Terms of the Conflict

It would seem that the Palestinians have by their actions in the past three years truly won the right to be called "the suicide-bomber people". This defines them in terms of their most distinctive contribution to civilization, and thus would seem to have a special kind of fairness and justice in it.

Shalom Freedman,

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The historian Joel Fishman has recently written an article tracing much of Arab propaganda to the Bolshevik Cold War terminology developed in the former Soviet Union. It suggested one important reason that why we in recent years have not fared well against the vicious distortions of the Arab propaganda machine. They have controlled the terminology of the conflict.

The violence of the past three years is to the Arabs and most of the world "the Al-Aksa Intifada", but for only for a minority of Israelis, "the Oslo War". The first "intifada" was a great Arab triumph in the sense that Israelis and Jews adopted that term also. And many Jews, and most of the world, now speak without a flicker of hesitation about the "occupation" and about the "West Bank". The historical term Judea and Samaria again seems to be the possession only of those Jews and Christians who actually read the Bible, or actually believe that G-d promised the land of Israel to the Jews. The term "liberation" for the Israeli taking of East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, has also never caught on anywhere.

This unfortunate situation raises the question of whether or not there might be an attempt to introduce a few new terms with the hope of improving Israel's situation in 'the hasbara war'.

It would seem that the Palestinians have by their actions in the past three years truly won the right to be called "the suicide-bomber people". This defines them in terms of their most distinctive contribution to civilization, and thus would seem to have a special kind of fairness and justice in it.

Instead of referring to the Israeli supporters of Oslo and the farce of the agreement at Geneva as the "peace camp", it would probably be wiser to refer to them as the "Tel Aviv Trojan Horses" or "the Israeli Benedict Arnolds". Both of these suggestions seem a bit awkward, but "fifth column" and "traitors" are overused and not specific enough in reference. As for the large group of Israeli intellectuals, academics and media people who are always eager to find some excuse or justification for Palestinian violence, they might be referred to as "the crap-where-they-eat Israelis".

There are other realities in the conflict that could use terminological revision. The Arab world could be called "Backward-land" or "the Swamp". Instead of the words "guerillas" and "fighters" for terrorists, it would be a great innovation if they were simply called "terrorists". The European supporters of Palestinian terror are the "silver-spoon anti-Semites", or perhaps just "rich anti-Semitic trash".

Most importantly the whole conflict should be labeled for what it is: The "Arab war on Israel", the "racist Arab jihad against the Jews", or the "Arab anti-Semitic campaign to destroy the Jewish state". All of these expressions seem somewhat awkward, and unlikely to catch on.

So, if I were to focus on one, and ask the readers of this article to use it whenever they can, as much as they can, it would be "the suicide-bomber people" for the Palestinians ? for that is what they truly are.


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