A modest lexicographic proposal

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During the troubles in northern Ireland, the British Broadcasting Corporation faced a linguistic dilemma.  Protestants called the area’s second city “Londonderry,” while Catholics simply said “Derry.”  To choose one or the other would have violated the BBC’s policy of neutrality.  So the organization simply compromised, alternating in its reports between the two names.

Efforts to provide balanced reporting on Israel/Palestine confront similar dilemmas. Let’s take just one example; Israel has moved several hundred thousand Israeli Jews into the occupied Palestinian West Bank, in violation of international law. Israel calls the new Jewish-only population centers “settlements” — and most of the world has adopted the same terminology.

But Palestinians and their supporters argue that the more appropriate word is “colonies.”  So why should the BBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post be forced to decide?  Why not just suggest they use the compound form, “settlements/colonies”?  Anything else is bias, one way or another.

Are there other examples in Israel/Palestine where the prevailing vocabulary should be modified in the interest of fairness?

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Israel/Ocupied Palestine &/or Israel/Zionist entity

What a charming headline, James.

Millions of people around the world insist on referring to the holy lands as Occupied Palestine, so in effect you could reference the holy land as Israel/Occupied Palestine.

The name of Israel should be changed to: The Jewish supreme state in Arab Palestine.

Actually, official Israel doesn’t like the term “settlements” either (because it implies a certain artificiality and foreignness, whereas Palestinians have “towns” and “villages”, but never “settlements”) and has taken to referring to them as “Jewish communities” or “neighbourhoods”, in English.

I would add to James North’s example, that Jerusalem stop being used and replaced with either East Jerusalem or West Jerusalem. The use of Jerusalem without that distinction implies a single political entity, which at least in the US media, gives legitimacy to Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem.