Words as Weapons

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Words as Weapons – The Power of Language

Never underestimate the power of language. As George Orwell said, “if thought can corrupt language, language can corrupt thought.” Those who are determined to destroy the only Jewish state in the world have corrupted the language that we use to discuss Israel and the Middle East. This maneuver is beautifully documented in the recently published “Word Crimes.” The shift in language has taken place over decades, and is often so subtle that we are unaware that they influence the way we think. On this site, every effort will be made to avoid language that has purposely been corrupted in order to twist how people understand Israel and the Middle East.

Visit our Glossary of the language related to Israel and AntiSemitism youshould expect to find on this site.

Words as Weapons against Israel
Here are words that are used as weapons against Israel— many have been in play so long that they have become mainstream:

Accusing Israel of Terrorism

Terrorism is used as a weapon against Israel when people accuse Israel of  terrorism, which is false. Terrorist groups such as Hamas have refused to define this word, because doing so would highlight their own guilt as perpetrators. The word on this site will reflect the commonly understood American meaning: Terrorism is violence targeted at innocent civilians to instill fear in the public for a political purpose.

Israel has its own definition that is more complex but consistent with the above (1). Israel does not target civilians and goes out of its way to protect  them. Israel does not support terrorism.

West Bank Erases the Jewish Connection

West Bank is a term used by anti-Israel/antisemitic voices to erase the Jewish connection to Judea and Samaria, a connection that has been critically important to the Jewish people for millennia.

When the UN established Israel in 1948, Judea and Samaria were to be included as part of Israel. Instead, Jordan invaded and took that land, destroying Jewish sites, expelling indigenous Jews, and renaming the region “West Bank,” although it extends far beyond the bank of the Jordan river. On this site you will see references to Judea and Samaria.

Occupation Paints the Jews as Foreigners and Oppressors

Occupation is used as a weapon in order to paint Jews as foreigners and oppressors in their own land. It is often is used to describe Israel’s presence in Judea/Samaria.

Here is some pertinent history of that region:

  • As part of the 1967 war, Jordan attacked Israel
  • Israel won
  • By any standard in history, all the land would be the victor’s, in other words, Israel’s
  • Instead, in UN Resolution 242, Israel offered to negotiate with their attacker. This was to be resolved when Arab countries would negotiate new, more secure borders, however Arab leaders have rejected every Israeli offer of peace and territorial compromise.
  • The area is therefore disputed, not “occupied”

Sometimes people claim that all of Israel is occupied territory, which is another deception. It is important to remember that some of the Jewish holdings were purchased from wealthy absentee Arab landowners. Also, much of the land was uninhabited before Israel’s founding. Ben Gurion, the first leader of Israel, begged the Arabs to stay and build a nation together with Jews, but the invitation was met with attacks against Israel from all surrounding Arab nations 24 hours after his plea.

Settlements Making Jewish Homes Seem Makeshift and Illegitimate

Settlements is a term used as a weapon by making Jewish homes seem makeshift and illegitimate. All people need housing to accommodate their populations. When Arabs build, they have towns and villages and there is silence. If Israelis build, the world expresses outrage and calls them “settlements”. This site will avoid the double standard, and will call Israeli housing villages and towns just they would be called anywhere else.

Resistance a Coverup for Terrorism

Anti-Israel groups such as Hamas and SJP cover up their support for terrorism by changing the term to “resistance.” This word is used to describe any  violence against Israel and Israelis. Hamas buses their people in to attack Israelis at the Gaza border. This is terrorism and rioting, not simply resistance.

Apartheid a South African Connection

Israel haters accuse the country of “Apartheid”. This term is used as a weapon against Israel to accuse it of racism, similar to that which took place in South Africa. It is intentionally inflammatory and false. The rights of all Israel’s citizens, Jews, Arabs, Druze, Muslims, Christians and others, are protected equally under the law. All citizens vote in free and fair elections. All citizens  have equal access to all institutions of higher education, etc.

Under South African apartheid, laws forbade most social contacts between the races, authorized segregated public facilities, established separate educational standards, restricted each race to certain kinds of jobs, etc. Anyone who has been to Israel knows first-hand that all minorities in Israel enjoy full and equal rights as citizens, all public facilities are integrated, etc.

There is a double standard regarding many Islamic countries since most have ethnically cleansed all Jews from their land.

Antisemites call the security barrier an “apartheid wall” when in fact it is a security wall that has cut terrorist attacks against Israelis by 98%.

Protestor or is it Rioter?

Protestor, this word is a weapon that paints rioters at the Gaza border as peaceful. In America this word represents people holding signs and shouting slogans. Gaza rioters are violent. When thousands of Muslim Arabs go to the  Gaza border on every Jewish sabbath to launch fire kites, throw Molotov  cocktails and firebombs, try to break through the fence with knives to stab and kill Israelis, this is not peaceful. Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al Zaher said “When we talk about peaceful resistance, we are deceiving the public. This is a peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies.”

Genocide Against Palestinians

In another bizarre twist, Israel is accused of genocide against “Palestinians.” Genocide is defined as extermination of a race. The most famous example is Hitler’s attempted genocide of the Jewish people when the Nazi regime targeted, murdered, tortured and starved the Jewish people to death, cutting  its population in half. On the other hand, the Israeli Muslim Arab population is 15 times what it was since the founding of Israel. Clearly, this is the opposite of  genocide, yet this word is yet another weapon used against Israel, adding to the list of false accusations against the only Jewish state in the world.

  1. Guest edited by scholars Donna Robinson Divine, Miriam F. Elman, and Asaf Romirowsky, with contributions from leading academics and seasoned practitioners,  rd Crimes, a special issue of Israel Studies, interrogates how language is deployed in advancing partisan positions in the Israeli-Palestinian contest over land, power, and identity.
  2. Answering Tough Questions about Israel, Israel 101, Stolen Narratives, StandWithUs
  3. My Life, Golda Meir