Why Sarah Palin's Use of 'Blood Libel' Is a Great Thing

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Sarah Palin has called the post-Tucson campaign of vilification against her and her fellow travelers a "blood libel." On the one hand, this is unfortunate, as Jonah Goldberg points out, because it threatens to redefine the phrase, plus, what is happening to her is not precisely the byproduct of a blood libel.

On the other hand, Sarah PalinĀ  is such an important political and cultural figure that her use of the term "blood libel" should introduce this very important historical phenomenon to a wide audience, and the ensuing discussion -- about how Fox News is not actually Mendel Beilis -- will serve to enlighten and inform. It is a moral necessity, I think, for Christians to understand the blood libel (Muslims, too -- see the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840), not only because it is part of their history, but because the blood libel still has modern ramifications -- Israel, after all, was founded as a reaction to Christian hatred, of which the blood libel was an obvious and murderous manifestation.

I mean it sincerely when I say I hope Sarah Palin, who regularly expresses love for Jews and Israel, takes the time to learn about the history of the blood libel, and shares what she has learned with her many admirers.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/01/why-sarah-palins-use-of-blood-libel-is-a-great-thing/69378/