Constant repetition of a word or phrase can transform it from eloquent to hollow. However perfectly it encapsulates a situation, over-use will render it meaningless.
Trotted out over and over again, words like vilify, delegitimise, illegal war, international law, apartheid, and many more, lose their impact; particularly when they’re bandied about willy nilly by people who have no idea whether what they’ve said is justified, appropriate or the truth.
Peace activist, humanitarian aid, war crimes, obstacle to peace, Palestinians. Nazi. Fascist. Neocon. We’re all trapped by these words.
We say antisemitism, you say Islamophobia; we say terrorist, you say religion of peace; we say Islamic, you say unIslamic; we say legitimate, you say illegitimate; we say Israel, you say Zionist entity; we say biased, you say balanced. Tomato, potato, potahto, tomayto. Let’s call the whole Jeremy Bowen off.
From Our Own Correspondent, fully transcribed online, so you don’t have to listen to the lisp or behold the glistening brow.
The BBC’s chief Middle East Editor expounds on the rift between Netanyahu and Obama, between Israel and America. There are certain things only your best friend will tell you, Bowen opines. Being a little cruel to be kind, Obama whispers gently to his good friend that he’s not standing for much more of this Jewish lobby malarky. The Jewish lobby’s convention centre in Washington DC is bigger than.. than… than …. a football pitch, Bowen declaims. No! several football pitches. That’s how powerful the Jewish lobby is.
Not for much longer though, he speculates. Impertinent Netanyahu with his lectures on the Arab-Israel conflict, his deliberate insults to the VP, his Homes for Jews in occupied Palestinian territories illegal under international law, and his attacks on innocent Turkish peace activists. Jeopardising peace on earth, provoking the Muslims with his pesky Israel. This can’t go on, Bowen predicts. No more Mr. nice guy. That’s what will happen; verily I say unto my listeners.
Jeremy Bowen and his ilk have coined a whole lot of phrases, some of them have become meaningless, and some were meaningless in the first place. Without a hint of self-examination or self awareness the BBC happily lets the middle east editor insinuate about powerful Jewish lobbies. No sign nor hint of a recognition that the BBC is itself an enormous great lobby. The size of… of…. of… thousands of football pitches.