Noted Jewish academic and Harvard Law professor Allan Dershowitz defended Sarah Palin's "blood libel" remark today. Though many Jewish groups have expressed dismay over Palin's use of the term, in a statement to Big Government, Dershowitz said "there is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic" about Palin's comments. Originally, the term was most often used (in a European context) to falsely accuse Jews of murdering children and using their blood for religious rituals. Dershowitz argues that the term has since evolved:
The term “blood libel” has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People,its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.