Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida, who is a close friend of Ms. Giffords, issued a statement condemning her use of the phrase “blood libel.”
“Palin’s comments either show a complete ignorance of history, or blatant anti-Semitism,” said Jonathan Beeton, Ms. Wasserman Shultz’s spokesman. “Either way, it shows an appalling lack of sensitivity given Representative Giffords’s faith and the events of the past week.”
The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement that, in part, came to Ms. Palin’s defense.
“It was inappropriate at the outset to blame Sarah Palin and others for causing this tragedy or for being an accessory to murder,” Abraham Foxman, the group’s national director, said in a statement. “Palin has every right to defend herself against these kinds of attacks.”
But Mr. Foxman added that “we wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase ‘blood-libel.’ ” He called it a phrase “fraught with pain in Jewish history.”
Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of a pro-Israel group called J Street, said that “when Governor Palin learns that many Jews are pained by and take offense at the use of the term, we are sure that she will choose to retract her comment, apologize and make a less inflammatory choice of words.”