Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sarah Palin is Right About 'Blood Libel' — UPDATE!! Jonah Goldberg Walks Back 'Very Modest Objection' to Palin's Use of 'Blood Libel'

From Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, at WSJ, "Judaism Rejects the Idea of Collective Responsibility for Murder":
Despite the strong association of the term with collective Jewish guilt and concomitant slaughter, Sarah Palin has every right to use it. The expression may be used whenever an amorphous mass is collectively accused of being murderers or accessories to murder.

The abominable element of the blood libel is not that it was used to accuse Jews, but that it was used to accuse innocent Jews—their innocence, rather than their Jewishness, being the operative point. Had the Jews been guilty of any of these heinous acts, the charge would not have been a libel ....

Murder is humanity's most severe sin, and it is trivialized when an innocent party is accused of the crime—especially when that party is a collective too numerous to be defended individually. If Jews have learned anything in their long history, it is that a false indictment of murder against any group threatens every group. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Indeed, the belief that the concept of blood libel applies only to Jews is itself a form of reverse discrimination that should be dismissed.

Judaism rejects the idea of collective responsibility for murder, as the Hebrew Bible condemns accusations of collective guilt against Jew and non-Jew alike. "The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him" (Ezekiel 18).

How unfortunate that some have chosen to compound a national tragedy by politicizing the murder of six innocent lives and the attempted assassination of a congresswoman.

To be sure, America should embrace civil political discourse for its own sake, and no political faction should engage in demonizing rhetoric. But promoting this high principle by simultaneously violating it and engaging in a blood libel against innocent parties is both irresponsible and immoral.
Great piece.

the link.

RELATED: The Knoxville Metro Pulse is libeling Instapundit, "
Is Glenn Reynolds Getting Sarah Palin in Trouble?":
... Reynolds is no stranger to overheated rhetoric himself. In the lead-up to the Iraq war, he famously called anti-war skeptics "objectively pro-Saddam." (And of course, if you're looking for rhetoric that did help lead to a whole lot of violence, all of the war-drum beating that people like Reynolds did in late 2002 and early 2003 is a fine example.)
All the war-drum beating that "people like Reynolds did" led to a "whole lot of violence"?

Well, there's some more collective guilt for you. Asshats. "Rhetoric" isn't to blame for the violence last weekend, or in 2003. See, "Tucson and the Failure of the Political Class" (via

UPDATE: Here's Goldberg, "‘Blood Libel’ and Beyond" (via Memeorandum):
As for the “blood libel” flap, I’ve decided to ratchet down my already very modest objection to the term. While I still think it would have been better had she not used the phrase, so much of the criticism of it is in bad faith. Her intent was honorable and her point was right. Moreover, she’s hardly the first person to use the term outside the bounds of discussions of anti-Semitism. She wasn’t even talking about “the blood libel” but warning against the creation of “a blood libel,” which is exactly what Krugman, Olberman & Co. were doing. The “controversy” was a red herring and little more.
And this just isn't going away. At Politico, "Some Say 'Blood Libel' Signaled Base":
Sarah Palin’s use of the charged term “blood libel” may not have been an accidental blunder, but a deliberate “‘dog whistle” appeal to her evangelical Christian supporters for whom the expression has meaning, commentators and others are saying.

Taegan Goddard, founder of nonpartisan news site Political Wire, floated the idea after the release of Palin’s video remarks Wednesday, writing that “… while it’s not entirely clear what Palin intended, it’s possible she was trying to use dog whistle politics to speak to her religious base who often feel they’re an oppressed minority.”

Commentators have adopted the phrase “dog whistle” to describe Palin’s use of certain words and ideas that will be immediately heard and understood by conservative Christians, but often will not be picked up on by the broader public.

Evangelicals relate to the phrase “blood libel” because they view themselves as a religiously persecuted minority - much like the Jews.
Well, I love the smell of desperation in the morning ... or the evening, be that as it may. The left's "dog whistle" is simply a dishonest ideological construction to facilitate racist smears when there is no real racism in the first place. In this case, I'm not quite sure what utility Palin would have in dog whistling: She is embattled. Before folks in Tucson even knew what happened the progressive-left erupted with despicable allegations of Palin's complicity to murder. It doesn't get more sick than that, and as Goldberg's walk-back indicates, some in the conservative Jewish community may be realizing that criticisms of Palin only work to embolden those who aren't their friends. It's pretty straightforward actually. Progressives are the new anti-Semites, and the right's pushback against Palin is having an enabling effect on the far-left. I wouldn't be surprised if Charles Krauthammer updated some of his remarks in the near future. He certainly agreed Palin was libeled. He simply suggested that she'd have been better off remaining above the fray.