Over the past six months the interest groups taking sides in the Israeli-Gaza conflict have ratcheted up their dueling e-mail campaigns. Irregular Times now gets at least five e-mail blasts a day from groups asking us to do something or other like “Make This a Weekend for Gaza” and at least five e-mail blasts a day from other groups detailing the savage attacks by Muslim fanatics and the necessity of standing by Israel, no matter what Israel does. The net effect of this geopolitical e-mail gong show is moral fatigue on my part. I’m just plain tired of the characterizations of one side in this conflict as virtuous and the other as sinister, one party as fighting for survival and the other as fighting for the destruction of a people. I’m especially tired of the characterizations of evil Israelis and valiant Gazan freedom fighters from the likes of Al Jazeera and hyperbolic over-the-top declarations like “Our future, our survival depends on whether we stand up for Israel” from a Congressman with the last name of Weiner. The pattern of such expressions are seeded by religious bigotry, the bedrock conclusion that one’s own group is in the right leading through a route of backwards necessity to the premise that the actions of one’s own group are justifiable.
I usually place Ted Belman’s e-mail blasts from Israpundit within this category of forgettable religious-ethnic bigotry. But today’s blast from Belman sits within the category of memorable religious-ethnic bigotry for its sheer empirical audacity. Belman’s desired conclusion:
The problem can only be solved by the U.N. replacing UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency] with UNHCR [UN High Commissioner for Refugees], whose mandate it is to resettle refugees. This of course means that the Arabs and the West have to take such refugees in…. Why not take all of them in and then some.
If Gazans are reclassified as refugees, then by Belman’s logic they should all be resettled. Or, as a comment to Belman’s Israpundit post more bluntly states:
best answer: get ‘em out, now!!! bumf-k egypt or wherever the hell, just get ‘em awaaaay from the jewish people.
distance is a good thing.
Belman’s desired conclusion is the religious-ethnic cleansing of Gaza. But what can Belman supply to justify that end? How about “Gaza’s extreme demographic armament”? For this, Belman quotes Gunnar Heinsohn, who draws up the necessary spectre:
In Gaza, however, there has been no demographic disarmament. The average woman still bears six babies…. An endless population boom.
Between 1950 and 2008, Gaza’s population has grown from 240,000 to 1.5 million. The West basically created a new Near Eastern people in Gaza that at current trends will reach three million in 2040.
Such an “extreme” population increase in Gaza, by Belman and Heinsohn’s argument, is tantamount to “extreme demographic armament” because it creates young Gazans in ant-like swarms, all ready to kill and destroy for the Islamic hive:
Israel is being pushed into a corner. Gazan teenagers have no future other than war. One rocket master killed is immediately replaced by three young men for whom a martyr’s death is no less honorable than victory. Some 230,000 Gazan males, aged 15 to 29, who are available for the battlefield now, will be succeeded by 360,000 boys under 15 (45% of all Gazan males) who could be taking up arms within the coming 15 years.
As long as we continue to subsidize Gaza’s extreme demographic armament, young Palestinians will likely continue killing their brothers or neighbors…
… which is why, Belman concludes, it is necessary to stop sending in UN relief, start treating Gazans as refugees, and ship them off to far corners of the globe where they can’t bother Israel any longer. That would be “demographic disarmament.”
Got that? The argument relies on the notion that Gazans are mindless Islamic drones breeding children and feeding them into a terror machine all for the glory of Allah and the destruction of Israel. It’s a fairy tale depiction of complicated human beings. But even if you accept Belman’s caricature, Belman further relies on Heinsohn’s empirical contention that Gaza is undergoing an “extreme demographic armament,” population growth so huge as to overwhelm the population of Israel and push Israel “into a corner.”
What characterizes an “extreme demographic armament” by Gaza? According to Belman and Heinsohn, that “between 1950 and 2008, Gaza’s population has grown from 240,000 to 1.5 million,” a 6.25-fold increase. But between 1950 and 2008, the population of Israel has grown from 1.25 million to 7.11 million, a 5.69-fold increase. That’s on the same order of magnitude, which should have Belman and Heinsohn characterizing Israel as engaging in “extreme demographic armament.” They’d observe the large difference in population between Gaza and Israel, too… if they were interested in consistency.