Quite a bit of rhetoric has been spewed forth in the few weeks following the tragic shootings in Tucson by a mentally deranged gunman. The suspect, Jared Loughner, had been allegedly influenced by various extremist writings ranging from Hitler's Mein Kampf to the Communist Manifesto . Parallels were mentally drawn between Loughner's violent actions previewed in his rambling online postings and the shrill chorus of hate speech coming from the far right, in the form of the Tea Party Movement.
When recent Tea Party campaign literature came to light, the rhetoric of incitement became routine. Former GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin had organized a campaign against various US Reps, targeting each individual Rep and the district with the crosshairs of a gun target. Before the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords,her opponent-tea party candidate Jesse Kelly sponsored a fund raiser aptly dubbed, 'shoot an M16 with Jesse.' In addition, calls from the likes of Glenn Beck were advocating violence against 'liberals' as Beck incited his audience to ..."shoot them in the head." A few weeks into the new congress; US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the same representative whose name and district had been targeted by the crosshairs of a gun, was shot in the head.
US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded, and several innocents were murdered in cold blood, including a nine year old girl who will never go to her high school prom, get married, or run for political office.
President Obama's Eulogy for victims...
President Obama traveled to Tucson to give a heartfelt eulogy to the survivors and the nation. As far as his speech allowed, we were given the same spirit of kindness and compassion generated by true Christians, and for those words we thank him.
Were his words enough of a response to a nation polarized by various renewed bigotries? No. The scene of the eulogy was not the appropriate venue for a political speech; such a speech addressing growing racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, etc., should have been prepared. A call to civility is inadequate when innocents are faced with bigots determined to annihilate them. That call to civility would merely become collaboration with fascists, much as the French Vichy government collaborated with the Nazi threat some 70 years ago.
Palin Condolences disingenuous at best...
Then we have the 'condolences' sent by Sarah Palin--heavily sermonized and lightly peppered with accusations of her self-perceived persecution by a media directed...'blood libel.' This is where my outrage begins.
Like Congressman Gabrielle Giffords, I am a Jew. When I heard Sarah Palin's chiding that ..."journalists and pundits should not manufacture a BLOOD LIBEL," I could feel the cold, steely hand of prejudice choke out all true feelings of condolence on Palin's part. In fact, I was so shocked Palin had the audacity to use this phrase, I had to view her entire speech. Here is the full quote I am citing:
The 'blood libel quote'...
..."Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions. And after the election, we shake hands and get back to work, and often both sides find common ground back in D.C. and elsewhere. If you don't like a person's vision for the country, you're free to debate that vision. If you don't like their ideas, you're free to propose better ideas. 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."
Now, Palin's reference to various 'journalists and pundits' is a slap at opinions and accusations made by the political 'left' claiming that this violent day was the by-product of tea party hate speech inciting violence, more specifically Palin's own calls for 'reloading' rather than politically retreating. Furthermore, she is chiding the 'left' for callously 'using' this tragedy for political gain.
Whether you believe Palin on this point or those who assign some blame to the growing climate of intolerance and bigotry, recorded in the new online media (often by videos supplied by the very same Tea Party movement), is irrelevant. If Palin felt unfairly treated by the 'left,' there were many other ways to express this complaint. Instead, she selected the most vile 'code phrase' used by bigots historically to slander an entire people and--yes-- to INCITE genocide: namely the accusation of BLOOD LIBEL. Her buddy Andrew Breitbart came to Palin's defense in a piece where Palin explained the 'definition' of blood libel. Here is her take: "It means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands and in this case that's exactly what's going on."
(Source : http://www.breitbart.com/print.php?id)
In reality, the definition of 'blood libel' according to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions 1997 Edition is the following: