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"Blood libel" miscue overshadows Sarah Palin's surprisingly good Arizona shooting response video

Posted by Jesse Singal  January 12, 2011 02:56 PM

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palinflag.jpgEarlier today, in an eight-minute video responding to the weekend shootings in Arizona, Sarah Palin rebutted the criticism leveled at her and others on the right for stoking the flames of violent anti-government rhetoric:

One line is getting the most attention by far, and is overshadowing what is actually a rather good — dare I say presidential? — speech. In a beyond-unfortunate choice of words, Palin said, “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.”

"Blood libel" is a very specific term. It refers to the ancient, pernicious myth that Jews use the blood of Christian children as parts of certain rituals. Palin's adoption of the term is incredibly inflammatory. So it's no wonder that her remark drew a fair bit of attention in the blogosphere, and has aroused the ire of Jewish groups.

But if you cut out the "blood libel" part you're left with a surprisingly compelling speech. Palin forcefully denounces violence and vigorously defense free speech. While I would argue that Palin has done much to degrade the quality of our discourse, her speech, taken by itself, is rather impressive, and hits all the right notes.

Whoever wrote it is good. Which is why it's so baffling they included the "blood libel" part.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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