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How Benny Morris transformed a patriotic struggle into a ‘holy war’ for ‘sacred Islamic soil’


Norman Finkelstein has an important new book out, Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End. And because Benny Morris is in the news — Daniel Levy knocked him yesterday for his view of Palestinian “rejectionism”– we’ve picked up a piece of Finkelstein’s chapter on Morris, titled “History by Subtraction.” It contrasts the old Benny Morris, a historian who documented ethnic cleansing, with the new Benny Morris the propagandist. This excerpt begins with Finkelstein showing how Morris has transformed Palestinians who resisted Zionism into “expulsionists.” 

Many cruel and unforgivable things have been said by American historians about our native population, but it took a peculiarly fecund Israeli mind to pin the label “starkly expulsionist” on an indigenous population resisting expulsion. To document this “expulsionist mindset,” Morris cites the testimony of a Palestinian delegation before a foreign commission of inquiry: “We will push the Zionists into the sea—or they will send us back into the desert.” Insofar as the Zionists were intent on “transferring the Arabs out,” it is unclear how this statement manifests malevolence. Doesn’t an indigenous population have the right to resist expulsion?

The new Morris alleges that “Arab expressions in the early years of the twentieth century of fear of eventual displacement and expulsion by the Zionists were largely propagandistic.” He seems to have forgotten that he himself pointed up this fear as the “chief motor of Arab antagonism to Zionism” and that he rationally grounded this fear in Zionist transfer policy. Morris now purports that the Arabs’ resistance to Zionism sprang from their thralldom to the notion of “sacred Islamic soil”; was “anchored in centuries of Islamic Judeophobia”; and reached into “every fiber of their Islamic, exclusivist being.”After Israel’s establishment Ben-Gurion conceded, “If I was [sic] an Arab leader I would never make [peace?] terms with Israel. That is natural: We have taken their country.” Morris alleges however that because of his ignorance of the Arab world Ben-Gurion failed to grasp that this rejection of Israel was not “natural” but rather rooted in Islamic “abhorrence” of Jews. Insofar as Morris is not known for his expertise on Islam, and insofar as he used to be known for not speculating a hair’s breadth beyond what his sources showed, it might be expected that he would copiously substantiate such gross generalizations. But Morris’s elucidation of 14 centuries of an allegedly hate-filled “Muslim Arab mindset” and “Muslim Arab mentality” consists of all of one half paragraph of boilerplate.

Coming to the modern period Morris alleges that “since the fin de siècle, Palestine Arabs had been murdering Jews on a regular basis for ethnic or quasinationalist reasons. . . . Arab mobs had assaulted Jewish sett lements and neighborhoods in a succession of ever-larger pogroms.” But the old Morris found that it was the very real prospect of Zionist transfer that “automatically produced resistance among the Arabs.” …

The new Morris laments that “historians have tended to ignore or dismiss, as so much hot air, the jihadi rhetoric” of the Arabs, and he counters that “the evidence is abundant and clear” that the struggle against Zionism was conceived by Arabs “essentially as a holy war.” But the old Morris himself barely mentioned the “jihadi” factor and it was Morris himself who declared that the “chief motor” of Arab opposition to Zionism was not “jihad” but the “fear of territorial displacement and dispossession.” To prove that Palestinian resistance was driven by a jihadi “impulse,” the new Morris cites these statements: a “penitent land seller” swore, “I call on Allah, may He be exalted, to bear witness and swear . . . that I will be a loyal soldier in the service of the homeland”; the mufti of Egypt declared that the Jews intended “to take over . . . all the lands of Islam”; the ulema of Al-Azhar denoted it a “sacred religious duty” for “the Arab Kings, Presidents of Arab Republics, . . . and leaders of public opinion to liberate Palestine from the Zionist bands . . . and to return the inhabitants driven from their homes.” It would not however be the first or last time that God and religion were invoked in a patriotic struggle: Stalin rehabilitated the Greek Orthodox Church in the battle against Nazism, Gandhi utilized the Hindu religion at every turn in resistance to British occupation, Bush conscripted a Christian god for homeland security and the War on Terror.

In fact, although the old Morris took note that “the Arab radicalization often took on a religious aspect,” and that “increasingly the points of friction with the Zionists were, or became identified with, religious symbols and values,” he nonetheless recognized that the “chief motor” of Arab resistance was fear of displacement and dispossession. The new Morris reports that “even Christian Arabs appear to have adopted the jihadi discourse” of “holy war.” But doesn’t this contrarily show that, although utilizing the “jihadi discourse” of “holy war,” the opposition to Zionism was not “anchored in centuries of Islamic Judeophobia”? He purports that, in light of their “expulsionist and, in great measure, anti-Semitic” mindset, “it is unsurprising that the Arab mobs that periodically ran amok in Palestine’s streets during the Mandate . . . screamed ‘idhbah al yahud’ (slaughter the Jews).” Yet, as Yehoshua Porath observed in his magisterial study of Palestinian nationalism, although Arabs initially diff erentiated between Jews and Zionists, it was “inevitable” that opposition to Zionism would turn into a loathing of all Jews: “As immigration increased, so did the Jewish community’s identification with the Zionist movement. . . . The non-Zionist and anti-Zionist factors became an insignificant minority, and a large measure of sophistication was required to make the older distinction. It was unreasonable to hope that the wider Arab population, and the riotous mob which was part of it, would maintain this distinction.” If the Arabs shouted “idhbah al yahud,” it was because nearly every Jew they encountered was a Zionist bent, according to the old Morris, on expelling them.

It is instructive to recall here the old Morris’s treatment of the first intifada…. Morris was emphatic that “the main energizing force of the intifada was the frustration of the national aspirations” of the Palestinians, “who wanted to live in a Palestinian state and not as stateless inhabitants under a brutal, foreign military occupation.” And again, after expatiating on jihadi influences, he cautioned: “But the factors that made individual Palestinians take to the streets and endure beating, imprisonment, and economic privation were predominantly socioeconomic and psychological”—such as the “continuous trampling of the[ir] basic rights and dignity,” and their fear that “Israel’s settlement policy and its discriminatory economic policies” prefigured “the government’s ultimate intent to dispossess them and drive them out and to replace them with Jews.”

The old Morris—the pre-propagandist Morris—was able to discern that although Islamic zealots figured prominently in the first intifada and Islamic symbols and texts, even hateful anti-Semitic ones, might have been pervasive, its “main energizing force” was not hoary “Islamic Judeophobia” but the mundane denial of basic Palestinian rights. Even in his account of the second intifada, when the salience of the Islamic component was yet greater and he himself was already given to tirades against jihadis, Morris emphasized that “at base” the revolt resulted from “the state of the Palestinians and the peace process . . . the frustrations and slights endured since the signing in 1993 of the Oslo agreement, and more generally since the start of the occupation.”

About Norman G. Finkelstein

Norman G. Finkelstein received his doctorate in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. He taught political theory and the Israel-Palestine conflict for many years and currently writes and lectures. Finkelstein is the author of eight books that have been translated into 50 foreign editions, and is currently completing a book with Palestinian political analyst Mouin Rabbani entitled "How to Resolve the Israel-Palestine Conflict."

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45 Responses

  1. OlegR
    April 17, 2012, 1:46 pm

    Regarding that Palestinian rejectionism
    we haev seen a fine example of it today
    when PM Fayyad stood up Netanyahu and just sent two lower level delegates
    to the scheduled meeting.

    • Woody Tanaka
      April 17, 2012, 3:04 pm

      “PM Fayyad stood up Netanyahu and just sent two lower level delegates
      to the scheduled meeting.”

      Sounds a bit more than the likes of the ‘yahoo deserves. I would have sent a janitor.

    • Hostage
      April 17, 2012, 5:12 pm

      when PM Fayyad stood up Netanyahu and just sent two lower level delegates
      to the scheduled meeting.

      I think this is more of an example of falling victim to your own propaganda. The Israeli press has been trumpeting the behind-the-scenes arm twisting that’s been going on to prevent Abbas from including a threat to dismantle the PA. It simply became part of the accepted wisdom that Fayyad would deliver that letter to Bibi today. But Haaretz noted that the Defense Minister had pointed-out that no time or place for the meeting had ever been confirmed and that it might simply be cancelled.

    • Shingo
      April 17, 2012, 5:24 pm

      Regarding that Palestinian rejectionism
      we haev seen a fine example of it today
      when PM Fayyad stood up Netanyahu and just sent two lower level delegates
      to the scheduled meeting.

      Look up the Road Map of 2002 you ignoramus. Israel signed and ratified an agreement with required them to stop building settlements as a pre cursor to final stage negotiations.

      Fayyad would be a fool to meet Bibbi in person as that would confer legitimacy on Israel’s transgression of it’s conmitnrnts under it’s own treaty.

      And why waste time talking to someone who can’t even stick to agreements they have signed and ratified?

    • libra
      April 17, 2012, 7:28 pm

      OlegR:”…when PM Fayyad stood up Netanyahu and just sent two lower level delegates to the scheduled meeting.”

      You mean poor Bibi wasted all that time sawing off the chair legs for Fayyad.

  2. OlegR
    April 17, 2012, 2:05 pm

    /How Benny Morris transformed a patriotic struggle into a ‘holy war’ for ‘sacred Islamic soil’/

    And the answer to the question is probably the same as to
    “How did the western left transformed a national struggle into a colonial
    apartheid enterprise”

    • ToivoS
      April 17, 2012, 4:44 pm

      Oly baby asks: “How did the western left transformed a national struggle into a colonial apartheid enterprise”

      As someone who once viewed the IP conflict through the lens of two competing national movement but now see Israel as a colonial apartheid enterprise let me honestly answer why I changed.

      In 1992 I truly believed that Israel wanted peace with her Palestinian neighbors and was willing to give them the WB to build a state. But 20 years of settler expansion, fully backed by all Israeli governments, convinced me that Israel had pulled one massive swindle on the whole world. Theft of the land is all they were after. Once that land is stolen, colonial apartheid is the only mechanism to rule that land while preserving “democratic” Zionism.

      Thanks for asking.

      • OlegR
        April 18, 2012, 5:44 am

        You are conveniently forgetting the whole victims of peace suicide bombings second intifada
        gaza withdrawal hamas rockets and a bunch of other stuff so…

      • yourstruly
        April 18, 2012, 6:35 am

        and you are conveniently forgetting the nakba

    • Hostage
      April 17, 2012, 5:15 pm

      “How did the western left transformed a national struggle into a colonial
      apartheid enterprise”

      Through direct on-scene observation.

  3. lysias
    April 17, 2012, 2:25 pm

    So what happened? Was it the shift in what could be said and was likely to win funding in Israeli academia, or was it just that Morris was able to say what he really thought once he got tenure?

    • OlegR
      April 17, 2012, 4:49 pm

      Probably the second intifada suicide bombings had something to do with it.

      • straightline
        April 18, 2012, 4:56 am

        I’m sure most of you know but just to put on record for those who don’t

        Palestinians killed in 2nd Intifada: 6513
        Israelis killed in 2nd Intifada: 590

      • OlegR
        April 18, 2012, 5:51 am
        Israelis 1053
        Palestinians 4789

        The chart is based on Betzelem numbers and
        i am sorry, you expect me to apologize that we didn’t die more or something?

      • Hostage
        April 18, 2012, 8:00 am

        Palestinians killed in 2nd Intifada: 6513

        A UN Commission on Human Rights fact finding mission report in 2000 noted:

        “widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the Israeli occupying Power, in particular mass killings and collective punishments, such as demolition of houses and closure of the Palestinian territories, measures which constitute war crimes, flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity.”

        — See E/CN.4/RES/S-5/1 19 October 2000

        Like the Gaza fact finding report, these reports about war crimes and crimes against humanity were eventually consigned to the file cabinets at the UN’s headquarters.

      • Sumud
        April 18, 2012, 9:16 am

        straightline i’m not sure where those numbers comes from but I think it underestimates the number of Israeli deaths and overestimate the number of Palestinians.

        Wiki on 2nd intifadah has:
        Palestinians killed: 5516
        Israelis killed: 1063

        …and that is counting 2000-2008, ie until Israel commenced the bloodbath in Gaza in Decemebr 2008. Source given is B’Tselem.

        They (B’Tselem) also released figures on 10 years of casualties since the start of the second intifadah, here:

        Most shocking there is the number of deaths of minors:

        Palestinian minors killed: 1317
        Israeli minors killed: 124

        So Israel kills Palestinian kids at a rate of 10 to 1, but Palestinians are the terrorists!?

      • Annie Robbins
        April 18, 2012, 11:56 am

        oleg, following wiki’s link to b’tselem, the supporting link does not support your figures. it only shows 590 israeli deaths between 29.9.2000-29.2.2012

      • Sumud
        April 18, 2012, 4:41 pm

        I might be wrong annie but i think the figure is higher than that. The relevant categories are:

        1. ‘Israeli civilians killed by Palestinians’ and there are 2 figures for that based on location: Occupied Territories, Total [254] + Israel [500]


        2. ‘Israeli security force personnel killed by Palestinians’, also by location: Occupied Territories, Total [252] + Israel [90]

        The confusing aspect of the B’Tselem table is the fact that it uses the word ‘total’, but this is a combination of Gaza + West Bank deaths, not OPT + Israel deaths. The information design could be better.

        Those four figures add to 1096. The figure you quote of 590 is just for Israeli deaths in Israel but *not* in OPT also…

  4. talknic
    April 17, 2012, 2:33 pm

    Morris was probably told to shut the F*&) up.

    • lysias
      April 17, 2012, 3:11 pm

      Morris has done anything but shut up.

      • talknic
        April 17, 2012, 11:29 pm

        He’s stopped being an honest historian…

  5. HarryLaw
    April 17, 2012, 2:52 pm

    Morris is just an out and out racist. ” But the Israel I want to see is more humane, more open, less religious and—to put it frankly—less Arab. I want less input from the ultra-Orthodox and from the Arab minorities. [Benny Morris dreams of a ‘ less Arab ‘ Israel , Mondoweiss Jan 12, 2012 Phil Weiss].

    • Mooser
      April 17, 2012, 3:47 pm

      Instead of those grubby, inhumane, too religious Arab Jews and ultra-Orthodox Jews, Israel should be full of ‘designer Jews’.

  6. dimadok
    April 17, 2012, 3:46 pm

    It seems that the author mixes two things-general Arab hate of Jews (outside of Palestine borders) and local Palestinian struggle for their civil rights. Have those two factors being dissociated- much progress could be made and perhaps solution’s could be found.

    • Dex
      April 17, 2012, 5:01 pm

      No solution will be found as long as your racism persists: “general Arab hate of Jews.” Really? Stop being anti-semitic!

      Is there a general Jewish hate of Arabs?

      • yourstruly
        April 18, 2012, 6:38 am

        “is there a general jewish hate of palestinians?”
        yes, in occupied palestine

  7. MHughes976
    April 17, 2012, 4:13 pm

    Morris’ quoted comment that ‘of course Ben Gurion was a transferist’ because of the necessities of his cause is of value, I think. Indeed he reminds that values, rather than facts, are at the heart of the problem. He doesn’t bother to contest the anti-Zionist account of facts, indeed he almost revels in it, the more to insist on his radical existentialist proposition that it was all a matter of necessity: all other moral questions are excluded. We may not agree about that.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    April 17, 2012, 4:21 pm

    RE: “it is unsurprising that the Arab mobs that periodically ran amok in Palestine’s streets during the Mandate . . . screamed ‘idhbah al yahud’ (slaughter the Jews).” ~ the “new” Benny Morris

    SEE: Hundreds of soccer fans crowd Jerusalem mall: ‘Death to Arabs!’, by Annie Robbins, Mondoweiss, 3/24/12

    (excerpt)…Chanting “Death to Arabs,” hundreds of Beitar soccer fans crowded into a mall in Jerusalem after their team won a match and what spilled out …words escape me:

    The Independent: Hundreds of fans, mostly teenagers, descended on busy Malha Mall, jumping on tables, waving scarves, and chanting “Death to Arabs”.
    When a group of fans started to heckle and spit on Palestinian women dining with their children in the food hall, the centre’s Arab cleaning staff rushed to their defence and chased the fans off. But moments later, the fans returned, and started to attack the Arab staff.
    “They [the fans] caught some of them and beat the hell out of them,” Yair, the Jewish owner of a bakery in the shopping centre, told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper. “They hurled people into shops, and smashed them against shop windows. … One cleaner was attacked by some 20 people, poor guy.” The brawl might have turned deadly, but food hall staff refused to respond to fans’ demands for knives and sticks…

    SOURCE –

    P.S. So, is the hatred of Arabs by these Beitar fans rooted in Judaic “abhorrence” of Arabs? Enquiring mimes want to know, Mr. Morris! What’s good for the goose. . .

    P.P.S. MORE “BE(I)TARIM” IN ACTION: Jerusalem Day celebrations PART1 : Provocations. (VIDEO, 03:49) –

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 17, 2012, 4:24 pm

      P.P.P.S. ALSO – WATCH: Israeli teens brandish racism after Palestinian children die, by Ami Kaufman, +972 Magazine, 4/02/12
      Israeli youth today has no fear of saying what it really thinks about Arabs. The youth featured in the video below are not only are they happy when children die, but one girl said she has no problem with taking a weapon and killing innocent Arabs

      February 16, 2012. A bus full of kids north of Jerusalem hits a truck and turns over. Kids are burned to death in the fiery crash.
      As the reports start to surface, so does the ugly Israeli. On Facebook, on the news sites. In the street. You can’t miss it. First it starts with an exhale of relief that they aren’t Jewish. Next comes the sorrow that more of them weren’t killed.
      “Sure,” you say, “but these don’t represent Israeli society.”
      Well, I beg to differ. I think the teenagers shown in the Channel 10 magazine item below (my translation) are actually quite representative of your average Israeli teenager. Nothing scientific on my part. Not backing it up with data, so you can go ahead and take a jab at me for that. Just backing it up with the daily doses of racism I see every day when I enter my social media, my news sites, my streets, my supermarkets, my clinics, my kids’ ballet classes, my work place. So many places. Those are my sources.
      Sources of disgust.

      VIDEO (14:49) –

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 17, 2012, 4:28 pm

      P.P.P.P.S. ALSO SEE: A lack of vision is making Israel a short-term state, By Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 4/15/12

      . . . Last week I joined the pilgrims to Hebron on Passover eve. In the bus, one of them, using a derogatory term for Arabs, said loudly: “All the Arabushim should be sent to the stone crushers straight from the hospital, as soon as they’re born.” The whole bus roared with laughter. Some passengers muttered at us, a reporter and a photographer, the only secular people on the bus: “Collaborators, there are collaborators on the bus.” Nobody protested, naturally.
      The thousands of pilgrims to Hebron, with their myriads of supporters, belong to another nation, with no connection or resemblance to the nation of Tel Aviv. Every society has an extreme right wing today, but in a small, fragile society like ours, this could become fatal. The United States can afford its dark Christian right and remain a democracy. Israel cannot. Can anyone guarantee that the hostile tone from the fortified bus to Hebron won’t turn into the prevailing tone? Clearly things are heading in that direction and nobody is doing anything to stop it.
      Nobody is doing anything to stop democracy from rupturing, nobody is stopping Israel on its way to becoming a pariah, even more than it is already. . . .

      SOURCE –

      P.P.P.P.P.S. ONCE AGAIN I ASK: So, is the hatred of Arabs by these Israelis rooted in Judaic “abhorrence” of Arabs? Enquiring mimes want to know, Mr. Morris! What’s good for the goose. . .

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 18, 2012, 4:05 am

      P.P.P.P.P.S. MORE BEITARIM ACTION: Beitar soccer fans march in Jerusalem chanting racist slogans, allegedly beat woman, By Nir Hasson and Oz Rosenberg, Haaretz, 4/16/12
      Police are launching an investigation into the attack on 50-year-old Reli Margalit, after being criticized for failing to immediately investigate Beitar fans’ attack last month on Arab workers.

      (excerpts) Dozens of Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans marched in Jerusalem chanting anti-Arab slogans on their way to a match on Sunday – and beat a woman who objected, the woman said. . .
      . . . Reli Margalit, a 50-year-old musician from Jerusalem’s Nayot neighborhood, said a fan hit her on the head while they were marching from Sacher Park to Teddy Stadium. Beitar beat Hapoel Acre 1-0 in the Premier League match.
      “I heard cries of ‘Death to the Arabs,’ and since I was still incensed by the Malha Mall attack, I decided that I had to confront them now,” she said. “I made a sign reading ‘Down with Beitar’s racism.’ I believed that since I’m not a young woman and since I was alone, at worst it would come to curses, no more.”
      But it seems Margalit was wrong.
      “Within seconds they surrounded me and started spitting at me,” she said. “They took away my sign, and one of them – actually an older fan – hit me on the head with the pole of his flag. None of the fans protected me, and one girl showed up and tried to argue with me.”
      After a few seconds the fans continued on their way.
      Margalit said she doesn’t regret her action. . .


      P.P.P.P.P.P.S. – I ASK YET AGAIN: So, is the hatred of Arabs by these Beitarim rooted in Judaic “abhorrence” of Arabs? Enquiring mimes want to know, Mr. Morris! What’s good for the goose. . .

  9. pabelmont
    April 17, 2012, 4:36 pm

    Morris: “of the Palestinians, “who wanted to live in a Palestinian state and not as stateless inhabitants under a brutal, foreign military occupation.””

    Let’s quote him on this, mercilessly: “a brutal, foreign military occupation”

    PS: I remember days, in 1980s, when the writers for the Boston Globe regularly portrayed the occupation as enlightened, almost warm adn fuzzy.

  10. DICKERSON3870
    April 17, 2012, 4:57 pm

    RE: “…we’ve picked up a piece of Finkelstein’s chapter on Morris, titled “History by Subtraction.” It contrasts the old Benny Morris, a historian who documented ethnic cleansing, with the new Benny Morris the propagandist.” ~ Mondoweiss

    MY COMMENT: Methinks Benny Morris is “doing penance”, so to speak!
    I love to tell the story of unseen things above. . .
    . . . I love to tell the story because I know ’tis true:
    It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.
    I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory. . .
    (VIDEO, 03:30)

    THE STORY – “Sinning against Zionism: Traitor to Country”, by William A. Cook , Dissident Voice, 4/21/11

    “Hell is where many false commitments must be unlearned.” — Ricardo J. Quinones, ‘Dante Alighieri’

    (excerpt) Richard Goldstone’s journey from Justice to Sinner represents the spiritual act of dying in the Zionist world. By recanting his own report he has attempted to break the bonds that cast him into the sufferings in Caina, Antenora, and Judecca where, in ‘Dante’s Inferno’, those treacherous to their own, are removed from the light and warmth of their kin, their country, and their masters and suffer eternal damnation in the remorseless dead center of the ice in the most bottomless circle of Hell.
    Fortunately, Goldstone like Dante can learn that he has, in his journey, aligned himself with many false gods and many false attachments ignoring on the way the elementary truths that bind humankind ineluctably in one race in a bond of human grace.
    The Zionist world needs no Hell since it heeds no conscience. It exists on one foundation, a solid block of ice that freezes the soul of all who bear allegiance to its creed of absolute obedience, an ancient form of tribal slavery bound by fear that shackles the soul, by isolation that instills despair, by humiliation that corrodes self, and by victimhood that bonds the tribe in self-perpetuating agony. It is in this sense Medieval, a remnant of the inquisitorial mind that harbored no dissent, gave no credence to personal freedom, and obligated all to one monolithic understanding of commitment to the powers that control…


    • DICKERSON3870
      April 17, 2012, 5:03 pm

      P.S. ANOTHER VERSION OF “THE STORY” – Dear liberal American Jews: Please don’t betray Israel, by Dahlia Scheindlin, +972 Magazine, 2/14/12:

      (excerpts). . . After two weeks in America visiting family and friends, two observations struck me powerfully. First, the understanding that Israel is committing terrible deeds that are destroying itself and its neighbors, has penetrated among you…
      …On this trip, I was stunned to learn that now you don’t even really want to visit Israel because you can’t face what you’re increasingly coming to see as a brutal occupying entity flirting with fascist notions. . .
      …My second observation is that because of your fear – not of the goyim or the anti-Semites, but of yourselves! – you are keeping a low public profile. On this trip, I suddenly realized how naïve it was to imagine that J Street had sufficiently opened the door for anyone who cares critically for Israel to speak out. I underestimated how deep and terrible the intimidation has become and that one political lobby group is far from enough.
      I do understand: those of you who still call the Jewish community home, are afraid of the onslaught that you will receive from your (our) very own people.
      I hold no illusions about how vicious the attacks might be. We Jews, not the goyim, will call you the most painful names, will threaten in various ways to label you as beyond the pale of your people, should you voice your critique.
      You might be chastised in your professional community. You will be hit not only by shadowy bloggers but by the very cherished and established groups you have loyally, even automatically, supported over the years. The anger might come from your friends and it might even come from your family…
      . . . Here’s how that made me feel: abandoned, by the liberal Jews of America. You were swept away by Ruth Wisse’s thesis that liberals betrayed the Jewish cause by believing too much in rational universalism [e.g. universal human rights] and failing to acknowledge the unique, everlasting threat of anti-Semitism…


  11. mudder
    April 17, 2012, 8:11 pm

    Wow. Did Norman Finkelstein give Mondoweiss permission to use his byline on this piece? I hope so. I have utmost regard for both.

    • mudder
      April 17, 2012, 8:49 pm

      The alternative would be to give the byline to a MW editor.

  12. Brewer
    April 17, 2012, 9:50 pm

    How ironical that Morris seems to be unaware that Zionism was born in and derives its sustenance from Biblical “prophecy”, religion, fanatical adherents to religion and those who cynically manipulate them:

    Morris seems to have adopted the taxicab approach to History common among Zionists. Once the destination is reached, the cab is dismissed.

  13. aiman
    April 17, 2012, 11:42 pm

    Undoubtedly Judeophobia must be tackled by Muslims. Aside, there has been no Judeophobia in Islam or hatred toward any religion or people, unless one is reading the Muslim equivalent of a Zionist like Maududi or Qutb whose ideas gained momentum in vulnerable circles following political tumults just like the base of the Christian Right is made up of vulnerable (in some ways) working-class white males as Chris Hedges has documented. The Qur’an’s criticism of Judaism and Christianity is totally consistent with the critiques made of former worldviews in both the Torah and the New Testament. The message is not to repeat those mistakes, and Muslims like the ancient Israelites have made many mistakes. Even in Muhammad’s term, Jews were only one of several tribal communities in conflict over the birth of a new faith community. There is no inherent conflict between Judaism and Islam. This is the problem: Zionism and Maududism. Morris’s Zionism is itself anchored in Islamophobia.

  14. Taxi
    April 18, 2012, 12:20 am

    Benny Morris: the historian that history will forget.

    For all the goddam lies he sold the world.

    So can we now stop talking about him – what a bore!

  15. W.Jones
    April 18, 2012, 3:34 am

    Finkelstein’s main point is that views among young Jewish Americans are changing to be more dedicated to human rights and critical when viewing Israeli policies.

    And in the opposite direction: particularly shocking to me is how much another younger generation is becoming intolerant compared to the generation of the State’s founders. A survey by the Center for Jewish-Christian Relations and Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies showed among young people(18-29 years old):

    34% expressed the view that Christian clergy should not be permitted to live anywhere in Israel (as compared with 25% of those in the 30-49 age bracket and 14% of those over 50)… 52% maintained that immigrants from the FSU who define themselves as Christians should not be permitted to practice their Christianity in Israel (as compared with 43% of those in the 30-49 age bracket and 25% of those over 50), and 31% expressed the view that the activities of the Churches in Israel should be restricted as much as possible (as compared with 20% of those in the 30-49 age bracket and 13% of those over 50).

  16. Shmuel
    April 18, 2012, 4:23 am

    Morris now purports that the Arabs’ resistance to Zionism sprang from their thralldom to the notion of “sacred Islamic soil”; was “anchored in centuries of Islamic Judeophobia”; and reached into “every fiber of their Islamic, exclusivist being.”

    Sounds awfully like some of the essentialist analyses of Zionism we see here from time to time (thralldom to the notion of “chosenness”; anchored in millennia of Jewish anti-gentilism; reached into every fibre of their Jewish, exclusivist being).

    Amazing how modernity and reality just seem to skip over these two groups of human beings, like the fat cows swallowed by the lean cows in Pharaoh’s dream: “and you could not tell they had come into them, for their looks were as foul as before”.

    • Mooser
      April 18, 2012, 12:36 pm

      “Amazing how modernity and reality just seem to skip over these two groups of human beings”

      So you are accepting Morris’ statements on the “Arabs’ resistance to Zionism” or assigning equivalence out of frustration.
      BTW, I can’t think of a single aspect of modernism the Israelis haven’t availed themselves of.

      • Shmuel
        April 18, 2012, 12:49 pm

        So you are accepting Morris’ statements on the “Arabs’ resistance to Zionism”

        Not on your antlers.

        Rephrase: Amazing how modernity and reality just seem to skip over these two groups of human beings – according to Morris and those who view Zionism as the true expression of the “Judaic essence”, respectively.

  17. yourstruly
    April 18, 2012, 6:17 am

    benny morris transformed a patriotic struggle into a ‘holy war for sacred islamic soil’ because it fits into the post-9/11 islamophobic hysteria that has swept over western nations, and therefore best to ride this tide for whatever it’s worth. later he’s likely to admit that while said switcheroo was dishonest it was justified because there is no going back on the zionist demand for a jewish state.

  18. gingershot
    April 18, 2012, 8:12 am

    I’m wondering if Benny Morris just didn’t collapse under pressure from Zionist family/social bubble/Israeli academia rage and excommunication much like Goldstone did…

    It’s tough to face enraged reactions to your professional work but when it means you lose your mommy, social network , whole social identity and Jewish identity it starts to threaten your personal identity as to such an extent and they just can’t take the heat so they get out of the kitchen

    Take away your god, your friends, your family and your identity … these guys can’t take it

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