"The term 'blood libel' has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse," he said in a statement to biggovernment.com. "I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. 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."
When asked by ABC News why the former Alaska governor chose the term "blood libel," a Palin aide responded with Dershowitz's comments and a list compiled by the National Review of recent examples of the use of "blood libel" in the media.
Conservative writer Glenn Reynolds first used the term Monday in a Wall Street Journal op-ed to defend Palin.
"So as the usual talking heads begin their 'have you no decency?' routine aimed at talk radio and Republican politicians, perhaps we should turn the question around," Reynolds wrote. "Where is the decency in blood libel?"
Politicians on both sides of the political aisle have been, for the most part, mum on the issue, although Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., did imply today that Palin likely didn't understand the implications of using such a heavy-handed term.
"Intellectually, she seems not to be able to understand what's going on here," Clyburn said in a radio interview.
ABC News' Mary Bruce contributed to the report.