US complains as Iraq calls Israel 'Zionist entity'

US complains to Iraq over use of 'Zionist entity' to refer to Israel
2 min read
29 August, 2018
US officials have reportedly complained to the Iraqi counterparts over use of the term "the Zionist entity" to refer to Israel in official speeches and statements.

Iraq, like most Arab countries, does not hold any official diplomatic relations with Israel [Getty]

US officials have reportedly complained to their Iraqi counterparts over use of the term "the Zionist entity" to refer to Israel in official speeches and statements.

An Iraqi official told The New Arab's Arabic-language service about the objections, which came after Iraqi generals condemned a suspected Israeli airstrike that killed over 20 Iraqi paramilitary troops in Syria in June.

"Officials in the State Department and the US-led coalition have expressed anger and surprise from Iraqi generals using the term the Zionist entity," the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.

"Iraq considers itself to be in a state of open war with the Israeli occupation. This is the constant position adopted by all components of the Iraqi army regardless of sect or ethnicity," he added.

The New Arab has contacted US authorities for comment.

The phrase is widely used by opponents of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, who refuse to grant the Jewish state legitimacy as a sovereign state.

In June, an airstrike in the eastern Syrian town of al-Hari killed dozens of Hashed al-Shaabi fighters.

US officials, speaking anonymously at the time, blamed the attack on Tel Aviv.

Militia leaders closely linked to Baghdad and Tehran condemned the attack as a "hideous crime" perpetrated by the "Zionist entity".

Outgoing lawmaker Hakim al-Zamil said the Iraqi military has used the term the "Zionist entity" for over 50 years.

"There is no other way to describe this ugly entity that is occupying a deep-rooted, independent Arab state," Zamil told The New Arab.

"This term is not just used by the military and is common in everyday speech by all Iraqis," he added.

In June, the Iraqi embassy in Washington used the term "Zionist entity" in an official statement condemning a controversial Israeli law that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Iraq, like most Arab countries, does not hold any official diplomatic relations with Israel.

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