Measuring the Media Footprint: Coverage of War-time Casualties in the MSM

I recently had an email exchange with a PhD student at Oxford who saw my posting about the study of war casualties in which I pointed out that .06 percent of those killed in wars since 1950 died in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and .3 percent of the Muslims killed in conflicts since then were killed by Israelis. He was struck by how his colleagues could talk of nothing but Israelis killing Gazans, despite the extraordinary violence to be found the world over, much of it really intentional. As he put it in a subsequent email:

The first seminar of the term dealt with a new book, which deals with intentions, double effect and blame. Need I say that the first example (and the main one used to discuss issues of war) was Gaza? And need I add that the lecturer seemed to suggest (although she wasn’t very clear on this point) that it’s controversial what the Israelis’ intentions are (i.e. did they REALLY only want to kill terrorists) but that it’s quite obvious that the actions were disproportionate. (I think that the opposite is true, i.e. that Israel clearly tried to avoid killing civilians but that reasonable observers can disagree on its adherence to proportionality considerations).

I was furious mainly about the fact that this was the only example discussed (while ignoring other obvious recent cases such as the war between Russia and Georgia or the Christmas massacre in DRC). I thought about what I should do and resisted the urge to rise and give them a long lecture on Anti-Semitism. Instead, when I asked a question I used (in a rather obvious way) a different example, about Georgia and Ossetia. My general impression was that most of the crowd were quite puzzled about why I bothered to make up such states and places and why I can’t use the actual story, regarding which everybody knows all the relevant facts. They kept asking me to clarify the example and explain who tried to kill whom and why (no such explanation was required when they discussed Israel).

Of course all of this is directly related to Charles Jacobs insight about The Human Rights Complex in which the indignation of the “Human Rights” community derives far more from the identity of the perpetrator than that of the victim or how much that victim has suffered.

This got me to thinking. What if we were to develop a method for determining the carbon footprint of civilian deaths in the media, something along the lines of column-inches, minutes airtime, people per demonstration on the one hand and number of civilian casualties on the other. One could do it across the boards, but just consider Palestinian civilian deaths: killed by Israelis, by Palestinians, by other Arabs. It wouldn’t be hard. After all, how much coverage did the civilian deaths in Hamas’ vicious take-over in 2006 receive from the media? Or after the orgy of coverage during the summer war of 2006 in Lebanon, how much coverage did the Lebanese army’s assault on Nar el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp receive?

As one of the harsher critics at this site commented: “numbers push the reality into everyone’s eyes.” Well, of course they can just as easily mislead — as in his simplistic comparison of Israeli civilian dead with Palestinian civilian dead. But I suspect that a media footprint might indeed reveal the startling imbalances of a media coverage that unquestionably has an enormous impact on public opinion the world over.

Then I found out, someone has already done so, specificially in the context of the Christmas massacre in the Democratic Republic of Congo (about which I knew nothing), mentioned by my Oxford interlocutor. (HT: JW)

Gaza vs. Congo: A Tale of Media Double Standards
Two conflicts with remarkably similar characteristics yet shockingly disparate press coverage.

January 17, 2009 – by Eli Bernstein

While the conflict between Israel and Hamas unfolded in Gaza over the past few weeks, many innocent Gazan civilians stuck in the middle have no doubt suffered much. Meanwhile, another group of civilians further south has been going through a nightmare of no lesser proportion. You may be forgiven if you haven’t heard about the dire situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where over 1,000 civilians have been killed by a Ugandan rebel group since Christmas (Source: ResolveUganda). After all, the papers were so filled with coverage of the situation in Gaza, they had left little space to report this story; the late-night news devoted half its time to scenes of death and destruction in Gaza, running out of time before they had the chance to update you on the massacres in the DRC.

There are longstanding complaints about mainstream media bias in its reporting on Israel and websites such as and [and CAMERA – rl] seek to highlight this ongoing phenomenon. The contrast in reporting between the coverage of Israel’s war on Hamas and the massacres of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) presents an interesting case study in media bias, and a disturbing one at that.

There are a remarkable number of similarities between the two conflicts:

  • Hamas is a radical Islamic militia headed by an imam with the aim of creating a state under Sharia law. The LRA is a Christian militia headed by a “spokesman of God” with the aim of establishing a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments (Source: GlobalSecurity).
  • Hamas and the LRA have both refused to sign peace agreements with their enemy, a U.S. ally. Both are designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Following the end of a negotiated truce period and responding to ongoing Hamas rockets, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27, 2008. The ongoing conflict has lead to the deaths of 1,000 people to date, a third of whom are civilians. Meanwhile, two days earlier on Christmas Day, following the end of a UN peacekeeping mandate, the LRA attacked civilians with machetes, sparking the current conflict. To date, there are reports of 1,000 dead, all of whom are civilian.
  • The most newsworthy anecdote of the Gaza conflict has been the reported deaths of 40 civilians, including women and children, by an errant Israeli shell as they gathered to seek shelter at a safe haven, a UN school. Meanwhile, in the village of Doruma, more than 100 people, including women and children, were hacked to death by the LRA as they sought refuge in a safe haven, a Catholic church. Body parts were scattered all around the church and village (Source: The Monitor; ABC News).

Of course, the major difference — and this goes to the heart of the problem — is that in the one the “aggressor” is a modern Western nation defending itself from what their Muslim religious fanatics would like to do, while in the other, the aggressors are the religious fanatics doing in the defenseless victims.

Given the similarities, one would expect to get an equal level of media coverage on the two conflicts. I must admit that until yesterday, I knew nothing about the situation in the DRC and I think it would be a safe bet that most of you have not heard about this conflict until today. Here’s why.

A Google News search I ran on a mix of keywords relating to the two conflicts, the respective terrorist organizations involved, and the newsworthy anecdotes of the conflicts showed that reporting has been evidently skewed. When adjusted to factor in the newsworthiness of the story, as measured by the number of civilian deaths involved in the incident, the bias is beyond just proportion.

Coverage Ratio Adjusted
Hamas: LRA 67:1 202:1
Gaza crisis: Uganda crisis 136:1 409:1
UN School bombing: Church Massacre 242:1 807:1

Without getting into a debate about the morality of the operation in Gaza (see my other article on that subject), surely you would have to agree that a story about a civilian killed by an errant shell (aimed at rocket launchers 30 meters away) is not 807 times more newsworthy that a civilian hacked to death in a church on Christmas Day.

Indeed, were we to factor in intention (an intentional murder deserves far more attention — say ten times as much attention — as an accidental death, whose responsibility may well lie elsewhere — say, with the people who fire at troops from behind civilians), then this might not be 1:800 but 1:8000 in disproportion.

While admittedly a higher standard of responsibility is rightly applied to a democratic state than an African terrorist group, surely the responsibility for the safeguarding of civilian life in enemy territory is somewhat mitigated by its right to defend the citizens of its own territory.

Confronted with two crises of a similar scale evolving over the same timeframe, the media chose to devote its full attention to one while blankly ignoring the other. Looking at these statistics, the mainstream media has little right to preach the doctrine of proportionality.

So, what makes a reporter decide to write yet another article about the crisis in Gaza rather than break the news from the DRC? The only plausible explanation for this disproportionate coverage is racism. It seems that while no one wants to read about another thousand dead Africans, everyone wants to read about those “warmongering Jews.” And so a pogrom of media reporting begins.

And the predictable results are that Europeans, ever eager to consume their media packets of moral Schadenfreude about the Jews, complacently discuss how happy they’ll be when Israel “disappears off the face of the earth.”

51 Responses to Measuring the Media Footprint: Coverage of War-time Casualties in the MSM

  1. SC&A says:

    Beautiful. This needs to be widely disseminated.

    I’m reminded of simple truths.

    For decades, the UN, Quartet, NATO and the EU have all predicated Middle East peace on three points:

    1. Cessation of terror and violence by the Palestinians.
    2. Diplomatic recognition of Israel.
    3. Agreed upon and securew borders.

    That’s it.

    What exactly is so one sided, unreasonable and unfair? What possible reason could the Palestinians have for not going along with the plan? In doing so, the floodgates of foreign aid, investment and all kinds of benefits would open.

    What possible motives- or pathologies, could the Palestinians have for remaining ‘on the dole’ and in the gutter? Which of those minimal requirements are so onerous that they justify Palestinian inertia and failure?

    Consider this: When the Israelis look for solutions to problems, they turn to other western democracies. When the Palestinians look for solutions to problems, they turn to the Arab world for advice and counsel. They gravitate to the most dysfunctional group of leaders in the world, despots, dictators and tyrants that distinguished themselves on the world stage by the magnitude of their failures. From Qaddafi to the Saudis, the Palestinians are only too happy to take advice from the smorgasbord of some of the most dysfunctional leaders in history.

    It’s not all that complicated, you know?

  2. Vukan says:

    Prof. Landes, just wanted to express deep appreciation to what you are doing over the years. Combination of well grounded arguments, based on unique set of paradigms and most of all a noble weltanschaung and ability to teach without preaching, that shines throught your blogo-academic work; makes me grateful for having a chance to be your reader.

    Big thank you, from Croatia,

    Vukan Marinković

  3. Jay says:

    I agree with much of what you say, but I think that some of your conclusions are a bit too radical. I don’t think that many of those who focus on Israel are doing so because they are anti-Semitic. Most Americans discuss Israel because their ties to Israel are stronger than their ties to Tibet and most Europeans do so because that’s what they see on the news. Why the media focuses on Israel is a more complicated question (but here too I think that it will mainly be for ‘innocent’ reasons). Needless to say that some of those who focus on Israel (and insist that everyone do the same) are indeed Anti-Semites (like the UK lecturers union who called for boycotting Israel), but focusing on Israel can be condemned without condemning many of those who actually do so. I think that good people should stop participating in discussion about Israel (trying to defend it against endless accusations) and instead should start making the point that the discussion itself is Anti-Semitic. This might be of some help. Maybe…

  4. […] assault on the Lebanese army’s assault on Nar el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp, correct? Richard Landes had a discussion with an Oxford PhD student about how some deaths are more equal than others. I […]

  5. JD says:

    Speaking of numbers,

    that’s assuming the Arab civilian death numbers reported are true.

    Everything connected should be doubted, like the no. of “dead Iraqi babies” from sanctions inferred not by death records, but supposed birth records–probably the total was zero,

    or the no. of Palestinians who left in 1948. Pumped up numbers to milk the UN/World dole.

  6. JD says:

    “I don’t think that many of those who focus on Israel are doing so because they are anti-Semitic.”

    They are, but they don’t know it.

    They grew up and exist within a left-wing discourse that they don’t understand is structured in anti-Semitism. The older ones are obsessed with “anti-Zionism” and will go on about the “unique” nationalism of the Jews, etc.

    The left wing obsession did not start with the refugee issue in 1949, but the defeat of the Soviet allies in 1967. The Soviets began their anti-Zionism campaign then, which colored and guided Western left thought on Israel and the Middle East. The discourse is rife with Soviet power insecurities and old Russian anti-semitism. Communist discourse obsessed with their defeat, western communist parties were instructed to hate Israel as party line. An even stronger example on communist/leftist toe-lining: How they turned anti-Nazi then “anti-war” then anti-Nazi at the whims of Soviet interests 1939-1941.

    Look for stories about how Israeli socialists or Israel supporters on the left felt immediately alienated not after 1949, but 1967.

  7. Lorenz Gude says:

    Your numbers are proportionate to my perception of the coverage. I’d missed the Congo story too, but am aware impressionisticly of the ratios involved due to my awarness of Zimabawe and the death rate there from starvation and disease which was worse at times than the Iraq death rate at its height. I can confirm that African Blacks don’t rate a high carbon footprint in the Wstern MSM.

    I would use the word ‘unconscious’ instead of ‘innocent’ as commenter Jay does above for those who make up the market for the unbalanced MSM coverage. The scapegoat role Jews play in the modern Western and Islamic psyche seems to have survived all reform and apssage of time. The Dawkins toting secular atheists of Oxbridge apparently still devote a level of psychic energy to ‘the Jewish question’ approaching that of a fundamentalist like Ahmenidjad. I see that as projection of their own denied murderousness. To see what I mean ‘the innocently anti Zionist European’ is treating Israel like Jews had systematically murdered 6 million Europeans during WW2 and are in need of close supervision lest they do it again.

  8. oao says:


    i think you’d like to believe that and i understand why. but it is wishful thinking.

    let me alter your argument: there are conscious anti-semites, who are intentionally so; and there are those who are anti-semites in the effect of their behavior, without realizing it.

    from a jew’s perspective, it’s a distinction without a difference with respect to consequesnces.

  9. oao says:

    as to the msm, i urge to realize that the media is not in the business of selling info to the readers, but rather to sell readers to advertisers. this is critical, because to sell advertising they must put readers in the right state of mind — to please them. they must output what people want to read/hear. and if they sense the readers are anti-jews, that’s what they’ll output.

    the rest has to do with access to terrorists, cowardice and careers.

  10. t-ham says:

    Re oao’s first comment, exactly! They have product to deliver, and, anti-semitic media or anti-semitic target audience, there is a bottom line that denotes success, be it profits or ratings, and they are all the more appalling for it. Additionally, as rife as anti-semitism is, for the majority of the west, Africa s a blank spot on the map. Although I grant you that Zimbabwe has received a fair amount of coverage, and Darfur is in vogue(but possibly has peaked as cause du jour), relatively few care about what happens to Africa, so it doesn’t move product/advertiser revenue. Maybe they saw coverage of the savagery of the Sierra Leone and Liberian civil wars on one of those sensationalist “documentaries” that put up content warnings over machete-executions and it was all just too too much.

  11. E.G. says:

    oao #9,

    Although I agree with your analysis about media selling customers to advertisers, the question is still why?
    Why does the “ME conflict” attract more (reader) attention than other ones? Or perhaps is it that the ample coverage is intended to increase attention to that specific issue?

    Can anyone provide some reliable info about why and how actually well does Israel (as a brand name) sell? Same question about “Palestinian plight”.

  12. Richard Landes says:

    i’d like to introduce some distinctions here. you’ll notice that i never used the term anti-semitism in my post. on the contrary i talked about moral schadenfreude about the jews. granted this is the source (i suspect) of a good deal of anti-jewish sentiment, but i make a strong distinction between anti-judaism (zero-sum, i’m better because the jews are worse, i’m/we’re right because they’re wrong, we’re the chosen people because they’re no longer) and anti-semitism (hard zero-sum, exterminate or be exterminated, they are destroying me, i must destroy them to live).

    in the current scene, most judeophobia in the arab/muslim world is anti-semitic; in europe, i think it’s largely anti-judaic.

    but i’m not sure i agree with jay. i began from his position when i first began to deal with the media’s bias. and i still treat every individual i deal with as someone who is “of good faith,” and if i find strong judeophobic patterns, i start out assuming they’re unconscious. but then that suggests that, once alerted to the problem, sincere people will respond fairly. (that’s why i suggest the media footprint, to draw this to their attention.)

    but as lorenz points out, there’s something unseemly in this moral obsession with israel. while much of the bizarre behavior of the media is not conscious anti-judaism, they’re in such denial over their obsessions and distortions of the moral record. and by the exceptionally exacting standards they employ to skewer israel, the reveal their expectations of the jews.

    if it only weren’t so pathetically transparent and tragically consequential.

  13. harris says:

    ynet: “Gazan doctor says death toll inflated”,7340,L-3660423,00.html

    And we thought when Hamas tells the world, that the evil joos have killed thousands of innocent children then there can be nop doubt about it.

  14. Weary_G says:

    I had to dig a little bit to find that post about the study (the link points to something else on your blog), but if even somewhat accurate, the numbers are staggering.

    Even without them, I knew from a basic understanding of history and current events that the numbers of Muslims killed by Israel had to be dwarfed by those killed by others, including their “own”. Ditto for the numbers “oppressed” if one tried to equate what happened in Iraq during Hussein’s reign and the Palestinians.

    Thus, the argument that Muslims are justifiably angry at Israel and understandably engage in “resistance” over their outrageous treatment at the hands of Jews becomes ludicrous. If Muslims were really angry over mistreatment, oppression and genocide, they would have face bigger fish to fry than a country with 6 million or so people occupying a sliver of the Middle East.

    When you boil it down, Muslims either are collectively the most dense of all people on the earth not to get this, or their real motivation lies elsewhere, and this is a subterfuge. My guess is that Muslims are not stupid…

  15. E.G. says:

    Heh! It’s Lorenzo Cremonesi from Corriere della sera, who published in Haaretz “Let the Press into Gaza”.

    It’s partly translated on Liveleak, and J’lem Post also cites him.

  16. Cynic says:


    Why does the “ME conflict” attract more (reader) attention than other ones?

    Because the Juice whets their appetite?

  17. oao says:

    Why does the “ME conflict” attract more (reader) attention than other ones?

    t-ham as part of the answer. also, the jihadis in their midst are making anti-semitism fashionable again and bringing it out of dormancy.

    but pay attention to what I have argued many times on this site: anti-semitism is primarily a scape-goating in times of crisis. well, the west is more than just in crisis: it has collapsed. uneducated people who are ignorant and unable to reason independently, who are scared shitless of jihad/terror and are bombarded constantly with claims by the jihadis that the jews at the core of it all find quite expedient psychologically to buy it, part. if they are already preconditioned to it.

    it’s rather simple, really, if you know and understand history. this is what the nazis used and this is what the jihadis do. and as the german elite bought into it so does the euro elite.

  18. oao says:

    but i make a strong distinction between anti-judaism

    conceptually, yes. practically, a distinction without a difference when it comes to consequences. my guess is that the two are both active and reinforce each other.

    and i still treat every individual i deal with as someone who is “of good faith,” and if i find strong judeophobic patterns, i start out assuming they’re unconscious.

    the question is what is statistically correct: if the majority are anti-semitic/anti-judaic, then this approach is impractical. it would be correct to reverse the operative assumption, as the amount of mistakes made would be lower.

  19. oao says:

    Can anyone provide some reliable info about why and how actually well does Israel (as a brand name) sell? Same question about “Palestinian plight”.

    it’s not israel that sells. it’s the blaming of israel that appeases the reader and puts it in a frame of trusting the media, hence increasing the probability of buying.

    if you annoy the reader by countering his instincts it surely won’t work, they won’t read you.

  20. oao says:

    Thus, the argument that Muslims are justifiably angry at Israel and understandably engage in “resistance” over their outrageous treatment at the hands of Jews becomes ludicrous.

    with the arabs, their hatred of jews is so intense that they will believe anything about them.

    but to affect the westerner they cannot spread all the crap they believe themselves, so they manipulate numbers, because that’s what the west swallows without questioning.

  21. Lorenzo says:

    Your first link does not seem to be to the correct post.

  22. E.G. says:

    I believe (and oao is going to blame me of wishful thinking) that the tide is going to turn the other way around.
    Some Europeans got the message that “Cast Lead” was against the Hamas and not against the Palestinians. And the Moslem rallies/riots have been perceived as threats: among the anti-Israeli and Judeophobic slogans there were enough cries and slogans against European policies and policy makers (proclaimed to have betrayed their Moslem constituents). Plus the violence. Moslems clearly distinguished themselves from the rest of the population, and their identification with terrorist groups such as Hezbolla and Hamas, combined with their aggressive daily behaviour, is not very appealing to the majority of “regular” Europeans. Some of the latter (secretly, because it’s not PC) probably admire the Israeli Hutzpah to shoot – wishing they could do the same.

  23. JD says:

    “I believe (and oao is going to blame me of wishful thinking) that the tide is going to turn the other way around.”

    It’s actually better now than in 2002. Recall the suicide bombing campaign then. Arafat said it was out of his control, basically true. The money was Saddam and other Arabs who wanted to warn of the Iraq invasion. Recall as Israel responded and more attacks occurred, more and larger protests in the major Western European (that’s WESTERN, not “Europe”) capitals. Much larger than the ones this year.

    I think 2002 was the last show of force of the pre-9/11 EuroLeft marching to save its world view, crumbling away. Also, I think the realities of Iraq opened up to the world showed the idiocy of cherished beliefs, such as the million dead baby fable. Third, with the internet, leftish filters which control international news fell down, and the “other” could less be said unknown. Fourth, Arafat had a revolutionary cachet, associated loosely with socialism and liberation movements all over, closely with the Soviet Union. Once Hamas one the election, that romanticism about the Palestinian leadership faded.

  24. […] Landes writes about the Gaza figures on The Augean Stables. He also has a fascinating posting on the coverage by the MSM of wartime casualties. Oddly enough, it seems completely distorted and […]

  25. Lorenz Gude says:

    Thank you RL for the distinction between anti Semitism and anti Judaism. Soft and hard zero sum. As a pro Jewish non Jew I find that a hard one to see. I know I tend to emotionally lose patience with both and fail to stay with the differences I can perceive intellectually. Once you point them out, however, I CAN see them so I am not blind to them. I think the difference is important because it can inform behavior. There needs to be a difference between the treatment of anti Judaic people and anti Semetic people. I would see the current Israeli government as not getting it quite right, but improving over 2006 and even 2000-2002 as JD points out. I would speculate that the current Israeli government hasn’t fully learned how to translate this distinction into policy. That is, how to be tougher on the anti Semites and more skillful at dealing with the anti Judaics. I think it is clear that they did improve between 2006 and 2008 however. I would see this as roughly parallel to what General Petraeus achieved in Iraq. He found a way to drive a wedge between the fanatically anti American and those that just didn’t like the US.

    On another train of thought in this comment thread I think it is overly reductionist to say that the media business simply sells audiences to advertisers. What I would now call the anti Judaic audience is there for long standing cultural and historic reasons. Not even Hitler invented it. So it is an anomaly in that the media has been able to cater to it without really examining the distorted assumptions it rests on. That is what I was trying to point out when I said that it is as if the Jews were in need of special supervision because they had killed 6 million Europeans, not the other way around. The MSM is still swallowing the Palestinian narrative whole and it all could end with the extinction of Israel, but the Palestinian position is precarious too. The blogosphere has routed around the MSM monopoly on the narrative again as JD pointed out. The Palestinian pose as pure victims has become less credible. The ‘poisoned gift’ from Western anti Semitism and anti Judaism is taking its toll. They are having to shoot their own dissenters as was dealt with in another post. One thing I know, the blogosphere has to keep hammering away if balance is to be restored.

  26. oao says:

    and oao is going to blame me of wishful thinking


    every day the europeans are dhimmifying themselves more. what are they gonna do with the violent 5th column in their midst? did you see the cops running away from it?

    europe is no more.

  27. oao says:

    Moslems clearly distinguished themselves from the rest of the population

    really? what about the leftist and nazi moonbats that accompany them? how about sarkozy, kouchner and miliband? how about the dutch govt prosecuting wilders?

    once you start down that path, you’re finished.

  28. E.G. says:


    People, the persons who vote, make very simple calculations. Such as, who/what disturbs us most?
    The latest rallies/riots have been correctly perceived as Moslem uprising. It frightened even many of the clairvoyant lefties. To the point of making a few voices actually spell it, even if it’s still non-PC.
    And police were not always and everywhere running away.
    People are mostly concerned about their way of life and they come to realise who/what is threatening it. While some still accuse the Juice for bringing in the Moslems (in the name of Humanity, multiculti etc.), others are simply less tolerant of Moslem claims.
    It ain’t over yet.

  29. oao says:


    sure, but those voices are too few to count and if they persist they’re gonna be made to pay a heavy price. the average person who is neither leftist, nor anti-semitic and who know almost nothing about the conflict see the riots and hear from every direction that the jews are criminals so they respond “just get rid of the damn jews and let us be”, thinking that will make the riots go away. there is not enough knowledge and reasoning ability to react differently.

    if you focus on the laws, policies, statements and behavior of the state, economic and academic institutions, you cannot escape the conclusion that europe had for all practical purposes collapsed in dhmmitude. examples:

    there are tons of this stuff daily.

  30. oao says:

    once you drop freedom of speech, run away from rioters, allow public anti-semitism, make exceptions for islam, etc, you’re finished. you won’t be able to put the devil back in the bottle.

  31. oao says:

    columbia and now georgetown:

    how low can western education go? just watch.

  32. oao says:

    FP: Will Europe may come under Islamic domination by the end of the twenty-first century?

    Karsh: It really depends on whether Europeans will awake to reality and recognize the real nature of the threat confronting them. Thus far, this hasn’t happened, though some recent developments, such as last year’s French riots or the violence attending the Danish cartoons, have acted as (admittedly modest) wakeup calls.

    Only last month Mu’ammar Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, predicted the imminent Islamization of Europe. “We have 50 million Muslims in Europe,” he stated in a public speech aired on al-Jazeera television. “There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe – without swords, without guns, without conquests. The fifty million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.” “Allah mobilizes the Muslim nation of Turkey, and adds it to the European Union,” he went on. “That’s another 50 million Muslims. There will be 100 million Muslims in Europe.”

    While this prediction will probably be dismissed by many as a delusional gloating of an eccentric leader, the truth of the matter is that to this day many Muslims and Arabs unabashedly pine for the reconquest of Spain and consider their 1492 expulsion from the country a grave historical injustice waiting to be undone. Indeed, as immigration and higher rates of childbirth have greatly increased the number of Muslims within Europe itself over the past several decades, countries that were never ruled by the caliphate have become targets of Muslim imperial ambition. Since the late 1980s, Islamists have looked upon the growing population of French Muslims as proof that France, too, has become a part of the House of Islam. In Britain, even the more moderate elements of the Muslim community are candid in setting out their aims. As the late Zaki Badawi, a doyen of interfaith dialogue in the UK, put it, “Islam is a universal religion. It aims to bring its message to all corners of the earth. It hopes that one day the whole of humanity will be one Muslim community.” To deny the pervasiveness and tenacity of this imperialist ambition is the height of folly, and to imagine that it can be appeased or deflected is to play into its hands.

  33. Rich Rostrom says:

    What happened in 1967 is that the Arabs became “Red”, and the Israelis became “white”. That is, the Arabs became identified as “left” because “anti-colonialist”, while Israel, by its prowess, became identified with the militarily successful colonizers.

    And one of the Left’s absolute commandments is “White men are always wrong.”

    Two corollaries to this are that whites can never judge non-whites, and whatever is wrong is at root the fault of whites.

    So black-on-black massacres in Uganda stay below the radar, while any alleged transgression by Israel is headline news.

  34. oao says:

    What happened in 1967 is that the Arabs became “Red”, and the Israelis became “white”. That is, the Arabs became identified as “left” because “anti-colonialist”, while Israel, by its prowess, became identified with the militarily successful colonizers.

    that is evidence that the left-right continuum has to distort reality that does not fit in it to make it fit. in the process it plays into the hands of islam, because it is clueless.

  35. Cynic says:

    you’ll notice that i never used the term anti-semitism in my post. on the contrary i talked about moral schadenfreude about the jews.

    What basically provokes this emotion defined as schadenfreude?
    Surely it is a dislike so strong for the Jew so as to provoke such pleasure in his suffering?
    Can almost imagine a Dickensian character cackling and wringing his hands in pleasure as the emotion courses through his veins.
    Maybe if we can classify it on a scale from philo-Semite to anti-Semite, where would “moral schadenfreude” sit?

  36. E.G. says:


    I have a different view on moral Schadenfreude.
    It’s based on rancor rather that hatred.
    In short, Europeans have been made to express guilt (when unable to feel it), remorse and regret their Anti-Jewish acts – even when it’s their parents’ or grandparents’ ones. Plus, in most countries, Anti-semitic expressions are verboten, by law or by social norms or both. It’s become a burden, or a frustration.
    So now, some Dickensian characters are only too happy (freude) to “observe” that the ultimate victims, acting sovereignly, do it very much like de-goot-olt-grandparents did a few decades ago.
    «They’re no better than us, these “Chosen people”, eh! Should be ashamed of themselves (like we had to), put on (Nuremberg) trial…»
    Variant: if they’re not so wrong, maybe we weren’t either?
    Either way, What a relief! The latter is the “emotion cours[ing] through his veins”.

  37. oao says:

    i agree with e.g., at least in part. there is another aspect to it: envy that the israelis manage, even under duress, to sustain a healthy, democratic society. they realize they cannot do as well even without duress. they can’t stand it that the jews really behave like the chosen people (relative to them).

  38. E.G. says:


    Envy may come into the equation – and it’s also envy of the survivors (including those who did not make Aliya) who got back on their feet and made a decent life, if not better. But this part is very close to traditional Anti-semitism.

  39. JD says:

    “What happened in 1967 is that the Arabs became “Red”, and the Israelis became “white”.”

    You all should read the wikipedia article on “Soviet anti-zionism.” There is also a Marxist blogger, a purist, I think English, who has stuff on the web about it.

    The worldwide Soviet anti-zionism propaganda campaign actually started to percolate up in the run-up to the ’67 war. The USSR was betting their prestige on the bigger numbers. The failure of the UAR was a disaster from the Soviet perspective on many levels. One usually overlooked is their weaponry. Weaponry was the only manufacture the Soviets could market outside their captured markets. The implicit failure of their weaponry led them to rush to stock Egypt and Syria with their latest, most high tech weaponry, stuff the West did not know about. That is, stuff they didn’t give the Vietnamese. Actually, the ’73 war was a blessing to the West in case of Soviet invasion, it gave them a heads up.

    But the two wars failed for the Soviet Union, and Egypt decided to side with the USA and got Sinai back. From an ideological perspective these were not only defeats for Soviet power, but implicitly for their self-validating philosophy. Because Marxist-Leninist rule required a belief in the inevitability of its party, internationally. The opposite conflicts with their holy writings, which sent them into a religious-like mania, as when they had to fix their philosophies in the face of fascism unseen by their prophets.

    All the themes still rattling around today in the West about Israel were near verbatim instigated by the Soviet campaign, and imbibed in the West. Older, right-wing anti-semitic ideas were incorporated, then and later, yes. But one thing notable to Soviet anti-zionism is the utter fear of nationalism. Why? Because anti-zionism served domestic purposes too. Nationalism was a mortal threat to the USSR, and the division of the USSR proved this threat was credible. The creation of one nation, Israel, which they could not crush, seemed contrary to their self-validating philosophy.

    Ironically, it was the biggest empire of the world pushing the “Israel as western colonizer” thread. One way Western leftists conformed themselves to party and politically correct lines to hate Israel was to ideate Israel as empire. Another, and you can experience this with old Jewish commies and others, is taking up the idea Israel failed “socialism” or did not become socialist enough.

    Sure, schadenfreude, traditional right-wing anti-semitism, religious insecurities all play big parts. But I believe the force of Western anti-Israelism is on the “left”, and its cause is not Henry Ford, or this or that, but the Soviet campaign. Which died in the East the moment Gorbachev pulled the plug on it. But it went viral, and still circulates among Western lefty elites, their thought patterns essentially collateral brain damage from the Cold War.

  40. oao says:

    chomsky tells the story that he was induced to his political activities by achildhood event: a bully attacked a child; chomsky first stood with the victim then chickened out and ran away in fear. he then promised himself that never again would he not stand with the victim.

    after a while I realized the reason chomsky is so wrong about foreign cultures: he treats everything as bully and victim. note that in child bullies there is no morality issue: whoever is a bully is morally wrong and support decisions are easy: whoever is stronger and fights the weaker is automatically in the wrong.

    however, this is hardly the case between nations/cultures. if you’re gonna decide which side is moral based on relative power alone, you’ll end up on the wrong side quite often.

    the msm suffers from a similar problem: on the one hand they are looking for the “david and goliath” angle, because this “sells”. but on the other hand they drive–like chomsky–morality from the perceived balance of power: israel is stronger, therefore it is wrong (the bully) and the pals are in the right (the victims).

    for quite a while I couldn’t figure out why chomsky who is hardly stupid can be so wrong, part. on foreign matters. the bully/victim approach explains it as well as his leftism: this is what lefties do — they look for weaks, whom they automatically consider right, regardless of the context. this is how he can hug hezbollah and how carter can hug hamas.

    this is how the MSM approach the conflict.

  41. aoa – Yes. You could make an argument that liberals tend to be people who were bullied when young and absorbed their humiliation into their identity – as Chomsky clearly describes. These are people who develop a “defensive personality” and who often compensate with their brains (if they are smart) by achieving high position such as in academia. If they find enough power there (tenure) they can use it to get back at the “bullies” they encounter in life – which Chomsky identifies as Israel and its supporters. Carter, Walt/Mearscheimer, several insipid Brits, etc. all fit that mold.

    Conservatives either were bullies themselves (I’ve met quite a few) – or managed to overcome their humiliation some way, perhaps by fighting back – or maybe they were never bullied much.

    This is oversimplified but the point is – whether one is lib or con is a psychological disposition one develops early in life, not an intellectual conclusion one reaches as an adult. Whichever side you find yourself on you can find lots of intellectual justification (Chomsky is not dumb).

    Therefore, reasoned discussion between libs and cons is usually impossible but especially when “bullies vs bullied” narratives define the topic. Each side will be driven by different impulses. The libs will tend to identify with the “weak” no matter the larger questions of morality. Some cons (bullies) will react by bullying the libs and humiliating them.

    Some libs and some cons, for whatever reasons, will be able to have a discussion – but it takes effort. I don’t like bullies but to me a bully is one who attacks others to get their way. The size of their arsenal is irrelevant to me. I believe I am mostly driven by my logical (and selfish) desire to live in a world where attacking others is not rewarded and where those who defend themselves from attack are admired and supported. (The UN Charter which is completely ignored and turned upside down.)

    I don’t think any conflict in history shows more clearly which side is the aggressor and which the defender than the I/P conflict.

  42. oao says:


    that would be an overgeneralization.

  43. oao says:

    oao – as would that.


    anyway, social generalizations are always partial, never 100%. there are exceptions. the trick is not to confuse the rule with the exception.

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