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A Memo to Sarah Palin

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To: Gov. Sarah Palin

From: Rabbi Kurt F. Stone

Re : You, Menachem Mendel Beilis,  and Your Political Future

   Like many, I am both troubled and mystified by your recent YouTube video.  That you chose to release the video on the very day that the eyes and hearts of the nation were directed towards Tucson where President Obama was speaking at the University of Arizona memorial service is, perhaps, forgivable.  After all, striking while the iron is hot is one of the top-five rules in bare knuckles politics.  However, turning yourself into a victim at a time when a nation mourns the dead and prays for the wounded is, decidedly, not forgivable.  It betrays both a stunning lack of sensitivity and a wide swath of self-centeredness.

   Governor, you were neither killed nor wounded, let alone targeted by a madman.  You are, thank God, healthy, wealthy and in one piece.  Again, you were not a victim.  Oh sure, there has been a lot of idle chatter about you and the "role" you supposedly played in this horrific tragedy.  But as you or one of your followers might say, "I reject their charges, but support their right to speak freely." 

   W hile I do not agree with those who say you are to blame for the carnage, I am nonetheless dumbfounded by your response to that horror;  specifically, your narcissitic "woe is poor pitiful me" approach, and your tone deaf use of the term "blood libel."  You should know that as a Jew, as an educated man who knows a thing or two about his people's history, these two words -- "blood libel" -- send a 50 terawatt chill up my spine.  I'm going to give you, your handlers and your speech writer(s) the benefit of the doubt and conclude that you do not understand what kind of memories, images or fears the words "blood libel" conjure up for Jews and other people with a sensitivity and knowledge of human history.  You see, if not for this "benefit of the doubt," I would be left with no choice but to conclude that you are a bigot sending a out a "dog whistle message" to your supporters.  Stated this way, it's not really a great choice; you and your people are either ignorant or bigoted.  If it's the former, then perhaps you can be educated; if it be the latter, then you must be condemned.

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   Then again, perhaps you are neither ignorant nor a bigot; perhaps you are a craven political opportunist with an absolute tin ear -- which would be worst of all.  Again, giving you the benefit of the doubt, I will conclude that you know as much -- or as little -- about Western (let alone Jewish) history as you do about international relations, diplomacy, economics, or the  Federalist Papers.  To your ardent followers, this lack of knowledge is a badge of distinction; sure-fire proof that far from being some sort of elitist snob, you are a "one of the guys."  Sorry governor, but I want my leaders to be one heck of a lot smarter than I . . .

   At a time when we are attempting to be more civil in our public discourse, giving you the benefit of the doubt is both fitting and proper.  Let me clue you in on the meaning and history of  "blood libel," thereby giving you an understanding of why your use of those two polarizing words has likely put an end to your presidential aspirations.  

   In brief, "blood libel" refers to the preposterous claim or accusation that Jews murder Christian children and then use their blood in the preparation of the Passover matzah.  And you should know, Governor, that whenever and wherever this moronic cannard has reared it ugly head, death, destruction and dismemberment of

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Kurt Stone is a rabbi, writer, lecturer, political activist, professor, actor, and medical ethicist. A true "Hollywood brat" (born and raised in the film industry), Kurt was educated at the University of California, the Eagleton Institute of (more...)

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Kurt Stone, the author of this piece, just publish... by Kurt F. Stone on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 at 8:51:45 AM
I have just become your fan because of your incomp... by GLloyd Rowsey on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 at 9:40:52 AM
The word has become part of common discourse, as i... by Al Rodbell on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 at 9:53:00 AM
The Rabbi has a right to state his opinion. Sarah ... by Debbie S on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 at 11:17:23 AM
Debbie.... by GLloyd Rowsey on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 at 11:24:04 AM
I want to Thank-you...Thank-you very much!... by Debbie S on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 at 1:30:58 PM
Mr. Rodell is just describing the way a word set h... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 at 5:43:03 PM
Well said like a good Jacobin Ned. Let's just scra... by Roberto Benitez on Friday, Jan 28, 2011 at 4:30:40 PM
Debbie, I hope you're not insinuating you're a Chr... by Roberto Benitez on Friday, Jan 28, 2011 at 4:25:47 PM
Talk about lies? O.K. Recce1, who is lying?Recce1 ... by Debbie S on Saturday, Jan 29, 2011 at 11:52:12 AM
Debbie, are you so inerudite as to not remember OE... by Roberto Benitez on Saturday, Jan 29, 2011 at 3:55:06 PM
I think so, I don't have time for this fighting an... by Debbie S on Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 12:41:24 PM
Debbie, why is it you haven't the courage or integ... by Roberto Benitez on Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 6:35:41 PM
Palin likes to war with people who don't think her... by Debbie S on Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 8:53:12 PM
Debbie, who has she taken military action against ... by Roberto Benitez on Tuesday, Feb 1, 2011 at 3:12:30 AM
Debbie, I take it you believe conservatives are ch... by Roberto Benitez on Tuesday, Feb 1, 2011 at 3:31:56 AM
Debbie, why you're so aliterate? To what right wer... by Roberto Benitez on Tuesday, Feb 1, 2011 at 3:38:46 AM
God Bless You...and Good-Bye......................... by Debbie S on Tuesday, Feb 1, 2011 at 1:38:06 PM
Debbie, I hope we can see each other as the loyal ... by Roberto Benitez on Wednesday, Feb 2, 2011 at 12:10:36 AM
Especially for your "dog whistle" reference. You ... by Allen Oliver on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 at 1:30:20 PM
You are so right. She gets the big $$$'s, and Giff... by Debbie S on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 at 1:58:05 PM
It is scary that otherwise intelligent people woul... by Tom Stewart on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 at 6:51:53 PM
Maybe Sarah was referring to the Terrorists who ro... by Anton Grambihler on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 at 7:08:01 PM
Anton, so just where do you think the nation of Is... by Roberto Benitez on Friday, Jan 28, 2011 at 4:37:41 PM
and frankly I'm sick of loud-mouthed conservative ... by Odyseus_97 on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 at 10:24:24 PM
"irresponsible speech" indeed."AK-47s" indeed. "ta... by Natalie Oberman on Thursday, Jan 20, 2011 at 12:13:09 AM
Starla,It's unfortunate but not surprising so may ... by Roberto Benitez on Friday, Jan 28, 2011 at 6:33:10 PM
As the son of a Jewish father, I never knew of thi... by Paul Harris on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 at 11:55:59 PM
Moscow, Idaho...or actually Pullman, Washington (W... by Allan Wayne on Thursday, Jan 20, 2011 at 1:07:17 AM
"By 1921, McCarty and Edward Maslin Hulme, the dea... by Natalie Oberman on Thursday, Jan 20, 2011 at 2:21:25 AM
Hubris and incompetence; whatever you want to call... by Jay Farrington on Thursday, Jan 20, 2011 at 8:18:36 AM
Finally, someone who states his position clearly w... by Helion Cruz Gonzalez on Thursday, Jan 20, 2011 at 9:00:24 PM
Rabbi, to Christians the 10 Commandments says w... by Roberto Benitez on Friday, Jan 28, 2011 at 7:53:01 PM