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Editorial Article

Idan Landau is one linguist who minces words (against Israel).

Lee Kaplan  www.isracampus.org.il

If one studies the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as it plays itself out in history, one thing above all will no doubt be remembered as a very potent weapon for the Arab side. That is the use of language, not just in Arabic or Hebrew, but, in particular, in English, since that is the language used most by the West.

The Arabs are masters of the buzz words that can smear Israel to a western audience by evoking images that, even though generally untrue, suggest visions of atrocities against the Arabs and turn the primitive behavior of the Arabs into something other than murder and mayhem against the Jews. Examples of this are how terrorism and suicide bombings become re-dubbed “legitimate resistance,” or a security fence becomes an “apartheid wall,” or Israel, founded by the United Nations with legally purchased land by Jews, becomes a “colony” that “stole” the land from the “indigenous” Arabs who became “refugees” for more than one generation (despite jobs, homes and businesses). In the West, “peace and social justice” have become attack words for anarchists and communists alike; allied with Muslim and Arab irredentists against the Jews, symbols of capitalism to the former groups or kafirs to the latter groups. The real meaning is that there will be “peace and social justice” when Israel ceases to exist, but, above all, the Jewish state must not exist.

It is in such a milieu of misapplied words or Orwellian-style doublespeak that one should find Israeli academic linguists who will tell it like it is about Israel’s unremitting good conduct against such withering attacks, and make a case for truth in supporting the Jewish state. But, sadly, among some Israeli and Jewish academics there exists, amazingly, even in the field of linguistics, many of the biggest word contortionists around when it comes to denigrating Israel’s security and right to exist. Above all, we find names such as the late Tanya Rhinehart and Noam Chomsky, communist sympathizers and, frankly, Jewish anti-Semites both.

Chomsky, of course, never met a totalitarian dictatorship or terrorist he did not like. He praised Pol Pot, and he met recently with and praised Hizballah’s efforts against Israel, (even after Nasrallah said he wished all Jews would move to Israel so he could kill them all in one place); Chomsky even dabbled in Holocaust denial by writing a forward and praising a repulsive book promoting Holocaust denial by French neo-Nazi Robert Faurisson, wherein Faurisson claimed the gas chambers did not exist.

A disciple of Chomsky before becoming a teacher herself, the late Tanya Reinhart was such a virulent anti-Zionist militant that she embarrassed even some of the die-hard leftists in Israeli academia. Denouncing the Oslo agreement, she also condemned the security fence, and advocated the Palestinian "right of return" that would spell an end to the Jewish state. Captivated by conspiracy theories about Israel, she even supported the boycott against her own university. Both Chomsky and Rhinehart cloned themselves with students who not only became linguists, but carried on the same radical leftist anti-Semitism against Israel and other such claptrap in our colleges.

Hence, today we find Idan Landau, a student and acolyte of both professors, now a Foreign Literatures and Linguistics professor at Ben Gurion University, and another example of an anti-Israel Israeli academic plying the world with the misuse of language as if he is one of the Arabs himself, when he could be showing the world how the Arabs use language to deceive the West to condemn Israel.

Idan Landau’s curriculum vitae reveals a lot about him. Besides studying under both Rhinehart and Chomsky, his specialty is syntax, the formulation of organizing the written word. A study of one of his abstracts reveals he understands the use of the ellipse in language. An ellipse could be translated as “lying by omission,” leaving out just enough information to convey something other than the truth.

The Arabs are masters of the ellipse. For example, they will put out a communiqué mentioning that IDF soldiers shot some demonstrators with live ammunition who were “just throwing stones.” However, for those privy to photos at the scene, the Arabs were throwing concrete slabs that could kill and maim off of high buildings at the soldiers. The use of equivalency by the Arabs and their communist/anarchist allies in the ISM to brand self-defense by Israelis as undeserved aggression, constant use of words like “collective punishment,” “violations of human rights” (the Arabs couldn’t care less about the human rights of their own people, let alone Jews in Israel) and “ethnic cleansing” (as their population grows exponentially) is another commonly used tactic.

Idan Landau, who has refused to serve his reserve duty in the IDF and lets other Israeli young people protect the people of Israel at checkpoints from terrorism, recently wrote an article for YNET news where he wrote that he is "appalled by the human rights abuses against Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government, the continual military occupation and colonization of Palestinian territory by Israeli armed forces and settlers, and the forcible eviction from and demolition of Palestinian homes, towns and cities."

The last time I looked, the Israelis didn’t demolish any “Palestinian towns and cities” and the accusation they did so in Jenin turned out to be a boldfaced lie (another misuse of syntax, no doubt, by the linguist Idan Landau). Of course, those Palestinian homes that were demolished were bases for terror cells or bomb making factories and their destruction harkens back to the British who used the tactic as effectively during the Mandate period. Today, domiciles built without permits on land that doesn’t belong to the builder are also demolished in every civil society. But drive through eastern Jerusalem any day and see for yourself sometime all the Arab structures thrown up without permits to try and claim land by squatter’s rights at a later date in a leftist Israeli court. 97% of the Palestinians, of course, are under the administrative governance of the PA, so are not really under military occupation, per se. There are certainly enough photos of Arabs terrorists parading with guns, wearing hoods like the Ku Klux Klan to show that the myth of the entire Arab population being under military occupation is hyperbole anyway, and the Disengagement from Gaza should be proof enough to any fool what awaits Israel if she ever makes such a blanket mistake again. Linguists like Idan Landau can cleverly lie through ellipses, but thank goodness photography reveals the truth, since, as far as human rights go, only the Arabs would hang a suspected collaborator in the town square in Ramallah and have a Palestinian policeman carve into his body with a knife. So much for the “Arab human rights” worry because of the Jews; Israel doesn’t even have a death penalty for Arab terrorists or stage public executions as the Arabs do.

As for the linguistic use of equivalency, Landau used that to perfection in the same YNET article that relies on so many ellipses. Here is another quote from him:
"The tank shells produced by Israel Military Industries do not serve loftier goals than those served by pipe bombs in Nablus. Both are used, maliciously and arbitrarily, against innocent civilians. The difference is merely in power:”

The purposes of paragraphs written by Landau such as that above are to deceive those, particularly in the West, who do not know what Israel is really up against. It is an ellipse that uses the technique equivalency in an exquisite manner. The comment that Israeli tank shells are used “maliciously and arbitrarily” are not true as IDF soldiers must operate under rules of engagement, and are faced with sniper fire and a civilian population that uses its children, the shebab, as well as international anarchists and communists from the ISM as human shields. As for the issue of power, while it is true that Israel’s army is more powerful than the Palestinian terrorist groups (who are supposed to be policemen and fight terrorism against Jews and Arabs alike instead of carrying out such acts). And it is the Palestinians who rely on the power of the rest of the Arab world to arm them and help them make war on Israel incessantly. Lebanon produces Hizballah in the North with 12,000 rockets and attempts to kidnap Israeli soldiers, Syria and Iran provide support to Hizballah and Hamas and Damascus is a logistical base for Hamas and Islamic Jihad leadership. Saudi Arabia bankrolls terrorist groups and Egypt looks the other way at weapons smuggling. Iran says it’s going to wipe Israel off the map.

So, yes, there is a difference in power, and it’s not in Israel’s favor by any means unless one is to believe the linguist Idan Landau, who continued, “The immense damage caused to West Bank towns by Israel's military technology cannot be compared to the limited damage caused by Palestinian terrorism in Israel's cities."

The “immense” damage he speaks of is usually fabricated hyperbole also. The Palestinians lied about Jenin being destroyed, and have even made a huge memorial celebration about Deir Yassin which was an earlier fabrication from 1948. Meanwhile, Arab irredentism had in essence wiped out Jewish agricultural communities in Gaza that provided 70% of Israel’s agricultural exports and that were built on sand dunes. 23 Jewish communities in Gaza and Judea and Samaria were wiped out by Arabs in 1948, some that returned in 1967, like Kfar Etzion.

Finally, for Idan Landau to use equivalency by dismissing terrorism with Israel’s actions to defend itself from a society that teaches children in its textbooks, its music videos and in common parlance to murder Jews, he is engaging in absolute sophistry. The Arabs do not use just pipe bombs, but human bombs, and the explosions have been horrific, killing sometimes entire busloads of people—our people, both Arab and Jew. Such ellipses in his writing are like saying if a policeman is raping and murdering your mother, he is as guilty as the perpetrator for using his billy club or even gun to stop it. The IDF is defending Israeli citizens-period.

If Landau feels there is such equivalency between Israel’s self-defense and Arab terrorism, then he should resign his position at Ben Gurion U. and go live in the Palestinian Authority. Certainly, he can teach at Bir Zeit University among the Hamas and PFLP activists who would welcome him. But let him try and complain about Arabs attacking Jews from there in an equivalent manner and then see what happens.

Finally, and true to form, Idan Landau also called for an economic divestment and a halt in U.S. military aid unless Israel ends the "occupation" (there’s another buzz word again) and respects the human rights (buzz word) of Arabs. Such rhetoric is old and stale and has no place among civilized people who wanted to make peace with the Arabs. “End the occupation,” as voiced frankly by the Arabs at their rallies in America and Europe, and in Arabic to their own people, clearly means dismantling Israel and making it Jew-free. These are words conveying the situation not just in Yesha, but all of Israel. The other side doesn’t mince words when it comes to Israel’s right to exist—to them there is no such right. And it’s the oversimplification and linguistic distortion of Idan Landau that only helps encourage threats to Israeli lives, both Jew and Arab.

Someone in academia once bemoaned that “Why is it that the liberal arts can create such an equal number of fools for each decent and reputable graduate? Thank God that the exams for competence tests for engineers and physicists are more rigid.” Idan Landau, a linguist who uses ellipses and equivalency to promote Arab propaganda and its goals against Israel, is an example of one of those fools.

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Op-Ed articles appearing on IsraCampus.Org.il are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinion of IsraCampus.Org.il