Texts, Lies and Videotape:Answer to Prof.Benni Morris / Prof.Efraim Karsh

There is an on-going debate between 2 historians - Prof. Benni Morris and Prof. Efraim Karsh - on the Palestinian Refugees Issue. 3 articles were published on this web site by the 2 professors:July 10,July 17 and 24.Enclosed a link to Prof.Benny Morris article from Aug 3.

Letter to the Editor :Prof.Efraim Karsh Response to Prof. Benni Morris, The National Interest
August 10, 2011
Benny Morris appears genuinely oblivious to the stark discrepancy between depicting Israel as an ethnic cleanser in his early work and blaming the Palestinians for genocidal ambitions in his later years. In his recent National Interest article, he denounces criticism of this glaring contradiction as "defamation and incitement by both extremists Jews [sic] and extremist Muslims."

While I resent being lumped into either group, I can readily understand the difficulty of figuring out which line of thinking Morris really believes.

The post-conversion Morris objects to a "Muslim video" claiming that Jews massacred 250-300 men, women, and children at Deir Yassin in April 1948, noting that "Arab researchers already in the 1980s concluded that only about 100 Arabs combatants and noncombatants died in the village that day."

But Morris himself wrote in his influential 1988 book, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, that "some 250 Arabs, mostly non-combatants, were murdered" at Deir Yassin (p. 113). If it was common knowledge in the 1980s that only around 100 Arabs were killed, then his figures in The Birth make him either incompetent or untruthful. In any case, it's absurd for him to find fault with those who rely on this and other dubious claims from The Birth to demonize Israel—after all, he hasn't disavowed the book.

Indeed, in his TNI piece, Morris repeats his claims about an age-old Zionist design to dispossess the Palestinian Arabs from their homes. I have been debunking this canard for years (see here, here, here, here, and here), yet many of the book's most controversial passages—notably the alleged Ben-Gurion quote "We must expel Arabs and take their places"—continue to provide fodder for the very "Muslim extremists" he condemns (see, for example, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for an English translation).

If Morris finds this objectionable, he can easily rectify the matter by disowning his past defamation of Zionism. His reluctance to do so has led him into some strange terrain. The only way his pre-conversion and post-conversion views can both be valid is if the Israelis were ethnic cleansers and were justifiably so. This led to his infamous assertions that "when the choice is between ethnic cleansing and genocide—the annihilation of your people—I prefer ethnic cleansing" and "even the great American democracy could not have been created without the annihilation of the Indians" in an infamous 2004 Haaretz interview with Ari Shavit (see here for an English translation).

Morris now claims to have been misrepresented. "I never, ever said what I am alleged to have said. . . . Shavit had simply misquoted me." Few at the time accepted the accusation—made in the face of unprecedented public condemnation—that Shavit, one of Israel's most distinguished journalists, whose trademark in-depth interviews are widely considered beyond reproach, misrepresented Morris's assertions. "It cannot be claimed that Ari Shavit sweet-talked Morris [into making racist statements]," wrote Professor Aviad Kleinberg of Tel Aviv University in Haaretz on January 24, 2004.

Morris will no doubt continue to cry foul, but the discrepancies between his pre-conversion work and post-conversion statements will continue to haunt him.

Efraim Karsh is research professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King's College London, director of the Middle East Forum (Philadelphia), and author, most recently, of Palestine Betrayed.


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The fundamental snbtulimg block of course is this ideal The 22 countries of the Arab World must participate in this process and be willing to absorb some of the Palestinians and contribute to resettlement costs.It's amazing that there's money for everything but this. Outside of USA and parts of Europe, humans and human rights are sublimated. The Arab World cares less for the Palestinians than the recognized citizens of each Arab country. And they don't give much a damn for their citizens. So what is their benefit to pay for the Palestinians when it's really considered Israel's problem. And Israel is that one country that's preventing the Arab empire from stretching out further.The Arab World would rather relocate Israel to some other part of the globe. That's worth a considerable investment. And, for over 50 years, the AW has been doing just that. After all, in an Islamic reality, who cares about Jewish sovereignty?So the only fourth way is for people to live together in peace and harmony despite different religions, cultures, perspectives, and goals. There's no evidence in human history that supports this. It's a revolutionary idea that sort of derived from Thomas Jefferson (and even then frought with compromises for dissenters). So, unfortunately, a 4th way that predicates mutually supportive initiatives from the Arab World is basically what we've had before infinite breaths of hot air.Palestinian sovereignty in Gaza and West Bank is the only plausible solution. Disunity among Palestinians will eventually erode their society to near extinction for there are no valuable resources for them there. It'll take a few generations, perhaps and lots of patience. Israel must remain strong and vigilant throughout that time. And that's more credible than constantly dealing with Palestinian conflict within Israel's borders. Let the Palestinians fight among themselves in their own home.

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