the significance of punctuation
Hilary and Steven Rose are the lovely British couple who authored the boycott of Israel, inspiring Mona Baker to let her anti-Semitism run free. Now the Roses are in the spotlight too, and they’re trying to justify their ugly academic pogrom with an article in (where else?) the Guardian: The choice is to do nothing or try to bring about change.
The carnage in the Middle East continues; today a suicide bomber, tomorrow an Israeli strike on Palestinians with helicopters, missiles and tanks. The Israelis continue to invade Palestinian towns and expand illegal settlements in the occupied territories. Ariel Sharon refuses to negotiate while “violence” (ie Palestinian resistance) continues. Our own government sheds crocodile tears at the loss of life while inviting a prime minister accused of war crimes to lunch and providing his military with F16 spare parts.
When I read this paragraph, I was actually stunned for a second. Did they really put scare quotes around the word “violence?” Look again. Yes. They did.
Clearly, Hilary and Steven believe that the murder of civilians is not “violence”—as long as the victims are only Jews.
The rest of their article tries to argue that they aren’t anti-Semitic. They compare the Israeli government to apartheid South Africa. They talk about the wonderful support their boycott has received from French academics. (What a shock.) Somehow, genetic engineering comes in.
But those two little quotation marks tell you everything you need to know.