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A world war against words

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It must be one of the more perplexing aspects of the 7 October war: how is it possible that the “woke” left and Hamas terrorists have found themselves on the same side of the political divide? How is it that people who are concerned about micro aggressions and misgendering have become defenders of rapists, kidnappers, and murderers, even finding ways to stand alongside human-rights abuser Iran as it attacks Israel.

Some suggest it’s a war against “Western” democratic values. Others maintain that it’s simply antisemitism. And where these might both be true, I believe there’s something more fundamental at play.

It’s a war of words.

Consider the following. For Jews, words matter greatly. We believe that when G-d created the world, he did so with words. He said, “Let there be light,” and there was. Soon after creation, it was Adam who was given the task of naming things around him. We believe that when he did this, the names he gave animals captured their essence so that the distance between the signifier (the name) and the object (the animal) were close to substance of that beast.

Jews don’t say the name of G-d out loud. Because the name is Him, and He is the name. We have laws relating to how we speak, when to speak, and what we’re allowed to speak about.

Words matter as they are the link between man and G-d. And they have the power to build and to destroy.

If we look at the “woke” world, it’s impossible not to notice a dilution of meaning. This has occurred to the extent that much of what we accepted as “given” is no longer the case. Men are men only if they decide they are, and they can just as easily be a woman, a man, a child, or none of the above. He can be a man on Monday and a woman on Tuesday and in spite of biological proof to the contrary, can insist that others see him for what he chooses to be.

We now live in a world where men not only “chestfeed”, they can compete against women in sports simply because they identify as female.

The woke world can no longer define hate speech and incitement, and when arguably the smartest minds on the planet, the presidents of Ivy League universities, are unable to answer a question that a six-year-old would be able to, we know that words have lost their meaning.

The anti-Israel crowd know this well. For them, “apartheid” is what they determine it to be, history and definitions having no meaning. “Genocide”, “starvation”, and “ethnic cleansing” are terms that are used without basis. On 6 October, Gaza is an “open-air concentration camp” and a few months later, it’s nostalgically reinvented to lament what has been lost. The acceptance of this non-reality relies on the suspension of authenticity. Which, once suspended, results in situations, events, and history being readjusted to suit this agenda.

Their tactics aren’t dissimilar. Both use intimidation. Both cover their faces – with keffiyehs or COVID-19 pandemic face masks, both speak of “liberation” and “freedom” while working to deprive others of the very essence of what freedom is. Both rely on the notion of victimhood as a cornerstone of their approach, while at the same time using violence to achieve their purpose. Anyone who doesn’t accept their version of the truth is intimidated, isolated, and bullied until they do.

As distant as they appear to be from each other in theory, the closer they are.

The shift away from a fact-based paradigm is the very crux of the war currently being fought. It might appear to be about Israel and Gaza and oppression and freedom, but in essence, it’s a fight to move the world further and further from the truth, from G-d, and from His word.

It’s a fight of “emet” (truth) and “sheker” (lies).

It’s a war on words.

Which also explains why Jews stand on the frontline of this battle. Who better to target than the group of people which understands that just as the world was created with words, so with words it’s being destroyed. Sticks and stones might break our bones, but it’s words that will harm us.

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