Politicians abuse language to cause bloodbaths – clarity of terms would put a stop to them.
After we presented the facts about the history of Palestine and Israel from 1914 to 1956 in Part 1 and Part 2, and shed light on the embellishment of the atonement of the Holocaust a few days ago, the unspeakable statements by politicians and the media are forcing us to explain terms that appear to be deliberately mixed up.
Today, we have reached the point where the deliberate conflation of the terms Judaism, Zionism and Israel with the term anti-Semitism prevents discussion.
As a result, we now find ourselves in a situation that was conjured up by President Bush in 2001 during his speech on 9/11: “Either you are with us – or you are with the terrorists.”
A devastating situation, which we try to untangle in today’s article by discussing terms in order to pave the way for a meaningful and solution-oriented discussion.
Dubious level of discussion
Fact is that at least 12,000 civilians, 50% of them children, have died since the beginning of the Israeli operation in Gaza. This also means that up to 20,000 people have been wounded. Whether and how many Hamas fighters are dead is unknown. However, it is also a fact that last week Israel destroyed a refugee camp with tens of thousands of people crammed into it with heavy bombs in order to kill one member of Hamas – whether this man is actually dead is unknown.
The fact that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is tempted to say that he does not think the demand for an immediate ceasefire or a longer pause in fighting is right, “because ultimately this means that Israel should let Hamas recover”, is evidence of a cynical attitude towards human rights.
This also shows the result of Germany’s failure to atone for the Holocaust, which we described in our article “The unpunished crimes of the Holocaust”.
This anti-Semitic attitude of post-war Germany is now turning into the opposite, as a genocidal attitude towards the Palestinians is developing in Germany that leaves one speechless. Anyone who criticizes this perverse attitude is dismissed as an anti-Semite, silenced and persecuted by the media and politicians.
Terms and their meanings
Terms and politics
Deliberate ambiguities in the use of terms led to semantic reinterpretations in the interests of political goals. These political-media attacks were aimed at an audience that had been “shot to pieces” over decades with an education system in which basic knowledge and skills in the humanities and natural sciences were no longer taught.
Meaning of the terms
In the following, we present a compilation of terms and their definitions that play a decisive role in the discussion about Israel, but are not used correctly.
“Criticism of the state of Israel is not anti-Semitism”
“Judaism is understood to mean the entirety of the culture, history, religion and tradition of the Jewish people, who refer to themselves as the people of Israel (Hebrew: am jisrael, bnei jisrael).”
“Zionism (from Zion) refers to a political ideology and the associated movement aimed at establishing, justifying and preserving a Jewish nation state in Palestine.”
Zion, in turn, is an image for Israel’s hope that God will triumph over all enemies. This is linked to the idea that all nations will move to Zion and peace will then reign throughout the world.
“Semites. In recent works on ethnology, this biblical name (see Shem) is used to describe those peoples of antiquity and modern times who are indigenous to the closely related Semitic languages.”
The following map shows which languages belong to this group:
“Semitism, imprecise term for the entirety of the Jews as a tribe, regardless of religion.”
“Semitism, term for Judaism viewed exclusively from an ethnological point of view. Semitist, linguist in the field of Semitic languages.”
Hostility towards Jews (also known as hatred of Jews, hostility towards Jews, anti-Semitism, or persecution of Jews) is the blanket rejection of Jews and Judaism. This phenomenon has been known for around 2,500 years and has accompanied the history of Europe in particular over long periods.
“negative attitude towards Zionism“, i.e. this attitude is directed against the Zionists’ goal of having their own state.
The definitions show what a semantic minefield we are moving in. Everyone thinks they know who and what an “anti-Semite” and “anti-Semitic” is. However, if we follow the academic definitions of the terms, their use in current politics and in the media is in most cases inadequate or even simply wrong. We will demonstrate this below.
This does not appear to be the case by chance. For what is regularly dismissed as “anti-Semitic” is usually simply criticism of the actions of the state of Israel.
Criticism of the state of Israel is nothing other than that – criticism of the actions of the state of Israel. Of what the state of Israel does or does not do. This criticism may or may not be justified. Under no circumstances, however, can it be anti-Semitic, because it is directed against the state and not against Judaism or Jews (i.e. the religion). This criticism of the state cannot be anti-Zionist either, because the state of Israel is merely the successful implementation of the Zionist idea and therefore not Zionist in and of itself.
Thus: Criticism of the state of Israel is not anti-Semitism.
Abuse of terms
Prime Minister Netanyahu
Prime Minister Netanyahu said at a meeting with Chancellor Scholz on October 17, 2023:
“Hamas are the new Nazis” and “Hamas is basically IS.”
Netanyahu used this term “Nazis” for Hamas exclusively for the German Chancellor and on none of the other so-called solidarity visits by Western leaders to Israel. And that was no coincidence.
Without anticipating a later analysis, it should be pointed out that Israel had practically created and financially supported Hamas in order to marginalize the secularized PLO under Yasser Arafat. The PLO was well on the way to achieving a two-state solution with international support, which Israel was determined to prevent. Israel thus applied the classic principle of “divide et impera” to prevent this from happening.
The Israeli sociologist and professor emeritus of history and philosophy, Moshe Zuckermann, said in an interview on October 17, 2023: “Nobody here [in Israel] talks about Hamas as anti-Semitic”
Netanyahu uses this comparison of Hamas with Nazis exclusively and deliberately falsely to convey a subliminal accusation to the German Chancellor, which he could not contradict under any circumstances, and thus to gain Germany’s support for a course of action against the Palestinians in Gaza that is not limited by anything. Netanyahu knows exactly which verbal buttons he has to press with German politicians in order to disarm them argumentatively and point out their place in this story – and he succeeded.
Olaf Scholz – malicious misuse
In his response to Netanyahu’s statement, Scholz reacted predictably and completely detached from historical and political reality by saying – among other things – the following:
“Anti-Semitism has no place in Germany. Glorifying and celebrating violence is inhumane and abhorrent. It is forbidden and will be punished.”
You can see the entire press conference from October 17, 2023 here.
With this perfidious rape of the word “antisemitism”, Scholz wants to prevent criticism of Israel and claims that criticism of Israel is antisemitic. We have shown above that this is inaccurate.
Furthermore, Scholz also excluded the almost 50% of Israel’s non-Jewish population, Israeli Arabs, Israeli Christians, atheists and members of other faiths from the discussion.
“Time to wake up”
We also refer to Professor Moshe Zuckermann, who said the following back in 2018: “If you commemorate the victims in order to support a policy that creates new victims, you betray the historical victims”.
In any discussion of Israel’s policies and military actions, one must know the history and meaning of the terms used and apply them correctly and honestly.
Unfortunately, the exact opposite is the case.
As a result, we are now confronted with a grotesque, even perverse situation. Since October 7, over 12,000 civilians have died in Gaza as a result of actions by the Israeli armed forces that are clearly illegal under international law.
Western politicians are trying to legitimize this bloodbath by deliberately misinterpreting terms.
Time to wake up!
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This article by Dr. Peter Hanseler was co-authored by René Zittlau, a German citizen and linguist born in 1960, who specializes in Russian, Czech and Slovak as well as the culture and history of Eastern European countries, which gives him an independent view of the political and economic development in the respective countries, which he also knows through visits and longer stays. He first worked for the intelligence services and then in the private sector. After training as an SAP consultant, he worked as a managing director for companies in various sectors, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe.