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Sarah Palin Stirs Controversy with Blood Libel Reference

In a video message (embedded above), author and politician Sarah Palin compared negative media attention to “blood libel.” The phrase refers to historical myths that Jews kidnap and murder Christian children.

Here’s the controversial passage: “If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

The phrase “blood libel” exploded on Twitter as people scrambled to decode the speech. Andrew Breitbart circulated the phrase on Twitter: “And to the gutless GOP establishment who watches in silence the blood libel against @SarahPalinUSA. We will remember.”  Below, we’ve included digital links to three scholarly books about the terrible legacy of blood libel in history.

The Blood Libel Legend: A Casebook in Anti-Semitic Folklore by Alan Dundes

Blood Libel: the Damascus Affair of 1840 by Ronald Florence

Poison: Modern Manifestations of a Blood Libel by Raphael Israeli

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