Mrs Palin insisted she is “not going to shut up” despite the furore surrounding her use of the term to castigate those who had accused her of fomenting violence.
She accused “journalists and pundits” of “blood libel” after critics said she bore some responsibility for the Tucson killings, due to her use of hard-line rhetoric and a “crosshairs” symbol shown on a map of conservative districts held by Democrats.
The phrase, which she used in a video speech posted on Facebook, is normally used to refer to the historic anti-Semitic myth that Jews killed Christian children in order to use their blood in religious rituals.
Mrs Palin was roundly criticised even on the Right for her choice of language. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded after being shot in the head, is Jewish and her district was one of those targeted in Mrs Palin’s graphic.
Mrs Palin, who is considering running for president in 2012, said: “I will continue to speak out,” she told Fox News. “They’re not going to shut me up.” She was fully justified, she said, because she was “falsely accused of being an accessory to murder” after the Tucson shootings by the apparently deranged Jared Loughner.
“Blood libel obviously means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands.” She said she had used the term after reading it in a newspaper column.
Mrs Palin was speaking shortly before Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York was due to introduce legislation that would to ban the sale of enhanced gun clips. An enhanced clip was used in the Tucson shootings on Jan. 8, which left six dead and 14 wounded.
“The only purpose for the existence of these devices is to be able to shoot as many people as possible as quickly as possible. There is no reason that these devices should be available to the general public,” Mrs McCarthy said.
Enhanced clips were prohibited in the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban but the ban expired in 2004. The legislation has little chance of being passed by the Republican-held House of Representatives.
Republican strategists have said that Mrs Palin’s use of the “blood libel” term caused her grave damage politically, especially after it became contrasted with a speech later that day by President Barack Obama in which he which he said no blame should be apportioned and appealed for harmony.
Her comments came as an ABC-Washington Post poll found that 78 per cent of Americans approved of the way Mr Obama responded to the shootings, while just 30 per cent approved of Mrs Palin’s reaction.
During the interview she also defended her use of crosshairs. “It wasn’t an original graphic,” she said. “Democrats have been using it for years.”
She noted that Loughner, 22, was not linked to the Tea Party, Republicans or conservatives in any way and described him as “apolitical or perhaps even Left-leaning”. [via The Telegraph (UK)]