RT, the Russian government's news network – and successor to the Soviet-era Pravda – published an article under the extreme, attention-seeking headline, "'In our millions, we're all Palestinian': Wave of protests worldwide demand end to Gaza slaughter." The article goes on to list anti-Israel demonstrations. However, if one actually reads the article, it quickly becomes apparent that the headline contains two major inaccuracies:
- There are no "millions" involved. Far from it. Using RT's own numbers, we find them significantly smaller: 17 participants; more than 10,000; 1,300; dozens; 4,000; and 150 demonstrators.
- The protests are hardly worldwide. RT lists them as having taken place in the United States, Argentina, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany, and Australia.
An anti-Israel demonstration on July 16 in Lyon, France.
Further research finds additional protests having occurred in Chile, Iceland, Belgium, Austria, Poland, *Tunisia, Greece, *Turkey, *Lebanon, Israel, *Egypt, *Jordan, South Africa, *Indonesia, and Japan. (* means Muslim-majority countries)
Aggregating all these numbers, one finds that:
- RT's estimate that 6 demonstrations included a total of about 15,500 participants would mean that there were an average of some 2,600 protesters in each.
- Demonstrations have taken part in 23 countries of which 6, or about 25 percent, have Muslim-majority populations.
- In contrast to the three similar recent wars involving Israel (of 2006, 2008-09, and 2012), this one has not (yet) touched a real nerve. Indeed, as I have documented, Israel has gained surprising support while Hamas faces surprising opposition.
- The great majority of demonstrations having occurred in the West suggests that people in Muslim-majority countries have more urgent concerns – such as the fact that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has just killed 270 people in taking over a gas field in Syria and, after 2,000 years, forcibly expelled Mosul's entire Christian population. More broadly, the Arab-Israeli conflict looks like small beer when compared to the fear of Iranian aggression destabilizing the whole region.
- In hopes of whipping up a virulently anti-Israeli frenzy, RT and its ilk have been reduced to publishing easily checkable exaggerations, which could also be characterized as pathetic, bold-faced lies.
(July 19, 2014)
July 19, 2014 addendum: A reader points out that RT got the chant wrong by one important letter: It's not "In our millions, we're all Palestinian" but the catchier "In our millions, we're all Palestinians."