Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why Palestinian Victims Get More Attention Than Others

Since 1983 in neighboring Sri Lanka , 70,000 lives were lost. Did any Maldivian shed a tear? Where was the outrage over the loss of human lives? Is the value of any human life the same? Or is their a double standard? I fail to understand how some lives are more valuable than others and are deliberately treated differently.

Michael Medved gives some perspective below:-

In the first days of 2009, the forces of civilization won a decisive and perhaps even definitive victory against one of the world's most fanatical and bloodthirsty terrorist organizations.

While media outlets focused on the far less brutal and costly conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Army of Sri Lanka finally overran Kilinochchi, the long-time base of operations for the "Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam" – the implacable guerillas whose depredations produced as many as 500,000 internal refugees. According to official government and UN figures, the fighting in Sri Lanka since 1983 claimed at least 70,000 lives among fighters and civilians on both sides.

By contrast, the battles between Israelis and Palestinians in the same period (1983-2009) killed at the very most some 15,000 -- including civilian and military who fell in direct combat together with all victims of various terror operations.

Why, then, should the world give so much more attention to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle than to a cruel, seemingly endless fight between Sinhalese Buddhists and Tamil Hindus that produced nearly five times the number of casualties?

The Palestinians' own figures claim 2,162 dead in the First Intifada (1987-93) and another 5,837 in the Second Intifada (2000-2005), with Palestinian-on-Palestinian savagery responsible for at least one-fourth of those who perished. In the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and the Shiite terrorists of Hezbollah (not strictly speaking a clash between Israelis and Palestinians), the Lebanese government identified 700 Hezbollah fighters and 1,191 civilians who lost their lives.

In the first week of Israel's current military operation to stop Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza, the U.N. reported that 500 died, at most 125 of them civilians.

At precisely the same time, Ugandan rebels slaughtered an estimated 400 civilians in the Eastern Congo (according to the Catholic aid agency Caritas) and piled at least 150 of their horribly mutilated bodies like cord wood in a church sanctuary on Christmas day. "The scene at the church was unbelievable," Captain Chris Magezi of the Ugandan Army told the Associated Press. "It was horrendous. On the floor were dead bodies of mostly women and children cut in pieces."

Why should the suffering and martyrdom of these African villagers count for less than the simultaneous, vastly more publicized misfortunes of Palestinians in Gaza?

What gives Palestinian victims their special status—a standing that brings with it a wildly disproportionate share of the world's concern and attention?

The United Nations General Assembly, as well as the Security Council, blithely ignored the more numerous and sadistic civilian casualties in the Congo, and paid no heed to the climax of an unspeakably bloody 16 year war in Sri Lanka, while investing virtually all their time in obsessive debates over the defensive Israeli incursion into Gaza.

What makes the residents of Gaza so uniquely worthy of compassion, concern and publicity from western journalists and even policy makers?

None of the most straightforward or convenient answers to these questions begin to account for the unbalanced focus on Palestinian woe.

No, the struggle between Israel and Hamas hardly counts as "the world's most dangerous conflict." The rag-tag jihadists of the Gaza strip, with their largely home-made rockets and twisted, suicidal impulses, may well be a menace to the peace of the region but hardly constitute an existential threat to civilization itself. In India, on the other hand, Islamic terror has claimed 4,000 deaths since 2004 (a far higher level of blood-letting than anywhere in the Palestinian territories or Israel proper) and the core conflict in south Asia involves two well-armed nuclear powers (Pakistan and India) who have fought several devastating wars in the recent past.

Strategic or financial considerations also fail to explain the ridiculously overwrought concentration on Israel and its enemies. Neither Israel nor the Palestinians control any oil resources, yet a titanic struggle between two of the world's three leading petro-powers (the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88) killed 1.3 million soldiers and civilians and drew distinctly limited attention from global media.

The history of displacement among Palestinians hardly makes them unique among the peoples of the world, though they've seized on the term "refugee" as the very essence of their identity. At most 750,000 Palestinian Arabs became refugees after five Arab states simultaneously attacked Israel in 1948, but within the next ten years an even greater number of Jews (800,000) became refugees from persecution in Islamic nations in North Africa in the Middle East and resettled in the Jewish state. At precisely the same moment that Israel won world recognition in 1948, the partition of India and Pakistan led to 14.5 million refugees (and at least 500,000 deaths in the "Independence Riots"). The Lebanon Civil War of 1975-1990 produced 900,000 refugees (according to that tormented nation's own government) and an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 deaths in horrific clashes between Arab Muslims and Arab Christians.

Jew-haters (who feel inevitably energized and encouraged by any conflict involving Israel) explain the inappropriate obsession with conflicts like the current confrontation in Gaza as a reflection of the unsavory influence of Jewish interests. According to this logic, the 2% of Americans who identify as Jews want special attention to these battles because of their tribal identification with cousins in Israel. This may account for some portion of the U.S. fascination with the Middle East, together with concern of committed Christians regarding the "Holy Land" where Jesus spent all his years on earth. But such explanations hardly account for the European fixation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The nations of the Old World identify as famously, stubbornly secular rather than Christian, and among the 500 million citizens in the E.U., Jews account for less than one-fourth of one-percent (Hitler took care of the rest).

Unfortunately, an absence of Jews doesn't mean an absence of paranoid, anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. The Japanese, for instance, seem fascinated with accounts of "Jewish Power" and eagerly scoop up frequent bestsellers about Hebraic control of the world financial system, despite a nationwide Jewish population of less than 4,000. Even for nations that remain altogether "Judenrein" ("Pure of Jews") the fascination with the Children of Israel seems to remain a factor, directing an illogical (and unwanted) focus toward their modern-day descendants in the Middle East. As the old-saying goes, "Jews are News," and remain newsworthy even in parts of the world where they haven't lived for centuries. In this sense, the Palestinians receive disproportionate notice not because of any distinctive quality of their own nationhood or history, but because their purported oppressors remain the most controversial, compelling, loathed, admired and polarizing people on the planet.

Continue reading Michael Medved at Townhall


  1. Anonymous1:52 PM

    "Strategic or financial considerations also fail to explain the ridiculously overwrought concentration on Israel and its enemies."

    Why then, does the worlds biggest economy spend unprecedented amounts in military and other aid to one of the smallest countries in the world?

    The Dhivehistan Report has a quote from Orwell as a sub header.
    Heres another reference to Orwell from someone who must be a familliar voice to you.

    RH: Why is that? Is there a coercion between them? The press is owned by big business we know that, is there a dialogue between the two or is it just that they don’t want to report that?

    NC: George Orwell had a good comment on it, brief and succinct but pretty much to the point. This is in his introduction to Animal Farm which was not published but was discovered later in his unpublished paper. In the introduction he talks about how in free England, ideas can be suppressed without the use of force, unlike the totalitarian monster he is satirising where ideas are suppressed by the use of force. So he is saying England is not all that different, it just uses different techniques. He says first of all, the press is owned by wealthy men who have every reason not to want certain ideas to be expressed. Second and more important, is that proper education instils into people the understanding, the tacit understanding that there are certain things it just wouldn’t do to say. It’s part of your nature if you are properly educated, you are indoctrinated into tacitly accepting a framework of assumptions which shape what you say and what you think. There is a lot of truth to that.


  2. Sri Lanka doesn't get much attention in the world media as Israel and Palestinians get. Muslims are not the ones controlling the media. Who is? Think about that.

  3. Anonymous3:47 PM

    Oh my god innocent jews,save them. may be we should enlist them to endangered species. What a nice way of twisting facts. no where people are more opressed than in palestine. millions of people living under occupation living under total humiliation day in day out for more than 60 years. no dont talk about the jews badly there is a resolution against antiseptic tanks or sentism or whatever no freedom of speech once upon a time some guy from germany killed lots of them so they should have their own way and what ever thing they want.