We should begin resuscitating public discourse by introducing – then debating – alternatives...can we sleep at night knowing that our incessant adversarial smearing is partially to blame for the intractability of a resolution to this conflict?
Let us begin by replacing our nation’s vocabulary. Let us find new words that embrace vibrant political debate rather than shut it down. Let us start anew.
He started out from the abortion debate on which he comments:
The very vocabulary we use forebodes the vitriolic tit-for-tat looming in the distance, each side debasing the other for grave injustices – either subverting women’s basic rights or mercilessly slaughtering our newborns. But we all know these slogans, which were birthed of propagandist public relations, have a loose relationship with the truth.
and moves on:
Our country’s Israel debate has a parallel vocabulary problem. When the average American encounters Israeli politics in the mainstream media, chances are that discourse centers around two potent battle cries: pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian. The crippling predicament, however, is that in each case there is no single, coherent definition of the term. Year after year, we are talking past each other.
Roi Bachmutsky, who wrote that, is a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.
At his blog, he defines his involvement so:
a challenging engagement with the intersection of Israel, American Jewish identity, and the world. After years of research and hundreds of pages of academic writing, I have decided to interweave my findings with analysis of relevant recent events for a broad public audience.
I left this comment there:
Neat. Who is an "occupier"? The Arabs who conquered the country they call Palestine in 638 or the Jews who were granted the right to reconstitute their national home therein and in 1967, in a defense against aggression, renewed administrative rule over it? What is an "apartheid road"? One that the Arab cannot ride for security concerns or one a Jews cannot ride also for security concerns? What is a "settlement"? A Jewish village beyond the Green Line armistice line or an Arab town in Israel?
Other examples - could the thousands of Jews expelled from Judea and Samaria after 1948 due to Arab ethnic cleansing that went on for previous decades under the British Mandate as well (o! the irony of it all) demand a "right of return" and UNRWA assistance (actually, they did receive such for a few years until Israel said it would take care of its own)?
The young man may be on to something.