How many times have you heard the claim that Israel is one of the most violent places on Earth? The source of violence in the world, in fact? The root cause of global Islamic terrorism? How many world polls have put Israel among the biggest threats to world peace [1, 2, 3, 4]? This claim is repeated way too often and absolutely matter-of-factly, as if it was some common knowledge, an undisputed axiom. It is repeated by highly influential individuals; statesmen, scholars [1, 2], media [1, 2, 3]. Many of those individuals are otherwise perfectly sane and quite intelligent.
So how can they be so ignorant in this matter?
Let's try to put emotions aside and look at the facts. Just some cold numbers.
In the entire (entire!) 154 (one hundred and fifty four) years of the Israeli-Arab conflict a total (total!) of 121,879 people (Arabs AND Jews) were killed. During that period of time we had all-encompassing wars, military operations, Intifadas and also many years of relative quiet. Still that's a lot of people. That's a lot of wasted lives. That's something we all wish to put an end to already.
But let's compare that to some of the other current conflicts. Just a few from the top of my head.
In 2006 the then Mexican President Felipe Calderón proclaimed a war on the drug cartels. Since then, according to a leading Mexican newspaper 'La Jornada', and up to 2012 (6 years) more then 136,000 people were killed as a result of this drug war. That's approximately 11.6% more than the casualties of our entire conflict, except they were slaughtered some 29 times faster. Since the drug war isn't over, it's safe to assume these numbers are much higher today.
Mass protests in Mexico City, demanding justice for the 43 missing students,
recently identified dead, as the violence in Mexico continues.
Since 2011 (4 years) more then 200,000 people were killed in the ongoing Syrian civil war. That's approximately 40% more, 38.5 times as fast.
Homs, a destroyed Syrian city.
Numbers vary significantly, but the most modest of estimations talk of 2.7 million (million!) dead in the many civil wars in Congo since 1998. These conflicts still continue to this day and the country is in a state of constant crisis. I won't even do the math on Congo.
When was the last time you even heard of Congo?
A fragment of the two million Congolese refugees.
Too bad they don't have a private, unique refugee agency all for them.
Now, don't get me wrong, dear Anti-Semites; I'm not saying that the Israeli-Arab conflict is okay, because in many other places in the world the carnage is much worse. I, just like any other Zionist, am not proud of a single dead. I, just like any other Zionist, wish for the violence to stop. But with that said, a certain sense of proportionality must be implied. My point is - Israel is not "the root cause of violence in the world". It's a tiny insignificant speck in the vast oceans of global violence.
The claim Israel is the reason for the rise of Islamic terrorism is equally absurd. The Syrians are not slaughtering each other because of the "Israeli occupation" of 1967. Nigerian Sunnis don't murder hundreds of other Sunnis because of Israel. The Islamic State is not slaughtering Kurds and Yazidis because Jews go up on The Temple Mount. They can't even show it on a map.
And you'll tell me: "But Israel is a democracy! We hold Israel to a higher standard!"
The moment you hold the Israelis to a "higher standard", you automatically hold the Congolese, the Syrian and the Mexican (who, are democratic as well, by the way) to a lower standard.
Not to speak of the supremacist patronizing of the Palestinians that phrase implies.
Besides, it'll be interesting for you to know, that Jerusalem as the capital of, not only Israel, but also the entire Israeli-Arab conflict, with all its religious and national tensions is much safer right now than such "perfectly peaceful" and "fully democratic" cities like: Edinburgh, Reykjavik, Copenhagen, Toronto, Berlin, Amsterdam, Vienna, Helsinki, Madrid, Sydney, Oslo, London, New York, Los Angeles, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Rome and Dublin - just to name a few. Speaking in violence rates, Jerusalem is not even on the same planet as Baltimore, New Orleans and Detroit.
So, you see, wether you "hold it to it" or not, Israel is on a higher standard than the absolute majority of countries.
Former AP correspondent Matti Friedman explains CNN the media bias over Israel.
Despite what the media and the academia tell you, the Israeli-Arab conflict is not one of the main, most significant, highly crucial conflicts in the world. While solving it, is obviously an utmost priority to its direct participants, it bares practically zero impact on the planet. Solving it won't solve the world's problems, won't stop Islamic terrorism and won't prevent a third World War.
So next time you hear your local media pumping "Israel this, Israel that" in your local news, switch to something more relevant to you, something closer to home or, perhaps, something truly crucial to the world's security.
Or just try using your brains. It's simple and pleasant.