Dershowitz Gives Palin the Go-Ahead on "Blood Libel"
Dershowitz Gives Palin the Go-Ahead on "Blood Libel"
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 12 2011 1:49 PM

Dershowitz Gives Palin the Go-Ahead on "Blood Libel"

Big Government scoops a statement from Alan Dershowitz, the acting chairman of Making Sure Things Aren't Offensive to Jews.

The term "blood libel" has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People,its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report.


This is basically my position, which is why I am on Capitol Hill right now following other stories and not giving a ghost of a goddamn about what Sarah Palin said. I take Adam Serwer's point , though:

"Blood libel" is not wrongfully assigning guilt to an individual for murder, but rather assigning guilt collectively to an entire group of people and then using it to justify violence against them. 

It is unusual for "blood libel" to be applied to something that will only affect one person. National Review 's Jim Geraghty has been collected examples of "blood libel" used by other pols and pundits, and most refer to smears against entire groups of people -- especially smears that have been around awhile.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.