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Linguistic terrorism: Somebody buy Israeli politicians a dictionary

A top-six list of the various ways Israeli officials have reinvented definitions — and types — of terrorism.

'The Scream', by Edvard Munch

‘The Scream’, by Edvard Munch

Likud MK Miri Regev had a fairly successful career as a wordsmith back when she was the IDF Spokesperson — before becoming even better known for calling African asylum seekers “a cancer in Israel’s body.” She later apologized to cancer victims for the analogy.

On Wednesday, Regev made a new addition to the list of insane Israeli uses of language — by herself and countless other politicians and officials — by inventing new types of terrorism.

Put simply, most terrorism involves explosions or shooting. There are exceptions, of course, but generally they do not include at least five out of the six following types of terrorism invented by Israeli officials in recent years.

6. Diplomatic terrorism. When PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas went to the UN to seek statehood for the Palestinians in 2012, Israel’s foreign minister was livid. In addition to calling Abbas a “a liar, a coward and a weakling,” Liberman described the PLO chairman’s UN bid as “diplomatic terrorism.” It only got stranger. “Between diplomatic terror and conventional terror,” Liberman told the entire Israeli diplomatic corps, “diplomatic terror is more serious.”

5. Economic terrorism. The BDS movement has been gaining momentum in recent years. So when the EU announced new settlement guidelines to ensure that it’s own money doesn’t end up in settlements, which it considers illegal, Israel got a little worked up. Before becoming Israel’s economy minister, Naftali Bennett served in two of Israel’s most elite reconnaissance and counter-terrorism units, so one might be tempted to give him the benefit of the doubt that he knows what terrorism is. At least until he called the EU settlement guidelines “economic terrorism.”

4. Legal terrorism. Israel is a small country and it can feel a little suffocating after a while, especially in August. So it’s no surprise that Israelis love to travel. Threatening the ability to travel of Israel’s closest thing to royalty, its army generals, would indeed be terrifying. So when seeking war crimes charges against top military officials came back en vogue following the deadly Mavi Marmara raid in 2009, it was only natural that the IDF described efforts to enforce international law as “legal terrorism.”

3. Gastrointestinal terrorism. Israel arrests a lot of Palestinians. Let’s face it, is it entirely Israel’s fault that in order to maintain an undemocratic military occupation over a foreign people for 47 years it has been forced to put 40 percent of the male Palestinian population in prison? So it’s no wonder that Israel has also been forced to deal with a hunger strike or two. MK Miri Regev (Likud), during discussions of how best to force-feed Palestinian prisoners, described hunger strikes as “terrorism in prison.” Yup, all you have to do to become a terrorist these days is stop eating.

2. Self-inflicted terrorism. The Shin Bet puts out a yearly report about “data and trends in Palestinian terrorism.” In its report on 2009, the year of Operation Cast Lead, there was one line of very confusing data. According to the Shin Bet, 15 people died in terrorist attacks in 2009, nine of them during Cast Lead. What types of attacks, you ask? According to page four of the Shin Bet report: “Five civilians and soldiers were killed by high-trajectory launchings and four soldiers were killed by friendly fire.” Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. At least according to official Israeli logic, the soldiers were killed in the fight against terror, and Israel has always described attacks against soldiers as terrorism — a separate yet hugely problematic implication in and of itself. But that doesn’t explain an even stranger classification that came a year later when the Defense Ministry classified as a “victim of terror” a Jewish settler rabbi who was mistakenly shot to death by an Israeli soldier who thought he was shooting at Palestinians.

1. Journalistic terrorism. When CBS’s “60 Minutes” did a feature on the plight of Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land a few years ago, Israel went on a diplomatic and public relations offensive (or defensive, I suppose). Then Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren led the defensive, trying to place the blame for the Christian exodus from the Holy Land on the Palestinians instead of on Israel. The campaign went too far on-record. But it was an off-record comment by an Israeli official that takes the cake. Speaking to The Forward, the official likened CBS’s documentary news program to “a strategic terror attack.” I’m not quite sure what that means, but its absurdity landed it the number-one spot on this list.

Those terrorists… what will they think of next!?

The author is generally opposed to all things “listicle,” among other reasons because he thinks the word sounds stupid. However, he couldn’t resist the opportunity in this case. He promises to do so sparingly in the future.

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    1. Jan

      I remember when Miri Regev was the IDF mouthpiece. Some of us after watching her performance asked the question, “How can you tell when she is lying?”

      The answer was “Her lips are moving.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        I seriously doubt she’s smart enough to be a liar. She comes off as actually believing all the crap that comes out of her mouth, which in a way is worse than being a liar.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Lisa Goldman

      Danny, don’t underestimate la Regev. She’s very clever in her street-smart little way. Jan’s right: When I was a reporter covering the Gaza withdrawal, the Israeli hacks took it for granted that everything she said was a lie, after she was caught too many times to count.

      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        Lisa, I never said she tells the truth. You need to actually know stuff in order to be truthful. All I said was that she seems to believe her lies because she is ignorant and primitive. She is a successful politician because unfortunately Israel is chock full of ignorant, primitive people like her.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Tzutzik

      “Israel is chock full of ignorant, primitive people like her.”

      And you are not a hate monger aren’t you Danny?

      You are all in good company with the other posters on this thread so far. All primitive mindless haters …

      Reply to Comment
      • JG

        Come on clown, dig deeper. I’m sure you will find a lot of less substantial crap in your butt.

        Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          “Come on clown, dig deeper. I’m sure you will find a lot of less substantial crap in your butt.”

          Another ugly hater rears his head. Fuck yourself JG.

          Reply to Comment
          • BW

            Tzutzik, have you ever considered you might be the biggest hater of all the posters.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Tzutzik

      “Tzutzik, have you ever considered you might be the biggest hater of all the posters.”

      Yep. I hate all those who mindlessly hate Israel. The posters on this thread are all examples of such haters. I know, I encountered all of them in past discussions.

      You know, BW? I don’t even mind being described as a hater of such people. Because it is definitely true.

      Reply to Comment
      • Mike Panzone

        If these people hated Israel, they would leave and not care enough to create this site in order to help Israel. They may be right, they may be wrong, but they do not hate Israel just because they do not agree with you. I think those trolls here like yourself mindlessly worship Israel and are the bigger threat. The fact that you call them “haters of Israel” is proof of a closed minded, arrogant, world-view in which those who disagree with you are evil. The world does not need people like you, sir.

        Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          First of all they don’t live in Israel. One lives in America, the other in England and the third in Canada. I don’t know about JG, nor do I care.

          Secondly, Mikey, we don’t need care for us like theirs. With care like theirs we don’t need enemies.

          Thirdly, If you would have read posts which I posted on this site you would realise that I always said that Israel is not above criticism. Like any country it does make mistakes. But what these people do here cannot be called criticism. The only way it can be described is out and out hateful propaganda. It is visceral hatred of my country. Here is what Danny said again:

          “Israel is chock full of ignorant, primitive people like her.”

          Does it sound to you like he cares for us?

          Reply to Comment
          • Scootalol

            Don’t israel’s crusaders spend an awful lot of time yarping on about how israel is a democracy?

            Well, people like Regev keep ending up in office in Israel.

            You see it’s assumed that in a democracy, the heads and officials of state are reflective of their people’s wishes and desires.

            THis can be particularly true for a democratic system like Israel’s, where vote percentages matter, rahter than a straight win / lose system like the US has.

            So, primitive-thinking, backwards, barbarous sociopaths keep ending up in Knesset in this great, wonderful democracy.

            That must say something about the people casting the votes. They must approve, else these parties would see their numbers drop with each election, rather than increase.

            The people of a democracy are responsible for their government.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            You are a regular genious scootal. I never thought of it that way.

            “That must say something about the people casting the votes. They must approve, else these parties would see their numbers drop with each election, rather than increase.”

            Now tell me this: who decides what is clever? Who decides what is right? Who decides what is moral? Who decides what is good? People like you? Or the majority, for better or for worse. Sometimes for better sometimes for worse. If it is worse for the country, the majority vote the Government out if it is better or better than how they perceive alternative politicians, then they keep them in power.

            That is how it works in all democracies. And they had the good and the bad out of it. Things like WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, The Falkland War, Afghanistan, Iraq, the bombing of Serbia, Richard Nixon, Abu Ghraib, I could go on endlessly. I just mentioned the bad for effect. To make my point.

            But according to ignorant primitive people like you scootal, and Danny, only Israel is full of ignorant people? Why? Because people like you say so? Because you know better what is good for Israel than all the Israeli people know?

            You lot are not full of yourselves aren’t you? You are nausiatingly full of it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Mike Panzone

            If he had said “all Israelis are ignorant, primitive people like her” I could agree with you…but he did not.

            I am curious…why do most of the zionist supporters who continually post on this site seem to be such sarcastic smart mouths? It seems you all could respond to these articles in a mature and polite manner without coming across as an ass.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “If he had said “all Israelis are ignorant, primitive people like her” I could agree with you…but he did not.”

            Really Mike? You mean it? You could agree with me?

            Well then, Jan is another person about whom I commented above and this is what she said on another thread.

            ”the world has the right to think of all Jews as occupiers and oppressors”

            So do you at least agree with me about Jan?

            As for Danny, let’s just you and I agree to disagree about him. I for one object to people claiming that my country is full of ignorant primitive people. I bet most non Israelis too would object to THEIR country being described in such derogatory patronizing condascending terms. Particularly coming from someone like Danny who is obviously ignorant and primitive himself.

            Reply to Comment