Sarah Palin has defended the use of the term “blood libel” in a video address last week about the media reaction to the attempted assassination of a Jewish congresswoman in Tucson, Arizona.
She told a Fox News interviewer that those “on the left” criticising her for employing the phrase, which refers to an age-old slur accusing Jews of using Christian blood for ritual purposes, had deliberately spun her statement.
The former vice-presidential candidate and Tea Party leader was described as “totally out of line” by the group Jewish Funds for Justice, while the president of J Street labelled it an “inflammatory choice of words”.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said he wished she had not used a phrase “so fraught with pain in Jewish history.”
Her comment came in response to criticism of a map, from last year’s mid-term campaign, which depicted cross hairs from a gun over congressional districts the Tea Party hoped to win. She called the suggestion this was linked to the motives of Jared Lougner’s shooting rampage “reprehensible.
Addressing the controversy almost a week after she made the remark, Mrs Palin said she had been referring to people “falsely accused of having blood on their hands.”
She said: “I think the critics again were using anything that they could gather out of that statement.
“You can spin up anything out of anybody’s statements that are released and use them against the person who is making the statement.”
“I know that a lot of those on the left hate my message and they will do all they can to stop me because they don’t like the message.”
Mrs Palin, widely tipped to be planning a presidential run for 2012, added that the furore would not make her “sit down and shut up”.