Philadelphia, PA: The homeland right of no people on earth is more misunderstood than that of the Jewish people to their homeland of Israel. This is partly because the mainstream media has adopted the Jewish homeland-delegitimizing language of Israel’s foes, but also in part because well-meaning supporters of Israel ourselves unthinkingly use these terms. Both of these practices contribute greatly to the widespread bias against Israel.
FactsOnIsrael.com, Inc., was incorporated in 2016 as a Pennsylvania non-profit entity, with a website, www.factsonisrael.com, Facebook page, mobile app, and other activities to make clear to Jewish homeland supporters the connotations and nuances of words used in Israel-related discussion, and to encourage Israel supporters’ own use of historically-grounded terms, which reflect the Jewish people’s three-millennia connection to the land of Israel, and not Jewish-homeland delegitimizing pejoratives.
For example, “West Bank” is not a synonym for Judea-Samaria, but an antonym. The biblical names Judea and Samaria remained in use all through the 1800 years of continuous foreign rule between Romans’ destruction of the Jewish kingdom Judaea in CE 135 and the State of Israel’s attainment of independence in 1948 as the land of Israel’s next native state. The United Nations referred to “the hill country of Samaria and Judea,” not to “the West Bank,” in its partition resolution of 1947. “West Bank” was coined in 1950 by the invader Jordan, for the same reason the Romans renamed Judaea as “Palestine” in 135 – to disassociate the Jewish homeland from Jews.
There are a host of other historically incorrect misleading terms – e.g., misstatement of the 1949 Israel-Jordan military ceasefire lines, expressly declared in the Armistice Agreement not to be political borders as “Israel’s 1967 borders”; reference to “East” Jerusalem, which existed only during the Jordanian seizure of 1948-67, as though it had always been a separate city, not part of a single city, Jerusalem, that’s been the capital of three states, all Jewish, and has had a renewed Jewish majority since 1800’s Ottoman rule. Calling contested territories “occupied,” and Jewish communities “settlements” but Arab communities “towns and villages,” and labeling Israel “apartheid” likewise one-sidedly denigrate Israel.
Through explanations of toxic terms on our website; our book, Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-to-Z; PowerPoint presentations to groups (some on our website); published articles, instructive videos in TED-talk fashion, and other means, we work to make clear to our own camp the critical importance of word choices, which everyone – Israel’s foes, the media, anti-Israel Jews – seems to grasp clearly but us. We invite those seeking unfiltered facts on Israel to visit www.factsonisrael.com.
Contact: Lee S. Bender, President