Posts Tagged “blood libel”

Gov. Sarah PalinAngry that she was accused of having somehow contributed to the recent Tucson shooting, former Alaska governor and Republican (and Religious Right) starlet Sarah “Reload” Palin has gone on the attack. Rather than merely disavow any participation in the incident, she childishly and impetuously made a rather startling claim. As reported by Mediate, she released a video accusing her critics of having forged a “blood libel” against her and the rest of the vehement Right (WebCite cached article):

Every word Palin says in this video will most likely be analyzed for days. Palin treats this address with the seriousness of an actual leader and appears to do her best to unite all Americans together, no matter their political beliefs, in a recognition of “America’s Enduring Strength.” The one group left out of the celebration is Palin’s persistent nemesis, the mainstream media, as she says:

But, 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.

What is perhaps more reprehensible than what any of her critics have said, is that she fired the “blood libel” bomb at them. You see, this term has a very singular meaning. It refers clearly and specifically to an anti-Semitic legend-motif in which Jews ritually murder Christian children as part of their profane rites. “Blood libel” stories historically were used as cudgels against Jews at various times. In other words, she’s setting herself and the rest of the Right as victims of a propaganda tool that Christians used to justify their hatred of Jews.

Real nice, there, Sarah. How marvelous of you, in the midst of your persecution complex, to appropriate the term “blood libel” to serve your own purposes.

Her gross misuse of this term hasn’t gone unnoticed, e.g. by Howard Kurtz of the Daily Beast [cached], The Caucus at the New York Times [cached], CNN’s Political Ticker [cached], & The Note by ABC News [cached], and I expect it will haunt her for the next several days. Then, she will likely make quips about “the lamestream media” criticizing her for having used this phrase and claim righteous indignation that they now dare now vilifying poor little her, for her response to having already been vilified by them. In other words, even in the face of her own immaturity, she will continue to refuse to accept that she may have done anything wrong.

(No rigid ideologue ever admits fault — for anything — at any time. Each childish tantrum is fully justified; any criticism of any childish tantrum is never accepted as having any validity; and merely results in yet another childish tantrum. Immaturity is the engine of all ideology.)

As an aside, the question of Loughner’s motivations likely will never be satisfactorily answered, although the media and pundits on every side will likely continue acting as though they know what it is, definitively, and will pontificate on it forever. But I don’t see anyone asking the most salient question, which is, why such a disruptive and disturbed individual as Jared Lee Loughner — who had several run-ins with law enforcement over the last few years, and was thrown out of classes and a school — was never assessed for mental illness and put into treatment. Everyone around him (including his family) simply veered around him, avoiding him, pawning him off on the next person, and hoped never to run into him again. Once they were free of him, they were all happy. And that was it. Well, this collective decision resulted in several deaths, a lot more wounded people, and Loughner will never see the light of day again. How did this benefit anyone, including Loughner himself? He’d have been much better served if someone, along the way, had gotten him some psychiatric treatment.

Update: True to form, ideological Rightists are reflexively declaring Palin faultless. Many are pointing to Alan Dershowitz’s declaration that there is nothing wrong with her having used the phrase “blood libel” against her critics. Big Government offers his remarks [cached]. The problem here is, even if others have misused the phrase “blood libel” in the past, this does not constitute logical permission for Palin to misuse it, now. Not only that, Dershowitz has no authority — even in spite of him being a famous Jewish lawyer — to grant Palin a dispensation on this score. In fact, no one has such authority; her misuse of “blood libel” is semantically and contextually incorrect, and no one in the universe can change that. Unfortunately the Right can’t help itself … they’re pathologically incapable of admitting Palin was wrong.

Photo credit: PBS NewsHour.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments Comments Off on Angry Sarah Palin Throws “Blood Libel” Bomb

One facet of anti-Semitism has been the notion of blood libel, the claim that Jews sacrifice non-Jews for ritual or other purposes, especially cannibalistic. Throughout the history of Christianity, blood libel have been used to justify many atrocities against Jews. One would think that, in the occidental world of the 21st century, the blood libel would be found only among the “lunatic fringe” of anti-Semitic folks.

But one would be wrong to think that.

Recently an allegation along the lines of blood libel has been leveled against Israel, and it was found in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, as reported by the Israeli paper Haaretz:

Top Sweden newspaper says IDF kills Palestinians for their organs

A leading Swedish newspaper reported this week that Israeli soldiers are abducting Palestinians in order to steal their organs, a claim that prompted furious condemnation and accusations of anti-Semitic blood libel from a rival publication.

“They plunder the organs of our sons,” read the headline in Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, the left-leaning Aftonbladet, which devoted a double spread in its cultural section to the article. …

The report quotes Palestinian claims that young men from the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been seized by the Israel Defense Forces, and their bodies returned to the families with missing organs.

“‘Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,’ relatives of Khaled from Nablus said to me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin as well as the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who all had disappeared for a few days and returned by night, dead and autopsied,” writes author Donald Boström in his report.

The original Aftonbladet article may be found here (in Swedish).

The nation of Israel and Jews around the world have condemned this report, based on otherwise-unsubstantiated claims by Palestinians, as anti-Semitic. And since this report fits the centuries-old mold of the blood libel, it’s hard to refute that. Nevertheless, Aftonbladet stands by the story and claims it is not anti-Semitic, as Haaretz reports in a follow-up story:

A Swedish newspaper provoked outrage in Israel and drew condemnation from Sweden’s ambassador on Wednesday after it ran a story on transplant organ theft, a report an Israeli official branded anti-Semitic “hate porn”.

The editor of Aftonbladet, Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, hit back hard, at both Israel and at the Swedish envoy for attacking his paper’s coverage.

Donald Boström, the Swedish journalist whose article accusing Israel Defense Forces soldiers of killing Palestinians to obtain their organs evoked outrage, denied on Tuesday that he was motivated by anti-Semitism. “I’m very sad to hear people accuse me of anti-Semitism,” Boström told Haaretz on Tuesday.

Gee, I dunno … it sure looks like ages-old anti-Semitism, so how unreasonable is it to assume it is?

The Swedish paper is even offended that the comparison to blood libel has been made:

Aftonbladet editor Jan Helin said: “It’s deeply unpleasant and sad to see such a strong propaganda machine using centuries-old anti-Semitic images in an apparent attempt to get an obviously topical issue off the table.

He accused the Swedish ambassador of “a flagrant assault on freedom of speech” for her criticisms.

Helin called it an opinion piece raising questions of Israel in the context of a suspected link to Israel in that U.S. case. He denied any suggestion of anti-Semitism from his paper.

Calling it “an opinion piece” relieves them of the obligation to show the accuracy of the report, and effectively removes them from critique over its weak sources. Here in the US a lot of “commentators” on news channels often use the same excuse to explain why they have no duty to be accurate … so there’s nothing new here.

In other words, it’s a weaselly evasion.

The persistence of anti-Semitism in Europe is just one of the many disgusting legacies of Christianity’s history. When, exactly, are we going to finally realize this sort of thinking has no place in the 21st century?

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Comments Comments Off on Blood Libel Just Won’t Die