In her first interview since the Tucson, Ariz., massacre, Sarah Palin defended her use of the phrase "blood libel" in a video statement she posted last week. She told Sean Hannity that the term "obviously means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands. And in this case that's exactly what was going on."
The former Alaska governor was responding to critics, including some Jewish groups, who argued that it is inappropriate for Palin -- a self-professed observant Christian -- to use language that evokes an especially dark chapter in the history of world Jewry. The "blood libel" refers to the charge hurled at Jews during the Middle Ages that they ritually murdered Christian children and then used their victims' blood as an ingredient in sacred food.
Even sympathetic critics of Palin's politics, such as Abraham Foxman and Jonah Goldberg, said the former governor should not have used the language to describe her situation. They argued that the phrase "blood libel" is too painful to Jews and too specific to their victimization to be appropriated by a Christian.
And here we have arrived at the real reason for the fracas. Fundamentally, the assertion is that Palin's use of the term reflects insensitivity toward Jewish suffering.
But on this point Palin has to be judged as correct, and perhaps more correct than she realizes.
Read the rest of this op-ed at AOL News.
Thanks as usual to Gina Misiroglu for putting me in touch with the AOL people. It's just one of the ways she and the rest of Red Room are helping writers get attention for their work.
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