If you feel a little uncomfortable speaking this new language, you’re not alone. Take a look at this essay by the director of We Hold These Truths, Charles E. Carlson.
Charles E. Carlson Apr 26, 2012
“Zionese” is the unofficial spoken language of the State of Israel. Most Israelis learn and use the Zionese language, but one need not be Jewish to speak it; today it is also the language that’s spoken in many Judeo-Christian and Messianic churches in America, often without church leaders realizing it.
The first cab driver I rode with in Israel pointedly called the Philistines “animals” in the course of polite conversation…that’s Zionese. He was cautioning me to keep away from Palestinians while in Israel. “They will kill you in there,” he told me, when he learned I was going into Gaza. More Zionese.
Zionese is not a language of letter, syllable, and punctuation. It is the delivery of a few so-called “truths” that must be learned and repeated forcefully without reservation. The trick is in the delivery. Zionese is the art of telling a story that most will reject, and repeating it as if most believe it.
The teller must not worry about being thought a liar by most, so long as there are listeners who will believe because they think others believe. Common Zionese statements are “our warfare is self-defense”, “they hit us first (usually with “rockets”), “they are animals,” and “Israelis are holocaust survivors.” Zionese paints all Arabs as inferior. It is a language of racist superiority, and it is no stretch to call it verbal brutality.
Michael Oren (born Michael Bornstein in 1955) is an American-born Israeli historian and author; he is the Israeli ambassador to the United States. Recently he was interviewed by Bob Simon on a CBS 60 Minutes show, Christians of the Holyland about the flight of Christian Palestinians from their land as a result of the misery inflicted on them by the Israeli occupation. Predictably, Oren found Israel blameless.
Challenging veteran newsmaker Bob Simon, Oren defended Israel’s occupation and abusive practices on the familiar ground of self-defense, and blamed Palestinian misery on its own radical Islamists. He claimed that Simon’s unexpectedly critical approach was “anti-semitic.”
Bob Simon is a Jewish person who understands Zionese but does not speak it, nor does he seem to believe in it. Simon had no problem putting Oren in his place.
Weeks before the program was to be aired, Oren met with Netanyahu and his political advisor to discuss his fear that the broadcast could harm Israel’s image in the Christian communities in the United States. By way of op-ed, speech, and petition, efforts were made by them to foil the broadcast and influence the American public. Oren also went over Bob Simon’s head to CBS management to try to get the segment spiked before being aired.
Simon stated that Oren’s bosses in Israeli are very nervous about Christians learning too much about the Israel that tour visitors are rarely allowed to see or learn of from their tour leaders, all of whom speak Zionese. The film poked a tiny pinhole Israel’s balloon, and it provoked a loud Zionist backlash.
The CBS management appeared not to yield to Israeli pressure, but put Simon and Oren back together, in a prologue to the show that exposed, perhaps for the first time on prime time, how Israeli pressure on the news works. Simon confronted Oren before tens of millions of viewers for going to CBS Chairman Fager to force him to squelch the show.
According to Ha’aretz, officials in the Netanyahu’s office said that the attempts to affect the article were successful. “The broadcast of the article was delayed for several weeks because they reexamined the entire report,” officials said. “The article was malignant and harmful, but the wording was much softer than in the original version.”
But a Haaretz interview with A source in the Foreign Ministry even said that on some level, the preemptive campaign against the report just intensified the resolve of the “60 Minutes” reporters to air it. “We awakened the dead – instead of stifling the subject we just increased interest in it,” the source said.
I have wondered why Israel chose the name “Operation Cast Lead” for its 30-day Christmas war on Gaza in 2008. A war name is usually warlike and forceful. Why “Cast Lead” for a war? It has bothered me that I could not find out…Wikipedia does not explain it and neither does the Israeli Defense Force website. Desert Storm and Shock and Awe are pretty clear. I have never heard a war called “Operation Powder Puff” or “Project Pussycat.” Warriors want war names.
It turns out that an old friend, Cesar Aharon, unraveled this puzzle eight years before Operation Cast Lead, when he told me about the use of molten lead as a prescribed method of killing Gentiles referred to as “burning,” described in detail in the Talmud is described in details in the Sanhedrin, a part about crime and punishment. There are, it says four ways to kill a mortal enemy, each gruesome. “Burning” it says, consists of tying the victim in a pit full of human excrement, pulling open his jaws with forceps, and pouring molten lead down his throat to his bowels.
Is that not what Israel did to the people of Gaza at Christmas 2008? When Israel’s military actions ended on January 18, some 1,400 Palestinians had been killed. Among the dead were hundreds of unarmed civilians, including about 300 children. Burning was the most common cause of death.
Of course there has to be a Zionese definition of Operation Cast Lead. Here it is: the army was really making toys and celebrating Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication or Festival of Lights. Rabbi Alissa Wise gives Israel’s version, named after a little holiday ditty about a toy maker who cast little children toys out of lead at Hanukkah. Try believing that one!
Operation Cast Lead is more Zionese. Let’s do what Bob Simon did, squelch it in the bud.
*Gentiles is translated “enemies” in more recent Talmuds