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.

23 comments

  • Stan R

    Hi Bedrul:
    You, and people like you, who have to write to US, Israeli or European newspapers to show a different face of Middle East population. What they see is an extreme religious tribal nationalistic groups with huge chip on the shoulder who are willing to kill or die for their beliefs. People here same I am sure like average person in Middle East wants to have a choice. We are slowly moving from nation-state to regional-state based on social and economic interests. The Islamic (common religion) based co-operation what you advocate is very un-acceptable to rest of the world. The wars were fought in past and US is based on the separation of state and religion because of that. Unfortunately even Israel is moving toward the tribal religious state as a response to outside treats. There are only about 10% of population who subcribe to that premise but with each attack, killings or political treat, more and more people jump a fence. On both sides average but opened minded people have to be heard.

  • Krista Gum

    Hi!
    Indian people, arabs, orientals do not always “remember” that the european elite kept their (working) people(s) as slaves too. The industrial revolution (1850 – )relyed on forced labour, childabuse and sufferings. Though middle-eastern prominencies around 1900 where interested in f.ex. the freedom ideas of the french revolution, the railway etc, they did not see that europan values where all fascistic.
    Thats why no light is to be seen in ths conflict between modern Israel and middle-east arabs if not the western values are merged with oriental and US-european power is weakened of climate- and environmental coercion and US-european financial (economical) system’s defeat.

  • Stan,
    Good suggestions but can you help in providing some names with website address.
    The extreme part of our nreligion is being made a propoganda of by the a group of Politicians because most Americans by now have sought various nclarifications through website and are aware that the only difference is that you call Jesus son of God and we say Jesus is a prophet sent by God as HE sent several others to teach mankind– also American and Christians are aware that Jewish– Judaism accepts the same that Jesus is a Prophet and Judaism is more close than christainity to Islam– in any case difference between three is very narrow but style in Prayers vary.
    History has proof of the wild acts performed in nane of Christainity too–like white brotherhood– and I am not saying that Muslims are perfect like WHTTEBROTHERHOOD cl;aimed–to err is human and yes due to illiteracy handling of issues are not correct; But excuse America and Europe has where education n literacy are highest and they are more economically sound– they should know the facts and its time THEY TALK openly with ISRAELIS- that Support blindly will no longer be there.
    Also you general people like must initiate too as we from Asia are tryiong.
    Am waiting for yr forwarding me some email address of some Columnists and Journalists and newspaper Editorss.

  • @Badrul Islam,

    Isn’t it amazing then that both the West Bank and Gaza have literacy rates of 92.4%?

    So Palestine, occupied and under siege for years, maintains education (I know someone will bring up who is educating Palestine, but it doesn’t matter if children can still learn under such conditions), while Morocco (etc), peaceful for years – maintain literacy rates under 70%?

    Hmm…

  • Jillian York,
    The higher the rates the better. A very surprising data received the other day, and I share this here that pridoners edcation rate is higher,normal prisoners not that like GITMO or Abu Gharib.
    I am aware that under restricted system of the Isareli Authorities they run schools for palestinians.
    But I am pleasantly surprised at the information you gave me. Thank you. If you know of any more pleasant detail please do share forthats how we learn.

  • Stan R

    Very interesting study had published and I will try to input the address here>
    http://www.ajc.org/atf/cf/%7B42D75369-D582-4380-8395-D25925B85EAF%7D/ISRAELI_ARABS_AND_JEWS.pdf.
    Many here, if they had read my feedbacks consider me a zionist hawk and I am. But I also believe that only way for Arabs and Jews find a common road, is through education and socioeconomic equity.

  • Stan R,
    Debating with with a good Zionist Hawk like you is a pleasure; many Jews who are as good as you are protesting the Hard-liners;n they are the cause -let copy paste a report here:—
    Jackson Diehl, Editor of Washington Post, dated Feb9, 2009. “The past four Israeli elections have been won by a candidate who promised to end Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. Tomorrow, for the first time in decades, Israelis may choose a prime minister who is promising to wage war.
    “We must smash the Hamas power in Gaza,” Likud party leader Binyamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu said at one rally last week. “There will be no escape from toppling the Hamas regime,” he said at a security conference the next day. “I’m sorry to say we haven’t gotten the job done,” he said of Israel’s recent Gaza offensive in a radio interview. “The next government will have no choice but to finish the job and uproot . . . the Iranian terror base.”. This wild attitude of the Isareli politician who may win the parliament seat cannot be useful to the peace plans that USA, Western Alliances and the Arabs want
    The problem lies in such attitude. The Arab side the Hardliners are the Hamas.
    Education is very important and particularly education of religion with meaning– Moses of the Jews is known as Musa in Islam and in both religious book the story is the same Moses VS King Pharaoun and Moses leading his follower through the red sea which divided into two due to God’s miracle thus saving them from Pharaoun.
    The difference is in explanation Of Jesus- Islam believes that he is Prophet sent to Earth as proof the God can show miracles- Christanity says he is Son of God and I guess Jews think the same like Christian– but nowhere in any religious books are written that the Creation of God then People should fight over this and yet its one reason for fights and hatred
    The muslims prays for the well being of all prophets including Moses and Issah (Jesus)
    I cannot find any reference of how this origin texts and ideas are twisted to make the world believe that Muslims dont believe or hate Moses and Jesus. Can you think of this?
    The whole area- Israel- west bank and Gaza is agricultural stripm with some availability gas –No oil- therefore if Palestine and Israel states r formed they do need each other– lets keep the fingers crossed that wise people from all sides can stop this permanently.
    I was waiting for yre email/web address of some Israeli papers– but i guess my name would most immediately rule out possibility of publishing any comments

  • Stan R

    Hi Badrul, you can read jerusalem post, (jpost.com). They are actively looking for someone like you who can articulate arab or palestinian perspective. Haaretz.com is otherone. Then you have ynetnews.com. Uou have to understand the jews like to fight but verbally. You don’t have to worry.
    When it comes to religion you are talking to wrong person. I am not only zionist hawk but also very agressive atheist. I compare Islam to Judaism during the Macabbe revolt against the Romans. It looks very nice small group of zealots fought large army against all the odds. Looking at it from 2000 years in future. They destroyed Israel as a nation. And the “nackba” for 2000 years.The palestinians copy the macabbes now, let hope there will not be same result.

  • Stan R,
    I just read the Revolt of the Macabees in google– didnt know about this.
    I opned the Haaretz.com and got the site but no where find a link to register or submit articles etc. What would be more interesting is to find some Jew civilians butn conscious Citizens –Not politicians–they cause all th complexities– and have a debate on the Saudi King’s peace proposal- the Israelis also find its close to their Comprehensive plan– and debate on its prospects– because there is no statement as to the reactions of the general Citizens on this proposal–whether they know or they uinderstand etc– after all if that works they have to stay side by side.
    What do you think?? or incase you think is not possible then can you please helpm in finding sites where we can get the reactions of the general Citizens– jews/arabs-christian and muslim etc.

  • George

    Israels name is still Israel wether others call them that or not. It means Prince with God since there was Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who later became Israel. Abraham had two sons Isaac and Ishmael.Ismael being the father of the Arab nations and God said ten nations would come from him.But Israel would have the Caanan land which is now present day Israel. From whom the true Messiah came The LORD Jesus Christ.Who was much more than a prophet but God manifest in the flesh.Who lived a sinless life and died for all our sins on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead the third day was seen of men and went back up to Heaven.We can have Gods gift of eternal life if we repent of our sins against God andtrust Jesus Christ as our personal God and Saviour.Come to him today and be saved.Ask now!

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