Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, defending herself against criticism following the Tucson, Ariz., shootings, said Monday that she used the term "blood libel" to describe comments made by those who falsely tried to link conservatives to the assassination attempt against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Speaking out for the first time since she used the term in a video, Palin said on Fox's Sean Hannity show that the term referred to those "falsely accused of having blood on their hands."
Some Jewish groups strongly protested her use of the term, which historically was used to accuse Jews of using blood of Christians in religious rituals.
"I think the critics again were using anything that they could gather out of that statement," Palin said. "You can spin up anything out of anybody's statements that are released and use them against the person who is making the statement."
The New York Times reports:
She dismissed suggestions that she did not know the historical significance of the phrase.
"Blood libel obviously means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands and in this case," Ms. Palin said, "that's exactly what was going on."
Palin, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012, said the criticism won't stop her from speaking out and accusing Democrats of taking the country in the wrong direction.
"They can't make us sit down and shut up," she said.
Palin said her political action committee's use of crosshairs to identify targeted congressional districts for Republican pickups was not original and has been used by Democrats. As she spoke, a Democratic map was shown on the screen with circular targets of districts Democrats wanted to win.
The shooting on Jan. 8 killed six and wounded 13, including Giffords. Her district was among those in the Palin site's crosshairs.