By now most of you have no doubt heard about how Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders told an interviewer he believed Israel killed “over 10,000 innocent people in Gaza.” Brian of London already examined the many other inaccuracies made by Senator Sanders and the I showed how this entire incident is a perfect example of how the radical Left’s disconnect from reality prevents them from supporting any action Israel ever takes in its own self-defense.
However, we have not yet addressed how exactly it is possible for a major presidential candidate to get his numbers so incredibly wrong. The Sanders campaign went into immediate damage control, saying that his words were “distorted” and that what happened was that Sanders’s “recollection was about the total number of casualties, not the death toll.”
All one has to do is read his own words to know that there was no distortion by the media. However, it is certainly possible that the Senator did mix up the numbers of dead with the number of wounded. But this brings up another problem: how could the Jewish Senator from Vermont actually think Israel killed 10,000 innocent civilians? Sure he may have thought he heard that number, but why didn’t he question it? Even when the interviewer told him he thought it was too high, Sanders doubled down saying he thought the number actually exceeded 10,000 (though after the numbers were actually looked up, Sanders did not contest them further).
There are two reasons for this and they are interconnected.
The first is found in Sanders’s own words where he asserts that “the attacks against Gaza were indiscriminate and that a lot of innocent people were killed who should not have been killed” and that “a whole lot of apartment houses were leveled. Hospitals, I think, were bombed. So yeah, I do believe and I don’t think I’m alone in believing that Israel’s force was more indiscriminate than it should have been.” If the Senator’s beliefs matched reality, it would certainly make sense to assume Israel killed over 10,000 innocent civilians. If Israel attacked Gaza indiscriminately, hitting houses and hospitals left and right, it would be actually be remarkable if the number of dead was as low as 10,000. One would think that when confronted with the fact that his numbers were eight times higher than the actual numbers, he would ask himself “how is that possible? How could so few civilians have been killed if Israel was attacking indiscriminately and hitting apartments and hospitals? That would be impossible. It must not be true after all.” But of course facts have no place in the anti-Israel mindset, so instead of apologizing for slandering Israel and falsely accusing it of war crimes and genocide, his campaign just says he mixed up some numbers.
The second reason it was so easy for Sanders to believe Israel had killed so many innocent civilians is because of the incessant and obsessive anti-Israel coverage of the media. Every movement the IDF made and every sortie conducted by the IAF was endlessly covered and condemned. Massive protests swept through major cities around the world with an anger that could only be justified if Israel were in fact slaughtering thousands of civilians. The only way any of this could be partially forgiven would be if the media covered similar conflicts the same way or if the same angry protestors took to the streets to protest other wars. But of course this does not happen. The savagery of the Islamic State doesn’t get people to take to the streets no matter how many people they butcher in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Nigeria. When was the last time you saw a protest about the Saudi occupation of Yemen? Even Russian tanks pouring over the Ukrainian border and into Europe itself don’t get the coverage, let alone the anger, that Israeli defensive actions against a genocidal terrorist group does. The Senator no doubt got his understanding of Operation Protective Edge from the media, which blasted Israel 24/7 for “indiscriminate” and “disproportionate” attacks on Gaza. If he wasn’t a Senator running for the most powerful office in the world, one could almost excuse him for assuming the obsessive coverage and anger correlated to reality.
The level of media coverage and our own personal feelings should not trump facts. But when it comes to Israel, even presidential candidates fall victim to this all to familiar problem and once again Israel’s reputation is sullied for no reason at all.