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Palin calls Arizona criticism 'blood libel'

Former U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has accused journalists and pundits of "blood libel" for attempting to blame Saturday's shooting of an Arizona congresswoman on vitriolic political discourse.

Blaming only incites the hatred it purports to condemn, politician says

Former U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has accused journalists and pundits of "blood libel" for attempting to blame Saturday's shooting of an Arizona congresswoman on vitriolic political discourse.

In a 7½-minute video posted online Wednesday, the former Alaska governor said it was wrong "to apportion blame for this terrible event," perpetrated by what she called "a deranged gunman."

Blood libel. The accusation that Jews murder non-Jews to obtain blood for Passover rituals. This accusation was repeated in many places in the Middle Ages and was the cause of anti-Jewish riots and massacres. It was a regular motif in anti-Semitic propaganda until the Second World War.

Source: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions

"Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own," Palin said, a fireplace and American flag in the background. "They begin and end with the criminals who commit them."

"Journalists and pundits should not manufacture blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn," she said.

"We are better than the mindless finger-pointing that we endured in the wake of the tragedy."

The video's release comes four days after the shooting at a public meeting at a Tucson shopping mall. Six people were killed and 14 injured, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat.

Last spring, Palin targeted Giffords's district as one of 20 that Republicans should try to win back because the Arizona congresswoman had supported U.S. President Barack Obama's health-care program. Palin has been criticized for marking each district with what appeared to be the crosshairs of a gunsight.

With files from The Associated Press

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