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Jan 20, 2013

how to say "propaganda" in Hebrew


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תַּעֲמוּלָה

According the Online Etymological Dictionary, the English word propaganda is related to propagation - basically, getting the word out there. Indeed, propaganda is intellectual material meant for mass public consumption, including ideas about whom to vote for. 
Hebrew newspaper in Czarist Russia:
הַמֵּלִיץ
HaMelitz

But propaganda is also about agitating or getting people riled up around a particular goal, and here Hebrew takes a different spin on the word from English. The Hebrew word for propaganda is תַּעֲמוּלָה, of the root ע.מ.ל (a.m.l) meaning labor and effort

The Academy of the Hebrew Language cites an early usage of the term. A Zionist newspaper editor in Czarist Russia wrote:


"אָגִיטַצְיָה הִיא הֶעָרָה לְאֵיזֶה עָמָל נָחוּץ, לָכֵן תִּקָּרֵא הַיּוֹם בַּשֵּׁם 'תַּעֲמוּלָה'".
"Agitation (propaganda) is an indication of which effort (עמל) is necessary; thus it shall be called today, 'תעמולה'."


In other words, תעמולה, in the Hebrew sense, is, more than anything else, a call to action.

For example:

יֵשׁ תַּעֲמוּלָה שֶׁהִיא מֻתֶּרֶת עַל פִּי חֹק, וְיֵשׁ תַּעֲמוּלָה שֶׁאֲסוּרָה.
There is propaganda that is permitted by law, and there is propaganda that is forbidden.


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