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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 19, 2011 14 Shevat, 5771

Holding up a mirror to Palin's critics

By Heather Robinson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sarah Palin appeared on FOX News’s “Hannity’s America” to defend herself and her use of the term “blood libel” in reference to suggestions that she bore some partial responsibility for inciting the massacre that left Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life, killed six and left another 13 wounded on January 8.

After some, including New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, suggested Palin and other conservative pols and media were to blame for inciting the massacre, Palin released an 8-minute video criticizing the mainstream media for manufacturing “a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence it purports to condemn.”

In her video, Palin says, “Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them. 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."

On Fox News she defended her use of the term, responding specifically to the suggestion by some pundits that she might not be aware of its historical meaning - a slander against Jews accusing them of killing Christian children that often historically resulted in violence against entire communities.

“Blood libel obviously means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands,” Palin said tonight. “In this case, that’s exactly what was going on.”

Many Jewish Democratic leaders, including National Democratic Jewish Council’s David Harris, last week objected to Palin’s use of the term in defending herself against suggestions that she had incited Jared Loughner, the gunman, to mass murder.

“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 Harris 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.”

However, other Jewish leaders and luminaries including eminent defense attorney and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz defended Palin’s use of the term.

“The term,” according to Dershowitz, “has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse.”

No question, Democrats and others in politics and media have made frequent use of the term in recent years and encountered no protest. So wherefore the outrage now on the part of Jewish Democratic leaders?

Even granting that the term, weighted as it is with heavy and morbid historical associations, may deserve to be used with sensitivity, the selectivity of Jewish leaders’ outrage strikes this commentator as odd. At most, one would expect a response like that of Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, U.S. Jewry’s top organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism. While Foxman expressed dismay at Palin’s choice of a term “so fraught with pain in Jewish history,” he noted “the term ‘blood libel’ has become part of the English parlance to refer to someone being falsely accused” and registered that “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.”

Even though he disapproves of her use of the term, Foxman makes the effort to see this controversy through Palin’s eyes and acknowledges how wrong it is to accuse an innocent person of having even an indirect responsibility in something so heinous.

A few thoughts on this: is it possible that the vehemence of some critics’ reactions to Palin’s use of the term blood libel owes not just to the pain conjured by the term, but to the possibility Palin, in using it, held up a mirror to her critics - and they were disturbed by what they saw in that mirror?

After all, many of Palin’s most vehement critics on this front are not reported to have objected to the use of the term by any other high profile commentator or politician, and many in recent years have used it. And while I am not accusing either of the specific Palin-critics quoted above of harboring hatred for Sarah Palin, it is true that a kind of self-righteous rage permeates the discourse of some on the left regarding Sarah Palin. This animus - which my co-author Jennifer Ginsberg and I chronicled last year in articles for several outlets - on the part of some who consider themselves “liberal” and “progressive” even extends to Palin’s children.

To echo Dershowitz, “blood libel” has taken on a broader meaning in public discourse than the invidious fiction that Jews were killing Christian babies and making matzoh from their blood. Let’s get real: when people use the phrase today, they mean a false accusation. But sometimes they mean a specific type of false accusation, one tinged with viciousness borne of self-righteous cruelty. The term’s weighty and morbid historical associations give it that connotation.

Of course, people have every right to criticize Palin. But when critics start invoking rape, ridiculing a disabled child for what his mother believes, and using the words “murderous rage” to describe their feelings, what would any neutral observer call it?

There’s a big difference between attacking someone with a gun/pitchfork/knife and attacking someone - and even her underage children - online.

But the latter is still hatred.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Heather Robinson is a New York City-based independent journalist. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, New York Magazine, Time Out New York, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Daily News, Heeb magazine, and other publications. Comment by clicking here.


© 2011, Heather Robinson

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