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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘terminology’

Will ‘Terrorism’ be Redefined to Placate Israeli Leftists?

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

American news headlines over the past few weeks have focused on political targeting by the Internal Revenue Service of conservative groups. But Israel is experiencing its own form of political targeting by the state. The attorney general is leading an initiative to have a small group of radical juveniles who engage in mischief declared a terrorist organization.

The group of politically-motivated Jewish vandals operates under the name Tag Mechir, or Price Tag. They came together as a response to Arab rock-throwing and general acts of vandalism against Jews perpetrated in the West Bank and in some other areas. Much of their activity consists of writing graffiti on cars and homes of Arabs or Jewish leftists. Their worst acts of misbehavior have involved vandalizing mosques. The local police have been unsuccessful in tracking down and arresting those involved, but they are thought to be young people from settlements in the West Bank.

Most people on the political right in Israel, including most pro-settler organizations and parties, regard the Price Tag radicals as an embarrassment. The vandals have been condemned by nearly every rabbi in the country. The Price Taggers have damaged property and they needlessly provoke Muslims and others in the most explosive region of the world. But they have killed no one. They do not engage in actual violence against humans, except for some revenge-rock-throwing.

(As it turns out, in several cases leftists and Arabs have vandalized Arab property as provocations to be blamed on settlers and the Price Tag group. Presumably, the Price Taggers are happy to accept the “credit” for these crimes even when they are not involved.)

The same leftists who seek to define the Price Taggers as terrorists bend over backward to excuse rock throwing by Arabs against Jews. Members of Israel’s chattering classes are always willing to defend freedom of speech for those holding opinions of which they approve.

Rather than engage the Price Tag juveniles in debate or simply denounce their behavior in the media, the government apparently prefers to deal with them by redefining terrorism to include petty vandalism.

It should be noted here that not one of the many cases of synagogues being vandalized by Arabs has been defined by the government as terrorism.

The initiative to proclaim the Price Tag group a terrorist organization has come from Israel’s politicized attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein. It was immediately endorsed by the leftist herds in media and academia, as well as by political hacks such as the minister of internal security and the justice minister.

Weinstein has a long track record of “differential prosecution.” This is manifested in his refusal to prosecute leftists and Arabs while running a special surveillance agency to spy on right-wing Jews. When an Arab Knesset member who participated in the “Hamas flotilla” seeking to end Israel’s naval control of the waters around the Gaza Strip violently attacked Israeli soldiers, Weinstein refused to prosecute her.

Weinstein has also studiously defended freedom of speech for radical leftists and Arabs while just as studiously seeking its suppression for everyone else. He has repeatedly indicted rabbis and others for “incitement” and “racism” when they dare to express political opinions with which the left disagrees – even prosecuting people for catcalls at a soccer game – but has never indicted any leftists calling for violence or mutiny by soldiers.

So what are we to make of this initiative to declare a group of juvenile vandals and punks a “terrorist organization”?

The most obvious problem with it is that it empties the very notion of terrorism of any substantive meaning. If some teenagers engaging in fraternity-like pranks and malicious graffiti are in the same category as the genocidal suicide bombers of Hamas and al Qaeda, then how bad can the Islamofascist terrorists really be?

But what is at least as outrageous is that the initiative is really nothing more than an assault against freedom of speech inside Israel. It is an arbitrary attempt to criminalize the political behavior of a fringe group while ignoring the violence constantly being perpetrated by groups from the other end of the political spectrum.

For example, the “Anarchists Against the Wall” organization that operates in Israel engages in actual violence against actual Israeli soldiers and police officers every single week. For years the group’s members have been joined by fellow anarcho-fascists from overseas in provoking violent confrontations with Israeli security personnel, supposedly all as part of their “protests” against Israel constructing its security fence against Palestinian terrorists.

Stop Labeling Judea and Samaria Residents ‘Illegal’

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

The Associated Press, one of the largest news agencies in the world, will no longer use the term “illegal immigrant” to describe those who migrate to a country in violation of their immigration laws, their Executive Vice President announced on Tuesday.

Their style guide will no longer permit the term ‘illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person.  It will now only use of the word “illegal” to describe an action, such as “living in or migrating to a country illegally.”

It is believed that most of the 1400 U.S. newspapers which use A.P. will likely follow their decision on the use of such a loaded term and will, for instance, stop referring to the millions of unauthorized Latino migrants to the U.S. as “illegal”.

ABC reported the following:

…most of America’s top college newspapers and major TV networks, including ABC, NBC and CNN, have vowed to stop using the term. Nearly half of Latino voters polled last year in a Fox News Latino survey said that they find the term “illegal immigrant” offensive. A coalition of linguists also came together last year to pressure media companies to drop “illegal immigrant,” calling it “neither neutral nor accurate.”

Whilst many Americans are applauding the decision by A.P. as a victory for accuracy and diversity, we can only wonder whether serious news organizations – and the Guardian – will similarly drop the loaded and value-laden term “illegal settler” to characterize Jews who, consistent with the parameters of the Mandate for Palestine, live beyond the 1949 armistice lines (in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem).

A quick search of the Guardian’s site shows a few references to such ‘illegal’ Israelis.Guardian film critic Philip French wrote the following in his Oct. 21, 2012 review of the documentary ’5 Broken Cameras’:

Behind this pair, but no less endangered, is Emad, recording some of the fiercest footage of assaults and atrocities on the West Bank that I’ve ever seen, as well as the arson wreaked on Palestinian olive groves by illegal Jewish settlers.

A July 24, 2012 story by Phoebe Greenwood on Palestinians facing eviction from ‘unauthorized’ homes in the southern Hebron hills included this variation of the charge:

Hila Gurani, the state’s attorney, wrote that the second intifada and the second Lebanon war exposed gaps in IDF preparation that requires more extensive training in firing zones, which the illegal Hebron residents are preventing

And, a report by Nicholas Watt about the call by some within the U.K. Labor Party to label products which are produced in Judea and Samaria included this passage:

Labour is opposed to boycotting Israeli goods but [Yvette] Cooper believes consumers should be informed whether products are produced by illegal settlers.

Moreover, a Google search using the words “illegal Israeli settlers” turns up 727,000 hits, and included references to the proscribed Jew in many “mainstream” publications. (Obviously, another variation of these specific words, in a different order, would likely produce further examples).

The greater implications of the A.P.’s decision are even more fascinating. If, for instance, we use A.P.’s logic as a guide, and only use the term “illegal” to describe an action, shouldn’t the Guardian and other sites stop referring to Jewish communities and homes in places like Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim and eastern Jerusalem as “illegal”?  If so, we might one day look back at the ubiquitous use of such subjective terminology (there were more than 5,000 references to “illegal settlements” at the Guardian’s site) as an embarrassing chapter in their paper’s history.

Whatever the Guardian editorial position on the desirability of a future Palestinian state which may include most of Judea and Samaria, we can hope that they’ll catch up with the times, heed their liberal calling and stop labeling – in one manner or another – hundreds of thousands of Jews residing within the boundaries of their historic homeland as “illegal.”

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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/cifwatch/stop-labeling-judea-and-samaria-residents-illegal/2013/04/04/

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