Statement of Jewish American for Sarah Palin

regarding Gov. Palin’s use of term ‘blood libel’

Wearing her trademark U.S.-Israel flags pin


Sarah Palin got it right.

Falsely accusing someone of shedding blood is the definition of a blood libel – whether it’s the medieval Church accusing Jews of baking blood in Passover matzos, or contemporary Muslim extremists accusing Israel of slaughtering Arabs to harvest their organs – or our political partisans blaming conservative political figures and talk show hosts for the Tucson massacre.

In medieval Europe, beginning with the Norwich blood libel of 1144, such accusations were used to incite mob violence against Jewish communities. Blood libels also appeared in the Arab world, as recently as the infamous Damascus blood libel of 1840.

In more recent times, prominent voices in the American Jewish community have characterized extreme and irresponsible attacks on Israel or Jews as “blood libels,” even when those libels did not necessarily result in violence.

For example, the Anti-Defamation League has said that a Swedish newspaper’s claim that Israeli soldiers murder Arabs to harvest their organs was a “new blood libel” (Sept. 14, 2009); that an Abu Dhabi Television cartoon of Israel’s prime minister drinking Arab blood was an “anti-Semitic blood libel skit” (Nov. 19, 2001); and that a Syrian diplomat’s remark that Israeli children sing songs about drinking Arab blood is similar to “the ancient blood libel against Jews.” (June 14, 2010)

Likewise, former New York City mayor Ed Koch has said that anti-Israel accusations made by Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks were “comparable to the age-old blood libel used by anti-Semitse to incite pogroms in Europe.” (August 17, 2006)

Beyond the Jewish community, the term “blood libel” is periodically used by political partisans of all stripes. During the 2000 Florida vote recount, for example, Congressman Peter Deutsch said that some Republican accusations against Democratic nominee Al Gore were “almost a blood libel.”* Newsday editor Les Payne said in 2008 that criticism of African-American journalists’ coverage of the Obama candidacy were a “blood libel.”** Former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin said that John Kerry’s 1971 testimony about alleged war crimes committed by U.S. soldiers in Vietnam was “a blood libel.”*** Alex Beam of the Boston Globe said that anonymous Globe staffers who accused former colleagues of privately making racial slurs were “making charges that amounted to ‘blood libel.’”****

“Blood libel” does not refer exclusively to accusations against Jews. It does not refer only to medieval episodes that resulted in pogroms. It is a term that has been, and continues to be, legitimately used in contemporary American political discourse by all sides. Governor Palin’s use of the term is accurate, reasonable, and squarely within the bounds of accepted political discourse. It is her opponents’ attempts to falsely connect her to the Tucson massacre which is inaccurate, and unreasonable, and beyond the pale of civilized discourse.

* Cited in National Review Online, January 12, 2011

**Associated Press, July 28, 2008

***National Review Online, September 8, 2004

****Boston Globe, January 14, 2005

Comments (26)

  1. maliheh says:

    While sarah Palin has been pandering to the US Jewish Community since 2008 for purely political reasons, she obviously knows as litle about Jewish history as she does about Russia. I guess because there might be a Jewish State Legislater in Alaska that she is now an expert on all things Jewish. This woman is no friend of the Jewish community nor of Israel. She represents meanness of spirit, ignorance, and lack of respect. She has no concept of the greater milieu in which her words are taken in, and like a child she cannot see the connections between disparate events. While Obama might be a disappointment and failure as President, this woman would be a catastrophe. My eternal disdain for the great ‘hero” John McCain, a political coward who brought this woman out into the light of day.

  2. [...] Statement of Jewish American for Sarah Palin regarding Gov. Palin’s use of term ‘blood libel’ Sarah Palin got it right. [...]

  3. TikkunOlam says:

    Let’s review in the Jewish tradition. The half-term Gov. had to go to 5 schools to get an undergraduate degree in Journalism but is unable to site specific references she reads vs. the President who is one of the few handful of people who edited the Harvard Law Review (he’s educated to our highest ideals) and eschewed the wealth of Wall Street to advocate for the poorest among us (Tikkun Olam). Hmm. This is a no-brainer. He fulfills Jewish values thousands of times more than she does.

  4. Carl Samek says:

    She, like 99% of the population, had no idea of the source of blood libel. Ask her to name the last 10 Presidents and what happened at Appomatix Court House.

  5. Not a Jew for Jesus, I’m a Jew that supports the common sense and conservative ideals expressed so well by Sarah Palin. I have no problem with her use of the term Blood Libel.

  6. Gordon says:

    The most famous Jew in history, at least know and admired by the largest amount of people in the world was the wealthy Irish Jesus loving Jew Elvis Presley! My ancestors sailed with Gray up the Colmbia, and the first in Oregon, and they were Jesus loving Jews.

  7. David Maimon says:

    Oxymoron is to simple a statement. Most likely these Jews for Sarah Palin are also Jews for Christ.

  8. Cindy Lyon says:

    I find your position profoundly disturbing. Whether or not the words blood libel should have been used her self absorption of essentially complaining about criticism directed toward her on a day where we should have been healing abhorrent. In addition, where as a Jew I have been taught to never stand by when evil is perpetrated, and definitely to never contribute to evil as possible, I would have thought that the Jews for Palin would have been disturbed about the use of targets directed toward a woman who ends up shot. Even the appearance of complicity in creating the climate that led to this tragedy should be acknowledged. I remember hearing once of a well known preacher who indicated that he never was alone with a woman who wasn’t his wife so that he wouldn’t give the appearance of impropriety. Where did this sort of grace go? The idea that we take responsibility even for the appearance of creating a problem?

  9. Stewart Strizak says:

    As Jew I find Jews for Sarah Palin an oxymoron.

  10. Adam Grayman says:

    As a Jew, I want to thank Ms. Palin for highlighting the hypocrisy of the Media as well as the Democrats who tried to make a blood libel out of a tragedy.

  11. Don L says:

    It’s not the term, blood libel that bothers them. It’s the fact that she dare not cower under their attack; “how dare she fight back (unlike the wimps in the GOP)and expose what we’re attempting to do.” So they take a phrase out of context and hope no one reads the rest. Attack the messenger and if the messenger complains, attack the messenger for complaining. This is classic Alinsky-ite “any means to an end” tactics and smells to me of the final stages of taking over the nation. That 95% aren’t outraged, is evidence that their decades of softening up the citizenry with leftist anti-American propaganda has born fruit.

  12. [...] Korn offers up examples of the use of the term, and stands in support of Sarah: Statement of Jewish American for Sarah Palin regarding Gov. Palin’s use of term ‘blood [...]

  13. [...] Korn offers up examples of the use of the term, and stands in support of Sarah: Statement of Jewish American for Sarah Palin regarding Gov. Palin’s use of term ‘blood [...]

  14. mlr says:

    HershK, Sarah was leveling the accusation at pundits and journalists, not at Rep. Giffords.

  15. Karen Gruenberg says:

    I can’t believe Sarah is being criticized for her remarks yesterday while Obama is lauded for his political rally in Tucson. There is certainly a double standard. She can’t defend herself? Like Amy who commented above, I am a Jew for Jesus and I really do think the “blood libel” leveled against Sarah is very real and unfair.

  16. Micawber says:

    This defense seems like a stretch. Why don’t she and her defenders simply say “perhaps this was a poor word choice, but the larger picture is accurate”? Is she incapable of admitting any error?

  17. hrh says:

    To say Sarah Palin didn’t understand what she was saying shows the speaker’s gross lack of knowledge about Palin’s history with the Jews in her state. Not to mention the fact that she reads the Wall Street Journal – since she had a back and forth with them a few months ago – and Glenn Reynolds at the WSJ used the term blood libel in his article earlier this week.

    Sarah Palin both knew what she was saying when she said “blood libel” – and she was correct in applying the term to her current situation.

    Stop allowing the media drumbeat that she’s simultaneously dumb as a post while also capable of brilliant Machiavellian evil to cloud your thinking about this woman.

  18. Robert says:

    Oh, poor Sarah!

    Let’s give this dangerous moron as much intellectual cover as possible.


  19. Liz says:

    Thanks for trying to inject some sanity into the uproar. I think for Sarah Palin, it may be hopeless. Her ultimate crime is being female – ‘My God, she’s got a vagina and she’s speaking (and many people are listening, even worse)!’ If she were a male politician, nothing she’s ever done would even make the news – “he” would be begging for media coverage.

  20. [...] you can see the term has a much broader context than what some on the left will admit.  One controversy is falling apart as the facts become [...]

  21. [...] Posted by Adrienne Ross on January 12, 2011 By Adrienne Ross – Wearing her trademark U.S.-Israel flags pin [...]

  22. Amy says:

    I honestly think Ms. Palin did not understand the historical context behind the remark, but that doesn’t mean the crass liberal attacks against her aren’t just as unfair as some historical accusations against Jews. I’m a Jew for Jesus and I support Sarah in 2012!

  23. [...] Sarah Palin is right about a ‘blood libel’, by Benyamin Korn [...]

  24. HershK says:

    That it should be used by an avowedly Christian politician about a Jewish one just takes crassness,insensitivity and idiocy to a new level.

  25. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sarah Palin News , linda hernandez and others. linda hernandez said: RT @PalinPromotions: Sarah Palin is right about a "Blood Libel" [...]