Words Are Important: Changing The Dynamics Of The Israel Conversation

UPDATE (6 pm Sunday): At 5:03 pm, less than an hour ago, mortars were fired by the Palestinian Islamic Terrorists in Gaza at the children, women, and men of southern Israel. At 4:49 pm, Palestinian arsonists set fire to an orchard near Negohot.   At 4:29 pm, incoming terrorist rocket sirens were heard in Kfar Aza–Qassam strikes at Sha’ar Hanegev at 4:41 pm.


Words are important.

Your humble servant’s experience several days ago of confronting the bogus BDS narrative of Israeli “apartheid” and “occupation” and “massacres” has reinforced my belief that it is imperative that we not cede the terminological high ground to those who seek to delegitimize and destroy Israel. In an israelstreet blog last year (click here), I wrote: “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.”

Take the opening paragraphs of an article this morning in the left-wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz concerning the current leftist uproar over the possible approval of the Samarian communities of Bruchin, Sansana, and Rechalim.

First, note how the Haaretz reporter (Ophir Bar-Zohar) describes the situation:

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday that he would submit the issue of sanctioning three West Bank outposts to a specially formed panel.”

This description is quickly followed by a quote from Netanyahu earlier this month in which he noted that he would submit to his Cabinet “the necessary permits for providing for the status of the communities of Bruchin, Sansana and Rechalim.”

To the leftists, Bruchin, Sansana, and Rechalim are “West Bank” “outposts”–“illegal structures” built on “Palestinian land.” “Outposts” and “settlements” are terms solely meant to delegitimize “Jewish communities”. Why should we supporters of Israel accept the terminology of delegitimization?

Who is to say that the Palestinian “hamlets” and “villages” in Judea and Samaria are not “outposts” and “settlements” built on “undeeded land”? What fanciful contrivance has conveyed “legality” to them?

Today, as last year, your humble servant is proposing a list of 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’?

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. “Outpost” connotes “illegality.”

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. Just this morning, Israel’s so-called Defense Minister Ehud Barak–whose only concern these days is dismantling Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria–accused those Cabinet members such as Moshe Ya’alon  and Yisrael Katz who disagree with his decisions of “adopting the rhetoric of the extreme right.”

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.

11. Use Palestinian ‘settlements’ instead of  Palestinian ‘villages’ or ‘hamlets’. Who is kidding whom?  As I wrote yesterday, “Village” is a word blatantly used to make the West think that the Palestinians are and have been living peacefully and sleepily in hamlets for thousands of years.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

12. Use Palestinian ‘settlers’ instead of Palestinian ‘farmers’ and ‘villagers’. Let’s call people what they are, not what the delegitimizers would have us believe that they are.

13. Use international ‘lawbreakers’ instead of international ‘activists’ when referring to those members of the international community who come to Israel for the express purpose of breaking Israeli law and attacking Israeli police and soldiers.

14. Use ‘the suicide bomber prevention fence instead of the ‘separation fence’ or ‘wall’. Have we all forgotten why the suicide bomber prevention fence was built? To stop suicide bombers.

In the coming month, I will be appending this list to israelstreet blogs as a reminder–and occasionally adding more vocabulary items. Start using the correct terminology; you will be amazed how the dynamics of the Israel conversation change.

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