Sarah Palin released a video statement Wednesday calling the rush to pin blame on conservatives for the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., a “blood libel.”
“Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own,” she said. “They begin and end with the criminals who commit them.”
In the eight-minute video, Palin says, “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.”
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Palin’s use of the charged phrase “blood libel” — which refers to the anti-Semitic accusation from the Middle Ages that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood to make matzo for Passover — touched off an immediate backlash. (see: Full text of Sarah Palin's statement)
“The blood libel is something anti-Semites have historically used in Europe as an excuse to murder Jews — the comparison is stupid. Jews and rational people will find it objectionable,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a New York-based Democratic political consultant and devout Jew. “This will forever link her to the events in Tucson. It deepens the hole she’s already dug for herself. … It’s absolutely inappropriate.” (see: The Arena: Palin's 'blood libel' defense fair?)
Palin has faced criticism this week for images that look like gun cross hairs she used to identify the districts of Democrats who were vulnerable in the 2010 elections, including that of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot on Saturday. (see: Shooting presents 2012 test)
But in her first extended response to the shooting — released hours before President Barack Obama is to visit Tucson — Palin said that “responsibility lies not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.