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The seven believed associated with al-Qaeda are, top row from left:

 Amer El-Maati, Aafia Siddiqui and Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, and bottom row from left, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Adam Yahiye Gadahn, Abderraouf Jdey and Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani.

Attorney General John Ashcroft warned the public Wednesday to be on the lookout for seven people who “all present a clear and present danger to America as terrorist threats.”


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Isareli Flag - Israel - Promised Land - The Magen David (shield of David, or as it is more commonly known, the Star of David) is the symbol most commonly associated with Judaism today, but it is actually a relatively new Jewish symbol. It is supposed to represent the shape of King David's shield (or perhaps the emblem on it), but there is really no support for that claim in any early rabbinic literature. In fact, the symbol is so rare in early Jewish literature and artwork that art dealers suspect forgery if they find the symbol in early works.
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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can also hurt me. 
By Ben Kurtzer

Opinion Column

Shevat, 5764
Feb 5, 2004

Judaism has many laws governing our speech, because God wants us to recognize the power of speech.  Speech can be used as a tool for understanding, but it also can be used as a dangerous weapon that can hurt more than sticks and stones.

Today, Israel and Jews face a war of words that can be damaging to us - physically and morally.  Suicide bombing; settlements; Palestinians; militants.  These terms represent a war of words that we may be losing.  Years of listening to these terms and using them ourselves have left us inured to their loaded meaning.  We need to take the offensive in rejecting these terms or we will lose the war of words.  Language is an important tool in stating our case and influencing world opinion.  The following examples illustrate how these terms are used to create a skewed picture of Israel.

“Suicide bomber” - the first image you get when you hear this term is that of “suicide” - usually a suicide is someone who is desperate, lacks hope, and may be mentally unstable due to stressful events in their life.  So by using this term, we are automatically making the bomber into a sympathetic figure who deserves our pity and understanding.

Instead, we should be referring to these people as homicide bombers or, better, genocide bombers.  These people are intent on murdering innocent Jews and their ultimate goal is the destruction of the Jewish State and the genocide of the Jewish people.

“Palestinians” - Rabbi Yisroel Mayer Kagan of Yeshiva Toras Chaim in Denver, speaking a few years ago during a public prayer gathering in Denver for the victims of terrorism in Israel, talked about “Palestine” as the term was used in Europe up until the founding of the State of Israel.  He said that when non-Jews would taunt Jews, they would yell at them to go to Palestine.  Up until the latter part of the 20th century, Palestine was known and understood to be the name for the Jewish homeland.  The name Palestine refers to a region of the eastern Mediterranean coast from the sea to the Jordan valley and from the southern Negev desert to the Galilee lake region in the north. The word itself derives from "Plesheth", a name that appears frequently in the Bible and has come into English as "Philistine". Plesheth, (root palash) was a general term meaning rolling or migratory. This referred to the Philistine's invasion and conquest of the coast from the sea. The Philistines were not Arabs nor even Semites, they were most closely related to the Greeks originating from Asia Minor and Greek localities. They did not speak Arabic. They had no connection, ethnic, linguistic or historical with Arabia or Arabs.

The Philistines reached the southern coast of Israel in several waves. One group arrived in the pre-patriarchal period and settled south of Beersheba in Gerar where they came into conflict with Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. Another group, coming from Crete after being repulsed from an attempted invasion of Egypt by Rameses III in 1194 BCE, seized the southern coastal area, where they founded five settlements (Gaza, Ascalon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gat). In the Persian and Greek periods, foreign settlers - chiefly from the Mediterranean islands - overran the Philistine districts.

From the fifth century BC, following the historian Herodotus, Greeks called the eastern coast of the Mediterranean "the Philistine Syria" using the Greek language form of the name. In AD 135, after putting down the Bar Kochba revolt, the second major Jewish revolt against Rome, the Emperor Hadrian wanted to blot out the name of the Roman "Provincia Judaea" and so renamed it "Provincia Syria Palaestina", the Latin version of the Greek name and the first use of the name as an administrative unit. The name "Provincia Syria Palaestina" was later shortened to Palaestina, from which the modern, anglicized "Palestine" is derived.

The name "Falastin" that Arabs today use for "Palestine" is not an Arabic name. It is the Arab pronunciation of the Roman "Palaestina". Quoting Golda Meir:  “The British chose to call the land they mandated Palestine, and the Arabs picked it up as their nation's supposed ancient name, though they couldn't even pronounce it correctly and turned it into Falastin a fictional entity.”  [In an article by Sarah Honig, Jerusalem Post, November 25, 1995]

So, to be more accurate, we should call these people “Philistines”, or even better, Arabs. And remember, as propaganda, it sounds much better to speak of the liberation of Palestine than the destruction of Israel.

“Settlements” - Why are Arab population centers referred to as “villages” or “cities” and Jewish population centers as “settlements”?  A “village” has the connotation of innocence, of people who have always lived there, or at least for a very long time.  A “settlement” conjures up visions of Wild West expansionism and Indian massacres.  Ma’aleh Adumim, with a population of 30,000, a 2-storey mall, and a Glatt Kosher Burger King, is certainly no settlement.  Let’s refer to Israeli towns and cities as town and cities, or even villages.    

“Occupied Territories” - As Dore Gold has written: “Three clear purposes seem to be served by the repeated references to "occupation" or "occupied Palestinian territories.  "First, Palestinian spokesmen hope to create a political context to explain and even justify the Palestinians' adoption of violence and terrorism during the current intifada. Second, the Palestinian demand of Israel to "end the occupation" does not leave any room for territorial compromise in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as suggested by the original language of UN Security Council Resolution 242 .  Third, the use of "occupied Palestinian territories" denies any Israeli claim to the land: had the more neutral language of "disputed territories" been used, then the Palestinians and Israel would be on an even playing field with equal rights. Additionally, by presenting Israel as a "foreign occupier," advocates of the Palestinian cause can delegitimize the Jewish historical attachment to Israel. This has become a focal point of Palestinian diplomatic efforts since the failed 2000 Camp David Summit, but particularly since the UN Durban Conference in 2001. Indeed, at Durban, the delegitimization campaign against Israel exploited the language of "occupation" in order to invoke the memories of Nazi-occupied Europe during the Second World War and link them to Israeli practices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

The term “Occupied Territories” implies that Israel is occupying land belonging to someone else.  The territories are disputed territories and the final resolution of their status must be settled through negotiation with the parties who had previously engaged in war.  Remember, Israel was forced into the 1967 Six Day War by the aggressive actions of the surrounding Arab nations.  The lands that Israel captured were a direct result of that war, and Israel is entitled to occupy them until a resolution to their status is negotiated.  No one refers to Lebanon as “Syrian-occupied”.  Yet that is what Lebanon’s fate has been for over a quarter century, since Syria occupied the sovereign nation following the outbreak of civil war.

So the next time the media uses any of the above terms or 'demonstration' vs. 'riot' or 'attack'; 'stone throwing' vs. 'rock throwing'; 'freedom fighter' or 'militant' or 'activist' vs. 'suspected terrorist' or 'terrorist'; don’t just listen to or read the term passively.  Fight back!  The war of words can be won.

Jews, Christians Upset Over Pastor's Sign
DENVER -- A pastor displayed the message "Jews Killed The Lord Jesus" in front of his church on a busy Denver thoroughfare Wednesday, prompting outrage from Jews and Christians alike.

The sign in front of Loving way United Pentecostal Church upset one passer-by so much she bought a ladder that afternoon to remove the first word. Church members later took down the rest of the words.

Pastor Maurice Gordon said he was inspired by the intense discussion leading to Wednesday's release of the Mel Gibson film "The Passion of the Christ," which some have criticized as anti-Semitic and others have hailed as powerfully portraying the Crucifixion of Christ. Gibson has said the movie does not blame Jews for the death of Jesus.

"I had been listening to debate back and forth on talk radio about who really did it," Gordon told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "What I did, right or wrong, was to give a citation from the Apostle Paul."

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Israeli News Copyright 2004 - March 15, 2004

March 22, 2004