Dershowitz, Others Defend Palin’s ‘Blood Libel’ Line

Thursday, 13 Jan 2011 01:13 PM

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Liberals are up in arms over Sarah Palin's use of the term "blood libel” to describe left-wing media attacks on conservatives in the wake of Saturday’s shootings that severely injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, killed six, and wounded more than a dozen others outside a Tucson, Sarah Palin, Alan Dershowitz, Blood Libel, Arizona Shootings, Gabrielle Giffords, Anti-Defamation League, Abraham FoxmanAriz., store. But famed attorney and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz said the term’s use has evolved over the years from one fraught with pain in Jewish history, and that Palin used the term correctly.

“The term ‘blood libel’ has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse,” Dershowitz told BigGovernment.com. He said that, although the historical origins of the term were "in theologically based false accusations against Jews and the Jewish people," its current use has become part of the English parlance to refer to anyone being falsely accused.

“I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the state of Israel by the Goldstone Report,” Dershowitz said. “There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.”

Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin also defended Palin's use of the term in warning that journalists and pundits “should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”

“Sarah Palin got it right,” a spokesman for the organization told the Daily Caller. “Falsely accusing someone of shedding blood is the definition of a blood libel.”

Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman issued a statement Wednesday agreeing that it is inappropriate to blame Palin and others for the tragic shootings in Tucson.

“Palin has every right to defend herself against these kinds of attacks,” Foxman wrote. “We agree with her that the best tradition in America is one of finding common ground despite our differences.

“It is unfortunate that the tragedy in Tucson continues to stimulate a political blame game. Rather than step back and reflect on the lessons to be learned from this tragedy, both parties have reverted to political partisanship and finger-pointing at a time when the American people are looking for leadership, not more vitriol,” the statement read.

“In response to this tragedy we need to rise above partisanship, incivility, heated rhetoric, and the business-as-usual approaches that are corroding our political system and tainting the atmosphere in Washington and across the country.”

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