A couple of weeks ago, a wacko named Jared Loughner, who has absolutely nothing to do with Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh committed an unspeakable crime in Tucson. Never mind that he killed four other people and shot a Rep. Giffords in the head, he killed a nine year old girl and that is good enough for me to hate him with an indescribable passion. We all search to find meaning in this craziness, this horrifying irrationality. “He must have been induced to this extreme behavior!”
The left blames the right. The right blames the left. The sane blame insanity. What Loughner put on Youtube and what he said to friends about his conspiratorial beliefs is simple insanity.Â Many of us try to explain terrible events by trying to attribute order to them, giving them a cause and therefore and effect that we can comprehend. Some went after leaders on the political right including Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, but most strongly Governor Palin. They argued that her words and actions incited this man to this deed. Palin had evidently placed crosshairs on a map of congressional seats to target as especially important to win for those politically aligned with her. Rep. Giffords district was one of them. “Palin put crosshairs on Giffords! She must be responsible!”
Well friends, Loughner published a lot online and with incredible and ludicrous details. No where does he mention anything about Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh. Here is where anti-Judaism creeps in to the picture.
No few people accused Palin of inciting Loughner to this action and Palin responded by accusing them of a “blood libel“. “Blood Libel!” Some Jewish leaders screamed:
Blood libel is a term that belongs to us! It can only refer to accusations that Jews use the blood of others for baking matzah, for sacrifices, for gefilte fish, for powering Dimona, as a secret ingredient in Coca Cola, for making Barbies and other actions of pure evil.
Well, I embellish a bit. The reality is that “blood libel” does indeed have painful connotations for Jews. Libels have resulted in pogroms against the Jews time and again with some entire communities being massacred. Yet the concept is a simple one, and here Governor Palin was correct. The concept is that one community, or even a person, is accused of a murder in which they were totally uninvolved because the accuser wishes to do that community, or the specific people accused, harm regardless of their culpability. Jews were accused of crimes because people hated the Jews, not because they were involved in the crimes. Meanwhile, the Jewish community officially objects to Gov. Palin’s use of the term. Okay. I think it was appropriate to an extent, but using another term would have been better, one option which I will share with you in a moment.
Where does the anti-Judaism come in? It comes into the picture with the selective outcry about incitement. All one need do is to look at the difference between the coverage of the Fort Hood shooting and the Tucson shooting. In the Fort Hood shooting, the perpetrator was a devout Muslim who had at one point attended the mosque in America led by Anwar Al-Awlaki, near the top of the Al-Qaeda chart. Al-Awlaki is the head of Al-Qaeda in Yemen. No one in the mainstream media, N-O O-N-E, would ever accuse Maj. Hasan of being incited by an Imam in an American Mosque, would they??? Hasan had direct contact and was in communication with Al-Awlaki in America!!! But the media blamed the army, the right wing in fact, for persecuting him, even though the military welcomed him and went out of its way to help him through his schooling and residency.
Let us compare that to the Tucson incident. In that, the media immediately looked for incitement by right wing leaders, going so far as to ignore the facts published by Loughner himself that negated their arguments. Who needs facts when you have a narrative that you like to use! Some of you have just noted that this is where Governor Palin is connected with anti-Judaism.
Jews and Israel specifically are often accused of crimes that they not only did not commit, but can provide evidence that they had nothing to do with. Yet there are those out there who accuse none-the-less. Is the argument that Israel trained sharks to attack tourists in Egypt not libelous? What about the argument that the Mossad is responsible for the attacks against Christians in Iraq rather than the Muslims who claimed responsibility? How about those who argue that Israel perpetrated 9/11? I could go on and on, but you get the point. The assertion that Governor Palin’s words somehow impelled this wacko (wacko is far nicer a term than is deserving) to bloodlust is not only totally unfounded, but is in fact controverted by the evidence offered by Loughner himself. Should Governor Palin and others similarly accused have called the media’s accusation a “blood libel” as opposed to a Media Libel, which is the term I would rather apply, or some other similar term? Perhaps she should have used another term. But fussing at her about her use of “Blood Libel” misses the real point. The real point is that the same narrative hugging, fact denying, that is going on against Israel and has been going on against the Jews for time immemorial is being applied in the mainstream American press to their perceived opponents on the political right.
Far from being guilty of anti-Judaism, Governor Palin and others on the political right including Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, who were also similarly accused of incitement, were in many ways the victims of anti-Judaism simply applied beyond the boundaries of the Jewish community and unto friends of Israel. Meanwhile, as I write this, Rep. Giffords, a strong supporter of Israel and a member of the all too persecuted tribe, is making a remarkable recovery in a Houston hospital. My thoughts are with her, with her family, with others making recoveries and with the families of those who lost loved ones to Sinat Hinam, blind hatred.