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From: Noam Izenberg <noam.izenberg@j...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2004 09:48:59 -0500

From: Lachlan Atcliffe <>
> I hate to pitch in on this one, but an Israeli friend of mine also 
> notes
> that "Sabra" is more normally connected with atrocities committed 
> during
> the war in Lebenon. In his words, it would be like calling a USN
> "Vietnam".
> If there are nicer connotations for the name, could some nice person 
> let
> me know?

More on this. While the events in Lebanon 22 years ago do have 
Vietnam-like overtones, the term Sabra as 'native Israeli' predates 
those events for decades - even to before the formation of Israel (then 
used to denote native-born Palestinian Jew), and it is still 
extensively used in that context. I suppose that the term is tarnished 
for those who bear the scars of the past, but I don't think the event 
has actually changed the contemporary meaning of the word. I'm not and 
don't intend to sound callous about the events themselves, but don't 
think they've had the effect on the language at large that your friend 
says. It gives me pause is that he is a native himself, but I've enough 
self-described Sabra relatives to have doubts.

I don't know if this is a good parallel, but the term "Yankee" had a 
major negative connotation for the southern US for a long time, and 
still does in some places and cases. That term of identification 
pre-dated, and then survived the Civil War, and is not normally 
connected with Union military behavior of that era.


Bizarre Lag Phenomena	    (Why it is sometimes hard to communicate 
with Noam Raphael Izenberg)

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