The first post tells why. It may be too little, but hopefully not too late.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What's in a name?

A lot. For instance, when the situation in the Middle East is discussed, it would help to use unbiased terminology. Whereas the “international community”, largely biased against Israel, may have accepted the absurd name, the “West Bank”, that was given by Jordan to the territory it illegally seized in the 1948-49 war, this should not be perpetuated if the discourse is based on intellectual honesty. The latter pertains also to the term “settlements”, which are Jewish villages and towns that differ from the Arab ones in the same area only by their civilization. Calling these towns and villages “settlements” biases the public perception by connoting their temporary character, ultimately targeting them for removal, as that has indeed happened in Sinai and Gush Katif. Needless to say, that was undisguised ethnic cleansing. The "international community" would not fail to classify it as such for anybody else, but not the Jews. But of course, when the Jews themselves invented a euphemism just for that occasion, "disengagement". Euphemisms are helpful to the "international community" when it deals with the Jews. When the Jews were shipped from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka, the Germans called it "relocation".

Accepting the name “West Bank” for Judea and Samaria is no different from accepting “al Quds” as the name for Jerusalem. Compliance with the non-Jewish naming conventions is already expressed in the names’ changes from Yehudah/Shomron and Yerushalayim. This could well suffice. It is the Arabs who are settlers in the Land of Israel, not the Jews who are the natives of that land. Imagine what would happen if the mandate given by the League of Nations to the UK, which allowed it to create Trans-Jordan from 80% of the territory instead of the promised Jewish national home, were called not Palestine but by its historic names - Judea, Samaria, etc. - what would the "Palestinians" be called now? "Judeans" - or perhaps simply "Jews"? Our language forms our thinking and ultimately actions. Let's get it straight.

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