A Chameleon, Nevertheless
While I am relieved to hear that Benny Morris is not entertaining any flip flops in the near future, his rebuttal to myAmerican Thinker article fails to answer the central question I posed: How can he in good conscience (not to mention the minimum academic or intellectual integrity) espouse the views he presently claims to uphold without retracting his previous writings on the Arab-Israeli conflict?
Since the outbreak of the Palestinian war of terror in September 2000, Morris has been playing an intricate game of Jekyll-and-Hyde. In press articles and media appearances, he blames the Palestinians for initiating and perpetuating the conflict since the 1920s and 1930s. In his books, he casts Israel in the role of the regional villain, as he has done for decades.
The 2001 paperback edition of his history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Righteous Victims, opens with a famous quote by the poet W.H. Auden – “Those to whom evil is done Do evil in return” – that leaves no doubt as to which side is the aggressor and which is the victim. Zionism, he explains therein, is a “colonizing and expansionist ideology and movement… intent on politically, or even physically, dispossessing and supplanting the Arabs.”
Three years later, in the revised edition of his influential book, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, he added a special chapter peddling the longstanding Arab canard that “the displacement of Arabs from Palestine… was inherent in Zionist ideology” and can be traced back to the father of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl.
How can this possibly square with his present day public statements squarely putting blame for the conflict on “the instinctive rejectionism that runs like a dark thread through Palestinian history”?
Morris would have us believe that this decade-long doublespeak has never existed; that his simultaneous articulation of pro-Israel rhetoric and anti-Israel propaganda, masqueraded as meticulously researched historiography, is but a figment of imagination of “a febrile and obsessive mind.” To which one can only respond with one of his favorite words: balderdash.
Read the entire post here. Enjoy.