Sarah Palin has a video out this morning that addresses the criticism she’s received in the wake of the Arizona shootings, sort of. It’s an odd piece of self-defense, chock full of God, American exceptionalism and claims of victimhood. Media Matters sums it up: “Violent rhetoric doesn’t inspire violence — but criticism of violent rhetoric does.”
Beyond the bizarre logic is the pointed use of the term “blood libel” which refers to a hoax and lie used to justify sustained and brutal violence against Jews. Anthea Butler at Religion Dispatches fills us in:
Blood libel, a term rooted in medieval Christianity, started as a rumor that Jews were killing Christian babies, and using their blood to mix into matzoh. The blood libel, refuted first by Pope Innocent IV through a series of papal bulls, has nonetheless persisted throughout history as a way for Christians at times to scapegoat Jews. Palin, by calling the media’s alleged persecution of her a “blood libel” plays into this evil history by inference. But does she understand how this comment of blood libel appears anti-Semitic? Not only is Rep. Giffords Jewish, but accusing the media of “blood libel” could be seen as playing into anti-Semitic memes that Jews control the media.