Thursday, May 24, 2007

Time for a new lexicon

From Haaretz :
By Meron Benvenisti

If you study the public discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, you will discover a fascinating phenomenon: The concepts that were coined during the 1970s continue to define a reality that has since changed beyond recognition. The old concepts that comprise the dictionary of the conflict have turned into code words that make any argument or clarification superfluous.

Concepts like 'dividing the land,' 'settlements,' 'occupation,' 'separation' or 'a Palestinian state' are perceived as self-evident and those who use them assume the listener attributes an identical meaning to them. The terms, which were meant to simplify reality, have become absolute concepts with qualitative values. When using these terms, a person defines himself as belonging to a particular political camp...

Benvenisti is a longtime Israeli critic of the Occupation, and its negative impact on the prospects for a viable peace. His reflections on political rhetoric (follow link above) are instructive.

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