Was Palin right to charge liberals with “blood libel”?
Sarah Palin calls out liberals for their “blood libel” (here is video) by which she, Sharron Angle, Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party, and conservatives in general were collectively blamed for the mass shooting by the deranged Jared Loughner. Palin goes on to charge liberals with the very sort of incitement and hate-mongering that conservatives are routinely accused of. Will Sarah Palin lead the charge and put liberals on the defensive? What Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Rush Limbaugh, and other conservatives should do is stay on the offensive, expose the anti-conservative incitement of liberals and fight their cynical attempts to exploit the shooting in order to silence “hate speech” (i.e. any speech that contradicts liberalism).
I’ve seen Palin’s eight minute video statement. I heartily endorse her accusation of blood libel. The Democrats and the liberal media have been declaring that conservatives, simply by virtue of taking conservative positions and opposing liberal positions, have been fomenting the murder of liberals. The liberals are thus saying that conservatism as such is murderous. In the same way, the original blood libel in the Middle Ages said that the Jewish religion involved the murder of Christian children. So the charge of blood libel against liberals seems entirely appropriate and justified.
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Now earlier today a correspondent disagreed with me on this point (though she later changed her mind). She said that since the original blood libel involved the charge of using Christian children’s blood in Passover matzos, and since no one is charging anyone of using anyone’s blood in the current instance, “blood libel” is not a correct metaphor. But this is demanding a degree of precision that would make any metaphorical application of the term impossible.
In fact, the term blood libel is widely used today, often by Jews, to refer to false accusations of Jewish or Israeli murderousness. To confirm this, I did a Google search for “blood libel” at the site of Commentary, the flagship journal of Jewish neoconservatism, and found the following instances, almost all from 2010, in which “blood libel” has been used not in the literal sense of the medieval blood libel but in the sense of a false charge of murder against an entire group (I’ve bolded each use of “blood libel”):
A final point. Everyone is making a big deal out of the fact that Alan Dershowitz has defended Palin’s use of “blood libel.” Frankly, I don’t give a damn what Dershowitz says. He’s a man of the left, a Jewish ethnocentrist who hatefully condemns Anglo-Saxon Americans for normal ethnocentric behavior which he praises when Jews do the same. I don’t approve of the man, and I don’t want to rely on him as my authority on this or any issue. Fortunately, as shown by the above examples, I didn’t need to.
At the same time, my personal views of Dershowitz are not relevant to the larger issue here. Given the widespread condemnation of Palin for saying “blood libel,” it is obviously very helpful to our side that Dershowitz has defended her.
My main concern is that conservatives need to stop defending themselves from and politely complaining about insane leftist charges, and instead put the left on the defensive for its outrageous behavior. Palin’s “blood libel” charge has the potential of doing just that, but if the left and others succeed in building a consensus that she shouldn’t have said it, that potential win for our side will become another loss.
A correspondent writes:
These all involve Jews or Israel, or should; it should be used only in application to Jews or Israel, then it makes sense.
That’s besides the point. The point is, each of these instances invoved an accusation against a group (Israel) for being murderous. Which is what the liberals have done to conservatives.
The correspondent replies:
It should apply only when there is a Jewish issue.
An entire group—conservatives—is being smeared as murderous, in the same way that an entire group, Jews, were and are smeared as murderous. And this view justifies hatred and vengeance against the group that has been thus falsely accused.
Reported at RCP:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 12, 2011 06:12 PM | Send
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: Palin “Ignorant” For Using Term “Blood Libel”
As can be seen from the information provided in the initial entry above, it is the arrogant Andrea Mitchell who is ignorant.
“Perhaps she didn’t know of the context of that phrase,” NBC correspondent and MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell said.
“Maybe she was ignorant of it, to give her the benefit of the doubt,” Mitchell added.