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Israeli historian Benny Morris doubles down on his advocacy for ethnic cleansing

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Benny Morris, the Israeli historian who has documented Israeli-Palestinian history so meticulously, is again bemoaning that a full ethnic cleansing was not completed in 1948.

In a long interview with Ofer Aderet in Haaretz (published in English today), Morris says:

If the War of Independence had ended with an absolute separation of populations – the Palestinian Arabs on the east side of the Jordan River and the Jews on the west side – the Middle East would be less volatile and both peoples would have suffered less over the past 70 years. They would have been satisfied with a state of their own, not exactly what they wanted, and we would have received the whole Land of Israel.

This is almost an identical repeat of what he said to Ari Shavit in a 2004 interview. There, he said:

If [David Ben-Gurion] was already engaged in expulsion, maybe he should have done a complete job. I know that this stuns the Arabs and the liberals and the politically correct types. But my feeling is that this place would be quieter and know less suffering if the matter had been resolved once and for all. If Ben-Gurion had carried out a large expulsion and cleansed the whole country – the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan River. It may yet turn out that this was his fatal mistake. If he had carried out a full expulsion – rather than a partial one – he would have stabilized the State of Israel for generations.

But notice – Morris is changing his euphemisms. He used to call the ethnic cleansing of Palestine “transfer” (although he had a Freudian slip on “cleanse” with Shavit) but now, with Aderet, he’s calling it “separation of populations”. This is precious, really. It also points a dark and sinister finger at the notion of “separation” which has become a very central code-word for Zionist leftists and centrists. This “separation”, suggested also by other more colorful euphemisms such as “divorce”, has also been a central talking point for people like the late Amos Oz. So here, Morris, who also wants to somehow be known as a leftist, is making clear that “separation” is part of a genocidal scheme. He would not call it genocidal, and he denies that what he’s describing is ethnic cleansing, but that’s what it really is.

Morris is apparently trying to appear contained in his interview with Aderet. Morris says about that interview with Shavit: “Possibly I should have tempered my language”. Aderet reminds us that Morris said things like those mentioned above, that he prefers “ethnic cleansing of others”, as well as:

Something like a cage has to be built for them [the Palestinians]. I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no choice. There is a wild animal out there that has to be locked up in one way or another.

So now we supposedly get the ‘well-tempered’ Morris. But his racism is on full display. He frames murder as a natural ‘Arab’ tendency:

[I]f an Arab murders an Arab in an Arab village, they automatically blame the police for not patrolling enough, but they will not blame themselves and say that Arabs murder Arabs because it seems quite natural there… In the Arab world – and the Israeli Arabs are part of it – you find a lack of self-criticism. It’s always the stranger who’s to blame. The Briton, the American, the Russian, the Jew, the Israeli – someone else is to blame for your troubles. They breed much more crime, in comparison to Jewish society. If you were to tell me that they are poorer and therefore they have more property crimes and theft, I would say: That’s right, poor societies breed material crime. But we’re talking about murder in far larger numbers. It’s not a matter of money. It’s the society’s nature.

The schism between Morris the historian and Morris the political pundit is maddening. In the Aderet piece, we are introduced in length to Morris the historian, and it’s a very long and worthy read, before we are met with Morris the political pundit. Aderet tells us about a book that Morris has co-authored with Dror Ze’evi, about the Turkish 30-year genocide of Christians, between 1894 and 1924. This is novel, and will hit many with surprise, because that which is more widely known about (yet still institutionally denied as such by both US and Israel for political reasons) is the Armenian genocide from around 1915. Yet Morris and Ze’evi uncover a much wider genocide, including between 1.5 million and 2.5 million Christians – Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks. The perpetrators were the Turks and their Muslim helpers, who included Kurds, Circassians, Chechens and Arabs. Three Turkish regimes were involved, from the Ottoman Empire to Ataturk’s republic.

Aderet notes:

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is remembered as a leader who left a legacy of secularization and modernization – there’s even a street in Tel Aviv named for him. But your study portrays him quite negatively.

Morris:

Somehow his image as an enlightened individual was entrenched and preserved in the West, but he was the one who saw to the liquidation of the last of the Armenians who remained in Turkey, and he also brought about the murder of hundreds of thousands of Greeks and Assyrians, and the exile of many others. Although Ataturk is considered to have been anti-Islamic, he mobilized Islam to execute that scheme, and he is the one who did away with the remnants of the Christian communities in Turkey. Nonetheless, the charge of ethnic cleansing never stuck to him. The Turkish documents concerning Ataturk’s activity are deposited in the Turkish Military Archive in Ankara and are inaccessible to researchers. However, testimonies by Western diplomats and missionaries indicate that he said, in their presence and to them – and more than once in 1922 – that he wanted a Turkey “void of Christians” and that he had ordered the implementation of a policy that would lead to that end, which meant either exile or massacre.

These are revelations of some magnitude. One should take the hat off for those who have diligently researched such murderous crimes, despite an institutionalized Turkish campaign of denial and obfuscation. But where does this lead Morris? Any self-reflection about how his wish for an Israel “free of Palestinians” (mostly Muslim, but not only) may be similar to Turkish wishes for a country “free of Christians”? Does Morris get that he is genocidal? Why doesn’t the charge of “ethnic cleansing” stick to Morris, who wonders how it didn’t stick to Ataturk? Morris doesn’t get it at all.

Morris marks a clear schism between Morris the historian and Morris the political pundit:

I tended rightward in the political context, not the historiographic one; I am still a historian and not a politician.

Morris explains his move rightwards around 2000 thus:

The change I underwent is related to one issue: the Palestinians’ readiness to accept the two-state solution and forgo part of the Land of Israel.

See, Morris is really talking like a messianic Zionist: “The land of Israel”. The land simply belongs to “Israel”, and Palestinians simply have to forgo a claim to part of it, as if they didn’t already.

Morris supposedly had a revelation in the wake of the 2nd Intifada from 2000, that Palestinians would not agree to give up their original demand “to have the whole Land of Israel in their possession and under their sovereignty”:

There will not be a territorial compromise, there will not be peace on the basis of the country’s division, mainly because the Palestinians cling to their desire to have control of the whole Land of Israel and to eradicate Zionism.

Morris still criticizes Prime Minister Netanyahu for “his unwillingness to talk to the Palestinians about a territorial compromise” and that “he doesn’t put anything on the table that will draw them into discussions”.

But why “discussions”, if Morris doesn’t believe in it anyway? Morris explains:

Even if territorial compromise with the Palestinians is not realistic in this generation, as was also the case earlier, you have to play the diplomatic game – even if you know it won’t lead anywhere – in order to retain the West’s sympathy. You have to look like you’re pursuing peace, even if you’re not.

Let’s pause here – this is really some admission. Morris says that the only point of the “diplomatic game” is to keep up an appearance, in order to “retain the West’s sympathy”. Yes, you heard it here. The ‘peace process’ serves no other function than that of a “diplomatic game”. Here Morris echoes former Prime Minister Itzhak Shamir, who in the very beginning of the famous ‘peace process’ in Madrid in 1991, coined the ‘teaspoon policy’: endless negotiating sessions at which countless teaspoons amounting to mountains of sugar would be stirred into oceans of tea and coffee, but no agreement would ever be reached.

Morris the political pundit needs to lie in order to maintain his point. Aderet asks him about Barak’s supposed ‘generous offer’ in 2000, which amounted to Bantustans. Aderet:

But what about Israel’s part in the failure of negotiations? Other historians maintain that in 2000, Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat a map that would have fragmented the West Bank, and that there was no way he could have agreed to it.

Morris answers:

Anyone who says that Barak and Bill Clinton made the Palestinians an offer they could not agree to is lying. Dennis Ross, the principal negotiator, has already shown in his book that that claim is bullshit. The lack of territorial continuity would only have been between Gaza and the West Bank. They were offered a contiguous territorial bloc of 95 percent of the West Bank, and they rejected it. But the story here is not one plan or another, but the fact that they want 100 percent of the territory of Mandatory Palestine. They were merely playing a game when they said they were ready for a compromise.

This is a lie. What Barak offered was actually an outset of 77% of the West Bank for the first 6 to 21 years, growing later, if all went well, by another 10%, but anyway, indeed fragmented Bantustans.

But what does Morris care. At this point in the interview, it is Morris the political pundit, and Morris qualifies that he’s not a politician anyway. So he apparently feels free to regurgitate the lies of his buddy Barak, who indeed was a politician, a Prime Minister no less, who lied his socks off while saying that lying is a particular Palestinian trait. Barak:

They (the Palestinians, and especially Arafat) are the products of a culture in which to tell a lie… creates no dissonance. They don’t suffer from the problem of telling lies that exists in Judeo-Christian culture. Truth is seen as an irrelevant category… The deputy director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation told me that there are societies in which lie detector tests don’t work, societies in which lies do not create cognitive dissonance [on which the tests are based].

Barak and Morris sound so similar, I would have thought they were twins.

Although he’s a historian, Morris does allow himself to rewrite history that is later than 1948. He does this in his attempt to distance himself from other historians who were part of his “new historians” group, like Tom Segev.

Take Tom Segev, for example, who in his book ‘1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East,’ maintains that we went to war out of greed for land and expansionism, but the truth is that greed was engendered in the wake of the war and not before it.

Morris is contesting that, but Segev’s book is quite impeccable, and there is ample documentation for that greed, even in a very literal sense. Moshe Dayan said about the skirmishes with Syria in the run-up to the 1967 war:

I know how at least 80 percent of the clashes there started. In my opinion, more than 80 percent, but let’s talk about 80 percent. It went this way: We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn’t possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn’t shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance farther, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that’s how it was… The kibbutzim there saw land that was good for agriculture. And you must remember, this was a time in which agricultural land was considered the most important and valuable thing… I can tell you with absolute confidence, the delegation that came to persuade Eshkol to take the heights was not thinking of these things. They were thinking about the heights’ land. Listen, I’m a farmer, too. After all, I’m from Nahalal, not from Tel Aviv, and I know about it. I saw them, and I spoke to them. They didn’t even try to hide their greed for that land.”

That’s very literal greed. And that is besides the political greed of ‘finishing the job’, which was a general motivation of taking over the rest of historic Palestine and ‘finishing the job’ of 1948.

So who is Morris trying to fool? As a liberal Zionist, Morris portrays the classical contradiction of the ethnic-cleanser who seeks to portray himself as a liberal (so he calls the ethnic cleansing “transfer” and then “separation”). Furthermore, Morris the historian appears to face the contradiction of having made findings that point to a genocidal scheme, yet faced with a need to minimize this so that it would not apply to the Zionist case. It’s as if Morris the Zionist pundit is constantly interfering with the work of Morris the historian. So when it comes to Turkish perpetration of genocide, it’s ok for him to call it that. But in the Zionist case, the findings need to be toned down in their overall moral appraisal. Thus, Morris says about the Deir Yassin massacre of 1948:

It’s a semantic debate. If you take 50 prisoners, line them up against a wall and kill them, as happened in the village of Jish [Gush Halav, in Upper Galilee] in 1948, that is a massacre. That didn’t happen in Deir Yassin, where they killed a few here and a few there, seized a few captives and killed them, and there are others who were not killed. Overall, about 100 civilians were killed there. So the question is: Do you lump a few atrocities together and arrive at 100, and call that a massacre, or do you say: A few families were killed here and there, deliberately or not deliberately, in different places and at different moments, so maybe it’s a series of atrocities against civilians and not a massacre?”

Are we getting this? The Irgun terrorists “killed a few here and a few there”, and it became about 100 civilians, and it’s “deliberately or not deliberately”, so maybe it’s just a few atrocities and not even a massacre.

You know what – maybe Benny Morris is not even a historian. Since his bias to exonerate the Zionist project is so great, Morris the Zionist sheds a huge shadow of historical revisionism upon Morris the supposed forensic historian.

I would like to thank Morris for uncovering Turkish genocide. But seeing how he simultaneously whitewashes Zionist crimes, this leads me to believe that Morris has an insidious political agenda with this uncovering – to dwarf the crimes of the Zionist venture. Knowing that mere numeric comparison cannot suffice to hide the Zionist crimes, Morris also resorts to historical revisionism, even of his own findings. He even advocates that it didn’t go far enough then – there should have been a complete “separation of populations”…

But Morris can’t even separate Morris the Zionist from Morris the historian. So in the end, at least for me, he’s just Benny Morris, the racist, genocidal ethnic cleanser.

H/t Pabi Shrestha Arihant

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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77 Responses

  1. eljay on January 18, 2019, 10:51 am

    Like all Zionists, Morris believes that the religion-based identity of Jewish grants to those who choose to embrace it the right:
    – to be supremacists;
    – to have a religion-supremacist state; and
    – to do unto others all manner of “necessary evil” they would not have others do unto them.

    Like all Zionists, Morris is a hateful and immoral hypocrite.

    • Misterioso on January 19, 2019, 10:16 am

      @eljay, et al

      Morris: “Anyone who says that Barak and Bill Clinton made the Palestinians an offer they could not agree to is lying. Dennis Ross, the principal negotiator, has already shown in his book that that claim is bullshit. The lack of territorial continuity would only have been between Gaza and the West Bank. They were offered a contiguous territorial bloc of 95 percent of the West Bank, and they rejected it. But the story here is not one plan or another, but the fact that they want 100 percent of the territory of Mandatory Palestine. They were merely playing a game when they said they were ready for a compromise.”

      Reality:
      During the 2000 Camp David Summit while working in tandem, Barak and Clinton tried to shove a very bad deal down Arafat’s throat. It could only be rejected. Suffice to quote Shlomo Ben-Ami, then Israel’s foreign minister and lead negotiator at Camp David: “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.” (National Public Radio, 14 February 2006.)

      Furthermore:
      Regarding the very difficult matter of East Jerusalem, Ben-Ami , revealed that “he spent considerable time after Camp David trying to explain to Israelis that the Palestinians indeed did make significant concessions from their vantage point. ‘They agreed to Israeli sovereignty over Jewish neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, 11 of them’, he said. ‘They agreed to the idea that three blocs of the settlements they so oppose could remain in place and that the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter could be under Israeli sovereignty.’ ” (Deborah Sontag, “Quest for Mideast Peace: How and Why It Failed,” New York Times, 26 July 2001)

      Before the summit began Arafat expressed serious concern that it might fail as not enough time had been devoted to preparation. Nevertheless, he agreed to attend following President Clinton’s assurance that he would not be blamed if negotiations collapsed. According to Palestinian negotiator Abu Ala’a (Ahmed Qurei), as quoted by New York Times columnist Deborah Sontag, “[w]e told [Barak that] without preparation it would be a catastrophe, and now we are living the catastrophe. Two weeks before Camp David, Arafat and I saw Clinton at the White House. Arafat told Clinton he needed more time. Clinton said, ‘Chairman Arafat, come try your best. If it fails, I will not blame you.’ But that is exactly what he did.” (Deborah Sontag, ibid)

    • YoniFalic on January 27, 2019, 12:17 pm

      The Zionist concept of Jewish identity is not precisely religious.

      To understand one must think in German (Modern Israeli Hebrew follows the semantics of German as Klemperer described it in Lingua Tertii Imperii). Before Luther in Germany we find two confessional nations: Christenthum and Judenthum. After Luther Christenthum fragmented religiously and ethnically. Hitler updated the concept of Christentum and called it the Aryan race (a sort of superethnonationlity).

      Descendants of Judenthum faced a similar fragmentation of Judenthum after Mendelssohn and after increasing globalization brought Yiddish-speaking Slavo-Turks into greater contact with descendants of Jewish communities from other ethnic groups. For complex reasons descendants of Jewish communities reinterpreted the medieval confession of Judenthum into the Jewish ethnonationality (Volk) exactly congruent with the German Nazi concept of the Aryan race.

      Both concepts, Jewish ethnonationality and Aryan race, are complete nonsense.

      Just as only a moron, ignoramus, or liar would claim ancient Romans are ancestors of descendants of Medieval Roman Catholic communities, only a moron, ignoramus, or liar claims ancient Judeans are ancestors of descendants of Medieval Jewish communities.

      Ancient Judeans gradually converted to Christianity and to Islam. Their descendants became modern Palestinians.

      Both updates to Medieval Christenthum and Judenthum became essentialist and primordialist justifications and legitimizations for genocide. Both the concept of the Aryan race and also the concept of the Jewish people (Volk or ethnonationality) must be rejected categorically.

  2. Tom Suarez on January 18, 2019, 12:38 pm

    In the aftermath of 1948, Israel experienced a staggering (domestic) violent crime rate, while across the Armistice Line, despite the horrific conditions resulting from the ethnic cleansing, the refugee camps and villages were experiencing calm. Mr. Morris [the historian, not the other one] knows this.
    The ‘well-tempered’ Morris is like the well-tempered clavier: nothing is quite true anymore, but the practical advantages are enormous. Morris straight out of this racist 1947 cartoon: (click on “Pro-Zionist Arthur Szyk” under Political Cartoons).

    • bcg on January 18, 2019, 1:28 pm

      Tom, I wasn’t aware of the crime problems in Israel after 48 – can you point us to some articles that can give some insight into what was going on? Or maybe elaborate some?

      • Tom Suarez on January 18, 2019, 2:34 pm

        Hello, bcg, following are excerpts from my book, State of Terror. I hope this helps.
        ———————————–
        Alec Kirkbride, British ambassador to Amman, visited the northern West Bank village of Nablus in the summer of 1950 and described the situation there as “gloomy indeed”. Its most cultivable land had been taken by Israel, and commodities now had to be imported through Beirut at great expense. Malaria was increasing, and the refugees were crowded into unfit tents that offered little protection against the winter. Nonetheless, there was calm and order in the West Bank, or as Glubb described it, “the appearance of normality”:
        Crime statistics are lower than in the days of the Mandate—apparently in contrast to Israel which seems to be suffering from a crime wave. The low incidence of crime in Arab Palestine is especially remarkable in view of the great fall in the standard of living since Mandate days and the presence of tens of thousands of homeless refugees.
        Yet Israel’s domestic violent crime was so rampant that [etc, the Jerusalem Post warned that]
        Murder, rape and robbery in Israel have taken on alarming proportions. By no means all the incidents can be blamed on infiltrators or remnants of war psychosis among either immigrants or old timers: to a large extent this is merely a final consequence of the general and contemptuous disregard for law that has grown up around us … we are faced with a political situation in which no crime is too crude or pathological to be exploited.
        “Intolerance”, as a British report noted, “explodes into violence with appalling ease in Israel”, whose domestic murder rate in 1951 was fourteen times England’s.

      • snaidamast on January 19, 2019, 12:13 pm

        If you read Tom Suarez’s book, “State of Terror”, you will find that the Zionists were committing violent crimes from the 1920s all the way up to where the book ends in 1956. All of his sources are considered primary sources, many from the Israeli archives themselves…

    • John O on January 18, 2019, 1:45 pm

      @Tom

      Love the well-tempered clavier analogy. Made me laugh out loud.

    • Talkback on January 19, 2019, 7:28 am

      This book is also very interesting in this context:

      Citizen Strangers Palestinians and the Birth of Israel’s Liberal Settler State – Shira N. Robinson

    • marc b. on January 20, 2019, 12:58 pm

      Not to mention the bloody history of organized crime in Israel. Car bombs used to kill cooperating witnesses, weapons disappearing from armories used in gang wars, and on. The Israelis involvement in the trafficking of women for prostitution is deep and wide as well, despite Israeli handwringing over the predatory sexuality of Arab men.

  3. Ossinev on January 18, 2019, 1:57 pm

    What a truly revolting human being masquerading as a scholar. To get a full flavour of his “scholarship” always worth seeing:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTWxfdVHJWU

    A laughing smirking disgusting Fascist s..t. Truly the pride of Zionist “scholarship”. Hopefully with the rest of his evil spawn he will be in due course consigned to the sewer of “history”.

  4. JLewisDickerson on January 18, 2019, 2:11 pm

    RE: “Even if territorial compromise with the Palestinians is not realistic in this generation, as was also the case earlier, you have to play the diplomatic game – even if you know it won’t lead anywhere – in order to retain the West’s sympathy. You have to look like you’re pursuing peace, even if you’re not.” ~ Morris

    SEE: “Permanent Temporariness”, by Alastair Crooke, London Review of Books, 03/03/11:

    [EXCERPT] . . . Israel’s vice-premier, Moshe Ya’alon, was candid when asked in an interview this year: ‘Why all these games of make-believe negotiations?’ He replied:

    Because … there are pressures. Peace Now from within, and other elements from without. So you have to manoeuvre … what we have to do is manoeuvre with the American administration and the European establishment, which are nourished by Israeli elements [and] which create the illusion that an agreement can be reached … I say that time works for those who make use of it. The founders of Zionism knew … and we in the government know how to make use of time. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n05/alastair-crooke/permanent-temporariness

  5. HarryLaw on January 18, 2019, 3:29 pm

    Jonathan Ofir did not include in this well written article [but included in his linked Haaretz interview] probably the most significant ‘political’ opinion of Benny Morris, this is how it was reported by Press TV
    Jewish state’ will soon cease to exist, Israelis may flee to West: Zionist historian

    Influential Zionist historian Benny Morris, professor of the Middle East studies department of the Israeli Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, has foreseen a bleak future for the Zionist establishment.
    “Already today there are more Arabs than Jews between the [Mediterranean] sea and the Jordan. The whole territory is unavoidably becoming one state with an Arab majority,” said Morris in an interview published by the Israeli Haaretz newspaper on Thursday.
    “Israel still calls itself a Jewish state, but a situation in which we rule an occupied people that has no rights, can not persist in the 21st century, in the modern world. And as soon as they do have rights, the state will no longer be Jewish,” added Morris.
    “I do not see how we get out of it.”
    Morris, who was injured by an Egyptian artillery shell in 1969, was discharged from the military to eventually become one of Israel’s influential historians.
    Describing himself as a staunch “left-winger” and “Zionist,” Morris is part of a controversial group of Israeli revisionist historians, openly admitting to and defending events like the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians that is today remembered as the Nakba Day.
    “A Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. Therefore it was necessary to uproot them. There was no choice but to expel that population,” said Morris in an interview with Haaretz in 2004.
    Today, however, Morris believes Israel faces a bleak future considering Arabs’ non-integration in Israel and their larger population.
    “The Palestinians look at everything from a broad, long-term perspective. They see that at the moment, there are five-six-seven million Jews here, surrounded by hundreds of millions of Arabs,” the historian said in the Thursday interview.
    “They have no reason to give in, because the Jewish state can not last.”
    Morris further envisions how an Israel dominated by Arabs will slowly disintegrate.
    “The Arabs will demand the return of the refugees. The Jews will remain a small minority within a large Arab sea of Palestinians,” the historian said.
    “Those among the Jews who can, will flee to America and the West [to avoid persecution].”
    Many Jews, however, have rejected the Zionist concept of Israel being a legitimate Jewish state, dismissing Morris’s understanding, which pits Jews against Arabs.
    Full article here,,,
    https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/01/18/586150/Jewish-state-morris

    • Misterioso on January 19, 2019, 9:35 am

      @Harry Law, et al

      Those in the know say Morris revised his previous views in exchange for a professorship at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

      To quote Dr. Norman Finkelstein: “…the scholarly consensus is that Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1948. Israel’s leading historian on the topic, Benny Morris, although having done more than anyone else to clarify exactly what happened, nonetheless concludes that, morally, it was a good thing—just as, in his view, the ‘annihilation’ of Native Americans was a good thing—that, legally, Palestinians have no right to return to their homes, and that, politically, Israel’s big error in 1948 was that it hadn’t ‘carried out a large expulsion and cleansed the whole country—the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan’ of Palestinians.”
      (“Beyond Chutzpah. On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History” – University of California Press, 2005)

      Also: https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/11/14/benny-morriss-untenable-denial-of-the-ethnic-cleansing-of-palestine/

      A Must read:
      “Benny Morris’s Untenable Denial of the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” by Jeremy R. Hammond, Nov 14, 2016

      “Israeli historian Benny Morris denies the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, but his own research shows that this was indeed how Israel came into being.”

      EXCERPT:
      “The Israeli historian Benny Morris has been very vocal of late in denying that Palestine was ethnically cleansed of Arabs in order for the ‘Jewish state” of Israel to be established. In a series of articles in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Morris has debated the question with several of his critics who contend that ethnic cleansing is precisely what occurred. Not so, argues Morris. So who’s right?

      “It’s worth noting at the outset that, while such a debate exists in the Israeli media, the US media remains, as ever, absolutely silent on the matter. Americans who get their information about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict only from the nightly news or papers like the New York Times and Washington Post would never even know that there is a discussion about it. Not only that, but they would have absolutely no familiarity at all with the idea that Palestine was ethnically cleansed of most of its Arab inhabitants in 1948. That this occurred (or even that this might have occurred) is entirely absent from the discussion; it is simply wiped from history altogether, in the narrative of the conflict propagated by the US media.

      “Even in those rare instances when the mainstream media outlets do refer to the expulsion and flight of Arabs from their villages, it is characterized as only as an unfortunate but unintended consequence of a war started by the neighboring Arab states to wipe the new state of Israel off the map—a narrative that is not merely over-simplified, but false.

      “So was Palestine ethnically cleansed in 1948? The debate between Benny Morris and his interlocutors provides a unique occasion to clear up several myths and misconceptions about what actually happened during the 1948 war. An examination of the arguments Morris presents to deny its occurrence is highly instructive, and offers an opportunity to settle the matter once and for all—and, in doing so, to finally move the discussion about how to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians forward.”

  6. Danaa on January 18, 2019, 4:53 pm

    Does anyone happen to have an archived copy of the interview with Aderet? I don’t subscribe to haaretz so, no access. many probably in the same position.

    I’d really like to have it in front of me though I am sure Ofir does a great job with the excerpts presented….

  7. JWalters on January 18, 2019, 8:09 pm

    Benny Morris’ position is remarkably like that of neo-Nazis who argue that Hitler should have finished his ethnic cleansing. Why is his argument not denounced in the US mainstream media? Where is Tel Aviv Rachel on this?

  8. andrew r on January 18, 2019, 8:24 pm

    Since I took the trouble to read one book of Morris’s, “Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited” (2003), here’s a theme running through the early part of the book that shows the cognitive dissonance between the facts and the typical nakba apologist view that the Palestinians had to be ethnically cleansed because they started the war:

    “Ben-Gurion, like Hapoel Hamizrahi Party’s Moshe Shapira, was concerned lest over-reaction by the Haganah would push the Arab masses, until then uninvolved, to support Husseini and his
    gunmen. Yosef Ya‘akobson, a citrus grove-owner and senior Tel Aviv Haganah figure, was concerned about Haganah destruction of groves, as proposed by Ben-Gurion, lest this lead to Arab retaliation in kind. (71)

    “Ben-Gurion pointed out that the disturbances were so far limited to the three big towns, Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem, and the northern Negev. The Arab rural communities were not engaged, and the Yishuv had to take care not to provoke them. He was worried lest Haganah retaliatory
    strikes lead to Yishuv–British clashes (‘let us not rush into war with the English army’). (73)

    “The main Haganah response to Arab attacks, down to the end of March 1948, remained the retaliatory strike, either against traffic or against specific villages. The reprisal policy was thoroughly aired in a protracted two-day meeting between Ben-Gurion and his military and
    Arab affairs advisers on 1–2 January 1948. The discussion was trig-gered, in some measure, by a series of unauthorised or ill-conceived Haganah attacks in which innocent civilians were killed. The guiding as-sumptions were to avoid extending the conflagration to as yet untouched
    areas, to try to hit the ‘guilty’, and retaliation as close as possible to the time, place and nature of the original provocation. 48 (77)

    “The problem of killing non-combatants continuously exercised the Haganah commanders. Occasionally, indeed, raids were aborted out of fear that atrocities might result (as when a unit that set out to blow up buildings in Kafr ‘Aqeb, north of Jerusalem, decided to withdraw when
    it heard ‘the voices and screams of children’ emanating from a house they were about to destroy 65 ). But more common were cases of ex-cessive behaviour. On 12 January 1948, militiamen from Kibbutz Ramat Hakovesh, contrary to explicit Haganah orders, shot at two Arab women, perhaps cultivating a field, nearby; at least one was injured and may have died. The matter was the subject of an internal investigation. No one appears to have been punished. 66 At the end of February, Haganah guards murdered an Arab peasant and his wife near Kfar Uriah, ‘without any provocation’, according to HIS. 67 On 24 January, four Palmahniks boarded a taxi in Tiberias and murdered the Arab driver (who may have been connected to irregulars). 68 Ben-Gurion was probably referring to such incidents when he criticised ‘condemnable acts against Arabs’ at
    a meeting of the Defence Committee in early February. 69 (80)

    “The Haganah’s difficulty during December 1947 – March 1948 was that while it sought to maintain quiet wherever possible, its reprisals, some-times misdirected, sometimes excessive, tended to suck into the mael-strom more and more Arabs. Only strong, massive, retaliatory action,
    it was felt, would overawe and pacify the Arabs. But the reprisals often hit the innocent along with the guilty, bred anger and vengefulness and made additional Arab communities amenable to the Husseinis’ militant-nationalist appeals, despite great initial reluctance to enter the fray. 96” (85)

    What’s interesting about this point is that while Morris discusses it at length for almost 20 pages, he doesn’t pass any committal judgement as to whether the Haganah practice of “retaliation” did in fact spread the war to the countryside. And this is before going into the series of local non-belligerency agreements made between Arab villages and Zionist settlements, including that between Deir Yassin and Givat Shaul (which the Irgun broke with Haganah collusion).

    • Misterioso on January 19, 2019, 9:57 am

      @andrew r, et al

      For the record:
      In response to the Palestinians’ entirely justified angry response to the recommendatory only and illegal UNGA Partition Plan, on 5 December 1947, Ben-Gurion, leader of the Yishuv (the Jewish community in Palestine), ordered “immediate action to expand Jewish settlement in three areas assigned to the Arab state: the South West (Negev), the South-East (Etzion bloc) and Western Galilee.” (Political and Diplomatic Documents of the Jewish Agency, 1947- 48, no. 12). Thus, Ben-Gurion revealed that the Jewish Agency had no intention of abiding by the terms of the Partition Plan.

      In his December 13/47 dispatch to London, Sir Alan Cunningham, the British High Commissioner to Palestine blamed the Yishuv for the deteriorating situation and loss of life: “The initial Arab outbreaks were spontaneous and unorganized and were more demonstrations of displeasures at the UN decision than determined attacks on Jews. The weapons initially employed [by Palestinians] were sticks and stones and had it not been for Jewish resource to firearms, it is not impossible that the excitement would have subsided and little loss of life caused…. [T]here is reliable evidence that the Arab Higher Committee as a whole and the Mufti in particular, were not in favour of serious outbreaks.” (MEC: Cunningham Papers, box 2, file 3)

      Ben-Gurion agreed with Cunningham. In a letter dated 15 December 1947 to Moshe Sharett, head of the political department of the Jewish Agency, he stated: “The [Palestinian] peasant masses are not taking part in the riots.” (Three months later in a letter to Sharett and Golda Meir he observed: “The [Palestinian] Arabs in their great majority are not seeking war with us.”)

      Shortly after Britain’s announcement that it intended to withdraw from Palestine beginning 15 May 1948, Ben-Gurion directed the Irgunists, Sternists and Palmach to increase the ferocity of their strikes against Palestinian Arabs. He ordered that “in each attack, a decisive blow should be struck, resulting in the destruction of homes and the expulsion of the population.” (Ben-Gurion’s Diary-in Hebrew, vol. 1, 19 December 1947) The Zionists were implementing what they called Plans A, B and C or Tochnit May (Plan May), more commonly known as Plan Gimmel. Its objectives were to buy time for the mobilization of Jewish forces by seizing strategic points the British vacated and to terrorize the Palestinian population into submission. (Professor Walid Khalidi, Harvard, Haven to Conquest, p. lxxix)

      On December 13, the Irgun carried out coordinated assaults in Jerusalem, Jaffa, and the village of Tireh near Haifa, killing 35 Palestinian civilians and wounding many more. The 14 December issue of the New York Times observed that “The hope for a decrease in tension, arising from Arab reaction to the United States decision on partition of Palestine, seemed destroyed by the Irgun Zvai Leumi terrorist bombings of Arabs yesterday.” (John Quigley, Palestine and Israel…, p. 41)

      On December 19, as ordered by the Jewish Agency, the Haganah’s Palmach killed ten Palestinian civilians (including five children) at the village of Khisas and “…this crime was in no sense the sudden deed of hotheads but part of a considered policy which had been preceded by debate, and was finally ordered by the highest authorities of the Jewish Agency and Haganah.” (Sykes, Crossroads to Israel, p. 337)

      The next day, the Palmach dynamited the home of one of the elders in the village of Qazaza in central Palestine, killing five children and on December 29, Irgunists murdered 17 Palestinian civilians by throwing grenades into a crowd at Herod’s Gate in Jerusalem.

      “On 30 December, a British intelligence observer reported that the Haganah was moving fast to exploit Palestinian weaknesses and disorganization, especially in Haifa and Jaffa, and to render them ‘completely powerless’ so as to force them into flight.” (A report by G.J. Jenkins, 30 Dec.,1947, British Embassy, Cairo, PRO,FO 371/68366,E458)

      The die was cast.

      • andrew r on January 19, 2019, 7:20 pm

        In the case of the Khisas attack, it’s worth noting that the raid wasn’t authorized by the Jewish Agency or Haganah General Staff – this resulted in a meeting by the former where some JA officials wanted to throw the Haganah officer behind the raid under the bus. In the end no one was disciplined (of course). The HGS ordered the brigades to refrain from “unauthorized operations” but this apparently did little good. (Morris, 79-80)

        The problem with Morris’s narrative is that while he emphasizes the JA’s fretting over what their operations might result in and their determination to avoid excessive non-combatant casualties, he faintly hints they didn’t do a very good job in that area and refrains from seriously evaluating the impact of Haganah operations. Which I think is a sign of his political bias seeping into his technical research.

        That said, I don’t like falling into the trap of going over the events of 1947-49 with a fine-tooth comb. It’s not that important who immediately started the violence after the UNSCOP plan was passed, not only because the Haganah and two Revisionist groups were already in a low-level campaign to conquer Palestine from the British. What matters is that the Zionists arrived in a country where they had no citizenship with the conceit it was their right to exercise state power. This makes them hostile and morally responsible for all acts of violence to achieve their goal.

      • RoHa on January 19, 2019, 11:10 pm

        “What matters is that the Zionists arrived in a country where they had no citizenship with the conceit it was their right to exercise state power. This makes them hostile and morally responsible for all acts of violence to achieve their goal.’

        Exactly!

    • Jackdaw on January 21, 2019, 11:24 am

      Mister 0

      “Thus, Ben-Gurion revealed that the Jewish Agency had no intention of abiding by the terms of the Partition Plan. ”

      Abide by the terms of the Partition Plan that the Arabs rejected.

      Huh?

      • Talkback on January 21, 2019, 3:31 pm

        Jackdaw: “Abide by the terms of the Partition Plan that the Arabs rejected. Huh?”

        Both sides didn’t want the partition plan. Only one side was honest about it from the beginning.

      • YoniFalic on January 27, 2019, 4:33 pm

        No Palestinian group responded to partition plan until January because no one was available with authority to respond. When a response was made, it was attempt to continue negotiations, but the Zionist leadership had already put plans for genocide into operation

  9. RoHa on January 18, 2019, 11:49 pm

    I agree with Morris when he says that expulsion of the Palestinians was necessary for the creation of a Jewish State. But I see this as showing that it was wrong to create a Jewish State.

    “the Palestinian Arabs on the east side of the Jordan River and the Jews on the west side … They would have been satisfied with a state of their own, not exactly what they wanted,”

    As far as I can tell (and if I’m wrong, please say so) what the Palestinians wanted was to live in Palestine, and certainly would not have been satisfied with “a state of their own” on the East bank of the Jordan.

    • Talkback on January 19, 2019, 4:18 am

      RoHa: “As far as I can tell (and if I’m wrong, please say so) what the Palestinians wanted was to live in Palestine, and certainly would not have been satisfied with “a state of their own” on the East bank of the Jordan.”

      The Palestinians simply wanted their country to be released into independence. Their leaders proposed a secular democratic state with minority rights.

      Morris is a full fledged Judeonazi. He’s basically making the case for the Nazi’s persecution of Jews to create an Aryan state.

  10. RoHa on January 18, 2019, 11:51 pm

    “In the Arab world – and the Israeli Arabs are part of it – you find a lack of self-criticism. It’s always the stranger who’s to blame.”

    It’s always the stranger who’s to blame for anti-Israeli sentiment. Is this indicative of a lack of self-criticism among Israelis?

  11. RoHa on January 18, 2019, 11:53 pm

    It’s always the stranger who’s to blame for anti-Jewish sentiment. Is this indicative of a lack of self-criticism among Jews?

    • Mooser on January 20, 2019, 12:18 pm

      “Is this indicative of a lack of self-criticism among Jews?”

      Oh, surely not. Much more likely to be a projection of the intense and painful self-criticism our particular linear polymer of nucleotides demands of us, if you get my drift.

  12. RoHa on January 18, 2019, 11:55 pm

    “They (the Palestinians, and especially Arafat) are the products of a culture in which to tell a lie… creates no dissonance. … Truth is seen as an irrelevant category…”

    And we know the Israelis have always been scrupulously truthful about everything.

  13. RoHa on January 19, 2019, 12:23 am

    Does anyone have a figure for the number of Palestinians killed by the Zionists in 1947/48?

  14. Elizabeth Block on January 19, 2019, 9:57 am

    Interesting that Benny Morris wrote about the Armenian genocide. Here is a present-day Turk, quoted in Avedis Hadjian’s “Secret Nation,” about the Armenians still living in Turkey today though most of them won’t identify themselves as Armenian:
    “This country needs violence. Otherwise, the justification for a massive army and police force would fall apart.”
    Not only Turkey. Without the Palestinians, what would happen to Israel? Massive fratricide.

    • andrew r on January 19, 2019, 6:48 pm

      I’ve noticed Israelis (and supporters) tend to get a bit smug about civil wars happening in Arab states while Jewish Israelis live peacefully with each other. Which makes me wonder what they’d be doing without the Palestinians to kick around.

  15. rthomas13 on January 19, 2019, 10:37 am

    His argument is almost obscene, because it can be applied to Hitler’s genocide against the Jews also. If the Nazis had finished their work, our world today would be indeed more peaceful, because there would be no Jews and no Israel so no conflict with Palestinians. Disgusting but true.

    • annie on January 19, 2019, 12:45 pm

      oh i just saw your comment rthomas. i glanced through them to see if anyone had made this (obvious) point but your comment had not passed moderation yet.

    • andrew r on January 19, 2019, 6:45 pm

      This could be extended to the entire Cold War itself. Had the Germans won the war and succeeded in Germanizing the Soviet Union, the resulting unipolar world would’ve had no civil wars in Greece, China, Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, no US intervention in SE Asia, no Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, etc. Of course the Germans probably wouldn’t have stopped at Europe and could just as easily have invaded the MENA.

  16. annie on January 19, 2019, 12:23 pm

    If [David Ben-Gurion] was already engaged in expulsion, maybe he should have done a complete job. I know that this stuns the Arabs and the liberals and the politically correct types. But my feeling is that this place would be quieter and know less suffering if the matter had been resolved once and for all. If Ben-Gurion had carried out a large expulsion and cleansed the whole country – the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan River. It may yet turn out that this was his fatal mistake. If he had carried out a full expulsion – rather than a partial one – he would have stabilized the State of Israel for generations.

    “maybe he should have done a complete job”

    sound familiar? i’ve heard this same sentiment before.

    “I know that this stuns the Arabs and the liberals and the politically correct types.”

    no different than blurting out “maybe hitler should have done a complete job” then adding, quite casually, i know that Jews and “politically correct types” would be stunned, “But my feeling is that this place would be quieter and know less suffering if the matter had been resolved once and for all.”

    how scholarly of him to share his musings, cushioning his genocidal thoughts with ‘i know politically correct types are stunned’. it’s not, or it shouldn’t be, just politically correct types.

    he uses the term “liquidation” with ataturk. he says ataturk “mobilized Islam to execute that scheme”, would he claim judaism was mobilized to execute a scheme of liquidation? would he say “the implementation of a [zionist] policy that would lead to that end, which meant either exile or massacre”

    the casualness in which he reveals his inner self doesn’t stun me. not after decades of perpetuating teaspoon liquidation. try it, just let it roll off the tongue >> ‘my feeling is that Palestinians would know less suffering if the matter of Jewish “full expulsion” (or liquidation) had been resolved once and for all.’

    why can’t he hear himself?

    • Danaa on January 19, 2019, 1:44 pm

      why can’t he hear himself?

      Because to hear is to know the full measure of one’s utter selfishness, greed and capacity for cruelty?

      Because to hear is to open the door to self-disgust of the extreme kind?

      Because to hear is to know why hell was invented in the first place?

  17. bcg on January 19, 2019, 6:17 pm

    Gideon Levy responds to Morris in Haaretz:

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/benny-morris-dystopian-predictions-about-israel-s-future-miss-the-point-1.6851970

    “A degree of oppression, which here and there included minor crimes,” is how he described decades of military dictatorship, one of the cruelest in the world today, a huge and ongoing war crime. ..The historian who regretted that Israel didn’t expel all the Arabs to the other side of the Jordan River in 1948; the researcher who presented two choices, ethnic cleansing or genocide; the person who proposed imprisoning the Palestinians in a cage, because “there are wild animals there,” now can’t figure out “how we extricate ourselves from this.” .

    • YoniFalic on January 28, 2019, 2:41 am

      Ethnic cleansing is not a crime defined in international law. It is obviously the physical destruction of a population in a territory. (Lemkin wanted German state behavior before the start of the Holocaust to be captured within the definition of genocide.) Ethnic cleansing is purely a euphemism for genocide.

      White racist European colonial-settler invader-genocidaires committed genocide in 1947-8. The acts of genocide continue to this day. No ifs, ans, or buts.

      After Auschwitz and Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (terminus a quo for international anti-genocide legal regime), it was vile and criminal to found a state in post-Auschwitz genocide.

      There is no statute of limitations in international anti-genocide law.

      Just as opposing the abolition of US southern slavery before 1865 was evil, opposing the abolition of the white racist European settler-colonist invader-genocidaire state is completely evil today.

      • Talkback on January 28, 2019, 8:28 am

        “In its final report S/1994/674, the same Commission described ethnic cleansing as “… a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.”

        The Commission of Experts also stated that the coercive practices used to remove the civilian population can include: murder, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, extrajudicial executions, rape and sexual assaults, severe physical injury to civilians, confinement of civilian population in ghetto areas, forcible removal, displacement and deportation of civilian population, deliberate military attacks or threats of attacks on civilians and civilian areas, use of civilians as human shields, destruction of property, robbery of personal property, attacks on hospitals, medical personnel, and locations with the Red Cross/Red Crescent emblem, among others.

        The Commission of Experts added that these practices can “… constitute crimes against humanity and can be assimilated to specific war crimes. Furthermore, such acts could also fall within the meaning of the Genocide Convention.”
        http://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/ethnic-cleansing.html

      • echinococcus on January 28, 2019, 8:57 am

        So, to summarize what Talkback quoted, it’s just as Falic stated: “Ethnic cleansing is purely a euphemism for genocide…. No ifs, ans, or buts.”

      • Talkback on January 28, 2019, 1:23 pm

        @echi

        What’s more interesting is that Israel ticks every box regarding the “coercive practices used to remove the civilian population”.

        This is a very interesting article about the typical expulsion pattern and even about Zionist labor concentration camps which were visisted by the international Red Cross: https://zochrot.org/en/article/51019

      • mondonut on January 28, 2019, 2:21 pm

        @echinococcus Ethnic cleansing is purely a euphemism for genocide…. No ifs, ans, or buts.
        So the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem by the Arabs was genocide?

      • echinococcus on January 28, 2019, 3:12 pm

        The Nut seems to ask if the expulsion of Jewish persons from Old Quds by its Jordanian defenders and caretakers during the Zionist war of aggression was “ethnic cleansing”, except he’s not asking. And it’s not.
        §
        Of course, any Palestinian of the Jewish persuasion residing there before the declaration of hostile intent by the Zionists (1897), or offspring of such Palestinians, who had not been charged with collaboration with the invading enemy, can and should file a demand for rehabilitation and reparation. Of course the expulsion of invaders cannot ever be considered “ethnic cleansing” but a normal and much to be wished act of defense.

      • mondonut on January 28, 2019, 6:02 pm

        @echinococcus Of course the expulsion of invaders cannot ever be considered “ethnic cleansing” …

        The Jordanian invaders expelled the indigenous Jewish natives under the pretense that the Jews were the invaders? And they expelled every single last one of them? And that somehow the single most comprehensive act of ethnic cleansing in the region’s modern history was not ethnic cleansing (or genocide) at all – because they were Jews.

        War is peace / freedom is slavery / ignorance is strength.

      • Talkback on January 28, 2019, 7:52 pm

        mondonut: “So the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem by the Arabs was genocide?”

        If I’m not mistaken the Jews of East Jerusalem were evacuated as part of a truce.

      • echinococcus on January 29, 2019, 1:21 am

        The Nut still can’t read:

        “any Palestinian of the Jewish persuasion residing there before the declaration of hostile intent by the Zionists (1897), or offspring of such Palestinians, who had not been charged with collaboration with the invading enemy, can and should file a demand for rehabilitation and reparation” means that any Palestinian who happens to be Jewish, and descends from one who resided in Palestine from before the declaration, by Zionists, of intent to invade and take over, is NOT an invader. Anyone brought here by Zionists is.

      • Talkback on January 29, 2019, 8:58 am

        So I read the part about Jerusalem again. First of all, the Zionists started to conquer Jerusalem despite the will of the international community for a corpus seperatum. It was then, when Transjordan intervened and started to besiege Jerusalem. In the old Jewish quarter Jews where starving and asked to surrender despite Ben Gurion’s order that every surrendering Jew would be murdered. And as part of the terms of surrender they had to evacuate the old quarter, but where not massacred despite this all happened shortly after the Zionist massacre in Deir Yassin.

        As tragic as this was – it doesn’t come close to a “a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas”. We all know that the Zionists expelled Nonjews for ther same reason they won’t allow them to return. To maintain a regime dominated by Jews. And this policy can simply and rightfully be called Apartheid.

      • mondonut on January 29, 2019, 12:22 pm

        @echinococcus The Nut still can’t read:

        Sure I can read, but your comments were, in order:

        1. Laughably ridiculous
        2. A pack of lies.

        The indigenous Jewish residents of Jerusalem were not removed for collaboration, they were removed for being Jews. And there is no need to “file a demand” (with who?), as all of Jerusalem is Israel and any Israeli who chooses to live there can do so.

      • echinococcus on January 29, 2019, 4:17 pm

        To say it like the regretted Dr. Flesch, the Nut still can’t read:

        1. The Zionist invaders residing in Jerusalem were expelled from Old Quds because they were invaders, because they had officially pledged their loyalty to a mortal enemy who started the war of aggression, and also to satisfy a Zionist demand of the ceasefire agreement that they be removed. When you start wars, you accept consequences, duh. Especially if you expressly ask for them

        2. Any Palestinian with Jewish ancestry, meaning a real Palestinian who was resident in Palestine before 1897 (the year Zionist invaders officially announced their intent to invade and colonize), or offspring thereof, would be fully justified in asking for reparations from the Jordanian caretaker administration if he had been expelled. If he had not collaborated with the Zionist enemy, that is. All others were invaders and they of course were expelled –and they still must still be sent away anyway.

        Now where is ethnic cleansing in any of this?

        If the Nut doesn’t like others to repeat what they said, he should take remedial reading lessons.

  18. wdr on January 19, 2019, 6:40 pm

    Benny Morris is in Fantasy Land if he thinks that the Israelis, during the War of Independence of 1948-9, had the slightest possibility of taking control of the West Bank, much less forcing the inhabitants to leave. The Israelis did not have the military capability of taking the Old City of Jerusalem- presumably their Number One goal- in 1948-9, and did not gain it until 1967. The US and the other major powers would have stopped any Israeli incursion way past the boundaries of the Jewish state as set out by the UN in the Partition Plan. Most Israelis wanted peace, so that they could start to build their country and absorb the hundreds of thousands of Jews who wanted to migrate there. They were only too happy to have Ralph Bunche broker a ceasefire deal with the Arabs in 1949. There had no stomach or resources or support for further military adventures. By the way, members of this site, how is that there was no independent Palestinian state established in 1948-9, although the West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands? Eh? How is it that Jordan took over the West Bank and Egypt took over Gaza?

    • Citizen on January 19, 2019, 8:51 pm

      When Israel’s birth war ended, Jordan held the West Bank and Egypt held Gaza. Jordan promptly gave it’s Palestinians nearly full Jordanian citizenship, while Egypt chose to isolate Gaza and give part of it to Israel. That’s what I gleaned from this article: https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-egypt-has-always-held-the-palestinians-of-gaza-in-contempt-1.5827868

      Maybe there’s more to it than that.

    • Talkback on January 20, 2019, 5:10 am

      wdr: “Benny Morris is in Fantasy Land if he thinks that the Israelis, during the War of Independence of 1948-9, had the slightest possibility of taking control of the West Bank, much less forcing the inhabitants to leave.”

      That’s funny, because in fall 1948 the provisional GoI prepared the invasion, but cancelled it only, because it knew that the need for expelling all Nonjews to maintain a Jewish majority would undermine its attempt to become a UN member. And it also feared that GB might intervene on Transjordan’s side.

      So in December 1948 it planned to conquer Gaza and the Sinai and made major gains in the the Sinai. But GB got word of this invasion and threatened to intervene.

      wdr: “By the way, members of this site, how is that there was no independent Palestinian state established in 1948-9, although the West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands? Eh? How is it that Jordan took over the West Bank and Egypt took over Gaza?”

      Because the goal was to restore the territorial integrity of Palestine which was violated by the Jewish Apartheid Junta first and then declare its independence. That’s of course nothing what Israel would do, if its Nonjewish majority would take over 78% through war and reduce Jews to a 25% minority. Israel would share its territory, right?

    • Jonathan Ofir on January 20, 2019, 12:32 pm

      wdr: “Benny Morris is in Fantasy Land if he thinks that the Israelis, during the War of Independence of 1948-9, had the slightest possibility of taking control of the West Bank, much less forcing the inhabitants to leave. The Israelis did not have the military capability of taking the Old City of Jerusalem- presumably their Number One goal- in 1948-9, and did not gain it until 1967. The US and the other major powers would have stopped any Israeli incursion way past the boundaries of the Jewish state as set out by the UN in the Partition Plan.”

      The Israeli forces did, in fact, take over large parts of the West Bank. As you may know, the 56% of historical Palestine was far from the 78% that Israel eventually took control of by 1949. Ilan Pappe notes the causes for this ‘hesitation’ in terms of the West Bank – there was a collusion between the Zionists (Golda Meir), and the Jordanians (Abdullah), that meant that Jordan would in principle stay out of the war, if the Zionists would stay out of the West Bank (see Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine).
      Anyway, Israel, which at first promised USA explicitly to stick to the UN 1947 ‘Partition Plan’ lines on the eve of the state Declaration, did not abide by it, and wasn’t planning to. It became a question of balance – how to expand further without losing the war altogether.

      Regarding ‘forcing the inhabitants to leave’, let it be noted, that the mass and violent ethnic cleansing of Lydda and Ramleh, directed by Ben-Gurion and signed by Rabin, was taking place IN THE WEST BANK. That area was not meant to be part of the ‘Jewish State’ by those 1947 suggested lines.

  19. Cabe on January 19, 2019, 6:50 pm

    This is full of interesting points.

    Benny Morris must be a tormented individual. He obviously has a morbid fascination with meticulously detailing the history of expulsion of Palestinians, sometimes trying to palliate it with excuses, but more often describing it with all its loathsomeness. That he should conclude that the expulsions were necessary is no surprise. The right can hardly welcome him since he did more than any other individual Israeli to eliminate the myth about “Arab orders” leading to the population clearing out; he shows that in nearly all cases the Palestinians left because they were either terrified or were driven out at gunpoint, leaving Israel’s subsequent refusal to let them come back as clearly unethical. What else is left except for some kind of exceptionalism based on ethnic identity after that? But, as he perceives, that will not wash in today’s world, so naturally he is an ultra-pessimist, something like Daniel Pipes.

    Morris’s assertion that driving out all the Palestinians in 1948 would have been better is only a speculation. At the time, Israel decided not to precisely because they were afraid of outside intervention. Even had they gotten away with it initially, the number of people oppressed would have been much, much larger, which would have had more foul consequences in the long run.

    As for the idea of the Palestinians being satisfied with Transjordan for a state, that has long been an Israeli claim and dream, but it isn’t so, first of all because people don’t like being robbed of their own homes and second because Transjordan=present-day Jordan is too arid. The areas in Jordan which allow rain-fed agriculture are much smaller than those currently under Israeli control, nor are they so productive, because the rainfall is less. Today the Kingdom of Jordan has about 11 million people and all of its easily inhabitable areas are quite crowded. It has one huge problem: a chronic water shortage that will never be easy to solve.

    As for the comparison with Turkey, it is not really accurate either. It is true that various terrible ethnic cleansings took place in Turkey, the Balkans, and the Caucasus, but all of these were perpetrated between indigenous groups that were fighting over land. These groups had dwelt mixed together under the Ottoman dispensation, when modern nationalism did not yet matter, but with the arrival of full-blown European nationalism shortly after 1800 and its great expansion as a result of the peace of 1878 that created independent Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro as well as autonomous Bulgaria, all the different identity groups began eyeing their situation with a view to grabbing as much territory as possible, which meant ousting their neighbors. So huge expulsions happened, culminating in Turkey’s continuous wars 1911-1923 which led to more ethnically homogenous states in the entire region. Turkey suffered greatly too, as the demographer Justin McCarthy has shown in his book Death and Exile, with as much as quarter of the current Turkish gene pool consisting of refugees that were taken in from other areas. This does rather contrast with the Zionist project of settler colonization, which has been throughout more one-sided.

  20. tomgoldberg on January 19, 2019, 8:11 pm

    Well, we all know that incitement is not something Israeli law enforcement takes lightly. Mr Morris shall be indicted shortly.

    Right?

    • Talkback on January 20, 2019, 4:38 am

      Nope. Under Israeli Apartheid inciting Jews are honored or promoted.

  21. Mustacq Abdullah on January 20, 2019, 12:40 am

    Huh? Is this clown seriously the one to write the history of “Isräel”?

    Talk about lopsided bias toward a nation. Talk about upsiding the Zïonist Occupiers. Talk about downsizing the natives of Palestine! Morris has it! AND HE IS IN CHARGE OF WRITING HISTORY! He’s a wolf looking after sheep. He’s a lion looking after the butchery.

  22. wondering jew on January 20, 2019, 1:09 pm

    Can one imagine Israel’s war of independence deprived of the critical event of the nakba?

    It is difficult, probably impossible to balance a concern for the Jews in the 30’s, with concern for the Palestinians in 47-48. How do we in 2019 relate to today and to the past?

    Not all Jews accept the nationalistic interpretation of their Jewish identities. In the US the Jewish zeitgeist is certainly against nationalism, as it is against religion and so the identity is left for individual interpretation. For others to whom religion is important the Jewish national aspect is trivial. But for most of those living in Israel/Palestine, the national aspect of Jewish identity is quite important and for many of their Jewish supporters who do not live there, this national aspect is also important.

    The exile or expulsion of 3/4 of a million Palestinians in 47-48 combined with the attitude towards Israeli Arabs til today and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza for the past 50 years has been a grievous blow to the Palestinian people. During the days of Rabin when hopes were raised about a peace treaty between the peoples there was a theory about how the two nationalities could coexist. Such a balancing act is no longer seriously contemplated without distraction from the real world.

    The Right of Return will probably lead to something other than a utopian democratic kumbaya vision. And it is only natural for those who value the national aspect of the Jewish identity to fear the probable outcome as something that needs to be avoided.

    whether it’s benny morris waxing nostalgic about expelling more Arabs instead of none or whether it’s the columnist for the Times wrapping herself in the mantle of Dr. King to attack Israel, there is no positive news here. as we get further from the era of rabin we do not get closer to an era of kumbaya and things will get worse before they get worst.

    • annie on January 20, 2019, 2:20 pm

      it is only natural for those who value the national aspect of the Jewish identity to fear the probable outcome as something that needs to be avoided.

      that reminds me of something Omar Barghouti said on the 6th anniversary of the BDS movement.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2011/07/omar-barghouti-on-the-6th-anniversary-of-the-bds-call-bds-targets-a-system-of-oppression-so-that-all-people-can-live-in-equality-and-justice.html

      Resistance to oppression always alienates the oppressors. It’s a rule in any resistance to colonial oppression throughout history and the colonial community is never fond of it, of this resistance. They would like us to be complacent slaves who just take injustice as fate and just live with it, move on. Well we won’t move on. We’ll continue resisting and it will continue bothering them because it promises to deprive them of their colonial privilege and no one is happy to give up, simply, their colonial privilege….

      ……

      This suppression reflects that they’re really scared and when people feel scared they do ban together until the price becomes much higher and then you’ll see cracks in this wall of silence in Israel and wall of complicity in Israel where almost all Israelis are complicit…..Only when the price goes higher as we’re doing and that’s why BDS is truly alarming to the establishment, to the colonial establishment in Israel. It promises to threaten their hegemony and their privilege and once that happens we’ll see the dissent. That’s what happened in South Africa

      it’s really good, you should watch the whole thing:

    • Mooser on January 20, 2019, 5:38 pm

      ” it’s the columnist for the Times wrapping herself in the mantle of Dr. King to attack Israel”

      Wasn’t that a mantle Zionists had no trouble ripping off a corpse and wearing for their own purposes? Just at Mondo, how many reams of ‘MLK was a Zionist, so you should be too’ comments are there?

  23. wondering jew on January 20, 2019, 4:13 pm

    If Omar Barghouti would be the ruler of the new Palestine I would bet that he would do his utmost that it would be democratic and the only deprivation the Israeli Jews would feel would be that of colonial privilege. But O.B. will not be the ruler of the new Palestine, and I will bet that the new rulers of Palestine will not be as conscientious as O.B. in terms of what the new Palestine will look like. And his assumption that his view will predominate is a type of blindness or falsehood. And your assumption that his view will predominate is a type of “follow the leader”.

    • annie on January 20, 2019, 4:47 pm

      his assumption that his view will predominate is a type of blindness or falsehood.

      we’ll see about that won’t we.

    • Mooser on January 20, 2019, 5:35 pm

      ” and the only deprivation the Israeli Jews would feel would be that of colonial privilege”

      Exactly! Why would it bother Israelis to be held liable for violence and assault,subject to equality under law, and subject to legal suits, and International law? Those “colonial privileges” won’t be hard to give up.

  24. Ossinev on January 20, 2019, 5:48 pm

    @WJ
    ” the only deprivation the Israeli Jews would feel would be that of colonial privilege”

    There is I`m afraid an air of naivete and condescencion in this comment and what appears to be your general attitude to the theft of Palestine. It presupposes that the “colonisation” came about due to a combination of unforeseen circumstances as opposed to a deliberate and blatant project to occupy and steal another people`s land by an extreme religious group. It also suggests that this colonisation was in some way shape or form “benign” as opposed to being an ongoing brutal oppression involving full scale ethnic cleansing and incremental genocide.

    “the new rulers of Palestine will not be as conscientious as O.B. in terms of what the new Palestine will look like”

    As before extreme condescencion and an archetypal “colonisers propaganda ploy as in “be careful what you wish for in your fight for freedom from colonial oppression”.

    “it is only natural for those who value the national aspect of the Jewish identity to fear the probable outcome as something that needs to be avoided”

    Of course thieves fear outcomes. It comes under the heading of “Losing Ill Gotten Gains”

  25. wondering jew on January 20, 2019, 11:45 pm

    Ossinev- If only Omar Barghouti was as honest as you.

    • annie on January 21, 2019, 2:56 am

      how is Barghouti being dishonest, by not calling a thief a thief? if only your enemy was as evil as you want him to be. you concede ” he would do his utmost that it would be democratic” but dismiss this as you don’t think he would lead anyway and whomever did lead wouldn’t be as even handed as him, now you elude he’s being dishonest. this is really others you doesn’t it:

      Five years ago a rabbi stood up and asks Barghouti why he wasn’t honest about the BDS demands of ending inequality and having full equality for Palestinians in Israel. He asked him “Why don’t you just say it, that you want to destroy Israel?”

      I specifically copied this segment of the interview because Barghouti’s response  clearly speaks to the intentions of the BDS movement.

      Let me understand what you just said, so I told him “you’re saying ending inequality would destroy Israel what does that say about Israel? Has ending inequality destroyed South Africa? Ending apartheid destroy South Africa? Has ending segregation in the US destroyed the United States, southern states that had an apartheid system? We did not call it apartheid then but it was an apartheid system. Since when does ending inequality destroy anything? It destroys inequality, it destroys apartheid, it destroys injustice. That’s what we’re delegitimizing in Israel, its occupation, its apartheid, its denial of our basic rights, its ethnic cleansing. Yes, we’re proud to be delegitimizing Israel’s oppression, Israel violations of international law. That does not call for ending the existence of any person or any group or anything, it does not target people as people, it targets a system of oppression so that all people can live in equality and justice.”

      • wondering jew on January 21, 2019, 1:30 pm

        In my defense against Ossinev I got carried away in my attack on Barghouti. I should have written “If only Barghouti were honest enough to admit that opinions like Ossinev’s may carry the day when the new Palestine is established.”

  26. Jackdaw on January 21, 2019, 11:21 am

    Jonathan Ofir knows everything there is to know about Arabs in Israel , all from his Scandanavian redoubt.

    • Jonathan Ofir on January 22, 2019, 2:05 am

      Jackdaw: “Jonathan Ofir knows everything there is to know about Arabs in Israel , all from his Scandanavian redoubt.”

      Jackdaw appears to be asserting, that I am ignorant and cowardly.
      Jackdaw, I have learned about Palestinians in, under the control of, and outside Israel. I have gone to visit occupied Palestinian territories, I have met with Palestinian human rights organizations, I have gone to towns who have had resistance campaigns, spoken with resistance leaders. Yes, I have passed by those big Israeli signs warning me of entry into area A at my own peril…
      Most Israelis don’t even bother, you see. You can be an Israeli citizen living in some West Bank redoubt, drive on a segregated highway and not know a thing about those ‘Arabs’ you dispossess – it’s totally possible. You can drive by that Apartheid wall and not know that there’s anything behind it.
      And now my place of residence is being spoken of, as if it disqualifies me from credibility. You know, its amazing how Israeli apologists welcome opinion and support, as stupid as it may be, from abroad. When it’s support like StandWithUs and Roseanne Barr and Shmuley Boteach and Elie Wiesel demonizing Palestinians and their supporters, then it’s all good – because “they are our friends”. But when it’s critical like me, it’s just another self-hater from a Scandinavian redoubt.

    • Misterioso on July 13, 2019, 10:47 am

      @Jackdaw

      “Jonathan Ofir knows everything there is to know about Arabs in Israel , all from his Scandanavian redoubt.”

      We get it Jackdaw: the truth hurts.

  27. Steve Macklevore on January 27, 2019, 9:34 am

    The idea that a competent historian would use a book written by Dennis Ross as reliable evidence is ludicrous.

    • YoniFalic on January 27, 2019, 6:17 pm

      Of course, a competent historian consults a primary source written by a major political actor, but he also never forgets that it is written by a political actor and almost certainly biased as well as self-serving.

  28. YoniFalic on January 27, 2019, 4:43 pm

    There is no international legal definition of ethnic cleansing. Ethnic cleansing is euphemism for genocide.

    Honesty requires clearly stating that white racist European invaders like members of my family committed a long planned genocide in 47-48 and that genocidal actions continue to this day.

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