Israel’s “disproportionate” response

Today sees the discursive tactic of “reframing” in action. The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that there would be a “disproportionate” response from Israel to rocket fire from Gaza:

“We’ve said that if there is rocket fire against the south of the country, there will be a disproportionate Israeli response to the fire on the citizens of Israel and its security forces,” he said.

The discursive tactic at work here is to take a generally extremely negatively evaluated term and to turn it into a positive descriptor. Cf. “queer”. Note that, as Judith Butler has said, a discursive tactic which has the potential to be subversive need not invariably be used in a subversive way.

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8 Comments to “Israel’s “disproportionate” response”

  1. may I ask how you would act in the same situation

  2. Thanks for your comment. Which “same situation” do you mean? Are you referring to the reframing of the word “queer” or of the term “disproportionate response”?

  3. if you were being sent rockets into your country, how would you react as it’s leader?

  4. Ah, you would prefer me to react to the *political* question, rather than the *linguistic* question which my original post was about.

    If I were to pick a military reaction rather than a dialogical reaction, I would indeed most probably want to change the standard (majority) meaning of terms such as “disproportionate response” to give them a positive evaluation. Every war, after all, is primarily about “hearts and minds” (i.e. discourse) rather than right and wrong.

    As an experiment, you may like to check the use of “disproportionate” in the Cobuild Corpus or the British National Corpus. It is generally negatively evaluated.

  5. Just keep kicking their asses Israel, until they stop firing rockets.

  6. discoursology.
    so you are saying that you would let your people suffer even though the political means you would try didn’t work?
    do you mean you would open the boarders and let everyone through even though they have vowed to kill you and yours/
    would you knowingly allow for your civilans to be targeted by Hamas or any other group that was against you?

    if so i’m glad you aren’t in politics

  7. Robert, I am really intrigued now that you read my comment in that way. Can I ask what you think of Ehud Olmert’s statement from Sunday?

    Do you agree with him that this is a “disproportionate response”, or do you disagree and think this is a “proportionate” response?

  8. All my family who live in the south were holed up in my place and other relitives during the war due to the rockets hitting their towns, I had a full house for a couple of weeks. I know how they felt about it. they all said that they just want it to end. many said that Hamas had gone to far and that they were getting what they asked for..
    so as for Olmert and what he said yesterday I feel that it was the only thing he could say, Why? well you set a cease fire, the other side breaks it laughing in your face, well you can only push so far and when your people scream at you for not finishing the fight that was started, when they ask you why did you stop before it was compleated 100% then you have to kick the ass of the agressor, Hamas suposidly controls the strip. well then control the cease fire or lose it all…… plain and simple. black and white. hamas needs to go.
    This may seem brutal to you but then you ain’t here. you aren’t living in a safe room and you can’t even wonder what it’s like to get called up for reserve duty every time one of these terrorists decides to fart and go nuts.
    I do not like olmert or his politics but this time he is doing what needs to be done, world opinion be damned

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