Wednesday, August 6, 2014

On terminology

Sar Shalom

When the Arabs and their sympathizers describe violent actions against Israeli civilians as "resistance," we rightly call them out for such usage. However, when they describe their actions as "jihad," we allow it to go forward and even use the same term for our own descriptions of their actions. In the interest of undermining their legitimacy, I would like to recommend a subset of Arabic terms identified by David Kilcullen, a former Australian military officer, scholar of counterinsurgency and adviser to David Petraeus during the surge, for describing religiously motivated terror.
Irhab (eer-HAB)- terror. The word form for the perpetrators of irhab would be irhabi or irhabiyoun.

Hirabah (hee-RAH-bah) - criminal war.

Istihlal (eesh-tee-LAHL) - the act of playing God.
The term istihlal is particularly notable due to the entire theological justification for reconquering Israel. According to the Koran, the Land of Israel was promised to the Children of Israel and the promise was never revoked. However, the Muslims have given themselves an out from that by saying that the promise is conditional on the Jews following the Torah. Absent Jewish obedience to the Torah, the land becomes open to claim for those who loyally follow Allah. How is it determined that the Jews are not following the Torah, and thus the Arab-Muslims are free to claim "Palestine?" Why it is the pronouncement of those Arab-Muslims that determines it. In other words, they are practicing istihlal.

While it is one thing to say that the Islamists describe their actions as jihad, and to use that word when it is clear that it is meant as their description, let's try to avoid using legitimating language ourselves for their actions, even if it is legitimating only to our enemies. Instead, as they earn their one-way trip to Jahannum (hell—note the cognate to the Hebrew Gehinnom), let's use language that describes why their actions are a one-way ticket to Jahannum.

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