In fisking Kristof, I ran across his use of B’Tselem’s statistics. He said:
B’Tselem, a respected Israeli human rights organization, reports that last year Palestinians killed 17 Israeli civilians (including one minor) and six Israeli soldiers. In the same period, B’Tselem said, Israeli forces killed 660 Palestinians, triple the number killed in 2005. Of the Palestinians killed in 2006, half were not taking part in hostilities at the time they were killed, and 141 were minors.
B’Tselem is an increasingly criticized human rights organization. They have proven to be as gullible to the claims of victimization from “Palestinian sources” — or as biased — as their sister “human rights” NGOs in the West.
[NB: When I showed a copy of Pallywood to the folks at B’Tselem, the head of the organization told me she couldn’t see what relevance the propensity of Palestinian sources to systematically lie might have for B’Tselem’s work, and her top Arab-Israeli field researcher wanted details on the woman who “gave birth in the car” [from Pierre Rehov’s Road to Jenin so he could investigate another Israeli violation.]
These figures are cooked. All the categories are subject to deconstruction – “not taking part in hostilities at the time they were killed,” “minors,” and above all, “killed by Israelis” – all these identifications are based on taking at face value, testimony that has proved itself radically untrustworthy. Garbag in, garbage out.
Now it’s altogether possible that Kristof, on other topics apparently perceptive, doesn’t know what he’s channeling here. After all, if he read his own paper’s journalist, how would he know about the depth of the hate-speech that drives the devouring maw into which he pushes Israel with his “friendly advice.” Perhaps he trusts his friends in the progressive NGOs to give him reliable information.
But as a professional journalist — indeed here, he presents himself as a counselor — doesn’t he owe us at least due diligence?
Now the Editors of the NY Sun have done (minimal) due diligence, and their comments bear out some of my suspicions:
Aside from the fact that Israel was being attacked by the Palestinians after withdrawing to the 1967 borders of the Gaza Strip, here’s some context that Mr. Kristof left out. B’Tselem is funded by German church groups, the governments of Switzerland and the European Union, and the same Ford Foundation that underwrote the anti-Israel agitation that preceded the United Nations’ Durban conference.
Moreover, the statistics Mr. Kristof cites don’t include Israelis killed by other Arab terrorists working in league with the Palestinian Arabs and funded by the same Iranian terror master. In 2006, that included 43 Israeli civilians and 117 Israeli soldiers who were killed in the war with Lebanese-based Hezbollah. The B’Tselem statistics do include — but Mr. Kristof omits — the 55 Palestinian Arabs killed in 2006 by other Palestinian Arabs, a figure to which can be added another 84 killed in intramural violence in January and February of 2007.
For these deaths, it seems Mr. Kristof hasn’t yet figured out how to blame the Israelis. Nor does Mr. Kristof’s selective use of the B’Tselem statistics include the Americans and those from other countries who were killed by Palestinian Arab terrorists, such as Daniel Wultz, a 16-year-old from Florida who was slain in a 2006 suicide attack on the old central bus station in Tel Aviv.
More broadly, both Messrs. Soros and Kristof ignore an essential difference. The Israelis are out to minimize both their own casualties and those of the noncombatants behind whom their enemies hide. They build bomb shelters into every building and have established a culture where civil rights groups, independent commissions, and a Supreme Court investigate allegations of misconduct beyond the collateral damage that is an inevitable consequence of any war.
The Palestinian Arabs, in contrast, are out to maximize casualties, training their children as suicide bombers in hopes that they will become “martyrs,” so that gullible Westerners who haven’t thought the matter through will use their deaths to extract concessions from Israel. The Palestinian Arabs attack Israeli civilian targets such as pizza parlors, banquet halls, wedding parties, and buses as a matter of policy, while the Israeli army goes to great lengths to avoid targeting civilians.
And this still doesn’t get at the way those statistics are assembled, how the determination “non-combattant” is determined, what the evidence upon which the figures are based.
But this issue goes farther, and the editors of the Sun bring up the troubling issue of blood libel. During the second Intifada, it was a regular practice of newspapers to post the totals of dead and wounded on both sides at the end of every day’s article. For a particularly obnoxious example of how otherwise decent folks could be outraged by these figures and rant furiously against Israel for the huge gap between Israeli and Palestinian casualties, see the indignant post-9-11 column by Derrick Jackson in the Boston Globe entitled, “A Call for the US to be Fair to the Palestinians“:
It is tragic whenever a Palestinian mob or bomber kills Jews. But if Americans really want to understand why Americans might have been targeted for catastrophe in New York and Washington, we can no longer ignore the fact that we are helping the Israeli police and military to outkill Palestinians by more than a 3-to-1 margin.
In the last year of clashes, the Associated Press has counted 632 Palestinian and 174 Israeli deaths.
This is nothing short of moral idiocy… as if Israel were somehow under a moral obligation to keep Palestinian casualties equal to their own, or vice-versa, in a war the Palestinians started. The whole point of a war is to maximize your enemy’s casualties and minimize your own. And yet somehow, for Jackson as well as for many, Israeli superiority in fire-power (aided by the US) meant they shouldn’t do that.
Of course what’s not factored into this kind of calculus is three major “contextual” issues.
- 1) Normally, people who are dramatically weaker than others don’t start wars against their stronger neighbors, and particularly, don’t start wars in which the weaker attacks the civilians of the stronger. Any society, when faced with heinous attacks on their own children does whatever it can to protect them.
Children of less than 1 years old killed deliberately by Palestinians in the Intifada (from Daled Amos — visit site for all the 123 children so killed.)
- 2) Palestinians make a policy of sacrificing their children, both in sending them out as suicide bombers, in firing from behind them so the Israelis, in returning fire, will hit their children, in teaching them to desire martyrdom.
Duha, 4 year-old daughter of Reem Riyashi who blew herself up when Duha was 2, holds dynamite sticks and recites a poem about following her mother’s example for PATV.
- 3) Palestinians not only target Israeli children and encourage their own to be killed by Israelis, but they kill their own children with alarming ease.
In other words, Palestinian elites — political and religious — have no respect for human life, Israeli or Arab. They use their children as cannon fodder, in an effort to gain the sympathy of the West and to arouse hatred among the survivors. The record is consistent, terrifying, and should be revolting to any morally concerned person on the planet.
Hence the terrible cartoon: Baby War.
So when Westerners like Derrick Jackson or Nicholas Kristof or George Soros invoke the “casualty gap” between Israelis and Palestinians, they are actually playing right into the hands of the most abusive elites in history. The historical record shows that people who promote the blood libel about Jews killing gentile children actually want an excuse to kill Jewish children, just as people who promote the conspiracy theory that the Jews want to enslave mankind want to conquer the world. When dupes of demopaths get indignant at the fact that, in protecting themselves from a genocidal attack, the Israelis harm children intentionally put in harm’s way by their merciless enemies, they support the darkest forces on the planet. I don’t believe for a second that any of these Westerners want to support these forces. The question is, how long will they allow themselves to be manipulated.