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Disrespectful Language
Mon, 09/01/2014 - 20:00

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights rightly condemns “beastilization,” the likening of Jews to barnyard animals, as a form of
anti-Semitism (“From BDS To Beastialization,” Aug. 29). For the same reason, we should
avoid likening Muslims and Christians to grass, or killing them to “mowing the

Beastilization is a problem because likening people to beasts leads to
thinking of them as beasts, which makes it easier to kill them without taking
responsibility for killing a human being. But referring to attacks on Gaza
as “mowing the lawn” poses the same problem. Mowing the lawn is a task that
must be done periodically, annoying to humans but painful only to grass. Referring to bombing in that way obscures the fact that, despite the IDF’s
efforts to minimize civilian deaths, Israel is killing children and other
innocents. I do not write to condemn Israel’s choices but to say we must
discuss them candidly.

Jews are not animals to be slaughtered, and Muslims and Christians are not
grass to be mowed.



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Mr. Feigin,
I've actually never heard the phrase 'mowing the lawn' in connection with the fighting in Gaza. But I can imagine that during active fighting against a dangerous enemy, the phrase 'mowing the lawn' hardly seems severe or horrible. I do not think your suggestion that the terminology used by both sides is equivalent is correct. When you have a valid point, fine. Make it. But when you stretch and reach to make your point, people lose trust in you.