Hijacking Words: Tactics of Terror

From the 1960s onward, the forces of terror against Israel perpetrated dozens of attacks against the Western nations and Israel by way of, inter alia, hijacking airlines and hostage taking. With the bolstering of security precautions, such attacks were generally brought under control and terrorism would be forced to divert its focus elsewhere.

However, the strategies employed against Israel on an international scale go far beyond the use of violence. While terrorists may no longer succeed in hijacking planes, there is little defense against the abduction of language which has led to a blatant manipulation of reality and which seeks to coerce Israel into accepting a plethora of crimes which she has not committed.

There are various words regularly carelessly tossed around to describe Israel’s actions. Take for example, the most recent accusations that Israel’s on-the-spot shootings of terrorists who stab civilians or security personnel are tantamount to “executions.” Social media is replete with the accusation which emanates directly from Mahmoud Abbas. Yet the term is a misleading effort to manufacture a product which can easily be sold – a falsehood which plays on people’s sympathy for the perceived underdog.

It may be said that killing and executions amount to the same thing. The word “execution” however, has been deliberately employed precisely because the authors of this lie understand the nuances involved.

In countries such as Iran, people are publicly executed for crimes such as “waging war against God”, “corruption of the heart,” “political disobedience.” In Saudi Arabia homosexuals and other so-called criminals are routinely hanged and executed.

Not only are these unjustifiable, but they are not emergency responses to real-time murder or crime. Rather they are carefully considered executions often underpinned by radical law.

When Martin Couture-Rouleau was shot dead after he deliberately ran over Canadian officers in 2014, should the police response be described as an execution? Surely not.

The second term/myth that we repeatedly hear is “massacre.” Operation Protective Edge, in which over 2,000 people in Gaza (both terrorists and, regrettably, civilians) were killed during the 50 day campaign, was branded a massacre. Indeed, Israel is accused of conducting systematic and deliberate massacres of Palestinians on a daily basis. Yet such incendiary language crumbles against the backdrop of history and Israel’s military capabilities.

In 1982 when Syria responded to a Muslim Brothers uprising in Hama, they did not employ a “knock on the roof” strategy to warn of the impending strikes. Nor did they drop leaflets indicating as much in an effort to prevent the loss of life. Rather, they indiscriminately shelled and bombed the areas of hostility and massacred between 10,000 and 25,000 people, according to Amnesty International. A long list of similar examples could be cited.

The only change in the current wars in Syria is the magnitude of the massacres which take place every single day.

During the fifty day operation of Protective Edge, surely Israel’s sophisticated army could have inflicted a death toll which far exceeded this bona fide massacre should it have wished to do so.

Both accusations culminate in the ultimate fallacy – that Israel is engaged in a daily campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

The former term was coined following the cruel Yugoslav wars during the 1990s which saw Ratko Mladic “cleanse” the majority Serb communities of Croats in the Krajina during the Bosnian war. In the process, he killed an estimated 300,000 people and expelled millions throughout his onslaught. In 1995 he marched his forces into Srebrenica and massacred 7,400 unarmed Muslim men and boys in four days.

This was the true definition of ethnic cleansing and genocide which has been hijacked by a phony narrative, the sole aim of which is to demonize Israel and garner support for a people very much alive in their millions.

Contrast this with the reports of a Palestinian individual being killed oftentimes in the confusion of a violent protest. The very reason that any Palestinian death makes headlines is precisely because of its infrequency rather than its frequency.

These terms, hijacked and cynically abused, only palliate the atrocious crimes committed against those who actually suffered in the course of their grisly implementation. This notwithstanding, the hijackings operate as mechanisms to terrorize in their own right. Supporters of Israel are accused of countenancing executions, of supporting daily massacres, of abetting ethnic cleansing and genocide and are grouped with the likes of Mladic and many other notorious figures.

We should be more aware of these brazen hijackings and they should not be taken as fact simply by virtue of their repetition. They should be seen as a modern addendum to the propaganda works of Joseph Goebbels.They should be viewed as a strategy to incite, to engender hate and, since they justify almost any means of “resistance” against Israel, to terrorize.

About the Author
Alexander Apfel holds a BA and MA in Modern History. He is an IDF reservist in the armored corps.
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