I’ve been pretty successful at ignoring Sarah Palin for a while,1 in the vain hope that she would stop being the GOP standard bearer if nobody paid attention to her, but Palin’s latest hateful egocentrism was too much. Since I’m not a paid pundint (sic), I couldn’t bear to watch her entire seven minute hate, so have instead relied upon professionals who have more intestinal fortitude to parse her half-truths and slanders.
so let’s just lead off with Sarah Palin’s video response to critics who alleged that her crosshairs map and no-holds-barred rhetoric contributed to a political climate that may have helped lead to the Arizona massacre:
A few quick things to note. First, the obvious care that went into making this video — the pre-written script is over seven minutes long; she clearly rehearsed the reading at some length; and the backdrop includes an American flag on the right flank — demonstrate once again that Palin and her advisers knew this was a potential make-or-break moment. Palin, of course, has long taken her case directly to supporters via Twitter and Facebook, while not permitting herself to be exposed to any journalistic cross-examination. Utilizing a pre-taped video message is a new twist on that strategy, and a reflection of how high the stakes have become.
Second, her core accusation on the video, the one that was clearly selected with an intent to drive headlines, not only accuses critics of “blood libel,” but actually accuses them of expressing concern and outrage about the shooting in bad faith, as if they are doing so in an effort to do nothing more than damage her politically:
(click to continue reading The Plum Line – Sarah Palin and `blood libel’.)
I don’t know if Palin’s teleprompter told her to slip in the phrase “blood libel” to discuss Arizona’s only Jewish Congressperson, or if Palin freelanced it, but since the 7 minute hate was obviously not an off-the-cuff production, perhaps someone might have done a bit of research:
Blood libel (also blood accusation) refers to a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, usually Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays.
Historically, these claims have–alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration–been a major theme in European persecution of Jews.
The libels typically allege that Jews require human blood for the baking of matzos for Passover. The accusations often assert that the blood of Christian children is especially coveted, and, historically, blood libel claims have often been made to account for otherwise unexplained deaths of children. In some cases, the alleged victim of human sacrifice has become venerated as a martyr, a holy figure around whom a martyr cult might arise. A few of these have been even canonized as saints, like Gavriil Belostoksky.
In Jewish lore, blood libels were the impetus for the creation in the 16th century of the Golem of Prague by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel. Many popes have either directly or indirectly condemned the blood accusation, and no pope has ever sanctioned it.
These libels have persisted among some segments of Christians to the present time.
(click to continue reading Blood libel – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
I’m a firm believer in free speech, even for maggots festering on the political body such as Sarah Palin, but enjoying free speech doesn’t preclude others from criticizing your words if they are as inflammatory as Palin’s.
“Instead of dialing down the rhetoric at this difficult moment, Sarah 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,” said David Harris, president of the National Democratic Jewish Council, in a statement. “This is of course a particularly heinous term for American Jews, given that the repeated fiction of blood libels are directly responsible for the murder of so many Jews across centuries — and given that blood libels are so directly intertwined with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism around the globe, even today.”
“The term ‘blood libel’ is not a synonym for ‘false accusation,’ ” said Simon Greer, president of Jewish Funds for Justice. “It refers to a specific falsehood perpetuated by Christians about Jews for centuries, a falsehood that motivated a good deal of anti-Jewish 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, who was shot in the head Saturday and remained in critical condition in a Tucson hospital, is Jewish.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said “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 against these kinds of attacks, and we agree with her that the best tradition in America is one of finding common ground despite our differences.
“Still, we wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase ‘blood libel’ in reference to the actions of journalists and pundits in placing blame for the shooting in Tucson 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.”
(click to continue reading Blood libel: Jewish leaders object to Palin’s ‘blood libel’ charge – chicagotribune.com.)
And contrasting Barack Obama’s speech, Halmark-esque as it was, with Palin’s vitriol reminded a lot of folks why Obama won the election.
Wednesday was bookended by two remarkable — and remarkably different — political performances that demonstrated the vast expanse of America’s political landscape.
The day opened at 5 a.m. with Sarah Palin, whose seven-and-a-half minute video statement captured with precision the bubbling anger and resentment that is an undercurrent of the national conversation about our public discourse.
Sarah Palin issued a forceful denunciation of her critics in a video statement posted to her Facebook page. It ended with President Obama, whose plea for civility, love and compassion — for us to all be not just better citizens but better people — exposed for the first time the emotions of a leader who has spent two years staying cool and controlled for a nation beset by difficult times.
The tone of the two speeches could not have been more different. The venues were a world apart — the smallness of a rectangular video on a computer screen and the vastness of an echo-filled basketball arena.
And they both served as a reminder of the political clash to come when the 2012 presidential campaign gets underway in earnest next year.
(click to continue reading Obama and Palin, a Tale of Two Speeches – NYTimes.com.)
In the span of a single news cycle, Republicans got a jarring reminder of two forces that could prevent them from retaking the presidency next year.
At sunrise in the east on Wednesday, Sarah Palin demonstrated that she has little interest—or capacity—in moving beyond her brand of grievance-based politics. And at sundown in the west, Barack Obama reminded even his critics of his ability to rally disparate Americans around a message of reconciliation.
Palin was defiant, making the case in a taped speech she posted online why the nation’s heated political debate should continue unabated even after Saturday’s tragedy in Tucson. And, seeming to follow her own advice, she swung back at her opponents, deeming the inflammatory notion that she was in any way responsible for the shootings a “blood libel.”
Obama, speaking at a memorial service at the University of Arizona, summoned the country to honor the victims, and especially nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green, by treating one another with more respect. “I want America to be as good as Christina imaged it,” he said.
It’s difficult to imagine a starker contrast.
(click to continue reading Barack Obama takes opportunity Sarah Palin missed – Jonathan Martin – POLITICO.com.)
Can we all take a vow to ignore Sarah Palin for a while now? At least until she announces she is running for president in 2012?Footnotes:
- Since 9/2010 on my blog [↩]