The Global Peace Index (an Orwellian name if ever there was one) has completed its annual global peace index survey, and come up with the totally unsurprising conclusion that Israel is one of the least peaceful countries in the world. Less peaceful than those havens of nirvana like Syria, Iran, Eritrea (whose refugees have obviously not been informed of the survey results and are therefore fleeing to Israel) and
war peace-torn Ivory Coast.
The index, known as the GPI, ranked 158 countries and listed Israel at 150. Only one other Middle Eastern country, Iraq — number 155 — ranked lower.
Israel’s ranking placed it behind Iran, which ranked 128th. Syria, where an estimated 13,000 people have been killed in unrest in the past 15 months, ranked 147th. Egypt was listed at number 111.
Even war-torn Ivory Coast outranked Israel, at number 134. Migrants from the West African nation of Eritrea have been fleeing to Israel by the tens of thousands in recent years, and their country is deemed so dangerous by the UN that they cannot be repatriated, but according to the index their country, at number 122, is significantly more peaceful than Israel.
The index is compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace, which identifies itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to exploring the relationship between peace and economic stability. The group has offices in New York, Sydney, and Washington, DC.
According to the GPI website, a nation’s “peacefulness” is determined based on 23 individual indicators, “ranging from a nation’s level of military expenditure to its relations with neighboring countries and the level of respect for human rights.” The index also takes into account such factors as a nation’s level of democracy, transparency, education and material well-being. It draws its data from sources including the World Bank and various arms of the UN.
Overall, this year’s index determined that for the first time since 2009 the world is more peaceful than the previous year. The study found an improved level of peace in every region except Africa and the Middle East.
According to the report, despite Israel remaining among the 10 lowest-ranked countries the rating in fact reflects an improvement for the third consecutive year. Israel’s low ranking was influenced by “the volume of imports of major conventional weapons and the number of armed service personnel per head of population.”
The study also cited a rise in Israel’s political instability stemming from “a series of mass protests and industrial action over spiraling food, fuel and housing costs.” As a result, the usually dominant security issue was eclipsed by “demands for economic reforms and even [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s resignation.”
The study also referred to the “mixed picture” presented by Israel’s “societal safety and security.” The lower levels of violent crimes and violent demonstrations are offset by the high likelihood of terrorist attacks and Israel’s continued formal “state of war” with Syria and Lebanon, as well as highly strained “relations with much of the Arab world and Iran.”
The study refers to the violent conflict between Israel and Hamas, but within the detailed list of the 23 indicators used to determine the ranking it was not clear if factors such as political terror and weaponry refer only to Israel proper or to the Palestinian-controlled territories as well.
Once you have finished either laughing hysterically or gasping in outrage at the manipulation of statistics and distortion of language necessary in order to place Israel so far down the table, I gladly bring you Elder of Ziyon’s ripping apart of the 2009 study, which uses the same ridiculous terminology and methodology, and thus arrives at the same absurd conclusion:
They have a very elaborate methodology, taking into account many different factors. The factors themselves seem to be the product of an interesting mindset. First they try to make it sound like it is entirely the result of rigorous statistics, but then they go into the specific indicators, which sound sort of reasonable until you dig in a little bit.
In the case of Israel, their breakdown shows exactly where they go wrong. For example, here are some rankings where Israel did poorlyaccording to the EIU:
Perceptions of criminality in society
Qualitative assessment of level of distrust in other citizens. Ranked 1-5 (very low-very high) by EIU analysts
Israel got a 4, on a purely subjective guess based on little knowledge.
Ease of access to weapons of minor destruction
Qualitative assessment of the ease of access to small arms and light weapons. Ranked 1-5 (very low-very high) by EIU analysts.
Israel got a 3 (out of 5). Unmentioned are any controls around the access to these weapons or training in their use, as Israel’s handgun deaths are quite low.
Number of armed services personnel per 100,000 people – 5
Active armed services personnel comprises all servicemen and women on full-time duty in the army, navy, air force and joint forces (including conscripts and long-term assignments from the Reserves)
Aggregate number of heavy weapons per 100,000 people – 5
Source: Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC)
Military capability/sophistication – 5
Qualitative assessment of the grade of sophistication and the extent of military research and development (R&D) Ranked 1-5 (very low-very high) by EIU analystsSee the problem here? This august group makes an assumption that any country that has a large and sophisticated military must be, inherently, non-peaceful. The logical fallacy of these assumptions are staggering, yet escape this think-tank.
The basic thinking of this group is that armies are inherently evil. This is breathtakingly stupid.
Even more ironically, the EIU says that one of the biggest reasons for having such an index is to help businesses decide where to set up shop:
Business benefits greatly from an environment of peace. Understanding the attributes of peace allows governments to better understand what they can do to improve the business environment This knowledge allows business to make more confident investment decisions on the basis of actual and predicted stability in a community or nation.
They are pretty clearly saying that companies that choose to do business in Israel are idiots, because of their pseudo-scientific rankings.
Now, who do you trust more to make business decisions: a group that includes Google, IBM, Motorola, Microsoft and Warren Buffet, or the EIU?
The EIU has been doing this sham for a few years now, and one would think that they would adjust their sacred methodology to account for what is obviously a ridiculous conclusion, that Israel is less peaceful than most African nations where tens of thousands die monthly. But they get lots of press, and no one calls them on their basic methodological flaws, so why not keep it going?
Read the entire article by the Elder. It’s an eye-opener, yet not surprising when taking into consideration the almost automatic anti-Israel bias in so many international media and institutions.
This survey perfectly illustrates Disraeli’s old dictum: There are lies, damn lies and statistics.