Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cole Chops Logic

Juan Cole gives his subjective and factually questionable take on the results of our elections. As regular readers will be aware, Cole is not the best place to go for informed content, in spite of the title of his blog, but it can be a fine place to go for the gags. Today's post contains this one:
Israel is 20% Arab, which should yield 24 seats in the Knesset, but only 9 were apparently elected, down from 12. Attempts were made to disqualify some Arab parties from running, but the Supreme Court struck them down.
Let's see: If 20% of Israelis are Arabs, while the Arab parties only gleaned 7-8% of the votes, and the point of our post is to make sure everybody understand how bad Israel is, let's create the impression that most Arabs were disqualified from voting. There, that ought to work, as long as no one really stops to think about what I just said...

By the way, the reality is even further from Cole's thesis. Something like one of the eight percent of votes garnered by the Arab parties came from the far-left Jews who voted for Hadash, a sort of communist party which has one Jewish MP on its list to prove its cross-national solidarity, and indeed he attracts cross-ethnic votes. Which means that at the very most 40% of the Arabs voted for Arab parties. The proportion of abstainers was a bit higher among the Arabs, but even so it looks like a majority of the Arabs voted for regular Zionist parties; they didn't even converge on the Left-wing Meretz party, which almost disappeared for lack of votes across the board. In the past, when the Haredi Shas party used to control the Ministry of the Interior and its control of funds for the municipalities, one of their MKs was voted in by Arabs, but that wasn't the case this time. Looks like the Arabs voted for Labor, Kadima, Likud.... Lieberman?

16 comments:

Womble said...

Ynet has an article about the Druze voting patterns; apparently they've overwhelmingly supported Shas and Lieberman. I believe Druze often count as Arabs.

Vesty (Israeli newspaper in Russian) ran a very interesting article on February 8 about the traditional voting patterns. If it is to be believed, the Christian Arabs traditionally voted Labor, supported Azmi Bishara's Balad during the last elections and were showing a lot of support for the Likud because of the apparent popularity of the Druze Likud MK Ayub Kara in the Christian Arab community. The Muslim Arabs largely vote Shas because Shas lobbies for increasing subsudies to large families.

The said articles aside, I also think a fair share of Arab vote could have gone into Labor. Barak is known to have employed Arab "voting contractors" for internal Labor primaries in the past, and he would surely have employed them again for the national elections; his party was struggling for its very survival, after all.

Anonymous said...

While I intellectually knew what to expect from reading the comments following Cole's post, my gut wasn't ready for that level of hatred toward Israel. All of it, as you would expect, promoted in the name of peace, justice and anti-racism.

kai said...

And by the way, there aren't 9 elected Arabs in the new Knesset but 13 - one up from last elections. Prof. Cole forgot to count those who went in on the list of Kadima, Likud and Israel Beiteinu.
Or may be he didn't know.

kai said...

Just switched to read Cole's article and the comments.
I can't believe how Yaacov survives this reading so often. I'm done for the next few months.

If there ever was vibrant living Antisemitism, this is it.
And the Gaza war is not the root of it, just a catalyst.

Gavin said...

I find it curious how the likes of Cole deliberately distort and change the context of their source material. This is an excerpt from the article Cole linked to when talking about Lieberman;

"Lieberman has described Tibi and other Israeli Arabs who have met Hamas officials as traitors. They should be executed, he said last year, just as the judges at Nuremberg condemned not only Nazi leaders but those who collaborated with them. Lieberman also advocates stripping Arabs in north-eastern Israel of their citizenship and putting their areas under Palestinian rule. In return, Israel should take more land on the West Bank than even Olmert envisages."

From that excerpt Cole makes the summary;

"Most militant of all is Avigdor Lieberman, a former bouncer from Moldova who has risen in Israeli politics on a platform of racial hatred for Israeli-Palestinians (20% of the population), whom he has urged be "executed" or made to take loyalty oaths, stripped of their citizenship and possibly transferred to the Palestine Authority."

Cole has totally distorted what the article (and Leiberman) said, his reading comprehension can't be so poor that he did it accidentally either. I can't understand how any academic can debase himself in public so readily, he really does look a fool. Professional ethics obviously don't mean much to Professor Cole.

Anonymous said...

Gavin,

When it comes to Israel, there are many "academics" who lose all measure of reality and objectivity. Look at the two professors who wrote "The Israel Lobby." They wouldn't have made it to Harvard and U of Chicago is their scholarship on the way up was so poor. Once they have tenure, they can make up all sorts of fallacious claims about Israel, with fame and fortune the result.

Cole actually described the Palestinians as equivalent to American blacks during slavery, describing them--because of Israel--as 3/5th of a person since they are stateless.

There is something quite sick about a Professor allowing a blog--where comments are moderated--to become a forum for anti-Semitism dressed up as anti-Zionism, anti-capitalism, anti-racism and anti-Americanism.

Fabián said...

"but even so it looks like a majority of the Arabs voted for regular Zionist parties" (Yaacov)

No, not according to the data in Haaretz, divided by Jewish and non-Jewish votes.

It seems that Arabs vote for Arab parties or abstain. They almost don't vote for Zionist parties.

http://safed-tzfat.blogspot.com/2009/02/quien-ha-votado-quien-haaretz.html

Yaacov said...

Hi Fabian -

I'm not certain what the source of those charts is. Tel Aviv certainly isn't Israel's largest city - that would be Jerusalem, about twice as large as Tel Aviv, so perhaps the rest of the data is also wobbly. My problem with those numbers is what I described in this post: if about 18% of Israel's voters are Arabs, and most of them voted but the Arab parties only got about 8% of the votes and even then some came from far-left Jewish voters... where are all the others? A pundit on the radio yesterday talked about tens of thousands who voted Shas in the hope that party would regain the subsidies for large families.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

One factor not considered here is that while 20% of Israel's population are Arabs, the same is not true of Israel's citizens.

Some 250,000 of Israel's Arab residents live in East Jerusalem, which was incorporated after the 1967 war. Arabs born in East Jerusalem are not automatically granted Israeli citizenship; they must apply for it, and pass a stringent Hebrew test. Most have not applied, and therefore are not citizens. They may vote at the local level, but not in nationwide elections.

Arabs make up, thus, just 16,4% of Israel's citizenry, and 14,7% of voting-age citizens.

Anonymous said...

Ibrahim,

I never heard about the Hebrew test. I thought Arabic was an official language in Israel along with Hebrew.

Also, I thought Israel offered citizenship to all the Arabs in East Jerusalem, but many refused to accept it for political reasons, not because the requirements to citizenship were too demanding.

Fabián said...

Hi Yaacov,
The source is Haaretz. The charts in Haaretz were just copied and pasted on that blog, but I saw them on the Haaretz site.

According to this article, moreover, only some 54% of Arab Israelis voted in the last elections.

Finally, though Arab Israelis are more or less 18% of the population, the figure of Arab Israeli voters must be lower, because of the higher percentage of minors among that 18% than in the case of Jews. Arab Israelis of voting age are not yet, 18% of the Israeli electorate.

Best,
Fabian

Fabián said...

According to this article, moreover, only some 54% of Arab Israelis voted in the last elections.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1063764.html

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

I never heard about the Hebrew test. I thought Arabic was an official language in Israel along with Hebrew.

Arabic is an official language, but the Prime Minister's office is labeled in Hebrew and English. This is illustrative of Arabic's actual status in Israel: a second-rate language.

As for the Hebrew test, see here.

By contrast, the Jews of Jerusalem are not required to speak Arabic. A good example is the owner of this blog, who has lived for God knows how many years in this bilingual city, yet is unable to converse in Arabic.

Also, I thought Israel offered citizenship to all the Arabs in East Jerusalem, but many refused to accept it for political reasons

Yes, but one has trouble understanding why Arabs born in Jerusalem after 1967, when the city was already part of Israel, should apply for citizenship instead of automatically being granted it.

Yaacov said...

Fabian -

OK, I stand corrected. Many Arabs preferred not to vote at all rather than vote for the Arab parties.

Fuax Ibrahim! You're back. And I had begun to hope that you'd moved to the Amazonian jungle and your laptop battery had died.

As usual, your sources are poor, your understanding of them is limited, and I continue not to understand why you're not embarrassed to pontificate on things you don't understand. So just to clarify the thing about the status of Arabs in East Jerusalem: between 1976 and 1988 they were eligible to acquire Israeli citizenship on the same terms as any non-Jew. Almost none of them were interested, but the few who were are full Israeli citizens, as are their children. Since 1988 the status has changed, and non-Israeli Arabs in East Jerusalem enjoy the status of permanent residents, but not citizenship.

They regard themselves as citizens of the PA, and some (not very many) vote in PA elections. What is most ironic about their status is that they all enjoy the full array of National Insurance and National Health Insurance; and while on a political level they look forward to living in Palestine, on a personal level they are very apprehensive of losing their pension and health insurance rights, since no-one expects the eventual state of Palestine to offer its citizens anything similar. Some far-left loonies even suggest that Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem must become part of Palestine, since they're Arabs not Jews, but Israel must continue to pay their salaries, pensions and health care, because otherwise they'll suffer, and that would be cruel.

The Hebrew issue is irrelevant to the citizenship matter. The Arabs of Jerusalem speak Hebrew, most of them, since they work with Israelis and are employed by them. I personally regret I didn't learn Arabic when I was younger, since it would enable me to learn for myself how bad things are in the Arab world; on the other hand, the idea that my inability to speak Arabic reflects on my legitimacy of living in Jerusalem is, frankly, pure idiocy. Jerusalem was the capital of the Jews 3000 years ago, it remained their political capital until the genocide of the 2nd century 1,200 years later, and it never ceased being the cultural capital, not for one single day for 3000 years.

Anonymous said...

Yaacov,

Thank you for the info on citizenship. Unfortunately, on many blogs, Ibrahim's misinformation would have gone uncorrected as the blogger would not have known nor cared to research the proper information, since Ibrahim's tales serve to further blacken Israel's image.

One question, now that Arabs of East Jerusalem have permanent residence, can they still obtain citizenship?

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Fuax Ibrahim! You're back. And I had begun to hope that you'd moved to the Amazonian jungle and your laptop battery had died.

Actually, I am in the Venezuelan Amazonian jungle, but good news: compañero Chávez has electrified the state.

Rest assured that I read your blog every day, because I like your writing style. But our latest exchange had been dominated by emotion, and that's not the kind of challenge I like to rise to, so I decided to comment more sparsely.

I personally regret I didn't learn Arabic when I was younger, since it would enable me to learn for myself how bad things are in the Arab world

I can think of another use for your never-acquired Arabic: understanding the voting patterns of the Arab population.

Because, Yaacov, you're actually writing about an ethnic group's behavior without knowing the language, and you can't do that, can you? No wonder you say ludicrous things, like that they voted for Likud.