Summoning The Power Of Correct Terminology: 10 Phrases To Incorporate Into Your Vocabulary


A map showing the location of Givat Hamatos, a new Jerusalem neighborhood to be constructed between Gilo and Har Homa.

A map showing the location of Givat Hamatos, a new Jerusalem neighborhood to be constructed between Gilo and Har Homa. Note that this map taken from an Arab source denotes Bethelem as "Palestine"--even though Palestine does not exist.

Givat Hamatos, a new Jerusalem neighborhood that just garnered approval on Thursday pushing it into the advanced planning stage, has been receiving (yawn) the usual massive criticism from the international community and Israeli leftists for the last three days.

Never mind that the land for the project has many different owners including the Spanish government and the Latin Patriarch church and that some of the housing units will be used exclusively for Arabs in Beit Safafa–the European Union, the United Nations, the Quartet, the U.S. State Department, and the PLO/Palestinian Authority have all jumped on the bandwagon harshly condemning Israel.

But no one more than Jerusalem City Councilor Meir Margalit (a member of Israel’s ultra-liberal Meretz party): “I think that this is a decisive massacre of the option of returning to negotiations with Palestinians. . . The initiators of this project are terrorists.”

Massacre? Terrorists? For too long, Israel supporters like you and me have been passive in the face of extreme language used by those who wish to criticize and delegitimize Israel. Why do we acquiesce in the use of language created by the PLO, Hamas, and others to demean Israel in the international community and to usurp Jewish history?

Today, your humble servant is proposing a new lexicon focusing first on 10 specific words and phrases that we all should incorporate into our vocabulary. I encourage you to write these down or print them out for use when you write letters and articles, give presentations, or have conversations with your friends.

1. Use ‘Judea and Samaria’ instead ofthe West Bank. ‘West Bank’ is a term of occupation and exploitation created by the Jordanians to refer to the area west of the Jordan River illegally seized and annexed to Jordan in 1948. Prior to 1948, the land was referred to as Judea and Samaria for almost 3000 years.

2. Use ‘Jewish community’ instead of settlement. How in the world can anyone call communities such as Maaleh Adumin (40,000) and Modin Illit(45,000), and Ariel (20,000) ‘settlements’?

A night picture of Maaleh Adumim--does this really look like a 'settlement' to you?

A night picture of Maaleh Adumim--does this really look like a 'settlement' to you?

3.  Use ‘construction of Jewish homes, schools, and hospitals’ instead of settlement activity. By obscuring what the activities are, the activities are delegitimized.

4. Use ‘new Jewish communities’ instead of outposts‘. An outpost is a small military encampment not a place where people are planning to permanently live.

5. Use ‘Jewish community member’ instead of settler. Are we living in the wild west? Most Jewish community members are suburbanites commuting to jobs in Tel Aviv and elsewhere.

6. Use ‘conservative politicians’ instead of right-wing politicians‘. Smearing someone as ‘right-wing’ is a convenient way of dismissing what they have to say.

7. Use ‘PLO’ or  ‘Palestine Liberation Organization’ instead of Palestinian Authority. Mahmoud Abbas has made it clear that the PLO runs the show in Judea and Samaria, and the United Nations recognizes the PLO–not the Palestinian Authority.

8. Use ‘Palestinian Islamic Terrorist Organization–HAMAS’ instead of merely Hamas. HAMAS is an acronym for “Harakat al Muqawamah al Islamiyya” which means ‘Islamic Resistance Movement’. It is easier to say or write HAMAS, but the acronym does not tell what the organization is about.

9. Use ‘Israeli men, women, and children’ instead of  Israeli citizens when referring to those of us assaulted by terrorists. After all, Palestinian terrorists delight in trying to kill all Israelis–regardless of age or gender.

10. Use ‘Palestinian cities’ instead of  Palestinian refugee camps. Who is kidding whom? Cities such as Kalandiya are huge places with massive construction going on all the time–the city’s residents are not nomads living in tents.

For the next few weeks, your humble servant will post this lexicon at the bottom of each blog.

Finally, let’s take two sentences from the news yesterday to see how such changes can alter the character of what is being said.

First a sentence from an article in Haaretz:

“The United States has a clear policy – we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity construction of Jewish homes, schools, and hospitals,” the U.S. official said, adding that Washington opposed “any effort to legalize settlement outposts new Jewish communities, which is unhelpful to our peace efforts and would contradict Israeli commitments and obligations.”

Second, from an article in the Jerusalem Post:

News that [Netanyahu] might back away from his strict policy that all such structures be removed was bitterly attacked by the Left and hailed as a victory by the Right. The latter has long lobbied hard for the government to move toward legalizing the outposts new Jewish communitiesRight-wing Conservative politicians are concerned about a number of pending demolitions of unauthorized settler Jewish community member homes, including at the Migron and Givat Assaf outposts new Jewish communities.

Words are powerful; we should all use them correctly.  

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