Thursday, August 04, 2011

Sentencing Arabs and Jews

Israel's Left has a new cause celebre. It seems that a study has just
been issued that claims that Israeli Arab criminals get harsher
sentences on average in courts than Jewish criminals. Haaretz has
adopted this "cause" with special enthusiasm and is running loud
pieces wailing about discrimination against Arabs in Israeli courts.
See this:
The study cited that found harsher sentences for Arab criminals on
average was commissioned by the Israeli courts administration. It did
NOT say there was any evidence of discrimination by the courts. Here
is the Haaretz news story on that report:
As usual, leftists are incapable of distinguishing between
heterogeneity and discrimination. In the "minds" of leftists, any
numerical differences between any two groups must by definition prove
"discrimination." So since 98% of prisoners in Israeli jails are
males and Israeli males get far worse sentences on average than women,
the courts must also be discriminating against males.

Note the Haaretz headline: "Israeli courts discriminate against
Israeli Arabs, there is no doubt about it."

No doubt about it?

The idea that Israeli courts discriminate against Arabs is patently
absurd. The courts are by and large dominated by leftist judges,
especially the Supreme Court, which can review and reverse lower court
verdicts. The only plausible explanation for the fact that Arab
criminals get harsher sentences on average than Jewish criminals is
that the crimes committed by Arab criminals and the circumstances in
which they are committed are on average worse than for Jewish
criminals. But that is a possibility that the Palestinian newspaper
printed in Hebrew is incapable even of contemplating.

Now it is probably just a matter of time until someone gets the data
for that study and extracts statistically the factors that REALLY
explain why the sentences are harsher for Arab criminals. I do not
have the energy to do it myself.

But the headline and the "study" are remarkably similar to older
studies in the US that showed that blacks who were convicted of murder
were considerably more likely to get the death penalty than whites.
That PROVES discrimination, right? Actually it turns out that US
courts discriminate against WHITE killers in the death penalty!!

Why? Well, the death penalty is far more likely to be the verdict in
cases where a killing was done of a cop, or a killing committed during
a robbery or similar felony. As it turns out, black killers in the US
are far more likely to have committed the crime where the victim was a
cop or where the killing was part of a robbery. So if one takes into
account those differences, it turns out that if anyone is getting the
death penalty in disproportionately large numbers, controlling for the
circumstances of the murder (cops, robbery), it is WHITES who are
getting "over-sentenced."

Now I have no doubt that a similar serious statistical exploration of
the sentencing rates in Israel, one taking into account similar sorts
of "additional circumstances" (use of arms, sexual abuse during
robbery, etc etc etc) would explain away any "discrepancy" in
sentencing rates in Israel

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