The Economist has a rather poor record of Israel, so it is no surprise that it leads this week’s issue with an anti-Israel article. Among other faulty clichés (Gaza as an “open-air prison,” etc.), the newspaper cites demographic claims: “Time is not on Israel’s side. Palestinians may already outnumber Israelis in the lands they share.”
That is completely false. Israelis outnumber Palestinians in the historic land of mandatory Palestine (i.e. Israel itself plus the West Bank and Gaza), as do Jews. Demographic projections that suggest Arabs will outnumber Jews are based on numbers that were largely cooked up by Palestinian Authority for propaganda purposes.
As an article in the Azure journal in 2006 first noted, Palestinians have adopted extremely rosy predictions of population growth in the West Bank and Gaza based on the repatriation of exiles, among other number-fudging tactics. More recently, author Caroline Glick has debunked Palestinian demographic projections even further, noting that Jews would still comprise a two-thirds majority in Israel if it annexed the West Bank in its entirety.
Politicians still cite the bad numbers because they understand, as Palestinians do, that the demographics are “a weapon guaranteeing Palestinian victory in the century-long struggle with the Jews,” as Azure observed. Yet the Economist prides itself on being a data-driven, smarter-than-conventional wisdom outlet. It has no excuse.
The Economist has sacrificed truth for the cause. So it cites bad data, claims talks failed because of settlements, and says Israel has not made a “genuine offer.” Such lies legitimatize attacks on Israel–both rhetorical and real.