May 13, 2004

Red Words on Glass

The latest communique by HonestReporting corrects some bogus statements on a stained glass window in Melbourne, Austrailia. Unfortunately, their communique contains some bogus statements of its own.

HonestReporting states that "Independent analyses by SIPRI, B'Tselem, and other agencies indicate that no more than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since 1948. Meanwhile, Israel has lost 20,297 military personnel since the War of Independence."

Clearly these two numbers are put back to back in order to emphasize the higher Israeli number. This, however, is not a valid comparison.

As the sentence states, all of those 20,000 Palestinians were all killed by Israelis, however the majority of the 20,297 Israelis weren't killed by Palestinians, but in wars which the Palestinians played little to no part in. For instance, HonestReporting includes the approximately 11,000 Israelis killed in the five wars between 1948 and 1973 but they don't include the roughly 45,000 Egyptians, Syrians and Jordanians killed in the same conflicts.

Additionally, HonestReporting tries to discredit another part of the glass display that states "5,000,000 refugees have been created". They do this by pointing out that the UN calculated that only 720,000 refugees were created in 1949, and that the inflated figure is arrived at by including the descendents of these original refugees.

Yet, it is perfectly reasonable to include their descendents in this figure. It's patently silly for HonestReporting to claim that any person who was born and grew up in a refugee camp shouldn't be considered a refugee.

Still, the most interesting thing about this communique is in reading the parts of the glass display that HonestReporting doesn't comment on. They are:

385 towns and villages have been destroyed
300 billion military dollars have been spent
100+ WMDs have been manufactured
65 UN resolutions have been ignored