The Corner

Are Millions Worldwide Protesting Israeli Actions?

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: First, there are no “millions” involved. Far from it. Using RT’s own numbers of each protest referenced, we find them significantly smaller: 17 participants; more than 10,000; 1,300; dozens; 4,000; and 150 demonstrators. Second, 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. 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 of RT’s spurious numbers, one finds that RT’s estimate that six demonstrations included a total of about 15,500 participants would mean that there were an average of some 2,600 protesters in each. Additionally, 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 bore 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. 

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