Name Perversions End Useful Debate

Are you trying to get a point across on the social media or talkbacks? You will more likely succeed if you refrain from using certain terms.

Since I ask that people use accurate names when writing about Palestinian Arabs and the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria, I ask that people use non-derogatory names when referring to people and groups you do not like. I cringe whenever I see people pervert the word Moslem or Obama, for example, calling the former Muzzratt and the latter Obummer – if you could see me now, you would see how my mouth purses in discomfort.

Do you think that using those kinds of words makes you appear more intelligent, more authoritative, more rational? Do you think that using such terminology persuades your readers of the wisdom in your post and gives them cause to pay attention? I don’t. I, personally, find I can pay more attention to the writings of those who use the proper unadulterated names for groups to which they do not belong. If someone I know and generally respect uses words like those above I try to ignore the offensive language and replace it in my mind with the proper names. Why do you make me do that extra work? Do you not realize that that means I have less brain-power to fully comprehend what you are trying to say?

I can call a Jew a Yid because I am one. I can call a Jew a Kike because I am one. If I use either of those terms it is for a purpose that has nothing to do with hate or disapproval, but rather is used endearingly. But when a non-Jew uses either of those terms when referring to Jews, that is insulting. And what do we think of those who call us Zionazis? Do we even read beyond a term like this? Hate drips from the word like warm candle wax and seeps into the soul, extinguishing a part of its light for a time.

Similarly, what do Moslems feel when the word for their religious group is perverted in an attempt to emphasize disapproval and loathing? I would not like to think of Moslems cringing inside like I do. This does not promote intelligent exchanges of ideas. We can pay more attention to each other and debate the issues far more earnestly if we just keep things simple and call people and groups by their proper names.

About the Author
Sheri Oz, owner of, is a retired family therapist exploring mutual interactions between politics and Israeli society.
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