How About Everybody Watch Their Language, OK?

MJ Rosenberg writes today about the use of the word “lynching” in Israeli media:

“Has anyone else noticed? Israeli spokespersons are obviously under orders to use the term “lynching” when they describe what the flotilla people were trying to do to the Israeli soldiers who boarded the ships.

Obviously, the tender civil rights liberals of the Likud party believe that applying the term “lynching” to an alleged attack on armed soldiers would make us dumb Americans think the Israeli soldiers were would-be victims of racist terrorism — like Emmett Till and about a thousand other African-American victims of lynching between 1890 and 1964.

How obscene. Lynch victims were unarmed, powerless, and attacked by armed thugs. Comparing armed Israeli commandos to 12 year old black kids strung up for looking at a white woman is revolting.

Here is a better analogy from the civil rights era, offered by a young friend and colleague.

“Israel’s defenders,” he says, “are arguing that Israel had the right to attack the people on the ships because the flotillas’ goal was not really to supply the Gazans but to break the blockade. Supplying the Gazans was only a pretense for their larger political goal.

He continues:

“So does that mean it was okay to beat and brutalize kids who were sitting-in at Woolworth counters throughout the south in the 1950’s and 1960’s because their real goal was not being served lunch but ending segregation.”

I couldn’t agree more. Stop using the word.

But I also have a problem with the word “massacre”.

I looked it up in dictionary.

1 : the act or an instance of killing a number of usually helpless or unresisting human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty

From what I’ve seen and read so far, those guys didn’t seem too helpless nor unresisting.

So how about everybody take a breather before they splurt out their pearls of wisdom?

Put things into proportion.

No “Lynching”. And no “Massacre”.

Use your words carefully, or don’t use them at all.

There are lives at stake.


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