Words carry with them powerful meanings and, if repeated often enough, begin to take root in our everyday vernacular. The modern city of Ariel, built on barren land untouched in over 1,000 years and which boasts a prestigious university and over 17,000 residents, is referred to as a “settlement” in the “occupied” territories. The word “settlement” conjures up images of colonialist takeover, while the term “occupied” completely negates the argument that these territories are in fact the subject of a bona fide dispute. Yet supposedly neutral media outlets – and even some Israelis – parrot these words simply because they’ve infected our everyday manner of speaking. The next time you hear someone speak of “massacre,” “occupation,” or “settlement,” take the time to correct them and politely inform them of the power and misuse of words.
E-mail Columbia University President Lee Bollinger at bollinger@Columbia.edu, and voice your outrage over Columbia’s continued sponsorship of Professor Rashid Khalidi, an outspoken terrorist sympathizer who is currently attempting to organize an American flotilla to Gaza.
Yossi Cukier is co-founder of The Activist Network, along with Dina Kupfer and Ari Lieberman. Please note that all petitions, letters, phone numbers, etc., can be found at theactivistnetwork.wordpress.com. The group invites suggestions for pro-Israel and pro-Jewish projects and events.
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