The Professor and the Infant Mortality Rate

When U of M professor, John Cheney-Lippold and TA, Lucy Peterson made clear their bigotry toward Jewish students and their support for BDS, one of the reasons Cheney-Lippold cited was the fact that in Israel, the infant mortality rate is 3 times higher among Arabs. To the knee-jerk BDS Jew haters, that fact is made to be a clear indictment against Israel. It is a statistic that justifies denying Jewish students access to Israeli universities and their right to the education for which they (or their parents) have paid.

As with all charges against Jews and Israel, we are supposed to accept them all at face value. There can be no examination as to whether or not the charges are true, or if there is a deeper explanation for the episode in question. The Jews are automatically guilty, no questions allowed. Ignore the facts, rely on the bigoted charges.

Had Peterson, Cheney-Lippold, and the other Israel-hating U of M faculty members had the tiniest amount of intellectual curiosity, if they were truly interested in human rights and seeking out the truth, and if they had maybe taken the time to question the latest charges designed to create hatred against Jews and Israel, they would have found out the following:

In a 2014 Ynet piece, Yaron Kelner writes:

The reason for the gap, according to Health Ministry officials, is the high rate of congenital defects and genetic diseases among babies in the Arab population. One of the main reasons for that is cousin marriages.

Another reason is that Arab parents tend not to terminate the pregnancy in case of a defect or disease detected in the fetus.

In addition, Arab women usually give birth at a very early age (below 20), and are therefore more prone to complications compared to Jewish women.

The report states that narrowing the gap between Jews and Arabs is one of the Ministry's main tasks. (emphasis added)

"We encourage the Arab population to take folic acid which helps prevent congenital defects, and in (the southern predominantly Bedouin city of) Rahat we subsidize the addition of folic acid in bakeries," said Prof. Itamar Grotto, head of public health disease prevention and health promotion at the Health Ministry.

"In addition, several vaccinations have been added to the health basket in recent years, and the response in the Arab population has been very high. We expect it to reduce the mortality rate."


But this too, is not the whole story. The Arab mortality rate has well nigh plummeted since the Six-Day War in 1967. But don’t take it from me. Take it from Al-Najah University's Dr. Wael R. Ennab, a consultant with UNCTAD.

According to Ennab, in a paper he published in 1994, the Arab infant mortality rate in 1967 was between 152-162 per 1,000 live births. By 1974, infant mortality had seen a slight improvement of 132 per 1,000 live births. By 1985 the infant mortality rate had dropped to an incredible 53-56 per 1,000 live births. And by the time the Oslo Accords were signed, in 1993, the infant mortality rate had dropped to 30.

This is not the end of the story. By 2002, the rate had dropped to 25. But as you can see in the screenshot of the Times of Israel snippet that accompanies this piece, by 2014, the rate was just “6.4 deaths per 1,000 live births.”

What do we learn from this? Things we already know: Anything positive Israel or Jews do will be turned into a negative. Everything Israel and Jews do is wrong. Or at least it's framed that way through a conscious campaign of half-truths, lies, and hysteria. We also know that people will accept any lie that will feed their outrage over a boring truth. And the lies keep coming, just as they always have.

But in order to battle the liars, read the entire article. Pass it on to friends. Spread the truth.