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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

James Zogby's logical fallacies

James Zogby writes in the Huffington Post:
In 1991, Israel's per capita GDP was $14,000. Three years later, after the ending of the secondary boycott and Madrid and Oslo, Israel's per capita GDP had risen to almost $16,000. Palestinians did not fare as well. In 1991, their per capita GDP was $900. Three years later, new Israeli restrictions on Palestinian labor and continued control over all access to and egress from the territories, resulted in the Palestinian per capita GDP only increasing to $1,100.
He uses this as evidence that the ending of the secondary Arab boycott of Israel helped Israel far more than it helped Palestinian Arabs, and therefore for Arab nations to be more careful about how they treat Israel.

The logical fallacies here are breathtaking, and cannot be anything but purposeful.

Firstly, let's look at his numbers themselves. From what he is saying, in the same time period that Israeli per-capita GDP increased by 14%, those of Palestinan Arabs rose by - 22%! So even by his own numbers he proves the exact opposite of what he is trying to say.

Now let's look at the bigger picture. He is implying that Israel's GDP increased because the Arab boycott had been removed. But Israel's per-capita GDP had been increasing steadily before, during and after this time period, showing no causality at all:

Israel200723,383
Israel200620,863
Israel200519,612
Israel200418,804
Israel200317,926
Israel200217,259
Israel200119,143
Israel200019,871
Israel199918,085
Israel199818,418
Israel199718,627
Israel199618,579
Israel199517,601
Israel199415,689
Israel199314,424
Israel199214,939
Israel199113,905
Israel199012,611
Israel198910,973
Israel198811,266
Israel19879,402
Israel19867,944

The only dip that Israel experienced in its growth of GDP was during the depths of the second intifada.

If one wants to see what drives the Palestinian Arab GDP, look at the same time period:

Occupied Palestinian Territory20071,359
Occupied Palestinian Territory20061,261
Occupied Palestinian Territory20051,288
Occupied Palestinian Territory20041,213
Occupied Palestinian Territory20031,117
Occupied Palestinian Territory20021,029
Occupied Palestinian Territory20011,168
Occupied Palestinian Territory20001,307
Occupied Palestinian Territory19991,376
Occupied Palestinian Territory19981,348
Occupied Palestinian Territory19971,312
Occupied Palestinian Territory19961,238
Occupied Palestinian Territory19951,230
Occupied Palestinian Territory19941,123
Occupied Palestinian Territory1993936
Occupied Palestinian Territory19921,105
Occupied Palestinian Territory1991932
Occupied Palestinian Territory1990899
Occupied Palestinian Territory1989860
Occupied Palestinian Territory1988940
Occupied Palestinian Territory1987925
Occupied Palestinian Territory1986871

There are two major dips in the Palestinian Arab per-capita GDP - in 1989 and in 2000-2001. They both coincide perfectly with the first and second intifadas!

So if you want to draw conclusions from the statistics, the inescapable conclusion is that Palestinian Arab terror is the major driver for a reduction in Palestinian Arab standards of living. Conversely, relatively peaceful periods show that the Palestinian Arab GDP steadily increases when they aren't as focused on killing Jews.

If Zogby wants to help his Palestinian Arab friends, he should be encouraging them to stop their obsession with violence.

The fact that he isn't doing that speaks volumes.