September 27th, 2006
On the Jewish New Year’s Eve, Ma’ariv’s senior journalist Ben-Dror Yemini, published the first installment of a three part series about media representation of the Arab-Israeli conflict worldwide. The piece was entitled And the World is Silent. Yemini, a long time leftist, and supporter of Palestinian independence, has nevertheless been outraged, quite rightly, by the way that the criticism of Israel’s occupation, which he shares, has seeped, especially in Europe, into a wild array of attempts at delegitimizing the right of Jews to self-determination.
A central part of these attempts is the persistent myth about systematic “genocide” allegedly committed by Israel against Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular. Yemini did a simple thing: he collected the available numbers – they are staggering indeed – of Muslims murdered during the years of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some 10,000,000 (ten million!) Muslims were murdered, by the more conservative estimations. But only about 0.6% of these deaths were caused by the Arab-Israeli conflict itself. Read again: about half a percent. Here’s one finding from the margins of Yemini’s research: France is responsible for about ten times more Muslim deaths than Israel during the same years. Not something your average newspaper reader in Europe is likely to guess. Imshin, an Israeli blogger, has translated the whole piece, which you can now read in English here.
THE NUMBERS IN A NUTSHELL:
Israel is responsible for about 60,000 Muslim deaths (all its wars and the occupation included).
The USA is responsible for about 70,000.
France is responsible for about half a million (in the 1950s alone, by the most conservative estimate).
Russia (along with the former Soviet Union) over one million.
About 8.5 million Muslims were murdered by Muslim regimes, internal Arab civil wars, and Arab tribal ethnic cleansing.
The first thing that meets the eye when you read the piece, since that was the piece’s intention, is the discrepancy between Israel’s image in world public opinion, and the actual numbers. But the more profound result of reading this research is quite other. If Israel is responsible for some 60,000, how have the deaths of the other 10,000,000 been so effectively marginalized in public opinion? The numbers were never secret, after all. Yemini collected them from Human Rights Organization, UN agencies, and the like. That those who have care fairly little about those who have not, we know. But that genocide on such a vast scale should slip under the radar and leave so small an impression is beyond pedestrian cynicism.