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Author Topic: Palin charges critics with 'blood libel'  (Read 1674 times)
Allhallowsday
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« on: January 12, 2011, 12:30:53 PM »

Palin charges critics with 'blood libel' 
Sarah Palin released a video statement Wednesday calling the rush to pin blame on conservatives for the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., a “blood libel.”

“Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own,” she said. “They begin and end with the criminals who commit them.”

In the eight-minute video, Palin says, “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.”
Palin’s use of the charged phrase “blood libel” — which refers to the anti-Semitic lie from the Middle Ages that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood to make matzo for Passover — touched off an immediate backlash.

“The blood libel is something anti-Semites have historically used in Europe as an excuse to murder Jews. The comparison is stupid. Jews and rational people will find it objectionable,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a New York-based Democratic political consultant and devout Jew. “This will forever link her to the events in Tucson. It deepens the hole she’s already dug for herself. … It’s absolutely inappropriate...” 

http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20110112/pl_politico/47477_1


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Jim H
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2011, 04:16:50 PM »

Blood libel?  Really?  Why not just say "this is a Holocaust of our reputation"?   Lookingup

She may even have some legitimate points, but now it's totally lost because of an extremely poor choice of words.
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DaveM
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2011, 08:36:17 PM »

I kind of like semantic nit-picking, but she's talking about a very serious accusation that was made without evidence, then maintained after it's pretty much disproven (to the extent that that's possible) by getting all mad at people for saying it's not true. Sounds close enough.

Does anyone really think that anyone else would be getting this kind of response to this turn of phrase? Someone says that by using the word 'target' figuratively, you literally murdered a nine year old, and you're the ***hole for saying it's like blood libel? You've got your work cut out for you if you want to hassle anyone who's used that phrase in some context not specific to Medieval European Jewry.
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2011, 11:57:20 PM »

I wonder if she is even aware of the historical context of the term.  Many Americans aren't.  I hadn't heard it till I got out of college, and I'm a history major.
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2011, 05:03:17 AM »

It's a bit befuddling. In my opinion, Palin is a figurehead that all parties should stop paying attention to. She's flash that doesn't help anybody. "Liberals" despise her, she continually undermines "conservatives" by reducing cogent arguments to stupidity. The "moderates" left can just shake their heads.

"Strong words, Mrs. Palin. Strong, bewildering words."

The main problem here is that Mrs. Palin seems to be directing herself. Laudable, of course, but she should really hire some handlers. The much ballyhooed map of targets was an ill-advised step, but I don't find anything particularly offensive about it. It made sense, just had a whole hell of a lot of negative connotations somebody should have stepped in and mentioned before it was posted.

Then some crazy a***ole steps in and commits acts of horrendous violence, literally a couple of days after Palin had posted that map.

Can Palin be held responsible? Only if you're an idiot. Only the most tangential of connections, which Palin is currently being eviscerated for. (And don't kid yourself, if the shoe was on the other foot, Republicans would be raising as much holy hell, if not more.)

So in defense she manages to pick one phrase that epitomizes anti-Semitism? The only reason I know the meaning of "blood libel" is this whole controversy. As a gigantic PR engine, she should really have people double-checking her responses.

I think she writes her own material. She really shouldn't.
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2011, 11:40:17 AM »

Both sides look bad in this little sideshow (big surprise).

Palin should have been ultra-careful releasing a statement and not said anything whatsoever that sounded like a political broadside.

Her critics were shameless in seizing upon the rather innocent slip up she made, again, for no purpose other than to score political points.

Partisans are hopeless.  They can't stop arguing, even when it involves exploiting a tragedy.
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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2011, 03:28:07 PM »

What's PALIN's innocent slip-up?  I don't see any connection between the crosshairs map and the murders in AZ, though I think commentary about such may be warranted (I think that such an image evokes a kind of psychology).  In any case, PALIN should have avoided a statement and let the matter die down; her connection to this story was tenuous at best.  Instead, her statement, which was reactionary, not only links her to this story forever, she also had to get "artsy" with this "blood libel" remark, and comes across ignorant.  As far as any of her current critics, there are no obvious faces on that side of the aisle, but it sure is SARAH to the right.  PALIN has only hurt herself.
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2011, 04:37:39 PM »

What's PALIN's innocent slip-up? 


I mean using the phrase "blood libel," by which she clearly did not mean to imply that accusations against her were as serious as anti-Semitism.  It's a gaffe.  It's the same as using phrases like "target" when talking about your political opponents.

Looking at reactions to the use of "blood libel," I don't see many analysts who think she meant it literally in it's historical context.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/atlantic/20110112/cm_atlantic/analyzingsarahpalinsbloodlibelaccusation6537

Most interesting were the guy who points out that both sides of the aisle have been using this phrase for years, and the linguist who talks about "semantic bleaching":  "...over time, words and phrases can lose their literal meaning, as they are used in more and more tangentially related ways... It seems that 'blood libel' is being used to mean 'an outrageously unfounded accusation,' borrowing an element of the phrase's original meaning while losing its literal context and content..."

But I agree Palin hurt herself.  If you're making a statement on a tragedy just be respectful and solemn, don't make it about how the shooting may effect your personal political fortunes.  She should have stayed above the fray and let her pundits and attack dogs do the dirty work. 
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Jim H
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2011, 05:31:35 PM »

Quote
I mean using the phrase "blood libel," by which she clearly did not mean to imply that accusations against her were as serious as anti-Semitism.  It's a gaffe.

An incredibly stupid one.  I did hear a number of other politicians have been using it too, and that's also stupid.  It's a very specific term for anti-semitic remarks that are STILL BEING SAID.  It's not some antiquated term that has changed into a different definition in the past decades.  There was a book published repeating such claims not too long ago, and it's a common accusation in the Middle East and amongst white extremists today.

I don't think she (or the others who have used it) meant it the way the worst critics are taking it, but anyone using the term still sounds like, well, an idiot (a term whose definition HAS changed). 
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2011, 06:39:42 PM »

Quote
I mean using the phrase "blood libel," by which she clearly did not mean to imply that accusations against her were as serious as anti-Semitism.  It's a gaffe.

An incredibly stupid one.  I did hear a number of other politicians have been using it too, and that's also stupid.  It's a very specific term for anti-semitic remarks that are STILL BEING SAID.  It's not some antiquated term that has changed into a different definition in the past decades.  There was a book published repeating such claims not too long ago, and it's a common accusation in the Middle East and amongst white extremists today.

I don't think she (or the others who have used it) meant it the way the worst critics are taking it, but anyone using the term still sounds like, well, an idiot (a term whose definition HAS changed). 

Well, I consider myself pretty well-educated, enough to be a political speechwriter, for sure.  I was aware of the general non-specific usage of "blood libel" but never connected it to the anti-Semitic slander, of which I'm also aware.  So I guess I'm sympathetic to someone misusing the phrase without understanding the historical context.  I suppose maybe someone who knew the etymology of the phrase might assume that any educated person would or should know it as well, but that's clearly not the case.
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2011, 06:44:24 PM »

meanwhile there is a full blown revolution in Tunisia and Lebanon's government has collapsed.
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indianasmith
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2011, 07:03:54 PM »

The world is a dangerous, volatile place.  Here in America we are shocked by a single attempted political assassination; there are parts of the world where they are still a regular occurence.  All in all, we forget how fortunate we are to live here.
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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2011, 09:19:58 PM »

The world is a dangerous, volatile place.  Here in America we are shocked by a single attempted political assassination; there are parts of the world where they are still a regular occurence.  All in all, we forget how fortunate we are to live here.
No.  No.  We are shocked by wholesale slaughter; "single attempted political assassination" - you're annoying me.  The context of a political meet and greet makes these multiple murders and injuries particularly stressful.  Madmen determined to wreak havoc and horror are all too common in all places of the world, as you first pointed out, but that is including the USA.  Was it the mayor of Chicago who was killed by a bullet meant for FDR?  GEORGE MOSCONE was assassinated the same day as HARVEY MILK in SFO.  "Single"?  Assassination is a part of public life in America and has been so for a very long time.  To shift gears slightly, what happened the day that little girl who lost her life was born...?  Americans are well acquainted with politically motivated murder.  Mass murder.  Mad gunman murder with no explanation because there can never be one.  Bluesad
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 09:26:34 PM by Allhallowsday » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2011, 03:39:40 AM »

The world is a dangerous, volatile place.  Here in America we are shocked by a single attempted political assassination; there are parts of the world where they are still a regular occurence.  All in all, we forget how fortunate we are to live here.
No.  No.  We are shocked by wholesale slaughter; "single attempted political assassination" - you're annoying me.  The context of a political meet and greet makes these multiple murders and injuries particularly stressful.  Madmen determined to wreak havoc and horror are all too common in all places of the world, as you first pointed out, but that is including the USA.  Was it the mayor of Chicago who was killed by a bullet meant for FDR?  GEORGE MOSCONE was assassinated the same day as HARVEY MILK in SFO.  "Single"?  Assassination is a part of public life in America and has been so for a very long time.  To shift gears slightly, what happened the day that little girl who lost her life was born...?  Americans are well acquainted with politically motivated murder.  Mass murder.  Mad gunman murder with no explanation because there can never be one.  Bluesad

Seems a little harsh, Allhallowsday. Yes, we are shocked by mass murder. And as far as meaningless mass murder goes, us Americans our way too proficient for our own good. But it's a rare enough occurrence in this country that we really pay attention when it does happen.

We don't wake up each morning to find another home shot at by rocket launchers from our neighbors. Their have been several drastic leadership changes in the past 20 years, Republican to Democrat and right back to Republican. Those transitions have been blessedly free of violence. Vicious rhetoric, of course, which seems to be getting worse every day, but not violence. The fact that you have to go back several decades to point to the nearest example is, well, not great, but an example.

We're not strangers to politically motivated violence, but it isn't a common occurrence. There are way too many countries where it is. I'd say we're the anomaly, not the norm. Politically motivated murder kills millions in this world.

Not that I'm slapping the USA on the back. I don't think this atrocity was politically motivated, just some dead-souled, broken a***ole.

Now, the ensuing political fracas which will eventually follow? Every single politician who tries to leverage this for their own benefit is a horrid human being with flint for heart. Pay attention, because all those who chime in are dead inside.
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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2011, 11:40:09 AM »

Seems a little harsh, Allhallowsday. Yes, we are shocked by mass murder. And as far as meaningless mass murder goes, us Americans our way too proficient for our own good. But it's a rare enough occurrence in this country that we really pay attention when it does happen.
We don't wake up each morning to find another home shot at by rocket launchers from our neighbors. Their have been several drastic leadership changes in the past 20 years, Republican to Democrat and right back to Republican. Those transitions have been blessedly free of violence. Vicious rhetoric, of course, which seems to be getting worse every day, but not violence. The fact that you have to go back several decades to point to the nearest example is, well, not great, but an example.
We're not strangers to politically motivated violence, but it isn't a common occurrence. There are way too many countries where it is. I'd say we're the anomaly, not the norm. Politically motivated murder kills millions in this world.
Not that I'm slapping the USA on the back. I don't think this atrocity was politically motivated, just some dead-souled, broken a***ole.
Now, the ensuing political fracas which will eventually follow? Every single politician who tries to leverage this for their own benefit is a horrid human being with flint for heart. Pay attention, because all those who chime in are dead inside.
I particularly chose less well known examples of assassination.  And I was writing about mass murder with guns, politically motivated or not.  We do not have to go back decades for all too many instances of pointless mass murder by gun, and by other means (like September 11, 2001 which I also cited).  

EDIT: I don't know how I was being harsh, but I was expressing horror.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 05:23:07 PM by Allhallowsday » Logged

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