Blood Libel. What’s the Bloody Deal?

If there’s one thing Sarah Palin is good at besides taking out elk from her kitchen window, it’s her uncanny ability to stir up the crowd with her choice selection of words.

And here we go again. As a well-informed llama, I find all the hype about Sarah muttering the words blood libel to be, if not another political stunt, just a misunderstanding of etymology. Blood libel. Blooooood libel. Just let those words roll around in your mouth for a second. You want to spit them out, don’t you?

Blood and libel are two words that connote gore and destruction in the English language, and now they have also done the same for my lunch hour when I’ve had to be subjected to the NPR crew getting their BVDs all in a bunch about what Sarah did this time.

So, what is the etymology behind blood libel, and what’s all the fuss about?

Blood libel has been utilized throughout history suggesting that minorities, mainly Jews, murder children for religious customs. This false accusation has resulted in the misunderstanding and persecution of Jews, their customs, and their religious beliefs for years upon years. (Now this is when it just gets absurd.) These blood libels suggest that Jews require the blood of children, especially Christian children, to bake matzos for Passover. And how convenient it was throughout history for people to claim that when their child died mysteriously — probably because the kid had dysentery or ate dirty turnips or something — everyone pointed at the Jews and claimed blood libel?

“Billy disappeared and turned up dead after recess, Mom!”

“Oh, honey! Hide your scapular! Those dirty Jews are out to bake a fresh batch of matzo balls tonight!”

So, moving forward to 2011 when the devastating shooting rampage in Arizona took place just last week, every politician had something to say about it — while pointing their finger at their opposing party, of course. Sarah Palin, in keeping with her dialectal drama, blamed the scene partially on continuos tension and blood libel between republican and democratic parties. Yeah. Uhh. This didn’t fare very will with Jews nor the politically correct. That ol’ Sarah! She probably just thought that blood libel sounded so swift, so edgy.

Llamas are Switzerland; we are entirely neutral claiming partialness to neither side of the political fence. However, from what I know of Sarah Palin, I really, really, really do not believe she understood the heavily rooted etymology, or the consequences, of using such a term. But now you do.

All for now,

LL

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