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The Economist Keeps Making Up Facts to Demonize Israel

June 11, 2013 12:23 am 5 comments

The cover of the economist.

Here is the beginning of a new Economist article:

BLESSED are the meek. While Israel’s 1.4m Muslim citizens vociferously champ for the right to return to the lands they fled in 1948, when Israel was created, the Christians, ten times fewer, have begun quietly tiptoeing back. In what was once the Galilee village of Maalul, Christians displaced to nearby Nazareth have carved a path through the forest of pine-trees that were planted to hide it, and have cleared the bracken to expose two churches, one Greek Orthodox, another Catholic, where they have begun celebrating festivals such as Easter.

Across the valley, in what was once the Palestinian village of Safuriya, renamed Tzipori by the Jews who moved in after the conquest of 1948, two Franciscan friars are renovating the dilapidated Crusader chapel of Qadissa Hanna, where they now say mass every Sunday. They hope to mend the roof to let a congregation regularly attend.

Is it true that 1.4 million Muslims were internally displaced in 1948 Israel?

Of course not. There weren’t that many Muslims in all of Palestine. The Economist obviously means those who were displaced, plus their descendants.

Would that make the statement accurate?

Not in the least. Most Arabs who remained in Israel stayed in their own homes. In fact, out of the 160,000-170,000 Arabs in Israel after the 1948 war, less than one third – between 46,000 and 48,000 – fled their homes in the fighting.

Not all of them were Muslim, either, so the Economist is wrong by a factor of perhaps 4 in its breezy attempt to demonize Israel. Even their descendants are nowhere close to the 1.4 million The Economist claims. But 1.4 million sounds so much better than 48,000 who actually fled from their homes, doesn’t it?

The Economist’s biased reporting and inaccuracies don’t end there, though.

Then the Economist decides that Safuriya is the real name of an Arab village, while the evil Jews renamed it Tzipori.

Tzipori was, obviously, the original name of the town. Josephus referred to it a Sepphoris from which it became Arabicized to Seffurieh many centuries later, after the Romans burned it to the ground in the wake of a Jewish revolt. (See Edward Robinson 1841 and Karl Baedeker‘s travel handbook 1894, plus Jewish Encyclopedia 1906.) Yet when restoring its original name, The Economist – which prides itself on its supposed accuracy – says that restoring an original name – one that never fell into disuse among Jews –  is “renaming.”

Remember how upset the Economist was the last time my readers asked them to uphold their own stated standards of accuracy? They referred to you as a “pro-settler group,” which is in their world about the biggest insult one can hurl at another.

It would be a shame if we upset them even further by pointing out their latest errors and insisting that they correct them, wouldn’t it?

Elder of Ziyon is one of the world’s most popular pro-Israel bloggers. His website is


  • THE QUESTION TO THE ARABS AND XTIANS ALIKE.If you take Mark Twain at his word as he explored the region in 1880 that the land was a waste land desolate mosquito infested swamps,
    then I ask you,

  • how did the author of this article get published by the Algemeiner web site? The article is a fraud!

    Two main points of the article is that the Economist printed an article that claimed 1.4 millions Arabs became refugees in 1948; Elder of Zion, the author, lied to all of the readers. The article in the Economist refers to 1.4 million Israeli Arab citizens today!
    The Economist article says that these 1.4 million Israeli Arab citizens promote the right to return for their fellow Palestinian Arabs who are living outside of Israel; the 1.4 million Arabs are in Israel NOW !!!
    The REFUGEES are the ones outside of Israel and the 1.4 million in Israel want their fellow palestinians who were not allowed back in 1948 to be allowed back in!

    The second error of Elder of Zion is that he cites a link that the number of Palestinian refugees from 1948 is between 46,000 to 48,000.
    How did this make it into the Algemeiner?
    The Elder of Zion quotes a web site; the site claims it is a Norwegian web site. Regardless of how you read that site the site is not correct if you read it as saying their were 46,000 refugees in 1948. The number of 46,000 to 48,000 is referring to the number of actual survivors from 1948 without the offspring. In the entire world of international law and according to Israel and every other nation, the definition of refugees includes all offspring- the number of paestinian refugees is in the millions. But that is neither here nor there: the Economist magazine does not claim that the number of refugees is 1.4 million.

    Israeli historians maintain a spectrum of opinion that from about 583,000 Palestinian refugees from 1948 upwards to 750,000 Palestinian refugees from 1948
    ( Efraim Karsh, leader of Israeli right wing historians ( ie in a think tank with Daniel Pipes) gives the low end as 583,000 refugees in 1948 upwards to 609,000. Benny Morris, the prominent liberal historian, maintains 700,000 – 750,000 range

    So the Elder of Zion should be banned from the Algemeiner for lying and incompetence.

    • clarification: the spectrum of opinion from Efraim Karsch to Benny Morris as to how many is Palestinian refugees there were in 1948 is 583,000 refugees in 1948 upwards to 609,000, while Benny Morris says 700,000 – 750,000 range

      The Elder of Zion nonsense is just that.

    • Your reading comprehension skills appear to be subpar. The Economist article and mine both are referring to Muslims/Arabs displaced from their homes in 1948 but who live within the Green Line. The quote you are mangling from the link I gave:

      “Between 160,000 and 170,000 Arabs (including the Bedouin) remained in what had become the State of Israel. According to academics and local advocates, 46,000 to 48,000 people lost their homes in Israel and remained in the country after the creation of the State.”

      Pretty clear, no? In fact, I cannot figure out how anyone can misinterpret it as badly as you do.

  • Not to mention that a Crusader chapel (i.e. a a house of prayer built in the Middle Ages by invaders from modern-day France, England and Germany who were fighting the “infidel” Arabs) is “sold” to the unsuspecting readers as part of the “Palestinian Arab heritage” that is being “restored”. LOL!

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