The War of the Words

Friday, July 25, 2014


Alongside the usual war for hearts and minds waged through conflicting narratives in the media, there’s a parallel fight happening on the rhetorical battlefield. Brooke talks with Jodi Rudoren, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the New York Times, about her recent piece, “In Gaza, Epithets Are Fired and Euphemisms Give Shelter,” in which she explores the issue of semantics.


Jodi Rudoren

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [7]

Tom Roche from Carrboro, NC

@John Jul. 29 2014 04:04 PM: '"once again" sums up the whole conflict rather nicely. It will the next time too. And the time after that.'

Certainly that's what the Zionists want us to believe, as it tends to passivate opponents (more below). Fortunately, as even the Zionists seem to be recognizing, public support for Zionism, especially globally, is waning[1]. This decline in support, and increase in opposition, may accelerate on intervention of the International Criminal Court[2], which seems increasingly likely.

The two great historical influences on contemporary Zionism are the US (Israel's major backer) and apartheid South Africa (of which Israel was perhaps *the* major backer, though largely as a US proxy). Zionists seek to emulate the US, the European occupiers of which were able to substantially exterminate the indigenous population without inciting effective opposition: the slow-motion Holocaust of the Native Americans has "passed into history"[3]. To do this, Zionists must avoid the mistakes of the Afrikaners, who incited powerful international opposition, including the armed intervention of Cuba against the SADF's[4] invasions of its neighbors.

[1]: One small datum: OTM's Zionist commenters seem disproportionally *not* to use full names/locations.
[2]: Richard Falk @ (cached @ )
[3]: In the US: increasingly less so in Canada, and much less in Latin America.
[4]: Interestingly, the most aggressive international actors in the second half of the 20th century seem to been the US Department of Defense, the South African Defence [sic] Force, and the Israeli Defense Forces.

Jul. 30 2014 11:50 AM

20 Arab countries (see below) the earth is large enough so that the Kurds and Jews
can each live in their own ancestral homelands and not be at the mercy or whim of a majority host that is often cruel.
Algeria , Bahrain, Comoros , Djibouti
Egypt , Iraq ,Jordan , Kuwait
Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania
Morocco , Oman, Qatar
Saudi, Arabia ,Somalia, Sudan
Syria, Tunisia, UAE Emirates ,Yemen

Jul. 30 2014 02:27 AM

Actually "once again" sums up the whole conflict rather nicely. It will the next time too. And the time after that.

Jul. 29 2014 04:04 PM
Tom Roche from Carrboro, NC

@Frank Pecca from Randolph, NJ Jul. 25 2014 10:50 PM: "it started with the 3 Israeli teenagers that were kidnapped on June 16 and later found killed. Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately went on the war path, immediately blamed Hamas and started the run up to invasion of Gaza without any evidence that Hamas was responsible."

But wait! There's more! the BBC's Jon Donnison reports[1] that the occupiers are admitting that the kidnappers of the settlers were a "lone cell" not under Hamas control.

@Frank Pecca from Randolph, NJ Jul. 25 2014 10:50 PM: "How can a responsible, analytical journalist dismiss these facts?"

Ya gotta understand, the Jodi Rudorens of the world are not about journalism, they're about manufacturing consent[2]. One way to maintain "consent of the governed" in the US for Zionist occupation is to convince voters (which the NPR/OTM demographic mostly are) that Zionist occupation is good--i.e., to convert opponents and undecideds into proponents. The bad news (for the manufacturers) is, that's an increasingly hard sell. The good news (for the manufacturers) is that they have another option, which is merely to passivate opponents and undecideds, because (to paraphrase not Edmund Burke, but more likely J.S. Mill[3]), all that is necessary for the triumph of Zionist occupation is for its opponents to do nothing. When the manufacturers of consent convince someone that "the situation is hopeless" because the conflict is perpetual--or, at least, goes (as you quote) "all the way back to Abraham"--they remove a potential or actual opponent from the field.


Jul. 28 2014 11:49 AM

As Marian from Hartsdale notes, the conclusion of Ms Gladstone’s interview with Ms Rudoren was abrupt.

I have often felt very critical of Israel’s actions.

Nevertheless, the “context” that Gaza people have been living in isolation (not least due to Egyptian policy) and under great physical and psychological stress, while a true fact, is irrelevant with respect to Hamas’s decision to continue its aerial attacks which invite violent reprisal.

Many oppressed people suffer from the actions of powerful antagonists, from the obliviousness of the community of nations, from their own folly or from some combination of these.

But oppressed persons who respond to oppression by firing weapons make a free choice to gamble their own lives.

The advent of “journalists'” impotent, poorly supported personal ideological views being mistaken for reportage is increasingly alarming.

Jul. 27 2014 06:32 PM
Marian from Hartsdale, New York

Ms Gladstone, RE: interview with "Shereen" (sp?) from Sky news
At the mid-point of your interview, there was discussion about Hamas' general message getting out. Shereen replied that "Hamas' message is that we are winning this war". Your response, paraphrasing the Israeli perspective, is that "they (meaning the Palestinians) should just stop firing and it will be over". Shereen then replied….."but context is missing…….the people are living in an open-air prison"….. Your response was "thank you". I agree with Shereen that "context was missing". One aspect of that missing context is that Hamas' continuing message/policy/goal is the destruction of Israel and its people. To play this out, an example would be signing a business contract, with each party contributing 50% of the money and effort required, but with one of the parties reserving the right to kill the other party (and their heirs) and taking over the business, whenever they see fit. Of what value is this to the other party? Wouldn't you think they would, minimally, have to continue to be hyper-vigilante and protective of their interests? Before your concluding "thank you", a more revealing response might have been obtained, had you asked her instead, how she would reconcile Hamas' policy with any meaningful negotiation. Israel's defense methods are secondary to the issue of Hamas' desire for Israel's destruction. If this desire was not the "context for Hamas' negotiations, there would be no need for rockets for Israel to defend against.

Jul. 27 2014 12:22 PM
Frank Pecca from Randolph, NJ

Ms. Rudoren flippantly dismissed the need for a starting point of the current conflict by her reference to "all the way back to Abraham". A good journalist doesn't dismiss the context of conflicts. This conflict came about because there was a series of events that caused it to happen. In this case, it started with the 3 Israeli teenagers that were kidnapped on June 16 and later found killed. Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately went on the war path, immediately blamed Hamas and started the run up to invasion of Gaza without any evidence that Hamas was responsible. He searched about 2000 buildings in the West Bank of which about 60 were Hamas and had several hundred Palestinians (of which about 280 were Hamas) arrested in the West Bank. Then the Palestinian boy was kidnapped and burned alive and his American cousin severely beaten by Israelis. These incidents came about as result of the warring tone that Prime Minister Netanyahu set after the 3 teenagers were kidnapped. Then Gaza began firing rockets into Israel to resist, to protest what what was happening in the West Bank and Jerusalem. To this day there has been no evidence provided that Hamas was behind the killing of the three teenagers but Netanyahu was not interested in investigating and finding truth - he wanted this conflict because he created the situation that led to it with his handling of the kidnapping - this doesn't go back to Abraham, it goes back to him. I'm reminded of President Bush's run up to the Iraq war based on false assumptions because he wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussain. I'm also reminded of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin that was assumed to be by Palestinians, but later found to be by an extremest Israeli who was vehemently opposed to Rabin's peace overtures to the Palestinians. In this case Netanyahu was vehemently opposed to Fatah uniting with Hamas. Keep in mind too for context - the settlements - Israel continues to illegally take Palestinian land instead of honestly working to resolve the conflict with a just agreement including a just sharing of land according to International Law. And the brutal, humiliating occupation goes on. No - this doesn't go back to Abraham - it goes back to Netanyahu's irresponsible leadership. How can a responsible, analytical journalist dismiss these facts?

Jul. 25 2014 10:50 PM

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