In his View from Denver last week, Hillel Goldberg condemned the Obama administration for doing nothing on Syria. “No food aid. No sequestered safety zones for the innocent. Not to mention, no no-fly zones, no military aid to rebels, no direct attacks on Assad.” Instead of any kind of direct intervention, the US has opted to rely on the ineffectual machinations of the UN — where Russia and China have ensured the perpetuation of the Assad regime.
Frightening statistics were quoted: In 15 months, the Assad has killed 15,000 civilians. The numbers of those suffering are huge, almost impossible to fathom. But then the Jewish community tragically has an innate understanding of mass murder.
We decided to delve a bit deeper into the statistics, which come to us via Robert Danin at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Of the estimated 15,000 killed, 1,012–1,178 are children; the number of internationally displaced Syrians as of June was 500,000. The UN estimate of Syrians in need of “urgent assistance” is 1 million. A comment posted puts the horrifying statistics into even sharper relief. According to the CIA World Factbook, Syria’s population is around 22 million – around that of New York state. Look how we as Americans – and Coloradans – responded to last week’s tragedy in Aurora. Now imagine if something similar were happening daily – and taking 30 lives each time.
If we take a look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 8,419 Palestinians and Israelis have been killed from October 2000-June 2012 (source: B’Tselem). And the United States cares a lot. From donor funds, to weapons sales, to millions of dollars in humanitarian aid, to hosting peace conferences. There’s no ceding all interest and authority to the UN.
Why the disparity? More people are dying in Syria (not to minimize any of the casualties of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) and geopolitically it’s just as, or even more important, considering Assad’s connections to China and Russia.
It seems that numbers can indeed be revealing.