Jewish Groups Refudiate Sarah Palin "Blood Libel" Remark

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Sarah Palin's video response to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords prompted a strong backlash from some members of America's Jewish community. Why?

The former Alaska Governor accused the media of manufacturing a "blood libel" that only incites the hatred and violence they condemn. Fair enough, except ...

"Blood libel" is a term apparently dating back to the Middle Ages, referring to a prejudice that Jewish people used Christian blood during religious rituals.

David Harris of the National Democratic Jewish Council said that instead of dialing down the rhetoric, Palin "chose to accuse others trying to sort out the meaning of this tragedy of somehow engaging in a 'blood libel' against her and others."

Harris called the repeated fiction of blood libels "directly responsible for the murder of so many Jews across centuries - and given that blood libels are so intertwined with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism around the globe, even today."

He wasn't alone in echoing this sentiment.

"The term 'blood libel' is not a synonym for 'false accusation,'" added Simon Greer of Jewish Funds for Justice. "It refers to a specific falsehood perpetuated by Christians about Jews for centuries" that sparked violence and discrimination.

"Unless someone has been accusing Ms. Palin of killing Christian babies and making matzoh from their blood, her use of the term is totally out of line."

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was shot in the head (allegedly by Jared Lee Loughner) and remained in critical condition, is Jewish.

Criticism over her crosshairs map that infamously targeted Giffords during the 2010 elections prompted the comments by Sarah today (below).

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, was sure to note that "it was inappropriate at the outset to blame Sarah Palin and others for causing this tragedy or for being an accessory to murder."

"Palin has every right to defend herself and we agree with her that [our best tradition] is one of finding common ground despite our differences," he said.

"Still, we wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase 'blood libel' in reference to the actions of journalists in placing blame for the shooting on others."

"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."

Here's Palin's video response to the Arizona's massacre:

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Sarah Palin Biography

Sarah Palin College Photo
Sarah Palin is the former Governor of Alaska, and was the 2008 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States, running on... More »
Sandpoint, Idaho
Full Name
Sarah Louise Heath Palin

Sarah Palin Quotes

What I've had to do, though, is in the middle of the night, put down the Blackberries and pick up the breast pump. Do a couple of things different and still get it all done.

Sarah Palin

I am thankful to be married to a man who loves being a dad as much as I love being a mom so he is my strength. And practically speaking, we have a great network of help with lots of grandparents and aunties and uncles all around us. We have a lot of help.

Sarah Palin