Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 4, 2005 / 23 Teves, 5765

Arab Victories in the Language War

By Daniel Pipes


Printer Friendly Version

Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We read that "Prime Minister" Mahmoud Abbas is running in the elections on Sunday to succeed Yasir Arafat as "president" of "Palestine."

Excuse me, but prime minister, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, means the "head of the executive branch of government in states with a parliamentary system." Despite tens of thousands of references to Abbas as prime minister, he in not a single way fits this description.

Oh, and there is also the small matter of there being no country called Palestine. Arab maps routinely show it in place of Israel. The United Nations recognizes its existence. So too do such telephone companies as France's Bouygues Telecom and Bell Canada. Nonetheless, no such place exists.

One can dismiss use of these terms as symptoms of the same unrealism that has undermined Palestinian war efforts since 1948. But they also promote the Palestinian cause (a polite way of saying, "the destruction of Israel") in a vital way.

In an era when the battle for public opinion has an importance that rivals the clash of soldiers, the Palestinians' success in framing the issues has won them critical support among politicians, editorial writers, academics, street demonstrators, and NGO activists. In the aggregate, these many auxiliaries keep the Palestinian effort alive.

Especially in a long-standing dispute with a static situation on the ground, public opinion has great significance. That's because words reflect ideas   —   and ideas motivate people. Weapons in themselves are inert; today, ideas inspire people to pick up arms or sacrifice their lives. Software drives hardware.

Donate to JWR


Israel is winning on the basic geographic nomenclature. The state is known in English as Israel, not the Zionist entity. Its capital is called Jerusalem, not Al-Quds. Likewise, Temple Mount and Western Wall enjoy far more currency than Al-Haram ash-Sharif or Al-Buraq. The separation barrier is more often called a security fence (that keeps out Palestinian suicide bombers) than a separation wall (that brings divided Berlin to mind).

In other ways, however, the Palestinians' wording dominates English-language usage, helping them win the war for public opinion.


  • Collaborator means someone who "cooperates treasonably" and brings to mind the French and Norwegian collaborators who betrayed their countries to the Nazis. Yet this term (rather than informant, mole, or agent) universally describes those Palestinians providing Israel with information.

  • The refugee status normally applies to someone who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted . . . is outside the country of his nationality," but not to their descendants. In the Palestinian case, however, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of refugees also merit refugee status. One demographer estimates that over 95 percent of so-called Palestinian refugees never fled from anywhere. Nonetheless, the term continues to be used, implying that millions of Palestinians have a right to move to Israel.

  • A settlement is defined as a small community or an establishment in a new region. Although some Jewish towns on the West Bank and in Gaza have tens of thousands of residents and have existed for nearly four decades, settlement, with its overtones of colonialism, is their nearly universal name.

  • Occupied territories implies a Palestinian state existed in 1967, when Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza, which was not the case, making these areas legally disputed territories, not occupied ones.

  • Cycle of violence, a term President George W. Bush has adopted ("the cycle of violence has got to end in order for the peace process to begin"), implies a moral equivalence between the killing of Israeli civilians and Palestinian terrorists. It confuses the arsonist with the fire department.

  • The peace camp in Israel   —   a term that derives from Lenin's usage   —   refers to those on the Left who believe that appeasing mortal enemies is the only way to end Palestinian aggression. Those in favor of other approaches (such a deterrence) by implication constitute the "war camp." In fact, all Israelis are in the "peace camp" in the sense that all want to be rid of the conflict; none of them aspires to kill Palestinians, occupy Cairo, or destroy Syria.

Arabs may have fallen behind Israel in per capita income and advanced weaponry, but they lead by far on the semantic battlefield. Who, a century back, would have imagined Jews making the better soldiers and Arabs the better publicists? .

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

JWR contributor Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and the author of several books, most recently, "Miniatures: Views of Islamic and Middle Eastern Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.).

© 2005, Daniel Pipes