Words Matter: How The Israeli Left And The Palestinians Try To Shape Public Discourse

UPDATE 5 pm Israel time Sunday:

It has been a quiet and peaceful day here in Israel as the Hamas Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have stopped shooting at the men, women, and children of southern Israel. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that at 9:32 am, Hamas terrorists fired two mortars at a town in the western Negev. And at 3:42 pm this afternoon a town in the Eshkol region was targeted by Qassam rocket that blew up near its dining hall. And at 4:06 pm, two more rockets were fired out of Gaza at citizens in the Ofakim region. And at 4:41 pm–19 minutes ago–two more mortar shells struck at an unspecified location near the Gaza border fence. Yes, a quiet and peaceful day with the terrorists strictly adhering to the ceasefire they agreed to last night.

UPDATE 8 am Israel time Sunday:

Hamas announced last evening around 9:00 pm that an Egyptian mediated truce with Israel had been reached and would shortly go into effect. Almost immediately afterwards, at 9:26 pm, we here in Ashdod heard and were rocked by large explosions coming from Ashkelon where the Iron Dome system intercepted 5 Grad rockets over the city.

From that point until now, here’s what the “ceasefire” has meant to Hamas and the people of southern Israel: at 1:37 am, there was an incoming rocket warning for Sderot.  At 1:49 am, 2 mortars were fired at an IDF force along the Gaza fence. There was an attempted launch of a missile out of Gaza at 3:25 am. In other words, as usual, there is no ceasefire. The IDF is now reporting that southern Israel has been struck by more than 150 rockets in this latest round of Palestinian terrorist assaults.


One of the readers of this israelstreet blog called my attention earlier this week to the fact that my blogs are now being used as sources for Wikipedia articles (for example see the Wikipedia article “Hezbollah Armed Strength” citation 9). Because the information that appears on these pages everyday is so carefully researched, I look at this use as a positive development in our struggle to disseminate accurate information about what is happening here in Israel.

Earlier this month the leftist Mofet Institute in Tel Aviv published notice of its newest free training class: “A Wikipedia Editors’ Course,” Led by workshop coordinator Idit Menashe, a self described “policy change consultant”, the course was described partly as follows (emphasis mine):


“Human rights discourse is constantly under threat from the general public because it is often challenging and critical. Data has been used to attack data democratic values ​​in recent years.

To help the public further conceptualize these values, we ​​have to be active in public discourse, and an important way to do so is through Wikipedia, an important tool for the dissemination of ideas and values. 

The main topics in this course will be: What is Wikipedia? How do you create a value? How can you edit existing values?  How can wikipedia sources be used to prove allegations?”


Aside from the arrogant leftist presumption that the public is unable to engage in “human rights” discourse because it is so “challenging and critical”, and the suggestion that we must stop the use of “data” to attack “democratic values”, this course’s proposal that we must use Wikipedia to create new values and edit existing ones smacks of propaganda of the first order.  

And the implication contained in its final sentence is startling–after a human rights group makes an allegation, then someone from that group should write a Wikipedia entry of disinformation “to prove” that the allegation is true. 

Of course your humble servant has always been interested in terminology–specifically in how the Israeli and Western media so readily buy into the self proclaimed “human rights” organizations’ and Palestinians’ propagandistic use of words. To that end, I have often proposed a lexicon to describe things as they really are–not as the Palestinians and their collaborators want us to think they are (see this past blog).

Last Tuesday it was revealed (by Palestinian Media Watch) that the PLO/PA Ministry of Information has published a new guide entitled Terminology in Media, Culture, and Politics. The following statement from its preface reads like it could have come from the Wikipedia Editors’ course description above:

“Political, cultural and media terminology has been a fundamental tool in the Arab- Palestinian/ Zionist-Israeli conflict throughout the past century . . .  the Israeli terminology acts to distort the Palestinian national struggle, it turns the essence of the Zionist endeavor from a racist, colonialist endeavor into an endeavor of self-definition and independence for the Jewish people.”

So what are some of the new terms that the PLO/PA now insist be used:

*instead of “suicide bombing” operations, writers should use “martyrdom-seeking” operations

*instead of “Israeli Defense Minister”, writers should use “Israeli minister of war”

*instead of “Israel Defense Forces, writers should use “Israeli Occupation Forces”

*instead of “Israeli redeployment, writers should use “Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory”

*instead of “east Jerusalem”, writers should use “Arab Jerusalem”

*instead of “Magen David”, writers should use “six-pointed star”

Words matter. The constant effort to delegitimize takes many forms–not the least of which is the use of language and the presentation of false information to support the Palestinian narrative and undermine Israel.

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