New York, NY, August 7, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called a local union official's use of the term "blood libel" in writing about the American Federation of Teachers' disagreement with former CNN host Campbell Brown, "inappropriate and over-the-top."
"We wish this union official had not invoked the phrase "blood libel" in reference to the disagreement between Campbell Brown and the American Federation of Teachers," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "While the term "blood libel" has become part of the English parlance to refer to someone being falsely accused, he should have used another phrase, instead of one so fraught with pain in Jewish history. To use it in reference to criticism of the school union's policies and practices was clearly inappropriate and over-the-top."
The term "blood libel" appeared in a blog written on August 5 by Leo Casey, an AFT Vice President in New York. Mr. Casey has since reached out to ADL to express regret for any offense his use of the term has caused.
The "blood libel" refers to a centuries-old false allegation that Jews murder Christians – especially Christian children – to use their blood for ritual purposes, such as an ingredient in the baking of Passover matzah (unleavened bread). The blood libel dates back to the Middle Ages and has persisted despite Jewish denials and official repudiations by the Catholic Church and many secular authorities. Blood libels historically led to mob violence and pogroms, and occasionally to the decimation of entire Jewish communities.