Monday, December 17, 2012

Semantic Terrorism

Our Israeli correspondent MC returns with an essay on the propaganda war against Israel that continues unabated in the wake of the ceasefire in Gaza.

Katyushas being launched from Gaza

Semantic Terrorism
by MC

So the ceasefire is holding, and here in Sderot we have had an unexpected respite from the physical side of ‘terror’.

But terrorism has its ‘spiritual’ side as well: those people who rain their terrorist inspired ‘kassam words’ and ‘katyusha pictures’ on us.

These are the weasel-words that the media uses to hide what is really going on, so that the Hamas murderers of women and children are not ‘murderers’ or ‘terrorists’; they are ‘militants’ — a word that implies justification of their cause. This is the semantic terrorism of organisations such as the BBC and CNN.

Hamas is an organisation whose stated aim is to exterminate Jews in accordance with the ‘peace-loving’ Quran. To most sane people this is called ‘genocide’, but to semantic terrorists it is called ‘militancy’.

It is true that if one designates an arbitrary historical cutoff at the year 1967 one can then refer to ‘occupied’ Palestinian territory. However, real world history is not quite so accommodating. The BBC uses the stock phrase ‘illegal occupation, but Israel disputes this’. The spiritual terrorism behind this is that the legality of the ‘occupation’, or not, as the case may be, revolves around the idea of who started the 1967 war that resulted in the so-called ‘occupation’.

Two acts of aggression violated the 1948 armistice between Egypt and Israel: the closing by Egypt of the Straits of Tiran (22nd May) to Israeli shipping, and the ‘pre-emptive’ strike by Israel which removed the Egyptian air force from the scene(5th June). The use of the word ‘pre-emptive’ to describe the Israeli airstrike implies that Israel started it all, and therefore there is an ‘occupation’ and the rules of the 4th Geneva Convention apply.

If, however, the political act of denying Israel the use of its Red Sea port of Eilat is regarded as an ‘Act of War’ as specified in the 1949 Armistice and re-iterated after the 1955 conflict, then the raid which started the 1967 ‘shooting’ war was a legitimate act in the continuation of a declared war (1948), which was undeniably a war of aggression by Egypt and other Arab states against United Nations resolution 181 and the consequent declaration of the State of Israel.

In this case, territory gained in a defensive war does not come under the Geneva Convention at all. Cases in point would be the annexation by Poland of East Prussia and its subsequent ethnic cleansing of ethnic Germans, and indeed the Palestine Mandate of 1922 itself, after ‘Southern Syria’ had been occupied by the British in 1917 and carved up into the British Mandate and the French Mandate.
As far as I am aware, there has been no judgement passed down by any recognised body on these issues, so for a quasi-governmental agency such as the BBC to pass down its own judgement is in itself, an act of semantic terrorism.

There are many weasel words used by institutions like the BBC and CNN. ‘Stone-throwing youths’ for example. A stone is a small piece of rock unlikely to cause serious injury when flung by a young person, but capable of killing a Goliath when projected from a sling, such as those used by the same Palestinian youths. A ‘rock’ however can be lethal when thrown by a young adult male.

It is this kind of semantic terrorism which shapes public consciousness, and can, in consequence, be used to justify other terms like ‘disproportionate response’. For the young national service infantrymen who have to deal with these ‘innocent’ stone-throwing youths, the encounter is terrifying because they have to respond to lethal aggression using non-lethal rules of engagement. The howls of the Western press when an innocent ‘stone- throwing youth’ is hurt by the IDF resonates throughout the Western world; and our young men die as a result.

The kidnap of Gilad Shalit was a war crime. Where are any media demands for justice?

Ignorant British politicians refer to non-existent Israeli settlements in Gaza and go unchallenged. Thus is the public being manipulated. The desire of both Hamas and the PA (as well as many other Islamic nations) for a ‘Jew-free’ state is not seen as ‘Nazi’ but as a legitimate political aim. The fact that there are Islamic ‘settlements’ in the UK administering their own shariah law, is not, of course, considered to be relevant.

The world has just given recognition to a state founded by the acolytes of a known Nazi who spent most of World War Two in Berlin, working for the extermination of Jews even then. Haj Amin Al Husseini lived one of those charmed political lives which smacks of friends in high places. We constantly find him escaping justice and wriggling out of culpability for degrading acts of barbarism.

‘Anti-Zionism’ is a proxy for anti-Semitism, but is justified by the media as having only political overtones and no racial overtones. This does not really work since the whole ‘Jewish Problem’ revolves around an irrational hatred of all things Jewish that seems to well up in surprising places. Most people cannot be trusted to criticise things Jewish without crossing an invisible line into racist incitement. It was for this reason that enlightened men mandated that Britain create a Jewish homeland in 1922.

But Britain was not up to the job, and created the current Arab-Israel conflict instead. Ernest Bevin, the British Foreign and Colonial Secretary, did his utmost to destroy the nascent State of Israel in 1948 — subject to plausible deniability, of course. He went so far as to supply British Army officers and aircraft to Jordan and others to oversee the destruction of the remnant from the Holocaust. Jordan ‘occupied’ the West Bank, Egypt occupied Gaza. There was no PA, there was no Hamas and there was no international outcry.

Thus the BBC and others are standing on the shoulders of tyrannical giants, peddling hate speech as acceptable because it is only ‘anti-Zionist’. When an entity supports a criminal, it too becomes a criminal, guilty of the same crime as an accessory to it.

Personally I do not see any substantive difference between the incoming physical missile from Hamas in Gaza, and the incoming verbal missile from the BBC in London or from CNN in Washington DC. All have a murderous intent. All have a politically dubious purpose.

The anti-Semitism inherent in the mainstream media’s acceptance of Hamas’ right to target Israeli civilians, and only Israeli civilians, not their military, is profound. After all, the civilians are only Jews and appear not to matter in the greater scheme of things.

That Iran, Qatar and other Gulf States can openly fund the payroll for Hamas and its agenda of genocide without international condemnation speaks volumes about the passive acceptance of institutionalised anti-Semitism worldwide.


laller said...

I'm sorry but you appear to be so, so wrong.
Why are you talking about things that happened prior to the existence of the Geneva Conventions? You can't possibly expect the Geneva Conventions to apply to things that happened prior to them even existing, can you?
The fourth Geneva Convention, well all of them really, doesn't give a toss who started a conflict. As soon as an "armed conflict" has begun it enters into force - on the contracting parties.
Now, here's where it gets interesting. WHO is actually a "contracting party"? Egypt isn't. Nor is Jordan. Syria isn't a signatory. Palestine? Well the PLO declared their accession in 1989 but... It's Palestine/PLO, not a proper state. And besides, have they(Palestinians) ever followed the Conventions?. Israel only signed/ratified the fourth convention in 2007...
So, was Israel bound by the fourth Geneva Convention at the time of the '67 war? Obviously not. None of the parties involved in that war were signatories to the convention at the time, and were thus not bound by it and can not be judged by it. Since Israel signed/ratified the convention in 2007 are they bound by it today with regards to the "occupied territories"? I would say no, but I'm no expert on international law and treaties.

I know many people want the Geneva Conventions to apply regardless the situation, but if you read the conventions and their commentaries on the ICRC homepage then it's obvious that there are restrictions on their applicability.


Anonymous said...

Countless times I head for the semantic bunker when an Israeli government spokesman mouths "rockets" on the BBC.

Generally the word rocket is almost banal and puerile (a party firework), the description ballistic missiles or warheads would maybe be more appropriate and effective in communication than rockets.

Jolie Rouge

babs said...

I have wanted to ask this for quite some time. When the MSM talks about "illegal settlements" on the west bank and east Jerusalem I have long wondered how Israelis got that land to build on. Did they buy it in a recognized real estate purchase or, did they just move in and take the land?
I have heard so many times from the MSM of Israelis "bulldozing down" Palestinian homes, shops and orchards. Did the Israelis buy the land and raze it for new development or, did they just show up with bulldozers and clear the land of Palestinians in order to occupy it?
And, if they bought the land wouldn't the burden of Israeli "occupation" fall on the Palestinians that sold it to them?

MCin Sderot said...

Babs, you might be interested in David Meir-levi's views on settlements here:-

MCin Sderot said...


"Arab propaganda has repeatedly branded all types of settlements as "illegal" in accordance with the 4th Geneva Convention. However, a look at international law shows that the opposite is the truth" quote from David Meir-Levi from above URL

The BBC continually quotes Palestinian propaganda assertions which have no basis in international law. I am trying to put across the idea that, until the matter of applicability is decided by some court of international law with recognised authority, then a quasi-government organisation like the BBC should be much more careful of their wording, and their opinion, as to what is and what is not legal.

Anonymous said...

Poland did not annex East Prussia or "ethnically cleanse" the Germans living there. The correct chronology is: Germany and USSR invade and occupy Poland and murder or ethnically cleanse more than 7 million people. Less than two years later Germany and USSR come to blows, USSR wins and ends up occupying most of Eastern Europe, and it is USSR that decides to take away 1/2 of Poland's territory (the eastern half) and "in exchange" "gives" Poland Eastern Prussia. Ethnic cleansing of Germans is done by the USSR. Of course, the British and U.S. governments signed off on this.