Thursday, April 12, 2007
Israel Haters Lie with Statistics
By: Steven Plaut Thursday, April 12, 2007
Mark Twain once said there are three sorts of lies: lies, damned
lies, and statistics.
Of the last group, the worst are 'advocacy statistics'. These are
fabrications by advocacy groups that invent 'statistics' to advance
political agendas. There are lots of these around, and they're familiar to
all of us. They range from the supposed ten percent of humans who are
homosexual, to the make-pretend numbers of Iraqi civilians who supposedly
died in the Allied invasion of Iraq, to estimates of the numbers of
Palestinian refugees, to the instances of college date-rapes alleged by
In Israel lately, several groups trying to paint Israeli Arabs as
victims of discrimination have become masters at turning out false
advocacy statistics. And these are generally eaten up and taken at face
value by Israel's leftist journalists and the Bash-Israel world media.
Consider the press release recently put out by the group calling
itself 'Sikkuy: The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality in
Israel.' Sikkuy checked and found out that Israeli Arabs have lower life
expectancy than Israeli Jews. That, argues the group, proves that Israeli
Arabs are ipso facto victims of discrimination.
Haaretz, Israel's far-left Post-Zionist daily, concurs: 'The data
also reveal that the mortality rate for Arab infants under the age of 12
months is double that of their Jewish counterparts.... The data suggest
that the Arab minority in Israel suffers worse conditions than those of
the Afro-American minority in the U.S. or the Catholic minority in
As usual, Haaretz gets its facts wrong. Life expectancy at birth in
Israel is estimated (1995-99 data) as 76.5 for Jewish males and 74.4 for
Arab males; 80.4 for Jewish females and 77.8 for Arab females.
I know what you're thinking: These numbers seem to show blatant
discrimination against males and in favor of females (for both Jews and
Arabs). Such a reading would of course be absurd. After all, females have
longer life expectancy than males in all human societies and even among
most mammal groups. So the gender gap has nothing to do with
discrimination. As it turns out, neither does the gap between Jews and
Haaretz's claim that Israeli Arabs have lower life expectancy than
black Americans does not hold up much better. Israeli Arabs not only have
higher expectancy than black Americans, they also have life expectancy no
lower than all Americans, all races combined. They also have higher life
expectancy than the population of Ireland. Actually, Israeli Arabs have
higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality than do Arabs in any
Next, Haaretz is convinced that any gap in life expectancy must
reflect discrimination. Does it? Let us note that in every country in
which policies of official anti-Semitic discrimination exists or existed,
Jews also had a higher life expectancy than non-Jews. They were healthier
even though they were victims of official discrimination. So life
expectancy gaps hardly prove discrimination.
So what, then, explains the disparity between Jewish and Arab life
expectancy rates in Israel? Sikkuy and the Post-Zionists at Haaretz
attribute it to differences in accessibility to medical services. But
anyone who has ever been in an Israeli hospital or clinic knows that such
a claim is nonsense. One sees Arabs there in numbers proportioniate (if
not higher) to their share of the population - including plenty of Arab
physicians and nurses. I myself shared a room with an Arab after major
surgery and our stories became the basis for my book The Scout.
Haaretz itself almost stumbled on part of the answer when it noted
the difference between Israeli Arabs and Jews when it comes to infant
mortality. Haaretz claims infant mortality for Arabs is twice what it is
for Jews. Another Haaretz lie. It is slightly higher for Arabs, 6.6 per
thousand vs 5.3 (for male babies, and a similar gap for females) - but
Arab infant mortality in Israel is considerably lower than the rates in
the U.S. and Ireland.
As it turns out, infant mortality has little to do with
accessibility to medical treatment and a great deal to do with congenital
birth problems, especially low birth weight - which are much more common
in babies born to teenage mothers than to other mothers.
Now, while teenage girls getting married is a common occurrence
among Israeli Muslims, it is all but unknown among Israeli Jews and
Christians. All of which means that disparities in infant mortality, which
explain a considerable portion of the Arab-Jewish gap in life expectancy,
have nothing to do with discrimination and everything to do with
age-of-marriage decisions and choices.
The score: Demography One, Haaretz/Sikkuy Zero!
But that is only part of the lying. Israeli Arabs have a much higher
rate of cigarette use than Israeli Jews. Haaretz notes this in passing,
but only to help prove how discriminatory Israel is. If Arabs smoke more, it
must be because they are victims of discrimination, Haaretz suggests with
a straight face.
Then there is the matter of differences in schooling. For reasons
not entirely understood, schooling is associated in most countries with
higher life expectancy. Israeli Arabs on average have considerably less
schooling than Jews because they drop out of school more often. And let's
not hear any nonsense about Israeli universities discriminating against
Arabs, because they all discriminate in favor of Arabs under affirmative
So, does Israel discriminate against Arabs? There is considerable
real statistical evidence pointing to no discrimination at all against
Arabs in Israeli labor markets, at least none serious enough to be
reflected in wages. And there is no serious evidence that there is
discrimination against Arabs in accessibility to health care.
Perhaps Sikkuy and groups like it should speak out against Arab
terrorism, which discriminates against Jews and raises Jewish mortality
rates, or about the apartheid conditions that exist in all Arab countries.