Arab World: “We Stopped Saying Israel…”

The controversy over the war on Gaza is never ending. Voices calling to prosecute the Israeli officials and officers for war crimes led to warning top Israeli officials against traveling to Europe in fear of impending war crime law suits. Others still claim that what happened during the Israeli aggression was actually in self defense. The Arab online community, getting sick and frustrated at the atrocities that were happening and the media warring that was going on both online and offline, launched a campaign that was sparked by the following tweet (message on microblogging site twitter):

Alloush [ar] from Syria explains the idea behind the campaign to start using the word Israhell:

الواقع يقول أن إسرائيل في احتلالها للعرب ارتكبت أفظع المجازر وأقذر الأفعال التي شكلت معاناة انسانية حقيقية لهويتنا العربية، الواقعية تقول أنها Israhell وليس Israel، ما هي الترجمة الأصح لهذا المصطلح الجديد، هل نقول إسراحيم [إسرائيل+جحيم]، أم إسرارير [إسرائيل+شرير]، أم نلتزم بـ إسراهل، ربما كيان الجحيم أفضل ترجمة.

Reality says the Israel committed the most horrendous massacres and dirtiest actions by occupying the Arab lands, and this really shook our Arab identity. Reality says that it's Israhell and not Israel. What's the best translation for this new term? Should we say Israhell (Israel+Hell) or Isravil (Israel+Evil)? Maybe Hell Entity is the best translation [into Arabic].

The campaign got its artwork from the popular art website DeviantArt by Algerian designer Hamoud.

The design attracted a flood of comments from people on both sides of the line of fire. DeviantArt user ~Arkangel-Wulf jumps to defend the Israeli side saying:

Your thoughts and opinions are your own. But this is not an appropriate place to voice these opinions. Freedom of speech is only just until it's used to hurt others. Not all of Israel is behind their militarist's decisions. Don't scorn an entire country for the actions of a few.

We also see another online initiative – the Israeli Crimes Against Humanity Encyclopedia [ar/en]- which is a joint effort of Syrian, Egyptian and Saudi bloggers – documenting the success of the campaign:

we got IsraHell about 40.000 result 6 days ago

2 days ago we were about 102.00

now we are about 117.000

The post is dates back to January 15th, 2008. A search at the time of writing this post shows 127,000 results.

While military operations are currently on hold, no one knows for how long this fragile ceasefire would hold, and when would all hell break loose again.


  • Jew

    How clever. If Egypt is so much nicer place than Israhell, why don’t you convince your Arab brothers in Israhell to move to Egypt. We would really appreciate that.

  • […] Wednesday, January 28, 2009 by Intern in Israel Israeli aircraft strike Gaza tunnels-residents Abbed Rabbo Area: One Family’s Story, with photos Jan 27: At Al Wafa – Saja and Ceasefiring, with photos Today’s Photo Noa Calls for Israel to Rid Gaza of Hamas ‘Cancer’ Arab World: “We Stopped Saying Israel…” […]

  • Anas,
    Where is the controversy over the war in Gaza? I think outrage would have been a better word.


  • Stan R

    I have nothing calling Israel an “Israhell” better than killing innocent people. But of course I will be fighting hard against this perception. Mr. Alloush from Syria writes:
    “Reality says the Israel committed the most horrendous massacres and dirtiest actions by occupying the Arab lands, and this really shook our Arab identity.”

    Who gave you rights to so called “Arab” lands? The present Arab ocuppiers took it from previous occupiers. Difference is only few hundred years. Syria is only a country since 1946. Whoom did you “steal it from”? The Medina used to be a Jewish city (Check Koran) It was destroyed personally by Mohammed killing all the male inhabitants keeping only the jewish women. People from Medina be carefull what you say, maybe and probably you are Jewish. What I am trying to say people are moving from one place to other for very long time. This conflict is not about land but about power. Unfotunatelly, “Israhell” people are more powerful then you but they also want to live in peace. Stop looking back to 7th Century when you were tribal superpower. World is moving toward global nation now, join it!

  • The First factor is the high illiteracy rate amongst the maily dominated Muslim areas, with exception of few, perhaps Gulf and Turkey and Egypt). The lac of education plus inability to build a good Media centre like CNN,BBC–now ofcourse we have the Aljazeera- is the reason why the brighter side of ISLAM is not beijng reached to the outer world specially the Western Countries. Its imperativen to develop this sectors so that Christians known that Biblical events and Muslim events are similar with exception that we dont believe that Jesus is the son ofn God ; but a Prophet and that he is the sign that God can perform Miracle like the way miracles were shown to Moses.
    The next important thing is to develop the infrastructure of all the Muslim countries in agriculture,industrial ,trade and commerce– so that Muslim world is less dependent on Western Countries.
    Third the UNITY of the whole region comprising the Middle-East and others Muslim must be made– the Westerners utilize this weakness and encourage Muslim country to dominate over each other and so suppkly arms that they keep on fighting for domination.
    For those who are journalists here please try to write artyicles in different papers to raise the public conscious and raise these with their Goverment.
    Unless the sytems of the Muslims countries change– we will continue to be defeated by the Western countries.
    Lets pray for changen in the Muslim world

  • […] Anti-Israel bloggers have launched a new online campaign: stop referring to Israel as “Israel” but as […]

  • Stan R

    You are right Badrul people in Arab world are uneducated and used by your leaders but also by UN leaders for their selfish ends. To today in Globe&Mail (Canadian relativly conservative, business newspaper) came out the story about the UN bombing in Gaza on January 6th. What I had been expecting it’s not thruth. Only what is truth that 90 % of Gaza population depends on UN charity. You have to understand the UN does not do it for benefit of Gaza but for their own benefit. Look what happened in Africa. They destroyed local farming and economy with “free” food. The estimate it will take at least 10 years to fix it. In Gaza it allowed the Hamas to spend millions on guns instead of taking care of people.

  • Stan,
    Un is only goood for emergency relief operations like Refugee operations and Relief operations following war or cyclone etc- apart from this as you correctly mention their development programme stinks and you see increase of poverty and corrupt goverment world over– UN Should be closed.
    Now while again it is true that US should change its attitude if they really want change that President 0bama strongly voices i.e it must sit and tell Israel that itm might join the Arab world for against it– telling Israel it will stop Arms is now useless as Israel havbe so much weapons that without supply from US n Euorope it can continue war for more than year– the only threat of joining Arabs will halt their aggression and there should be Arms embargo for Palestine too- weapons means they will never sit for negotiation but will think of how to kill.
    Meanwhile the Arabs must unite and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must take the lead because it has better relation with US and US agree with KSA that Israel return back to 1967 positions.
    This history of this conflict is so complex that one will find it difficuklt to understand the underlying interests.
    Unity and Development programmes without or with limited foreign aid should be started to reduce dependency of Western Aid.
    Hopefully the Muslim world will take this oppurtunity and also bring CHANGE– 0bama hasnt outlined what change he will bring and one sentence worries me–is opening clinched fists– for that opening should be done mutually by all parties.
    The US general public are educated and are building pressure of wrong US policy what I wonder why it also doesnt now pressurize the Jewish Lobby to see the reality.
    Within their own Country US faces Multi-problems hopefully inablity to meet those demands will not encourgage to start fresh War to divert the public and say now its more important to save the people of Israel more than solutions to American people- will the Americans tolerate this???

  • Stan R

    Hi Badrul:
    Problem is that Palestine as an indepedent country economically can not survive. There was an interview last year on Israeli TV with Palestinian politician from West Bank. He spent many years in Israeli prison, He was fluent in Hebrew. Educated Palestinians know that they have to have a economic relationship with economicaly stronger country. They would prefer Israel but they have problem with Arab perception and at this moment Israeli distrust. For that reason now the Israeli polititians are talking about first economic build up of Palestine. Second indepedence to give time to breath and maybe a federated state. Many educated Palestinians would like to jump and go into federated state but at this moment it’s not posible. Even you are still using tribal nationalistic terminology. Many Israelis have a same problem. It will take some time to move European Union model in Middle East.

  • Stan,
    Appreciate yr cordial comments and critism– what lines make me sound like using tribal nationalistic- I should learn to improve to plave views better.
    The economic position and capability of Palestine is known and therefore I agree if a joint economic cooperation can be made and yr guess could prove more correct about federation system.
    Right now however even with the best intention of US; mind you 0bama has studied public reaction and is reason why he speaks of CHANGE- but must be realistic and not dress-rehearsal. Mitchell did well for North Ireland but Tony here was a blunder and if you remember and check internet you will find opinions to prove that he too was responsible to feed wrong data and start the turmoil in Iraq. Mind you no one liked Saddam not even the Muslim world but you have seen a Country destroyed and many Americans and Coalition soldiers die–loss to the parents not the Politicians.Am sure yiou r aware of all these.
    Right now after Michel submits his evaluation the US President and his team must have to tell ISRAEL that we may change support– telliong ISRAEL tom unclench fists and that ARMS supply will be stopped is of no use now–they have been stocked up well and can continue fighting for more than a year within which they can wipe Palestine out. Arms supplyiers must be warned not to supply to Hamas too and a support for long term cease-fire should be ensured.
    But Israel has to realize reality thast they are encroachers- history says so- if they wish to continue they have to live with good relations with all Palestine and Arabs.
    Meanwhile from the Muslim world there must be a equal amount of reciprocation i.e warning to Hamas or hezbollah or Fatah and a peace plan that will be supervised by them to ensure no more fighting. And somewhere down the line they Must wake up to make their countries free frem dependence of the West.
    Romember that when the East India Company from Britain made India a colony the main Monarch i.e the Queen and the general public British dint know what actually was happening–they were told that they are training and make Indians human– meanwhile they treated them as slaves — as same as the Blacks were treated in America.
    You have a good mind and hopefully you would write to papers in US and try to create an opinion which should be humane– I will try this this side but sometimes the Newspapers refuses to publish articles.
    Lets hope we can continue educating eash other and debate points to find a solution. How do we get to write to the senators ???

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