Mar 15, 2010 3:12 pm


We are in the world George Orwell and Ayn Rand saw coming. It is a world where words no longer have meaning and A is not A. Consider the following two examples:

A NYT headline - Palestinians Honor a Figure Reviled in Israel as a Terrorist. The clear implication of the headline is that the action of the"figure" is difficult to define. It may be considered terrorism and it may not be so considered. Here is how the paper describes those actions (the men in the picture are gathering body parts):

The woman being honored, Dalal Mughrabi, was the 19-year-old leader of a Palestinian squad that sailed from Lebanon and landed on a beach between Haifa and Tel Aviv. They killed an American photojournalist, hijacked a bus and commandeered another, embarking on a bloody rampage that left 38 Israeli civilians dead, 13 of them children, according to official Israeli figures. Ms. Mughrabi and several other attackers were killed.

How can the hijacking of a civilian bus and the cold blooded murder of those riding in it considered anything but terrorism?! The reporter's response is simple. The Palestinians say it is not.

To Israelis, hailing Ms. Mughrabi as a heroine and a martyr is an act that glorifies terrorism.

But, underscoring the chasm between Israeli and Palestinian perceptions, the Fatah representatives described Ms. Mughrabi as a courageous fighter who held a proud place in Palestinian history. Defiant, they insisted that they would not let Israel dictate the names of Palestinian streets and squares.

“We are all Dalal Mughrabi,” declared Tawfiq Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, the party’s main decision-making body, who came to join the students. “For us she is not a terrorist,” he said, but rather “a fighter who fought for the liberation of her own land.”

Yara Daik, 22, said she did not come to the square to support terrorism. Rather, she said, “Dalal sacrificed for her country and is a symbol for every Palestinian girl.”

At no point does the reporter point out the sophistry of the position. There is nothing mysterious in the notion. It is an action designed to frighten a population. Hijacking a random public bus and murdering the passengers can have no other motivation but spreading fear, i.e., terror.

A judicious reporter would have asked the Palestinians she interviews to provide their definition of terrorism. She did not. Nor did she point out that after 9/11 the Palestinian leadership understood that continued US support mandates ending their terrorist advocacy, if not practice. So, they stopped arguing that their terrorist acts are justified. Instead, they renamed those acts. She simply cooperated with them by accepting that renaming as legitimate.

It was at a recent visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art that I was confronted with the full force of such linguistic corruption.

I was listening to a taped discussion of Picasso and the Avant Garde exhibit I heard the narrator discussing Jacque Lipchitz' Prayer say that Lipchitz wished the 1943 piece to reflect his prayer for the Jews whom" he considered to be innocent victims" of the Holocaust.

All I could think about was the phrasing"he considered" as opposed to whom? Hitler? Ahmadinejad? Michael Taylor?

Am I being unfair. Perhaps, Michael Taylor, probably a NYT reader, thought it the appropriate phrasing. I tried to find out. I asked the museum's newly appointed leader, Timothy Rub. I had thought he was the narrator. Rub said that he only narrated the introduction and Michael Taylor is the man to ask and promised to do so. He took my name, email address and telephone number and said he will talk to Taylor and one of them will get back to me. I am still waiting.

In the process of writing this blog I discovered that there was no such similar ambivalence to be found on the museum website.

1943's The Prayer shows an aged, broken man draped in a prayer shawl, holding a rooster (reminiscent of the ancient Jewish atonement ritual known as kapparot) and a flame-engulfed book inscribed with the Kol Nidre, a Jewish prayer of atonement. The artist later recalled that he had cried throughout the making of this emotional work, which was his heartfelt prayer for the innocent victims of Hitler's atrocities.

Something must have led Taylor to believe equivocation was in order. I know the NYT reporter does not wish to offend supporters of Palestinian terrorists. Is it possible that Taylor worries about offending those who believe the Jews deserved to be burned in extermination camps?! Be that as it may, more and more I find myself living in the modern equivalent of the Tower of Babel. It is not a multitude of languages that makes communication impossible but" contested" meanings of simple nouns.

For additional analysis of the Kershner, see, Grievances and Perceptions

Sid Shahid, Islamists Respond to Terror Cases with Denial

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Elliott Aron Green - 3/14/2010

It seems that the palestinian authority has been honoring dalal Mughrabi for some time now. Even before 2003 several institutions in the palestinian authority had been named after her:

Hilary Clinton burst out that the Israeli decision on housing in Jerusalem, a city with a Jewish majority since 1853, at least, is an "insult to the United States."

But Hilary is not insulted by the palestinian authority honoring mugrabi whose first victim in Israel was Gail Rubin, a renowned nature photographer, an American citizen, and --just by chance-- the niece of US Senator Abraham [Abe] Ribicoff. Rubin was taking pix of nature scenes on the beach when she was murdered. Ribicoff was a Democratic senator, as it so happens. But that does not insult Hilary.

Elliott Aron Green - 3/14/2010

Judith, I've been in that museum many times since my childhood. I note that they display or have in the past displayed a large stock of paintings of Jesus on the cross with the sign INRI nailed to it. That stands for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.

Maybe the Philadelphia Museum of Art will now have to call in painting retouching experts to help change all those INRI signs to INRP, Jesus the Nazarene, King of the "Palestinians". It seems nowadays that Arabs and other Muslims are allowed to dictate their distorted, fake version of history to the rest of the world, and their dishonest definitions of important terms. I refer not only to Turkey's efforts to prevent definition of the Armenian genocide as genocide --whereas both the US and Swedish govts. have scolded their own parliaments for making such definitions-- but the Arab denial of Arab complicity and collaboration in the Holocaust, plus the Hizbullah's self-definition as a "Resistance" movement, and here the Palestinian Arab denial that mass murder is terrorism. I actually think that mass murder would be a better definition of what Miss Mughrabi did.

By the way, Miss Mughrabi's family name tells us that they were not originally natives of Israel but came from the Maghreb, the Muslim/Arab West, that is, from North Africa. The PLO/PA is always claiming that they --the Arabs-- are the real natives of Israel. And here their mass murderous heroine comes from a family originating in North Africa.