Tuesday, March 15, 2011

War of Words, part I -- "Peace"

Semantics in the Israel-bashing Media


Recent examples of the mainstream media’s word choices and their subtle innuendo have deeply disturbed me.

In yesterday’s blog, we rambled about how BBC hijacked a story of an atrocious Arab murder and transformed it into a diatribe on Israel. In one fell swoop, with one stroke of ink, an innocent baby murdered in her crib became a generic settler. A horrific act of murder, of infanticide, became a justified reaction to “illegal occupation.”

Words are such powerful tools. In the wrong hands, like that of the BBC or Associated Press, they can be used to cause much damage and spread much falsehood.

In the prophetic words attributed to Mark Twain, “A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Well, the BBC effectively sent a lie all the way around the world in seconds, with one carefully chosen word.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-semantic. Some of my best friends are linguists. Really. :-)

I enjoy playing with words too. It’s not the semantics I deplore. It’s the propagandists who abuse it.

In fact, I don’t really mind writers choosing words to advocate their cause. It’s just when the news media-turned-propagandists use carefully nuanced words to further their own hidden (or not so hidden) agendas.

Anyhow, the more I think about it, many of the words we regularly use to describe the current state of affairs in the Middle East are largely inaccurate.

Let’s delineate a few:

1. “Peace Process.”

By now, any sane observer would come to the obvious conclusion that this process has nothing to do with peace. Indeed, while most Israelis would love to live in peace, it has become painfully clear that their partner does not really want peace, nor did they ever really want peace in the first place.

For the Arab leadership, peace was an artificially Western concept that had no place in their agenda. For them, it was hudna. In Muslim ideology, hudna means temporary cessation of hostilities, an opportunity to regroup and re-arm, until the jihad can be continued with greater effectiveness (read: more horrendous carnage).

This is the great fallacy of Oslo. In Rabin’s blissfully utopian mind, he was making painful concessions for peace. In Arafat’s sinister mind, he was gaining ground, advancing the front. His handshake for peace was in fact nothing more than a strategic and temporary delay of war. Like the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact or Neville Chamberlain’s “Peace in our Times!,” there was nothing peaceful about Oslo, the Roadmap, or any other foolhardy attempts at “peace.” So let’s stop calling it peace.

Likewise, the so-called “Peace Now” movement, which calls for a Muslim State alongside Israel, is not about peace. It is about war, bloodshed and prolonged misery.

So let’s be honest and call it the “War Process.”

Someone who still seriously believes that conceding more territory to Arabs will achieve “peace” is not pro-peace. He is pro-war. Such a person is not a dove, but a flightless ostrich with his head in the sand.

Tomorrow, we’ll examine another buzzword, “terrorism.”

1 comment:

Harlene Green (relative of the writer) said...

For those whose who believe in a
"peace process"
It has once been said:
"There is none so blind as those
who will not see." As for the
others, they are part of the
conspiracy of evil.