The Academy of the Hebrew Language has written an official letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pointing out that a recent quote attributed to him could do “untold damage to the tongue that is the corner-stone of the Zionist dream.”
“You were recently quoted by the media in Israel as saying that the death of an autistic Palestinian youth at the hands of Israeli Border Policemen was a ‘tragedy,'” Academy head Prof. Asher Bar-Arye wrote in the letter.
“I must point out that such an expression is a misuse of the language that sustains our existence in the Promised Land and is contrary to accepted usage as approved by the Academy.”
“The words ‘tragedy’ and ‘tragic’ are not approved for use in conjunction with Palestinian deaths. That has been our policy since the Academy’s establishment in 1953 and remains in force.”
“Words that have been approved by the Academy for use in describing Palestinian deaths include ‘unavoidable’, ‘justified’, ‘necessary’ and ‘legitimate.'”
“On one occasion, after the glorious Kafr Qasim operation in 1956, one-time permission was granted for the use of the word ‘unfortunate,'” Prof. Bar-Arye continued. “But ‘tragedy’ and ‘tragic’ are not words which any Hebrew user should consider appropriate in the circumstances.”
In response to the letter, the Prime Minister’s Bureau in Jerusalem said in a statement that Netanyahu had, as usual, been misquoted by the fake and irresponsible media. What the prime minister actually said was that the youth’s death was a “comedy,” the statement said.