreApocalyptically) is, i guess, a Part of the JEWISH-HISTORY, same as the “SHOA’ aka HOLOCAUST” was in recent Semi-Modern History. YetAll PREApocalyptic Faiths, Are “LIBEL” and (includes) Have, (from Historicist) BLOOD ON Their HANDS! NOt only JU’s. Buddhists, Hindu’s, Sikhs, Jains, Mormons, Ishlami’s, Esaui’s, Voodooists, Shamanists lalala… Note: There Are “7-Seven [MAJOR] HOLOCAUST”S that i [WE] Eklaht-iON(s) know About, Not only The ‘Shoah’. But Then there are Holocausts (Mass Killing) that Ye Yo don’t know about which is recorded in All Ye HUMAN(s) & Us “HU{MATE(s)’ on S.S. GEOiD, aka ‘Blue-Dot’ {pbu “Carl SaganMEME”s, (Apocalyptically Defined as “HEURiSTIC-a/o” or Soul) which is the Stuff made-from-HISTORY [PeaceBeUpon All our Ancestors]. So,Forget the Preapocalyptic Story’s singing, “Sin/Curses travels from Father to Sons from Generations to … lalala.” Event though, with a twist & shout, it makes some “Say-chel” (Sence), but not What Ye or “Cuchuum” (Guru) ‘MOiSHE’ (pip-ick) the-Lawyer et al “FREUEDIANLY” slipp’th’d and wrote, in Their (NOt Our) “iNFIXUS-BOOKS” (Chumash, Bible, Quran, BkMormon, Geeta, Kangyur, Tangyurs etc..Today, in The “POST PISCES-AGE” Phase; {Going Into The AQUARiUS-Age or What-Ever Post Semi-Modern (NOt HUUMATE) Epochs} That”RELiGIOUS JEALOUSY PSYCHOSIS” and “Pre-Apocalyptic Sindrome” and via “Double/Triple Standards Psychology/Psychosis” That[This] Holyi Nebula-Built Momma?/Poppa? S.pace S.hip Is Going A-P-O-C-A-L-Y-P-T-i-C, out of the-Forest-Of-Their-MINDs, but w/out the Terrible “REVELATION”S (of JOHN whom Perished in Prison; et al), but rather going via the right-way as the Apocalyptarian’s REVEALATION or Prophecy, as Promised US, but Mis Translated and Never-SEEN by any Human; Only Now Seen by US APOCALYPTARIAN(s) AMERICAN’s, aka “AUTOMATIC BORN CITiZENZ/DENiZENZ OF SPACE-SHIP EARTH (of manymanymany). WHEREFORE:VOTE: “APOCALYPTiC GOVERNMENT” (Never PreApocalyptic again) AND “GRiDARIAN DEMOCRACY!” SO, Sing”Good bye All, Every & Any ABRAHAMIC(systems) + VEDiC(systems) et al!”Haila-Ye-Yo-Ya! Sing, ‘IN “IT” WE{i} TRUST!”Happy Every-Day (like A Birth-Day).___PS: ALL, EVERY and ANY REligion Systems or Most of Them, are in Fact iMPORTED-Religions here, from ‘The-Abroad’! Nothing about Them Is MADE-IN-AMERICA: Except For the inevitable “APOCALYPTIC-FAiTH/Belief/Religion…” aka the HOlyi COsmic FEelers FAith” [HO-CO-FE-FA] Genuine System via the “RELIGION OF EVERYTHING Before, The SCIENCE Of Everything” [Similar]. Note: And the ‘Reality’ + the ‘Truth’ (opposite MYTH) is THATAll Of Them (Even The Native-America Systems) are in Fact ALL (NO Exception) POLY-THEO Faiths/Religions/Beliefs and ZERO(0) ‘MONO-THEO’ Right? or Wrong?OYE…!

  • letitbe

    ooopppsaa; ONE-1 more Note: As a JUetteIF Mrs. Gabi Gifford Stayed Home On SHABIZ (Sabbath; Sat-8th.2011), THEN this incident would’ve NOt happened (Destinlee Speaking); or the ‘Stalker’ (would be) would’ve done an alternate thing, ELSE Nothing. So,In The Modern-World; the Word “LIBEL” has something to do with Human “TORT”s//Wrong”s against Hu{mate Rights/Violations via Malice in The “Court Of Law” or ‘proper Jurisdiction’ thereof forthwith!

  • letitbe

    correction,”… Out of the (Delusional) Forests of Their Minds …”

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