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June 11, 2013 12:23 am

The Economist Keeps Making Up Facts to Demonize Israel

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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 elderofziyon.blogspot.com.

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