Sarah Palin today charged that those who say she is guilty of using rhetoric that creates an atmosphere where violence is permissible are themselves guilty of "blood libel." Elizabeth Tenety notes:
The term refers to the false claim made by Christians starting in the Middle Ages that Jews murder non-Jews and use their blood for ritual or medicinal purposes.
Palin also said today that only the Arizona shooter was responsible for the tragedy that occurred - not her, not anyone else.
But has Palin's rhetoric helped fuel a climate of division and violence? Many, including the Secret Service during the 2008 campaign, have said that Palin's words have had the result of inciting people to hate others - including the President - and, after all, Palin during the 2010 campaign put a "hit list" online that included U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head.
In terms of responsibility, lax gun laws certainly played a role in letting the assassin get a gun in the first place. There is plenty of responsibility to go around. We all share it in.
Palin's comments today - in which she literally declares she is being treated like a persecuted Jew (Giffords is, of course, actually Jewish) - are astounding and offer up a picture of Palin playing the victim instead of taking responsibility for her words and actions.
America needs leaders - particularly now - who take responsibility, seek common ground, and work toward reconciliation.
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