Sarah Palin, Jewish Educator

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My theory that Sarah Palin's otherwise gross use of the term "blood libel" to describe criticism leveled against her has an upside -- the potential to educate people about the actual meaning and history of the "blood libel" and its frightening relevance today -- is being borne out in the in-box. Two such e-mails:

i had no idea 'blood libel' had a jewish origin, i doubt sarah palin does either, she picked up on it because it sounded sexy, and voila, more headlines.

I think it's true that Sarah Palin had no idea of the meaning; I don't actually believe she was Jew-baiting, or consciously trying to denigrate the experience of Jewish communities at the hands of their Christian neighbors.
 
And this:

What do you think the actual chances are that Sarah Palin will actually come out and apologize and learn something about the blood libel and try to raise consciousness about this? I don't think it's very high.

Keep hope alive, I say. This is a great moment for Sarah Palin to demonstrate some sensitivity, and to show that she's capable of absorbing and assimilating new knowledge, and sharing that knowledge with others.  I hope she doesn't miss the chance.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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