As the current cease-fire was about to begin on August 26, 2014 between Gaza and Israel, the Gazan death toll for their 50-day war stood at 2,133 (“Gaza death toll increases as Israeli strikes continue”, The Guardian, August 25, 2014). How many of these deaths were civilian is unknown, so for this report, we won’t distinguish between combatant and civilian. We’ll just talk about ‘deaths’.
Put into a simple arithmetic, 2,133 deaths meant that 42.66 Gazans died each day during those 50 days. It’s on that basis that three accusing words have been hurled at Israel: ‘genocide’, ‘massacre’ and ‘holocaust’.
Al Jazeera spoke of ‘genocide’ (“On Gaza, genocide, and impunity”, July 27, 2104). So did Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (“Abbas: Israel committing ‘Genocide’ in Gaza”, Al Arabia, July 9, 2014). So did Jewish Holocaust survivors who placed an ad into The New York Times (“Holocaust survivors condemn Israel for 'genocide' in Gaza", The Atlanta Constitutional Journal, August 24, 2014). Hamas political leader Khaled Maashal spoke of an Israeli ‘holocaust‘ (“In personal plea, top Hamas leader calls on Obama to stop 'holocaust' in Gaza”, Yahoo News, August 25, 2014).
But was there really a ‘Holocaust’ against Gaza? Do 42.66 deaths per day constitute a holocaust, massacre or genocide?
According to the website, CAMERA (" ‘Holocaust in Gaza’ Hyperbole”, August 25, 2014), there was no ‘holocaust’, massacre or genocide in Gaza. If, for example, you look at the Nazi Holocaust—the real thing—you’ll see that some 5.5 million Jews were murdered by Nazis over 1,414 days, between June 22, 1941 –May 8, 1945 (ibid). Additional Jews were killed before and after these dates. But for historical purposes, many date the ‘Holocaust’ as having occurred between these two dates.
In simple arithmetic terms, this German-inspired genocide-massacre-holocaust calculates to 3,890 Jewish men, women and children put to death every single day for 1,414 days (ibid). That’s what a Holocaust looks like.
42.66 Gazan deaths per day for 50 days doesn’t come close to that number. If you want to demonize a country for deaths, you’d do better to accuse Syria where—according to CAMERA—some 250,000 children, women and men have perished since March 2011, over a period of 1,260 days. That death toll calculates to nearly 200 humans a day dying for 1,260 days (ibid).
The UN says the death toll in Syria is lower than 250,000. It says the number is 191,000. But even using that lower number, we get nearly 152 humans dying each of those 1,260 days.
The Gazan death toll is not remotely comparable to Nazi Holocaust numbers, to Syria’s numbers—or to any other ‘genocide’ or holocaust. While it appears that no one has converted genocide death numbers to a per-day death toll, it seems that 42.66 per day doesn’t make the grade.
It doesn’t make the grade because it’s too close to murder rates, not ‘genocide’, massacre or ‘’holocaust’ rates. In Ethiopia (2008, 55 per day) and South Africa (2009, 46 per day), annual murder rates were higher than the Gazan war death rate--yet news stories do not repeatedly label South Africa or Ethiopia ‘genocidal’ or a ‘holocaust’.
Even when you look the death rate of Arabs in both Judea-Samaria and Gaza (combined) for the 14 years since the beginning of the Second Intifada (September, 2000), you don’t get ‘holocaust’ results. While any death is sad, these 14 years of Arab deaths add up to less than 1.9 violent deaths per day—including the most recent Gaza toll.
Many, if not most of those deaths, occurred as Arabs attacked Jews.
That figure is lower than 14-year violent death rates for Venezuela (32.9 violent deaths per day), Guatemala (14.5 violent deaths per day), El Salvador (9 violent deaths per day), Honduras (13.3 violent deaths per day) and Jamaica (3.60 violent deaths per day).
Have you ever seen the words, ‘holocaust’, ‘massacre’ or ‘genocide’ used to describe these countries? I haven’t. But we have all seen those words used repeatedly to describe Israel.
Remember now, a violent death between civilians is different from a war death. Violent death between civilians is personal. It’s usually one-on-one . War death means that someone dies trying to kill you—or, in the case of Gaza, while also using one’s body to immunize a legitimate military target.
Nevertheless, if a war death rate of less than 1.9 per day (in Arab territories) qualifies as ‘genocide’, ‘massacre’ or ‘holocaust’, what word would you use for South Africa?
South Africa—which has a recent history of demonizing Israel—has a 14-year average (2000-2013) violent death rate of more than 52 deaths per day. That’s 30 times the Arab death rate claimed by Arabs against Israel. Has anyone repeatedly and consistently accused South Africa of presiding over a ‘holocaust’, ‘genocide’ or ‘massacre’? No.
The truth is, ‘Holocaust’, ‘massacre’ and ‘genocide’ have nothing to do with Gazans or Arabs—except for this: it’s what Gazans and Arabs want to do to Jews.
If you doubt that, read the Hamas Charter.