Alan Dershowitz, Authority on Usage

At and one may read that Professor Alan Dershowitz defends Governor Palin’s usage of “blood libel.”  To quote from Rick Pedraza at  “… Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz said the term’s use has evolved over the years from one fraught with pain in Jewish history, and that Palin used the term correctly.

“ ‘The term ‘blood libel’ has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse,’ Dershowitz told He said that, although the historical origins of the term were “in theologically based false accusations against Jews and the Jewish people,” its current use has become part of the English parlance to refer to anyone being falsely accused.

“ ‘I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the state of Israel by the Goldstone Report,’ Dershowitz said. ‘There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.’ ”

What an interesting standard for usage Professor Dershowitz adduces!  Until I read this item, I was unaware of Professor Dershowitz’s authority regarding what is proper or widespread usage.

He has offered us all a remarkably useful standard:  “Have I myself misused this term?  If so, its use is proper and widespread.”


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