Emma Carrol

Warning for This Generation: Don’t Fall for the “Buzzword” Trap.

Image from @Israellycool_ on Instagram.

Palestinian Activist Mohammed El-Kurd Admits to Falsely Claiming Israeli “Apartheid”

Overdramatization and exaggeration are not new linguistic tools. Satire and drama are tactics used to amplify situations, provoke the public, and make a statement. The danger sets in, though, when the line between fiction and reality becomes blurred. If not understood, the result can be detrimental to a society.

In the age of social media, we are constantly barraged with content, ideas, and “buzzwords” (terms applied illegitimately to a situation to create a stir). The more society is exposed to certain ideas or is acquainted with a certain vernacular, the more it becomes accepted as reality. Suddenly, the “buzzwords” are more than just a word on an Instagram post or in a tweet or in an Op-Ed, but they become the language of academia and pop culture. No longer are they an exaggeration, but a false reality. As the rate of the exchange of ideas progresses in this technologically connected world, the normalization of “buzzwords” advances every time we open Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Society changes right before our very eyes. And it would be amiss for Jews to be blind to it.

Mohammed El-Kurd, a Palestinian activist who publicly bashes Israel and has called Zionism “genocidal” and a “death cult”, recently admitted to using the term “apartheid” illegitimately when referring to Israel. Not only that, he admitted to using the term incorrectly to create a “cultural shift”. He stated, “I’m not talking about the crime against humanity, but the negative word that is ‘apartheid’, and the negative connotation it carries in the psyche of the public…But I’m less concerned with the accuracy of the word.” His statements and acknowledgement of using a “buzzword” to vilify an entire nation were followed by nodding and clapping from the crowd. This tactic sound familiar?

(((David Lange)))

That’s because we’ve heard this before. It’s the same tactic Joseph Goebbels and the Nazi party used throughout the 1930’s. As master propagandists, they utilized language to psychologically shape the outlook of the masses, normalizing hate speech in all spheres of society to get everyone on board with ridding the land of the Jews. By defiling the image of the Jew through words, the culture of a society was molded to think/act as the Nazis wanted.

If you’ve spent some time on a university campus in America, you know that anti-Israel protests are not few and far between, and when they do occur, the terms “apartheid” and “genocide” are accompanied by the chants of “from the river to the sea…”

These terms are heavy and loaded. Words have meaning. Words are powerful. Words influence emotion, which influence action. Without defining our terms, we dilute reality. Without taking care to apply terms in truth, we defile reality. What El-Kurd is doing is working to create a cultural shift, but not one built upon truth, but one built upon lies, shallowness, and “buzzword” frenzy. How can a solution be found to a problem built on falsities? It can’t. The only cultural shift the normalization of false Israeli “apartheid” creates is a culture that accepts Jew-hatred.

If El-Kurd is using “apartheid” inaccurately and he knows it, then he must know that he’s diminishing the sufferings of people who have actually faced it. Not only that, but he is developing scores of people who will apply this term to a situation that doesn’t reflect that reality, and will ultimately only cause damage rather than fix any problem they claim to want to fix. Because the reality is thus defiled.

What this ultimately boils down to is: it’s propaganda in every sense of the word. Applying false deadly terms to Israel is a blood libel, and Jews need to recognize this for what it is. We are caught in the tricky position of unconditionally loving our Land and our Home, while also trying to build up peace & security for a better future and a more peaceful reality. But in order to do so, we have to be smart enough to not fall into the “buzzword” trap. As people like El-Kurd are indeed trying to succeed in shifting the culture in America to completely normalizing anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric, we need to stay one step ahead. Thank you, El-Kurd, for outing yourself. It makes the job of those who seek to spread the truth much easier.

About the Author
Emma Carrol grew up in Buffalo, New York and teaches high school Social Studies in New York State. She received a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Adolescence Education Social Studies, and spent a year teaching English in Israel. She is currently pursuing a masters in Jewish Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, & studied Torah at a seminary in Har Nof. She has a passion for writing about Jewish history, identity, and education.
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