The Agendist

When you read a newspaper or journal article about Israel, and find a distorted one-sided negative presentation, a phrase that comes to mind is “it can be a narrow gap between a journalist and an activist”.

While the word “activist” conjures up the thought of someone passionately rallying around a cause, prepared to use all rhetorical devices for the cause, it also however creates a more general and positive sense of being active. According to Wikipedia, Activism consists of “intentional efforts to promote, impede or direct social, political, econominc or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activitism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing businesses, rallies, street marches, strikes, sit-ins and hunger strikes.”

A word that may be more useful for the anti-Israel brigade is “agendist”  because to my mind it conveys a more narrow and negative, stop at nothing approach.  It has been kicking around for a while,  and The Urban Dictionary” has this to say about it:

Agendist (Urban Dictionary)

…a term commonly used to refer to someone who is promoting a political, economic or social “agenda.” This term in contermporary internet use has come to mean persons who support a political or social belief, addressed as an “agenda.” ….. and in the Urban Agenda – Thesarus

1. The blatant speading of an agenda much to the discredit of one’s character even to such a degree that the “means” become more important than the spirit of their “ends.”

2. To be so polarized in one’s set of beliefs that opposing beliefs, no matter how factual, beneficial or even helpful to one’s own belief, will be seen as wrong.

3. Myopic grandstanding done by one side of two or more diametrically opposed political, social or economic positions.

“He is dealing with information manipulation and political agendism that sways people’s thought process to his points of view.”

The term agendist links to another used more widely “Kool-Aid drinker” which is more passively describes as “One who accepts an argument or philosophy wholeheartedly and blindly.” The term is in reference to the religious cult led by Jim Jones, who committed mass suicide by drinking Kool-Aid laced with Valium and cyanide.”

So where is the term “agendist” currently in level of usage?  Wikipedia is not very impressed and has no article about it other than the words “This seems to be a neologism in the blogosphere. No notable coverage or usage of it.”

It is good though to be reminded of the word “neologism” itself, which Wikipedia describes as “

A neologism from Greek νέο- (néo-), meaning “new”, and λόγος (lógos), meaning “speech, utterance”) is a newly coined term, word, or phrase, that may be in the process of entering common use, but has not yet been accepted into mainstream language. Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person, publication, period, or event.

In their background, Wikipedia adds

“Neologisms are often created by combining existing words or by giving words new and uniqu suffixes or prefixes. Portmaneaux are combined words that are sometimes used commonly. “Brunch” is an example of a portmanteau word (breakfast + lunch). Lewis Carroll’s  “snark” (snake + shark) is also a portmanteau. Neologisms also can be created through abbreviation or acronym,  by intentionally rhyming with existing words or simply through playing with sounds.

Neologisms can become popular through memetics, by way of mass media, the Internet and word of mouth,  including academic discourse in many fields renowned for their use of distinctive jargon, and often become accepted parts of the language. Other times, however, they disappear from common use just as readily as they appeared. Whether a neologism continues as part of the language depends on many factors, probably the most important of which is acceptance by the public. It is unusual, however, for a word to enter common use if it does not resemble another word or words in an identifiable way.

When a word or phrase is no longer “new”, it is no longer a neologism. Neologisms may take decades to become “old”, however. Opinions differ on exactly how old a word must be to cease being considered a neologism.”

…. So Wikipedia is not yet clear of the fate of “The Agendist”.  But in the immortal words of Gerry and the Pacemakers I like it and think it deserves more widespread use. Meanwhile we can play “Spot the anti-Israel agendist” – aids  will include Natan Sharansky’s 3D’s – double standards, demonisation and delegitimisation.

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