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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Using language as a weapon against Israel (Zvi)

From Zvi:

There is a conscious strategy on the part of anti-Israel propagandists to misappropriate emotionally laden terms, distort and misapply them, and use them as weapons against Israel and Jews. Emotionally laden terms that normally are associated with hurting Jews are particularly favored, partly because these are emotion-laden words for Jewish supporters, and partly because the abuse causes both anger and real pain for many Jews - and as we've seen, hurting Jews is the objective.

Misappropriated, distorted and misapplied terms include:

* genocide - This is the ridiculous claim that Israel has committed "genocide" against the Palestinians, despite the latter's constantly increasing population.

* humanitarian crisis - misapplied to Gaza. We've been through this on this blog.

* massacre - as in "Jenin Massacre", the "massacre" that never happened;also used against Israel whenever Israel's enemies throw human shields at Israel during battle and the human shields get killed by accident.

* prison - misapplied to Gaza

* Holocaust - attempts to claim that it didn't happen, but at the same time to misappropriate it to represent things that bear absolutely no relationship to the Holocaust, such as fighting back against rocket-launching terrorists in Gaza, or the Naqba.

* Warsaw Ghetto - misapplied to Gaza; people have done this even on this blog. Anyone who even remotely understands what happened during the Holocaust, and particularly in the Ghetto, will never make this claim unless doing so with malicious intent.

* concentration camp - misapplied to Gaza; people have done this even on this blog. Same comment as Warsaw Ghetto.

* Apartheid - misapplied to Israel. Here's the obnoxious Ahmed Tibi, who is a Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, doing something that is actually rather funny. No, I don't like the guy, but yes, I'm amused by this. So anyway, back to Apartheid: were there black deputy speakers in the South African parliament during the apartheid years? Anyone? No? I'm so shocked... . The "Apartheid" claim is another one of these misappropriated and demonstrably misapplied terms that is just ... entirely missing the facts.

* anti-Semitism - Ths is the "Arabs are Semites" argument, which is used to pretend that "Arab anti-Semitism can't exist because Arabs are Semites"

* Nazis - This is the attempt to equate Israel with Nazism, both because the Left hate Nazis and can be led by the nose, and because it hurts Jews to make this comparison.

* "activist" - implies Gandhi or MLK; applied to militants, rioters, gunmen and even outright terrorists in order to whitewash them.

* peace activist - See "Activist". Particularly applied to violent and nonviolent members of anti-Israel hate groups. The "massacre of the peace activists on the MM". Even Israeli governmental and military personnnel are often clueless enough to fall into the trap of using the incredibly distorted language concocted by Israel's enemies, language that automatically puts Israel in the emotional wrong.

* War crimes - mutated to mean "anything Israel does"

* Proportionality - mutated to mean "Israel must allow terrorists to kill its people, because responding to terrorist attacks in any effective manner is forbidden"

* Zionism - Reinterpreted as racism by the UN General Assembly. Sure, that got repealed. Eventually. The damage had already been done. [The term Zionism nowadays is used as a simple synonym for evil by the entire Arab world and a good proportion of the far left. -EoZ]

* Martyr - a person who murdered Jewish (or Western) civilians and was killed while fighting in the name of slaughtering the Jews.

This list is only the beginning, and this list is only the list for English.

The misappropriation, distortion and misuse of emotion-laden words appears to seek several objectives.

1. These emotion-laden terms encourage listeners to turn off intellect and reason and instead engage in strong emotional reactions. This makes it easier for propagandists to influence their dupes to hatred and violence. The distorted terms are supported by lies, distortions and ridiculously superficial similarities, and by the ignorance or misplaced trust of the listeners, and by intimidation of people who dare to speak out and correct the record. Eventually the lies are simply assumed, and the emotion-laden terms have been misappropriated. People who buy into the lies become enraged. The language makes people who are neutral feel a gut level disturbance. And people with short attention spans don't stick around to learn the truth. They just keep hearing the misapplied words over and over again, in conjunction with Jews and Israel. It eventually has a subconscious impact. The subconscious impact, rather than the conscious impact, is the goal of the distortion.

2. There is an attempt to shift the meanings of these terms through endless repetition, such that while carrying heavy emotional baggage, the words have been shifted such that they now mean whatever the propagandists want them to mean. Nasty dictatorships love this stuff, which is why they engage in this kind of thing all the time. It deprives legitimate human rights groups of important words that they need to describe what the dictatorships are doing. When you see a group of dictatorships trying to reinterpret "Islamophobia" as criticism or embarassing the regime or upsetting Muslims, you know that you are witnessing this strategy at work (though in this case it is being targeted at the west in general, not just Israel). This is quite a vicious and disgusting little strategy, and it does a lot of damage on a lot of different levels.

These attacks are tied to the Big Lie strategy.

I should add that Israel and Jews are not the only victim of this kind of propaganda. Western democratic society as a whole is frequently attacked in the same ways. Israel and the Jews are unusual in that we live under a constant, very intense barrage of high-profile attacks, and that we have relatively few allies who are willing to stand up and say, "no."