'Israel' removed from PA guide to proper terms

Palestinian Authority's "guide" to politically correct terms replaces Israel with "Israeli colonialism."

June 20, 2012 03:11
2 minute read.
PA President Abbas and PM Fayyad [file]

PA President Abbas and PM Fayyad 370 (R). (photo credit: Fadi Arouri / Reuters)


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For years the Israeli media and numerous politicians have come under criticism in some circles for using words such as “settlements” and “West Bank,” with the critics arguing that these are negative terms that play into the Palestinian narrative.

While that criticism has had little dent on the Israeli use of these terms, the Palestinian Authority for its part has shown that it is well aware of the importance of words in framing an argument, and has issued a book of guidelines of the “proper” phrases to be used in talking about the conflict.

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“Out” are words such as “Israel” and “Magen David,” to be replaced instead by “Israeli colonialism” and “Six-pointed star.”

The Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) issued a release Tuesday highlighting the existence on the PA Ministry of Information website of this guide for Palestinian politically correct terms. According to the PMW, this guideline – a book called Terminology in Media, Culture and Politics – provides a valuable peephole into the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to deny legitimacy to the Jewish state.

The introduction to the book, according to a PMW translation, reads, “Political, cultural and media terminology has been a fundamental tool in the Arab- Palestinian/ Zionist-Israeli conflict throughout the past century... [Today,] Israeli and American spreading of [these] poisoned terms continues, with its penetration through the media into broad spheres of world public opinion.”

According to the introduction, “the Israeli terminology acts to distort the Palestinian national struggle, it turns the essence of the Zionist endeavor from a racist, colonialist endeavor into an endeavor of self-definition and independence for the Jewish people.”

According to the document, the Ministry of Information held a symposium in 2009 on the subject of terminology in culture, politics and the media and came up with a list of unacceptable and acceptable terms.

For example, the words “Palestinian terror” is not to be used, to be replaced instead by “resistance.”

There are no “Palestinian terrorists,” only “resistance members, and “suicide bombing operations” don’t exist, having been replaced by “martyrdom-seeking operations.” In this world there is no Israeli defense minister, only an “Israeli minister of war,” the Israel Defense Forces has morphed into the “Israeli Occupation Forces,” and the separation barrier is the “racist separation fence.”

Among the acceptable terms are “withdrawal from occupied territory,” instead of “Israeli redeployment;” “Arab Jerusalem,” instead of “east Jerusalem;” and the “1967 borders” instead of the “Green Line.”

PMW heads Itamar Marcus and Nan and Jacques Ziberdik write that the terminology the Palestinians have approved is significant because it “accurately reflects PA beliefs, policies and ideology,” which they describe as denying “Israel’s right to exist” and glorifying “the murder of Israelis and Jews, including civilians, as heroic ‘resistance.’”

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