WASHINGTON (AFP) – US conservative celebrity Sarah Palin has defended her use of the term “blood libel” to accuse the media of blaming her supporters after the Arizona shooting spree.
The use of the term in a video statement last week has drawn criticism from some Jewish leaders because it refers to an anti-Semitic slander that spawned deadly pogroms going back to the Middle Ages.
In her first public interview since the video, Palin told Fox News defended her use of the controversial phrase, saying it was meant to show how some media commentators had blamed supporters of the archconservative Tea Party after the shooting.
She also said critics were falsely accusing her and other conservatives for the crime.
“It means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands and in this case that’s exactly what was going on,” she said.
“I think the critics, again, were using anything that they could gather out of that statement. You know, you can spin up anything out of anybody’s statements.”
Palin vowed to continue to speak out about what she called lies.
“They are not going to shut me up,” she said about her critics.
The attack, allegedly carried out by a disturbed local 22-year-old with no obvious political leanings, killed six people and wounded more than a dozen.
The intended target was US Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot through the head and critically wounded.