We have all heard the absurd claims by anti-Zionists that Arabs cannot possibly be anti-Semitic because anti-Semitism is actually the hate of Semites (which include Arabs). It is an inept attempt at avoiding an issue by trying to change the widely accepted definition of a word. It does not make any more sense than saying that green is blue in order to prove that Italians are actually French.
This sort of erroneous logic is unfortunately not limited to anti-Zionists. Some Zionists too engage in it when they claim that there can be no Palestinian state since Palestinians do not exist. The fact that millions of people call themselves Palestinians and are called Palestinians by every government on earth, including Israel’s, seems to elude them.
When does a word become a legitimate word with a specific meaning? The accepted practice is that this happens when the word is widely used as such. As Merriam-Webster states, “To decide which words to include in the dictionary and to determine what they mean, Merriam-Webster editors study the language as it’s used. They carefully monitor which words people use most often and how they use them.” This is not rocket science, and it should not be news to anyone.
Trying to prove a political position by denying the meaning of a word that is widely accepted is a sign of desperation and lack of substance. It is perfectly understandable for anti-Zionists to use this tactic. There is after all no substantive argument against the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, therefore anti-Zionists might as well use an argument that could gain them the support of a few dimwits.
But it is beneath Zionists to use such a pathetic strategy.
Palestinians exist. Of course they exist. Whether they will one day have a state or not is a totally different story, and it depends mostly on whether their leaders can start leading them in that direction rather than leading them towards hate and terrorism.
Using the word “Palestinian” today implies nothing about the history of Jews, Palestinians, or anyone else in the Middle East. It is a sign of respect for the accepted practices of a language, and it is a sign of respect for individuals such as Bassem Eid who define themselves as Palestinian and who want peace with Israel. The end.