January 12th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Palin criticized for using 'blood libel'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/01/12/t1larg.palin.1015.jpg caption="In her video statement posted on Facebook earlier Wednesday, Palin lashed out at Democrats and other commentators who have charged Palin and others on the right with creating an atmosphere that encourages events like that which occurred in Tucson." width=300 height=169]

CNN Political Unit

(CNN) – The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that combats anti-Semitism, says Sarah Palin should have used a different phrase than "blood libel" to characterize attempts to link her discourse to the Arizona shootings, the latest in a series of criticisms leveled at the former Alaska governor Wednesday over her use of the controversial term.

"We wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase "blood-libel" in reference to the actions of journalists and pundits in placing blame for the shooting in Tucson on others," said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman in a statement. "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."

Related: Palin's use of 'blood libel' invokes ancient myth about Jews

In her video statement posted on Facebook earlier Wednesday, Palin lashed out at Democrats and other commentators who have charged Palin and others on the right with creating an atmosphere that encourages events like that which occurred in Tucson.

"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 her eight-minute video.

The term was initially used in the context of the Arizona shootings by conservative pundit Glenn Reynolds, who in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed Monday characterized efforts to link the attacks to rhetoric on the right as a "blood libel."

But the phrase itself invokes controversial connotations, referring to a long-standing anti-Semitic myth that Jews murder children for religious rituals. In present times, the term has come to be understood by some as any false accusation of murder and has recently been invoked by supporters of Israel in defense of charges the government was responsible for killing Palestinian civilians.

Palin's use of the term has opened up the former vice presidential candidate to a new round of criticism, mostly from Democrats who say Palin and her aides did not understand the negative connotations the word conjures. The usage has also touched off a fierce debate on Twitter, where "blood libel" has become a trending topic all morning.

Full story on the CNN Political Ticker

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Nikki Groves

    I know full well as I type this I will sound almost as ridiculous as she did, however I love "People" which is much more than can be said of Sarah Palin, she loves one person and that's "Sarah Palin" she thinks the entire world revolves around her, if she really wanted to say something in my humble opo it would've been nice infact totally fitting of her to at the very least offer her condolences,she had no problem attending her daughter's ridiculous spectacle of herself on Dancing With The Stars, it might've been better had she just kept her mouth shut and perhaps attended but then she would've had to be second to so very many others and we are all well aware she is only happy when she is in her opo the star. Well I have a really kool idea, she calls herself "Grizzly Mama" okay prove it I would like to see you with a grizzly and I don't mean one like Grizzly Adams had, no I am talking about the ones that live so close to you, no guns though see that's the kicker no guns! I know this is insane, just as your dumb comments and your wonderful timing, President Obama was in attendance as was so kind and considerate of him and in his wonderful speach, not once did I hear him say me, nope it was always "We" which is how it should be, Sarah I do believe if you care anything about your party you really should stick to Alaska, you love it, your happy there, please do us all a favour and just stay there. Thank-you & God Bless!

    January 13, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  2. MicheleG

    The Fad du Jour – condemn and criticize EVERY word out of her mouth regardless of its validity. She's being deliberately politically incorrect but nobody gets it.

    I am neither for nor against her politics but it occurs to me that the only way to re-frame our political (ahem) "discourse" is to say what others continue to avoid BECAUSE it will be, very precisely, politically incorrect.....(duh!)

    January 13, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  3. Eneida lambert

    I think Sarah Palin is an idiot!She uses terms that most people won't understand. I hope that she does not run for president because I won't vote for her. And besides a person who kills animals is not on my list.When she goes around saying that she needs to kill animals to feed her kids because the meat is organic, she is a hypocrite, like she needs the meat to feed her children after all those millions of dollars that she made making all those speeches and selling her book!

    January 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  4. Steve from Tucson

    Barack Obama won Tucson by 53% and Gabby Giffords won by over 4000 votes last November. Yet on the way to work and at work, open minded people are intimidated. I have to pass many cars with nasty phrases on bumper stickers accusing liberals of being inferior and lazy. When I put a bumper sticker "Save the Planet, Vote Democratic" on my car, I was told to take it off. I get email accusing our president of not being American and on the listserv, I see the 2 main pastors of a large Methodist Church. Nothing positive is mentioned about the many accomplishments of our president.
    Very few Native Americans and Mexicans vote. They tell me how they have been intimidated and suppressed politically. This shooting has many parallels to an incident where, about 6 years ago, a gunman walked into the University of Arizona (Here in Tucson) and killed 3 nursing instructors then himself. Classmates gave details of the unstable character of the gunman yet he was able to buy guns and bullets. The republican answer to the violence is more bullets. When Sheriff Dupnik spoke out against the accusations, he was attacked by Senator Kyl.
    Last night, I went to the memorial service which our President attended. When the big screen focused on Senator McCain, some people cheered. Then if focused on Sheriff Dupnik. I rose to my feet and felt my whole body applause. I was quite surprised to see the whole arena filled with so many young people around me (who I thought would not recognize the sheriff) stand up and applaud. We did this because we open minded people of Tucson are under attack and Sheriff Dupnik has the courage to bring this up.

    January 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  5. Lon King

    It's funny how she doesn't like it when the public turns her own cross-hairs on her.
    It was wrong when she did it and, in a sense, it's wrong now. Personally, I think she and many of her constituants want a form of "civil war" ... and that's wrong and scary!

    January 13, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  6. Jackie

    I thought you were a nice caring person, but to allow yourself and Bagala to sharply critize Palin at such a time as this is so unprofessional of you. She probably has received more death threats then the rep. that has been shot because of the liberals false accusatory remarkes made shortly after the AR. shooting. You are better then this..why do you hate her so much? It's not like you to do this...she is a caring mom of 5 children...a recent governor and a vice-pre.candidate.

    January 13, 2011 at 9:57 am |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This woman is nuts and needs a head doctor more than a national platform. Who in their right mind would say such things after a 9 year old child and others killed, others fighting for their lives, the nation praying for Giffords survival while Palin has proven she has no sincere grief or compassion. Palin is nuts.

    January 13, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  8. Ann

    Matthew 12:34-37 (NASB) "For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

    January 13, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  9. charlie b.

    blood libel = false accusation. i don't see how that can be taken offensively. i guess purport is a word for the day?

    January 13, 2011 at 6:10 am |
  10. Tracy

    I think that Palin's "scope" was in poor taste.
    Of course it did not "cause" the shooting. She blames the media for fanning the flames, but she herself has fanned the flames further by accusing others of "blood libel". This is another example of inflammatory speech when one looks at examples of this, especially in Nazi Germany.
    If you are a public figure, you are subject to scrutiny by the media.

    I also agree with the sheriff's characterization that the Bigotry and vitriol creates a negative environment. People do not "discuss" politics-They just call each other names. What is a "Liberal"? What is a "Conservative"? What are the definitions of these words today?

    January 13, 2011 at 5:41 am |
  11. Dave Mundt

    Greetings and Salutations;
    Frankly I think that Ms. Palin should be given all the attention she deserves – which is none. However, while I thing that her continual use of a hunting metaphor in her political career is a poor choice, I also think that, compared with the continual drum of hate speech that comes from the right-wing commentators on the air, she is a distant and meaningless whisper.
    The terrible events of Saturday were not triggered by one voice, but, the un-ending drum of hate that has been spewed across the air-waves for the past decade or two. As long as there are commentators who continually call for violence against others as a viable and primary way of dealing with differences of opinion, we will have killings like this. I hope that any time we are presented with a commentator calling for the death of an opponent because of their point of view, that person is presented with the name "Christine Green". It probably will not help, but, perhaps, if there is a scrap of humanity left in their souls, it will cause them to reconsider the level of heat and smoke they are willing to use in order to sell to their audience.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:03 am |
  12. Mai

    Her comment has been approved many times by prominent Jewish leaders and Jewish Americans. One Jewish male's ( a known Liberal) critizism does not make it wrong for Mrs. Palin's comparison. Also she was referring to the broad scope of Liberal nastiness and lies about all Conservatives beliefs and values as well as the crime of a deranged man.
    I am Jewish and I approve of Mrs. Palin.

    January 13, 2011 at 4:48 am |
  13. NP

    Palin really sucked today. She is not even acting her age but a shoe size. We all know her IQ is no better than GWBush's resting diastolic blood pressure ( it was less than 60 so go figure). I mean come on ... Comparing herself with Reagan and some of his immature quotes that he made as a Governor. But history knows that Reagan matured into becoming a President. And Palin must know now that she will never become one. Not that she stood any chances anyway. Self absorbed Narcissist and no different than the nut-case Tuscon shooter. We can accept a less articulate person like GWBush. But there is nothing worse than the one who thinks highly about herself and somehow has a pre-conceived notion that her ideas and approach are a lot better than the many educated ones. That is living in fool's paradise.

    January 13, 2011 at 2:03 am |
  14. Thelma

    WHY are fingers being pointed at Sarah Palin instead of at the young man who committed this heinous act of violence? She has done nothing verbally or otherwise that "News" Commentators, talk show hosts, and "pundits" have not done the same or worse to influence this type of action. Any person who would take the diagram or what she says as a cause to commit or as an influence to commit such acts are as unbalanced as the young man who did it.

    Why are so many so called "men" afraid of Sarah Palin? They have to lash out at her to make themselves look good. I firmly believe she has more "backbone" (for the nicer term) than any of the "men" who are so vehement to attack everything she does or says.


    January 13, 2011 at 1:18 am |
  15. Scott

    Typical. Palin's big error was to make a statement at all. By the time she responded to the attacks against her public opinion was already hammering those who attempted to use this situation for their own political gain (Krugman, Olberman, etc). While she had every right to respond and defend herself she gave the media an opportunity to shift attention away from themselves and onto her. It doesn't matter whether she had said blood libel (and there's nothing wrong at all with saying that) or anything else. No matter what she said the media would have found SOMETHING to attack and shift the focus.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  16. Joel Miami Fl

    Sarah Palin use of 'Blood Libel'was an ignorant anti semantic; inflammatory, and insensitive choice of words to defend herself. Didn't she think that the use of these two words were going to be like a bomb going off in a crowded synagogue of Jews. Or did she?

    Also she show no remorse or compassion to the fallen victims and families that were hurt in Tucson Arizona She only centered on herself by using this powerful hurtful phrase in trying to ward off any blame of the tragedy.
    I might not be a good Jew but she certainly is has not spoken as a "Good Christian". Where was her Christian Love? As far as I am concern she is all EGO which is an acronym for: Easing GOD Out. I pray that she becomes a zero in the eyes of all Americans..

    January 12, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  17. Shelley

    Once again Palin steels the limelight by using emotive terms that white out the brilliant speech of the president and turn the conversation onto her favorite topic how the media persecute her!!! Her blood libel words are doubly offensive given the fact that a jewish congresswoman is fighting for her life and her jewish aid has died. May be she will come to realize her choice of words (guns, reloading, cross hairs etc...) is part of the problem...

    January 12, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  18. Annie Kate

    Palin can always be depended on trying to make it all about her. If she kept her mouth shut sometimes she might fare better in the media and in the opinions of people who follow the news. All she does with her statements is make a bad situation worse and reveals how narcissistic she is.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  19. Delores

    Wow, how is it that some think Sarah is President material when she honestly does not research her material for proper usage before speaking. You go Sarah, you go Girl!!!

    January 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  20. Linda McGill

    Please following the Presidents speech, let's drop the commenting on Palin.Most of us understand what she is, do not give her the air time she craves. Obmama ask us to stop and I think he is right, we can move above the fray. Talk about something that will prevent tragedies like this for ever happening again. Thank you. Linda McGill

    January 12, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  21. Mike

    Again, Sarah Palin plays the victim. The lengths that this political opportunist goes to to stay in the public eye is unconscionable. John McCain, BE ASHAMED for what you released on the American public.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  22. Leila

    The best team on Television. You have to be kidding. After the Obama speech, I thought I would watch Cooper, with the less than stellar crew. David Gergin. I think he needs to be retired. He's so out of touch, because he's been living in the Studio for years. Get some fresh,
    intelligent people, if they would come on, which I doubt.

    Just after President Obama, give this speech on Civility, Cooper starts playing the Palin tape, for red meat.

    Cooper hasn't any professional experience as a journalist, runs around from on fire to the next flood.

    Up the bar for journalism. This has got to stop, this running around like kids, instead of
    having one professional at a time, like the BBC, or DW.
    Sad, right after a Memorial, cooper doesn't get it.
    You are going to the least common denominator, in the news.

    It's the dumbing down of American, by the American news.
    I just watched CNN for a few minutes while traveling tonight. The best team on Television?? I'm afraid not. That's the BBC, or DW, or third PBS.
    PBS was refreshing to watch tonight. Thoughtful and intelligent people.
    Unlike Cooper, they didn't use the red meat.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  23. Fil

    As a formerly European Jew (and now American), I absolutely agree with Palin's use of "blod libel" as the way to describe the media campaign started agains her. Full analogy here. Left are just disgusting in their attempts to capitalize on evey human tragedy. As V.I.Lenin used to say, the worse – the better. And his proud follovers repeat: – No good crisis should go wasted! Pupils bested the teachers.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  24. Judy Will

    all at once I am sick of her ,sick of her.
    she didn't even say sorry for all that happened ,she should take a little vacation from tv maybe used to like her ,now just tired of her. sorry if this ofends anyone ,one old gals opinion

    January 12, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  25. T Bowman

    The nation needs to realize this is not Sarah Palin's fault. This is an act of a mentally disturbed person. Stop pointing fingers as most people do in a time of crisis and come together to help those who are going this tragedy. Sarah had nothing to do with this and I do not blame her for her message. Enough is enough.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  26. Liz von Achen

    Palin said her 1st Amendment rights to spew her own vitriolic rhetoric had nothing to do with inciting violence, then she accused journalists and pundits of inciting violence by exercising their 1st Amendment rights to criticize her. Wow.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  27. J Hutton

    Is there anyway to unplug Palin, very sad person – we did not want to hear about her – that is why she did not get into office. We are better than this.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  28. james ferrel

    Way to go Sara. A bunch of libs on this page. What video game can you find without crosshairs or worse. It's OK for you libs not to pay attention to what is happening in the inner city. Politics was not the cause of this and people are fed up with the media and left wing politicians trying to portray it that way. This will definitely back fire. The tea party is regular Americans. The tidal wave is coming.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  29. margie

    Your a disgrace. Its all about sarah get out of politics. Its known now that you cannot run the country if you cant run your bitter emotions

    January 12, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
  30. Seto

    Palin did not write that speech. It does not resemble her now familiar, bizarre syntax and vocabulary. She doesn't know the meaning of this offensive phrase. I doubt she knows what a blood orange is.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  31. Randy Robinson

    I see a clear path here for the President to continue on in his second term. If the congresswoman pulls out of this she needs to be his running mate in 2012. This ticket would be unstoppable. A young energetic congresswoman who is in favor of gun rights and who also has the ability to rise above the racial challenges of her state. Who is also articulate and well liked amongst Republicans as well as Democrats. Married to a person in the space program. Let's not forget the fact that she has survived a gunshot to the head and lived to tell the tale. This union between Obama and Gifford is a match made in heaven. No one could question her character or strength as a leader. In 2016 (provided that she does well as vice president) she could be our first female president. This is a campaign I would hit the streets to get out the vote for.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  32. Sandy S

    At this evening's "Tragedy in Tucson", the fact that Mr. Hernandez humbly declined the title of hero, and then he received 4 standing ovations prior to Pres. Obama's speech, and then was specifically honored by The Pres., followed by a 5th stading ovation, proves that the American people, by representation of the president, that Mr. Hernandez is in fact a hero! For Mr. Hernandez: hold your head up high and accept the praise you deserve!

    January 12, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  33. Sandy S

    As most of us all know, and was stated today on I think The Situation Room, Sarah Palin is a very good tele-prompt reader and her speech was very produced, I agree with James Carvall, whom I am a great fan, when he stated, what I think, was basically stating Sarah Palin probably did not write her speech and doesn't have any idea as to the meaning and history behind the words "blood libel". Sarah Palin never was, is, or ever will be intelligent or an intellectual proved anytime she opens her mouth.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  34. JimBR

    I'm sick of the idea that Palin is more evil than any of the self righteous big name people in the U.S..( many of who are "public servants") So much of the indignation being displayed is as phoney as a $3 bill. The event in Tucson is nothing more than a loon who needed to be helped or dealt with before he was able to hurt someone.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  35. Matt

    Americans need to be more independent thinkers instead of listing to pundits on the right or left to make their decisions on the issues.As for Sarah Palin is her 15min over already or what. Is there really people with any kind of sense that listin to what she has to say.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  36. Frances

    I really feel that Sarah Palin should not open her mouth at all. For a supposedly educated woman who might one day run for president, I think that she needs to go back to school and learn how to speak properly. She is always using terms that could be interpreted in different ways and which are insulting to some groups of people. I would expect this kind of talk from an uneducated, backwoods type of person but to come from a person who has a college education and such a high profile, even her own show on Fox, I think she should be watching her choice of words. If she really feels that she is doing nothing wrong with her words, then she is deliberately doing things to put herself out there. I don't feel that this woman has any class at all. I really wish that they would pull the plug on her. Don't let her use twitter, facebook or any other form of communication. She is only inciting public hatred. Thank you.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
  37. Michael Bostic

    My comment is intended as a question. Does Sarah Palins specific targeted areas using cross hairs (surveyor marks?) on a map of America draw parallels to Jeremiah Wrights "God Damn America" speech. It is funny to me now that the shoe is on the other "Right" foot.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  38. Jim Kendall

    Aha, yes! Here in the United States of Sarah Palin, how dare anyone insult the insecurity of the empress!

    January 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  39. sharon

    I don't know what was more offensive about her video today. Blood libel is antisemitic. Criticizing anyone daring to criticize her saying it would create more violence (Ms. Giffords called Palin out for the gun sights map; is it her fault she was shot? Using Palin's logic, it is). Invoking blood and guns and duelling.

    She is always on the attack, and never, ever apologizes for anything. She never has, and never will. It is a major flaw in her character.

    She is a despicable, grudge filled 12 year old masquerading as a grown up.

    As someone said yesterday, she is a political Frankenstein.

    January 12, 2011 at 7:58 pm |