[Master Kung, Confucius, said that before there could be right rule there had to be right naming of things]
In Hebrew, our people are called Yehudim, after our country Yehudah. When the Romans came, they called our country Judea and its people Judeans. We were expelled from our country after two long wars of rebellion against the Romans, in the year 70 CE and again in 135.
The refugees in the Roman Empire were called Judeans. Over the centuries Roman Latin morphed into other languages and each of the new European languages adopted new words for the Judeans. German preserves much of the original spelling in calling us "Jude" and plural "Juden". Spanish calls us "Judio" and "Judios". Dutch is "Jood". Russian is "Yoodei". In each, both the sense and sound of "Judean" is preserved.
It is a meaning worth considering. The homeland of the Jews, even the right to a homeland of the Jews, can be, and was, debated at great length. But can one really debate what is the homeland of the Judeans?
But the long, long antisemitic tradition of denying and obscuring our right to our homeland was not to be brushed aside so lightly.
The lands of Judea and Samaria were called by their proper names on maps and in common usage until the 1980's. At which time they somehow became the West Bank. When I first heard of the West Bank, it took me a while to figure out what it referred to. it is a strange term. It means the western bank of the Jordan River.
The "West Bank" includes cities such as Qalqilya and Ramallah that are some fifty miles from the Jordan. It is as though San Francisco were said to be on the South Bank of the Russian River fifty miles north, or Boston to be on the East Bank of the Hudson. It is an entirely modern and invented phrase. There is no West Bankian people, no West Bankian language, no history of West Bankia, no tradition of West Bankian life under the British or the Romans or the Ottomans.
It is hard not to believe that expression was invented precisely to avoid calling Judea and Samaria by their actual names. And a moment's thought shows why one would want to do that.
If the headline reads, "Jews invade West Bank, Build Settlements", it is easy to be convinced that it is an atrocity and an aggression and that the settlements must be illegal encroachments on the rights of the West Bankians.
It would be ever so much harder for Arabs, leftists, and journalists to keep a straight face while protesting if the headline read, "Judeans return to Judea". Which is precisely why the name was changed.
Remember every time you see the phrase "West Bank" that you are being lied to, being manipulated for someone else's political agenda, an agenda that doesn't do well if things are called by their real names.