Monday, June 14, 2010

Hijacking of Language: "Criticism"

Among the many words hijacked by anti-Zionist commentators on the Huffington Post, "criticism" has to be one of the most prominent. For example, note the last sentence:

I guess we'll start with using a page from their playbook and citing the actual definition of what criticism is:
"Criticism is the judgement (using analysis and evaluation) of the merits and faults of the actions or work of another individual. Criticism can mean merely to evaluate without necessarily finding fault; however, usually the word implies the expression of disapproval."
However, the AZ definition of "criticism" is: Anything that is negative and directed at Israel. This includes not only blatant anti-Semitic comments but attacks on Israel's very existence that go past mere "judgment of its actions." And that is where the hijacking of the language comes in, as long as any negative comment of Israel is "legitimate criticism" than that means there is no line that can be crossed.

This is most clearly demonstrated in the Helen Thomas case, in which she attacked Israel's existence when she inferred that the Jews were foreign invaders that didn't belong there. That is not an evaluation of Israel's actions by any measure; it is simply an attack on Israel itself. However this did not stop Thomas' defenders from shouting to the high heavens that she was only "criticizing" Israel, not calling for it's destruction.

Hijacking the definition of "criticism" in this way serves the interests of both anti-Zionists and anti-Semites. Anti-Zionists want the freedom to insult and berate Israel in any way they choose without worrying about whether they have gone too far, while anti-Semites want the freedom to say exactly what they think without being called on it. It is interesting that it is only when Israel and the Jews are involved that people think they can get away with this kind of thing. Most people would agree that there is a point at which criticism of Obama becomes racism. In fact Jimmy Carter did exactly that.

Which is exactly why the endless AZ refrain of "criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism" is such a transparent distortion. As long as they can label anything against Israel as "criticism" they can say that there is nothing anti-Semitic in the endless diatribes about Israel controlling the media, the government, etc. They certainly wouldn't appreciate it if Zionists pulled the same thing against them. It' just another example of the war on anti-Semitism.

It has been added to the Anti-Zionist Dictionary.


  1. Its Orwellian. Its tiring to point out this is not "legitimate criticism" by commonly accepted standards. But it is still the duty of the honest man to state the obvious.

  2. Yup.

    I've been saying this for years.

    There is a distinction between honest criticism and demonization.

    I think that I am going to point to this post on my own blog and perhaps the NewsRealBlog, as well.

    This is precisely what even a lot of well-meaning liberals seem not to understand.