Former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin broke her silence on the Gabrielle Giffords shooting earlier today, posting a video on her Facebook page that will no doubt only add to the controversy.
Palin strongly defends the violent imagery used by the Tea Party and her PAC in targeting Democratic congressional districts, including Giffords’s 8th CD in southern Arizona. Palin, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, says both political parties use maps of swing districts with war-like verbiage.
Last spring, Palin’s PAC produced a map with crosshairs over key Democratic districts, including Giffords’s CD8 two in Colorado. Saturday’s shooting in Tucson of Giffords and 19 others, six fatally, has renewed the criticism of the map, particularly from the left. Giffords is still in critical conditions after being shot once through the brain by Jared Lee Loughner.
“… Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn,” Palin says in the video. “That is reprehensible.”
The New York Times points out that Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” may only incite more controversy because Giffords is Jewish, and, “The term blood libel is generally used to mean the false accusation that Jews murder Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals, in particular the baking of matzos for passover.”
Halina Reed, a Jewish, Latina member of the Somos Republicans – a national conservative Hispanic advocacy group started in Arizona – said in a prepared statement that Palin now must answer for another misstep:
“The target of Saturday’s assassination attempt, Gabrielle Giffords, is a proud Jewish woman herself,” Reed said. “As we can see, Sarah Palin, who claims to both support the ideals of freedom and the Jewish nation of Israel has really outdone herself this time. Whether it was a case of clumsy oratory or a more sinister motive, she needs to own her behavior this time.”