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August 17, 2013 10:42 pm

‘Economist’ Editorial Shamefully Lies About Israel’s Release of ‘Just 26’ Convicts

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Families of terror victims protest in Tel Aviv. Photo: Orit Zehavi, Tazpit News Agency.

This Economist editorial is completely bat-sh*t crazy anti-Israel.

As a measure of the seriousness of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, the number of Palestinian prisoners released on the eve of talks, say pessimists, is a gloomy barometer. When the two sides sat down to negotiate two decades ago, after signing the Oslo accords in 1993, Israel freed 2,000 Palestinians in a single year. For the next couple of years it released, on average, around 1,000 a year. In later years that number slumped to a few hundred. Now, to coincide with the fresh round of talks that started in Jerusalem on August 14th, Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has freed just 26.

26 murderers!

By the way, I am not certain about these numbers. In the wake of Oslo, Israel released many prisoners, but Israel also released 900 in 2005400 in 2007,  and several hundred more in 2008 to entice Abbas to make peace; nothing positive resulted from those “goodwill” prisoner releases.

Why doesn’t the Economist mention those more recent gestures – and their lack of response?

Even this has provoked an outcry in Israel. Many of the 26 were convicted of crimes of violence, including murder, against Israeli civilians. Relations of the victims have carried black banners, accusing Mr Netanyahu of truckling to terrorists.

No. Every single one was found guilty of either murdering someone or was complicit in murdering someone.Every single one.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president who is leading negotiations for his side, has had an even rougher time trying to persuade his people that the Israelis earnestly seek a peace deal.

The Economist couldn’t be bothered to mention that Abbas has been the one torpedoing peace talks for the past five years. Despite previous releases of thousands of prisoners to help him burnish his image.

Indeed, many Palestinians deride Mr Abbas for winning freedom for so tiny a share of the 5,071 Palestinians said to be behind bars for politically motivated acts of violence or subversion.

I haven’t seen any such criticism in the Arab press. Not saying it doesn’t exist, but from the tone of the article, this seems to be The Economist’s opinion, not the average Palestinian Arab’s.

Few issues stir Palestinian emotions as fiercely as the fate of prisoners. Almost every Palestinian has a relative in jail—or has been there himself. Human-rights groups estimate that 750,000 Palestinians have passed through Israeli prisons since the West Bank and Gaza were conquered in 1967.

This 750,000 statistic is a risible lie, obvious to anyone who knows basic arithmetic. The Economist believes these ridiculous statistics (from Addameer and others).

But as we have seen, fact checking doesn’t exist when the writer is predisposed to believe the lies.

Some 2,300 Palestinians were detained in the first six months of this year alone.

I have no idea where this statistic comes from. I can say that PCHR tracks every arrest and lists the names of those arrested. The average has been about 40 arrests a week from some quick sampling, less than a thousand arrests in 7 1/2 months. And most of those do not go to prison, as B’Tselem’sstatistics on prisoners this year have been holding steady at about 4700 almost every month through June.

But catching The Economist lying– despite its pretense of objectivity above all – is old news here.

What Palestinians want as a sign of good intent, is the release of thousands, not scores, of their compatriots. The Israelis hint that they will see how the talks proceed—and let more prisoners trickle out if things go well.

Israel has said (against all logic) that they will release 104 prisoners, and these 26 were just phase 1. The Economist is implying here that Israel is not going to release them if the talks go nowhere. I would be happy if that was the case, but it isn’t – they are as good as released, their names have been published, the US has put the pressure on, and the cabinet voted on it. The Economist knows this and pretends otherwise.

So this is just another heavily biased, chockful of lies, anti-Israel tirade in The Economist.

As bad as the lies in this article are, and as bad as the bias that oozes from each sentence, is this basic problem: The Economist is more concerned with the feelings of those who consider murderers to be “heroes” than it is for the victims of those murderers. In fact, it discounts the feelings of the Israelis who are outraged by the idea that releasing murderers is somehow conducive to peace and it elevates the feelings of Arabs who turn the most disgusting terrorists into heroes.

This is truly a new low for a publication that has already seen serious hits to its credibility and fairness.

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

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  • Barry Newman

    I am cancelling my subscription to the Economist. Pathetic drivel. Is there no integrity left in the world?

    • Michael Kadin

      I am beginning to look at the Economist with a bias again Israel and Jews in particular. This is not good for the Economist has until now not shown a heavy bias.
      I judge this and leave with no regret.

  • Sid

    THe observant Jewish CEO left the Economist on the 18 July 2013- probably after pressure from pro Israel/Jewish groups. His replacement is Chris Stibbs – try possible email

  • Mikhael Izsak-Dicker

    Nobody lies better and nobody disseminates half-lies than the “Elder of Ziyon”.
    Thanks God there is an ECONOMIST …

    • Examples of my supposed lies are welcome. They’ll be eagerly corrected as well.

    • You know, I always ask people who accuse me of lying for examples, and they always seem to disappear.

  • Sonia Willats

    Why do the nations rage,
    And the people plot a vain thing?

    Israel should not dignify this absurd article with further discussion. One of these convicts was one too many.

    Does the Economists host country regularly release murderers? And if so, what kind of a justice system does it run? Absurd.

  • Jeff Blankfort

    In what prisons are the Israelis who have killed far more Palestinians? But, as so many of the learned rabbis, going back to the Torah and the Talmud,tell us to this very day, the life of a Jew is invariably worth more than that of a “goy.”

    I am sure that is a sentiment with which almost all of Algemeiners’ readers and commenters will agree and yet, when an objective observer correctly depicts such an opinion as being racist, he or she is called an antisemite, a word which once meant someone who didn’t like Jews but now means someone who Jews don’t like.

    By now, of course, most of you reading this are frothing at the mouth as is the fool who wrote this article. He and you are looking most Americans don’t read this blog.

  • ricardo

    Sorry to disagree with Solovitz, but the problem is that 1,000 years of antisemitism has created a culture within which lying which is hostile to Jews is the norm, and truthful representation of the Jews is avoided if it might be at all favorable. The Economist just happens to have a lot of prestige, so it gets noticed often. Lots of other British press are equally as maledictive. Because two thousand years of Church antisemitism and a thousand years of British antisemitism have produced an entire European culture – including the offshore islands – which is intrinsically bigoted and self-deceiving.

  • the problem is that there are no consequences for the lie.

    • Gabrielle

      There should be a BDS movement against the Economist.

      • mika


        That pathetic propaganda outlet is desperate for readership and therefore the anti-Israel troll. Best to just boycott these propaganda outlets and thus deprive them of viewership and revenue. By their desperate tactics, it’s obvious that they are a short breath from extinction.

    • stanley gornish

      Mr. Solovitz’s one line sentence summarizes the key that allows the Economist, Guardian and other anti-Israel media to get away with their smears and lies. Why does Israel allow “reporters” from such media to continue to “report” from Israel?