January 14, 2011
Just who is being 'insensitive' to Jews?
There are numerous aspects of the memorial pep rally in Tucson that bother me, but, at the risk of sounding like a hypersensitive minority member (I'm Jewish), I'm going to focus on one little thing that others might not have noticed.
Sarah Palin is taking heat for invoking the term "blood libel" to describe the false blame heaped on her and other Conservatives for the Tucson massacre, on the supposed grounds that she trivialized that term and by doing so showed insensitivity to Jews. While I feel that casually labeling people "Nazis" does tend to trivialize the real Nazis and their horrors, I thought Palin's use of the term "blood libel" was not inappropriate.
Appearing in "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion", a work of fiction that has circulated among anti-Semites since the Middle Ages, the "blood libel" is the particularly vicious canard that claims Jews kidnap Christian children and use their blood to bake matzo for Passover; it has been used for centuries from everyone from the Nazis to modern Arabs to justify their hatred for Jews. As a metaphor for vicious false charges, it has been widely used by, among others, MSNBC and the New York Times.
Now, given that at least two of the victims, that I know of, are Jewish -- the Congresswoman herself and Gabe Zimmerman, her aide who was killed -- Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano, praying and reading from the Bible at the podium, could have offered non-sectarian prayers and Old Testament scripture selections. Instead, they chose to quote the New Testament and to pray specifically to Jesus.
So, I'd like to ask: Just who is being insensitive to Jews?