Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sarah Palin and the Blood Libel

I’m not a Sarah Palin fan. I didn’t read her books, and while I have watched her kill a few animals on her television show, I am not a regular viewer. I say this because I want to be clear that when I say that I find it beyond the pale that anyone would accuse Governor Palin of kidnapping and murdering Christian babies, and using their blood to make bread, I do so as a challenger of her policies and not a supporter.

I know people are accusing her of this because she said so in a video she released earlier today. The Governor said that her critics “should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the hatred and violence that they purport to condemn. This is reprehensible.” I agree. Whoever is manufacturing this blood libel must be condemned.

While the false claim that Jews sacrificed Greeks in their Temple in Jerusalem was spread by Apion in the first century CE (a lie that caused the murder of thousands of Jews in Alexandria), the “official” blood libel was the invention of Christians. And while it pains me say so, I suggest it is among Christians and not among Greco-Egyptians like Apion that we must look if we are to find the accusers of Gov. Palin.

In 1144 Christians accused Jews of murdering William of Norwich. About a century later they accused Jews of kidnapping and crucifying eight-year-old Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, and using his entrails for purposes of divination. In 1475 Christians burned alive fifteen Jews for supposedly murdering two-year-old Simon of Trent. Baby Simon was made a saint by Pope Sixtus V in 1588, but his sainthood was revoked by Pope Paul VI in 1965. A double blow to Simon’s family, I’m sure.

In a sign of interfaith cooperation, Muslims picked up the blood libel in 1910, and as late as 2007 Raed Salah of the Islamic Movement in Israel accused Jews of using the blood of Muslim children in the baking of bread.

This is serious stuff. The blood libel is not to be taken lightly. The fact that Jews are forbidden from eating blood in any form (Leviticus 7: 26-27) is irrelevant to those hate-filled perpetrators of this slander. And though it is true that Sarah Palin is not a Jew, and therefore is permitted to consume blood, it is no less slanderous to claim that the blood she consumes is that of little children.

So let’s be clear: while Governor Palin, like millions of Americans, may enjoy a good slice of wheat or rye, she does not spice her slice with the blood of Christian or Muslim babies. Whoever is saying this about her must stop. Argue against her policies if you must, but do not claim that she eats the blood of the innocent. Unless, of course, they are caribou.

12 comments:

Mary said...

I have to ask the same question here that I used to ask about former President "W". "Who lets her talk???!!"

Madeleine said...

Factual note. Actually, human blood is kosher. That's why we are not required to dispose of the food we are preparing and and the utensils we are using, should we accidentally cut a finger with a knife, drawing blood.

Rabbi Rami said...

Madeleine makes a good point. If you are preparing food and cut yourself, or if your gums bleed, or you bite your tongue and it bleeds and you consume this blood it is not a problem, though you are not supposed to eat the part of the food that has your blood on it. But this has nothing to do with Blood Libel which is the accusation that Jews deliberately consume other people's blood. If you bite your lip you don't have to have your face removed, but you can't go around and suck the blood of your neighbor, human or animal.

Jamie said...

I have never, ever heard that this is what blood libel means. I always thought the blood libel or 'blood wit' was the price you had to pay to the victim's family when you caused the death of someone in a fashion not serious or intentional enough to merit the label of murder, but still enough to be considered responsible (such as modern day involuntary manslaughter)

Old Lady said...

... now moving on to a pound of flesh...

Rabbi Rami said...

Even USA TODAY got this wrong, claiming today that the Blood Libel was the Christian charge that the Jews killed Jesus and his blood is on our hands.

Chéeliyahu said...

Not too long ago, MyJewishLearning.com featured a guest blog by the forefather of Fantasy Friction, whose writing reclaims the blood libel and spins it into Vampire Heroism, sorta. Just look up "Thrilling Hebrew Tales! On Jewish Vampires, Golems, Tzaddiks, and HebrewPunk" for an historical overview of Jewish vlad.

Raksha said...

Comment on Sarah Palin's Facebook page: I don't think you get to say "blood libel" after you accuse a Jewish congresswoman of wanting to put your Christian child in front of a "death panel."

I wish I could claim credit for that world-class smackdown, but I've never even looked at Sarah Palin's Facebook page. It was reported on Democratic Underground this afternoon.

--Linda

Mary said...

I was raised as a Roman Catholic & was taught that the communion wine is actually transformed into the Blood of Christ and the wafer into the Body of Christ (Transubstantiation) before it is consumed.... so... WHO is deliberately consuming someone's blood here???? (ducks lightning bolt!!)

Barry said...

The fallout from this "blood libel" thing will be Sarah Palin's cross to bear.

eashtov said...

Shalom All,

Another POV:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/257099/
krauthammers-take-nro-staff

Wholeness,
Jordan

Claire said...

Yet a different understanding: http://religionnerd.com/2011/01/13/dog-whistle-for-prayer-warriors-palin-as-victim-of-blood-libel/

Click through to part two. Interesting stuff.