A Sarah Palin video posted Jan. 12 on her Facebook page included a reference to “blood libel” that the ADL quickly admonished.
In response to rampant speculation that a map that had appeared on Palin’s website, which placed a crosshairs-like image over Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ district, may have inspired the shooting, Palin responded that “journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”
The Anti-Defamation League responded with a statement issued by national director Abraham Foxman, in which he noted, “while the term ‘blood-libel’ has become part of the English parlance to refer to someone being falsely accused, we wish that Palin had used another phrase, instead of one so fraught with pain in Jewish history.”
The term is the false allegation that Jews kill non-Jews, especially Christian children, to acquire blood for the Passover or other Jewish rituals, according to the Jewish Virtual Library.
Also this week, the ADL issued a statement suggesting that mental illness rather than ideology was the primary motive of the alleged shooter. Initially there was speculation that Jared Lee Loughner targeted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords because she is Jewish: Fox News pointed to a Department of Homeland Security memo that indicated he might have been influenced by American Renaissance, an extremist anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic group, and he also listed Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” as a favorite book on Myspace, according to reports.
But the ADL analysis said that Loughner’s “semi-coherent” Internet rants do not “point to a particular ideology or belief system.” — jta & ap