In the wake of last weekend's shooting in Arizona, Sarah Palin, Andrew Breitbart, and others in the conservative media have accused some journalists and progressives of manufacturing a "blood libel" against them. Historically, the term "blood libel" refers to the grave anti-Semitic charge that Jews use the blood of Christian children in some religious rituals -- a myth that has long been the source of anti-Jewish violence.
Palin, Breitbart, Others Invoke "Blood Libel" Claim
Palin: "Journalists And Pundits Should Not Manufacture A Blood Libel That Serves Only To Incite The Very Hatred And Violence They Purport To Condemn." In a statement on her Facebook page responding to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Arizona, Sarah Palin wrote:
Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions. And after the election, we shake hands and get back to work, and often both sides find common ground back in D.C. and elsewhere. If you don't like a person's vision for the country, you're free to debate that vision. If you don't like their ideas, you're free to propose better ideas. But, 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 they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible. [Facebook, 1/12/11]
Breitbart: "And To Gutless GOP Establishment Who Watches In Silence The Blood Libel Against @SarahPalinUSA. We Will Remember" From a January 11 tweet by BigGovernment.com founder Andrew Breitbart:
Reynolds At WSJ: "Where Is The Decency In Blood Libel?" In a January 10 Wall Street Journal op-ed, headlined "The Arizona Tragedy And The Politics Of Blood Libel," blogger Glenn Renylolds wrote:
So as the usual talking heads begin their "have you no decency?" routine aimed at talk radio and Republican politicians, perhaps we should turn the question around. Where is the decency in blood libel? [WSJ.com, 1/10/11]
Examiner's Tapscott: Reynolds "Exactly Right To Use The Term 'Blood Libel.' " On January 9, the day after the shooting, Washington Examiner editorial page editor Mark Tapscott wrote in a blog post headlined "Countering liberals' blood libel of conservatives on Tucson":
It appears tonight that many corners of the mainstream media are in full-attack mode seeking to present the Tucson tragedy as the fault of the Tea Party movement and anybody else who has dared in recent years to criticize Democrats, Big Government, Barack Obama, or Obamacare.
Incidentally, I think Reynold [sic] is exactly right to use the term "Blood Libel" to describe the attempt to discredit political opponents by associating them with murderous acts of violence. [Washington Examiner, 1/9/11]
Examiner: NY Times' Krugman "Places The Blood Libel Of Blame For The Tucson Murders" On McCain, Palin, "Right-Wing Extremism." In a January 10 editorial headlined "Paul Krugman's totalitarian temptation," the Washington Examiner stated:
Jared Loughner, the gunman charged with wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and murdering six others in Tucson on Saturday, held bizarre beliefs about "conscious dreaming" and government mind control imposed through English grammar. No serious person would connect his belief system to a mainstream political ideology. But then there's New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. He places the blood libel of blame for the Tucson murders squarely on the shoulders of "the crowds at the McCain-Palin rallies" and "right-wing extremism." It's the Republicans' fault because "the purveyors of hate have been treated with respect, even deference, by the GOP establishment." Krugman's solution is for "decent people" to "shun" those he holds accountable. But the logic of his argument leads straight to calling for official restrictions on political speech after shunning inevitably fails to do the job. The totalitarian temptation is an ever-present possibility with people like Krugman. [Washington Examiner, 1/10/11]
Human Events: "The Giffords Blood Libel Will Fail." In a January 11 Human Events article, headlined "The Giffords Blood Libel Will Fail," staff writer John Hayward wrote: "The big push to blame conservatives for the murderous rampage of Jared Loughner won't work. In fact, it will backfire. The Left is riding across quicksand on a horse that is dying beneath them. [Human Events, 1/11/
Jews In Middle Ages "Tortured And Executed" For Supposed "Blood Libel"
Anti-Defamation League: Jews "Were Tortured And Executed For Supposedly Abducting And Killing Christian Children To Drink Their Blood Or To Use It In Baking Matzoh -- A Charge Known As The 'Blood Libel.' " From an Anti-Defamation League article on anti-Semitism:
By the high middle ages (11th-14th centuries), Jews were widely persecuted as barely human "Christ-killers" and "Devils." Forced to live in all-Jewish ghettos, they were accused of poisoning rivers and wells during times of disease. Some were tortured and executed for supposedly abducting and killing Christian children to drink their blood or to use to it in baking matzoh -- a charge known as the "blood libel." A large number were forced to convert to Christianity to avoid death, torture, or expulsion, though many secretly practiced Judaism after their conversions. (In recent times, the Catholic church and other Christian churches have rejected these anti-Semitic falsehoods.) [Anti-Defamation League, Anti-Semitism, accessed 1/12/11]
NRO's Goldberg: Use Of "Blood Libel" Phrase "Isn't Ideal" Because It "Almost Invariably" Describes "Anti-Semitic Myths"
NRO's Goldberg: Reynolds Use "Isn't Ideal," "Historically, The Term Is Almost Invariably Used To Describe Anti-Semitic Myths About How Jews Use Blood -- Usually From Children -- In Their Rituals." In response to Glenn Reynolds' Wall Street Journal Piece, National Review Online editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg wrote:
I should have said this a few days ago, when my friend Glenn Reynolds introduced the term to this debate. But I think that the use of this particular term in this context isn't ideal. Historically, the term is almost invariably used to describe anti-Semitic myths about how Jews use blood -- usually from children -- in their rituals. I agree entirely with Glenn's, and now Palin's, larger point. But I'm not sure either of them intended to redefine the phrase, or that they should have. [National Review Online, 1/12/11]