Israeli Leaders Blame Palestinians for Fires Without a Shred of Evidence

Fires raged across Israel and the occupied West Bank last month, causing serious damage to property and destroying thousands of acres of natural forests. Immediately, Israeli government officials and members of the Israeli media began blaming Palestinians for setting the fires, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing them as an “arson intifada” and the police positing that they were lit on “nationalistic grounds.” Education Minister Naftali Bennett took the fires as an opportunity to deny Palestinian claims to their homeland, stating that “only those to whom this land does not belong could burn it.” Continue reading “Israeli Leaders Blame Palestinians for Fires Without a Shred of Evidence”


Rhetorical Terrorism

Terror is a name that is never assumed but always tendered. The taxonomy that transforms it from a practice into an identity is always particular. State power designates certain practices as terror and christens those who commit them as terrorists.

-Joseph Massad, The Persistence of the Palestine Question


We are accused of terrorism

If we defended the land

And the honor of the dust

If we revolted against the rape of our people

And our rape

If we defended the last palm tree in our desert

The last stars in our sky

The last syllabi of our names

The last milk in our mothers’ bosoms

-Nizar Qabbani, “I am with Terrorism”


“Semantic satiation” is the process by which the repetition of a word causes it to temporarily lose meaning, rendering it empty sounds it to ears of the speaker. This process is being performed in front of our eyes (or ears) by media, politicians and the public at large with a particular pernicious word: ‘terrorism.’ According to conventional definitions, terrorism is politically motivated violence aimed at creating terror. However, as more and more violence is being carried out across the world by states, non-state actors and individuals, the use of the word has proliferated in tandem. Whether or not these acts of violence are actually terrorism according to the definition is irrelevant; the word is used regardless. When actual acts of terrorism are carried out therefore, describing them as terrorist seems to be pointless as semantic satiation has rendered the word meaningless. Continue reading “Rhetorical Terrorism”