by Jerold S. Auerbach
For Israel, pundits incessantly proclaim, demography is destiny. There are endless warnings that unless the Jewish state relinquishes control over the West Bank, Muslims soon will outnumber Jews between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Israel would then confront equally intolerable choices:to become either a bi-national, or an apartheid, state. But fateful decisions with permanently deleterious consequences for Israel should not rest upon demographic mythology.
Its estimate includes more than 400,000 overseas residents, the double counting of Jerusalem Arabs, under reporting of Palestinian emigration, and exaggerated birth statistics. But Palestinian distortions are catnip for Zionist "demographers of doom."
Jerold S. Auerbach is professor emeritus of history at Wellesley College. His new book, a history of the Altalena tragedy, will be published in the Spring.
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