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April 4, 2013 7:10 am

Will the Guardian be Inspired by AP and Stop Referring to Jews as “Illegal”?

avatar by Adam Levick

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An "illegal" Israeli settler boy in the historic Jewish city of Hebron, Purim 2011.

H/T Yisrael Medad

Associated Press, one of the largest news agencies in the world, will no longer use the term “illegal immigrant” to describe those who migrate to a country in violation of their immigration laws, their Executive Vice President announced on Tuesday.

Their style guide will no longer permit the term ‘illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person.  It will now only use of the word “illegal” to describe an action, such as “living in or migrating to a country illegally”.

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It is believed that most of the 1400 U.S. newspapers which use AP will likely follow their decision on the use of such a loaded term and will, for instance, stop referring to the millions of unauthorized Latino migrants to the US as “illegal”.

ABC reported the following:

…most of America’s top college newspapersand major TV networks, including ABC, NBC and CNN, have vowed to stop using the term. Nearly half of Latino voters polled last year in a Fox News Latino survey said that they find the term “illegal immigrant” offensive. A coalition of linguists also came together last year to pressure media companies to drop “illegal immigrant,” calling it “neither neutral nor accurate.”

Whilst many Americans are applauding the decision by AP as a victory for accuracy and diversity, we can only wonder whether serious news organizations – and the Guardian – will similarly drop the loaded and value-laden term “illegal settler” to characterize Jews who, consistent with the parameters of the Mandate for Palestine, live beyond the 1949 armistice lines (in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem).

A quick search of the Guardian’s site shows a few references to such ‘illegal’ Israelis.

Guardian film critic Philip French wrote the following in his Oct. 21, 2012 review of the documentary ‘5 Broken Cameras’:

Behind this pair, but no less endangered, is Emad, recording some of the fiercest footage of assaults and atrocities on the West Bank that I’ve ever seen, as well as the arson wreaked on Palestinian olive groves by illegal Jewish settlers.

A July 24, 2012 story by Phoebe Greenwood on Palestinians facing eviction from ‘unauthorized’ homes in the southern Hebron hills included this variation of the charge:

Hila Gurani, the state’s attorney, wrote that the second intifada and the second Lebanon war exposed gaps in IDF preparation that requires more extensive training in firing zones, which the illegal Hebron residents are preventing

And, a report by Nicholas Watt about the call by some within the UK Labour Party to label products which are produced in the West Bank included this passage:

Labour is opposed to boycotting Israeli goods but [Yvette] Cooper believes consumers should be informed whether products are produced by illegal settlers.

Moreover, a Google search using the words “illegal Israeli settlers” turns up 727,000 hits, and included references to the proscribed Jew in many “mainstream” publications. (Obviously, another variation of these specific words, in a different order, would likely produce further examples.)

The implications are fascinating.

If, for instance, we use AP’s logic as a guide, and only use the term “illegal” to describe an action, shouldn’t the Guardian and other sites stop referring to Jewish communities and homes in places like Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim and eastern Jerusalem as “illegal”?  If so, we might one day look back at the ubiquitous use of such subjective terminology (there were more than 5,000 references to “illegal settlements” at the Guardian’s site) as an embarrassing chapter in their paper’s history.

Whatever the Guardian editorial position on the desirability of a future Palestinian state which may include most of Judea and Samaria (and some of the eastern section of the Jewish capital), we can at least hope that they’ll catch up with the times, heed their liberal calling and stop labeling – in one manner or another – hundreds of thousands of Jews residing within the boundaries of their historic homeland as “illegal”.

Adam Levick is the managing editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Fredric M. London

    The Guardian does not have a LIBERAL calling. It is a bastion of the concept of politically-coerced censorship, which is neither liberal nor progressive, but a calcified, inflexible, and flow-chart driven philosophy.

  • jb willikers

    Ouch! Touche.

  • The print function here really, really sucks.

  • But if they follow suite, you will look foolish to complain at this time. Had you waited and seen if they do what AP suggests, if they did not you would have had a very strong case of blatant misbehavior.

  • Did you say THE GUARDIAN or DER STURMER? There is no difference. Reporters pass a Jew hating test before they work at either one.

  • Lynne T

    I’m afraid that for the most part the “No one is illegal movement” excludes Jews, particularly those living anywhere in the Middle East/majority Muslim countries. Per Helen Thomas, those people can just pack up and move to California, to live on land that was stolen from aboriginals by the Spanish and American colonials from western Europe.

  • Laura

    The Guardian is antisemitic to refer to Jews living in their own homeland as “illegal settlers”. This is another example of orwellian newspeak.

  • Laura

    “Whilst many Americans are applauding the decision by AP as a victory for accuracy and diversity”
    This is not a victory for accuracy, but rather a victory for Orwellian newspeak. These people snuck into the country illegally, which makes them ILLEGAL ALIENS and I will continue to refer to these invaders as such. If any American walked across the border into Mexico, they would be sent to jail.

  • frank burns

    What does this have to do with “Jews”. the Guardian uses that term for anyone — black, white, green or purple — who is living in those parts in a criminal manner. If a Jew robs a bank, will you accuse me of antisemitism if I go after the robber? Why should it be different when it comes down to stealing land? You see my point, and your article is obviously tendentious and flawed. I suspect you are a Jew yourself to be saying these things.

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    Of course not. The Guardian is openly antisemitic.