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June 27, 2005

Settler Labels

Consider the following two headlines which appeared yesterday in two major English-language newspapers:

Settler teen killed in W. Bank ambush

Israeli, 17, killed in Palestinian drive-by shooting

Can you guess where they ran? Here's a hint: One is from the International Herald Tribune (published by the New York Times), and one is from the Israeli daily Ha'aretz. Still don't know which is which?

The "settler teen" headline ran in Ha'aretz, while the Tribune referred to the victim as "Israeli, 17."

Ha'aretz writer Yair Sheleg has an interesting column today about use of the "settler" label in general. He opens by noting the now-defunct weekly Koteret Rashit once ran articles by David Grossman accompanied by subheads labeling religious Jewish communities over the Green Line as "settlements" and its inhabitants as "settlers." In contrast, secular communities over the Green Line were labeled "communities," and its inhabitants were "residents." Sheleg postulates:

There is no doubt that this was an inadvertent distinction, but that is precisely why it offers strong testimony behind labeling some sectors of Israel's citizens as "settlers." This labeling derives less from their geographical location and political views than from their religious orientation. The tagging is not, of course, merely semantic. It reflects hostility focused on the knitted skull-cap wearing settlers of the territories, who are perceived not only as having an alternative political view, but as being a threat to the hegemony of the Western-secular worldview and as being capable of undermining it.

Posted by TS at June 27, 2005 04:22 AM


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