Monday, 9 September 2013

The Bull Shit Campaign

I’m checking the Palestine Solidarity Campaign website, eager to read the latest crop of berserk anti-Israel diatribes.  And I’m not disappointed, of course: on September 5, the Israel-bad-Palestinians-good organisation has published another frantic call for help.  It’s Gaza again, you see.  According to the PSC
“Prices are rocketing making essentials unaffordable for a population impoverished by the restrictions. Stocks of essential medicines have run out. The Water authority in Gaza has warned an environmental disaster is looming, due to the lack of fuel needed to operate its services. Meanwhile, Israeli incursions, in violation of their agreements, continue. The situation is desperate and urgent. Please ask your MP to insist the Foreign Secretary acts”.
So the situation is “desperate and urgent”.  Of course, while the PSC activist was concocting those paragraphs, another couple of dozen Syrians were getting killed.  But that’s entirely another story – and certainly not one that PSC views as “desperate and urgent”.  The Syrians may get killed at a pace exceeding 1,000 a week – but they’re not Palestinians and it’s not about the Jews.  Not interesting. 
PSC activists are extremely good at working each other into a frenzy.  But for the rest of us, who base our judgments on facts, not gut or gutter-level prejudice, I thought that the following report (published exactly 5 days after PSC’s “desperate” appeal) may be interesting.
Entitled “World Happiness Report 2013”, the document (the second of its kind) was published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and is the result of work by a team of researchers including John F. Helliwell of the University of British Columbia and Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Richard Layard of the London School of Economics and Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute.  The primary data consisted mainly of surveys run by Gallup World Poll in the past three years in 156 countries and territories.  Among other things, the Report ranks those 156 countries according to the respondents’ subjective perceptions of “happiness”.
Given that – as we are informed so frequently and stridently by the likes of PSC – the situation of Palestinian Arabs under the oh-so-awful Israeli occupation (or, to use the PSC style “The Occupation”) is so “desperate and urgent”, one would surely expect to find that population at the very bottom of the happiness scale.  After all, according to PSC essentials are unaffordable, medical stocks have run out, there’s no water and no fuel!

Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in West Bank & Gaza, 1950-2010
It was slightly surprising, therefore, to find the “Palestinian territories” ranked 113, only slightly below Hungary (110) and India (111), but also slightly above Iran (115) and Azerbaijan (116) and well above Sudan (125), Egypt (130) and Syria (148), not to mention above European countries such as Macedonia (118) and Bulgaria (144).

It would appear that PSC activists know something that the Palestinians themselves don’t.  Me… what do I know??   I’ll continue to make up my mind based on facts and numbers, not acrid prejudice.  I’m seriously thinking about establishing Bulgaria Solidarity Campaign – BSC for shortness.  And yes, I know what BS stands for.  But if PSC can so abundantly dish it – why can’t I?

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