January 13, 2011

Blood Label

Hatched by Dafydd

Anent Sarah Palin's use of the term "blood libel" to characterize the deliberately false accusation of complicity in murder and having blood on one's hands -- and especially to apply it to an entire group of people known to be innocent of the crime -- I just stumbled across this fascinating (and short!) post on BigGovernment.com:

Exclusive: Alan Dershowitz Defends Sarah Palin’s Use of Term ‘Blood Libel’

In an exclusive statement, famed attorney and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz defended Sarah Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” from multiple detractors. As the Media Matters/MSM/Democrat narrative on the Tucson tragedy unravels, they are getting a lot more desperate in their attacks on Palin. Fortunately, there are still plenty of honest liberals around:

The term “blood libel” has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People, its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.

This should close the case. Certainly nobody can credibly accuse Alan Dershowitz, of all people, of being a Sarah Palin supporter; and to suggest that he's not Jewish enough to be sensitive to the term "blood libel" is frankly risible!

At one time in the past, the term may have exclusively meant the charge that Jews kill Christian babies and use their blood in Passover rituals; but that time has long since passed. Today the term is widely used -- well, just as Palin used it: to mean any knowingly false accusation, or an accusation made in reckless disregard for the truth, of complicity in murder, often for political or religious purposes.

Language changes; new words (like "blog," "fisk," "incentivize," and "refudiate") are created, and old words change their meanings ("gay," "slut," "dough," "exploit," "regulate," "nuclear"). Blood libel, used as Palin used it, is nothing new; that certainly is how I've heard it used throughout my life as a (secular) Jew.

And neither is it "antisemitic" nor trademarked by the Jewish people, no matter what some hysterical Jews, most of them suffering from PDS, may claim.

In fact, attacking Palin and calling her a Jew hater for using this term is the same sort of despicable distraction from the real issues as were the Left's original charge: that she and other conservatives deliberately provoked Loughner's murder spree in the first place. Both attacks were failed attempts to silence Palin and the rest of us conservatives and anti-liberals who might otherwise work to repeal ObamaCare, stop Cap and Tax, block Card Check, and otherwise work to overturn, undo, and prevent President Barack H. Obama's radical and revolutionary "transformation" of America into a Eurostate mini-me.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 13, 2011, at the time of 1:52 PM

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Comments

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

I've posted a few comments in the last couple of days making this same point. The interesting thing to me was how many people responded in ways that made it clear that they had no clue what a blood libel was. "The blood libel is the lie that Jews used the blood of Christian children in their religious rites. I have no idea what that has to do with this. Are you suggesting that liberals use the blood of Tea Party children in our political rites?" Which makes no sense, of course.
I, of course, knew about blood libels from my youth, so I was surprised. People have different backgrounds.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 13, 2011 3:33 PM

The following hissed in response by: West

So mike, are you just an idiot, or are you being purposely thick to obfuscate the issue?

First, the charge is that Liberals are claiming that Conservatives are responsible for the deaths of innocents. The exact opposite of your confused (and likely intentional) misinterpretation.

Second, Dafydd very specifically laid out the derivation of the term, it's connotations, and just who was being accused of what.

Third, the very fact that you use the term "Blood Libels" (plural) indicates that you are well aware that the accusation takes more than one form. The general form is to accuse a unconnected party of being responsible for the death of others. A specific usage has been the traditional blood libel of Muslims accusing Jews of killing muslim children in order to use their blood in the recipe for Matzo, the bread of Passover.

So, If you knew about blood libels from your youth, it must have been a very confused one, if you cannot figure out who is accusing who of what, even after reading Dafydd's very articulate, explanatory, and detailed post on the subject. Let's take a wild guess. You did not even read it.

The above hissed in response by: West [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 13, 2011 4:33 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

West:

Hm... I read MikeR's comment as agreeing with this post; that bit in quotation marks -- "The blood libel is the lie that Jews used the blood of Christian children in their religious rites. I have no idea what that has to do with this. Are you suggesting that liberals use the blood of Tea Party children in our political rites?" -- came across to me as MikeR's characterization of how people responded (negatively) to the use of the term for the present case... responses that MikeR thought indicated the responders didn't understand the general meaning of the term.

At least that's how I read it!

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 13, 2011 5:00 PM

The following hissed in response by: West

Ah, I see. You are quite right. Sorry, really have my dander up these days after all this. Seems this has been grabbing my brain stem and twisting.

Mike, you are pretty tolerant, forgiving, or at least being merely puzzled by people who post comments like that.

IMO, my anger and opprobrium, while misdirected, is still appropriate and should have been directed to anyone so willfully misinformed and disingenuous as to make a post such as what Mike posted. If you are on the Internet, and can make a comment such as that, with the answer to the question a mouse click or two away, such ignorance is not excusable and is more likely attributable to attempted misdirection.

If you are smart enough to post a comment, you should also be smart enough to 'google it'. It's not a background thing, it is a due diligence thing.

Mike, once more, my apologies. Dafydd, thank you for the straightening out. Also for the post, as always.

The above hissed in response by: West [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 13, 2011 6:50 PM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

:)

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 13, 2011 9:36 PM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Here's another great comment I had to respond to:
"To listen to that woman talk about a "blood libel" when ACTUAL blood had been spilled not five days earlier was just shameful."
I think this one was my favorite. It boggled my mind, which is always a good thing.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2011 8:52 AM

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