Benny Morris

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Benny Morris in 2007

Benny Morris (בני מוריס; born 8 December 1948) is an Israeli historian and former professor of history in the Middle East Studies department of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in the city of Beersheba, Israel.


  • There was no Zionist 'plan' or blanket policy of evicting the Arab population, or of 'ethnic cleansing'" and "the demonisation of Israel is largely based on lies—much as the demonisation of the Jews during the past 2,000 years has been based on lies. And there is a connection between the two.
  • I don’t see how we get out of it", he says in reference to Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state. "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. Israel still calls itself a Jewish state, but a situation in which we rule an occupied people that has no rights cannot persist in the 21st century, in the modern world. And as soon as they do have rights, the state will no longer be Jewish." He added: "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. They have no reason to give in, because the Jewish state can’t last. They are bound to win. In another 30 to 50 years they will overcome us, come what may" and "Those among the Jews who can, will flee to America and the West."
  • No reasonable person still believes that there were no acts of expulsion and massacre by the Jewish side in the 1948 war, which was launched by the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab states and which in my view was a justified war in defense of the Jewish community. It was a war in which the Arabs also committed massacres (at the Haifa refineries and in Kfar Etzion) and expulsions (from the Jewish Quarter in the Jerusalem’s Old City, for example), though to a lesser degree.
    • Article in Haaretz, 15 July 2019, Morris, Benny. Opinion by Benny Morris: Israel’s Concealing of Nakba Documents Is Totalitarian, 15 July 2019, [1]|date=15 July 2019 }}

Interview with Ari Shavit in Haaretz, 9 January 2004


Part I. Archived from the original on 15 May 2008. Retrieved on 15 May 2008. ,Part II. Archived from the original on 7 June 2008. Retrieved on 7 June 2008.. Ha'aretz Friday Magazine, 9 January 2004. and Shavit, Ari (16 January 2004). Survival of the Fittest? an Interview with Benny Morris (Originally published on January 9, 2004 in Ha'aretz Friday Magazine ). CounterPunch. Archived from the original on 23 May 2010. Retrieved on 23 May 2010.

  • 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. It was necessary to cleanse the hinterland and cleanse the border areas and cleanse the main roads. It was necessary to cleanse the villages from which our convoys and our settlements were fired on.
  • There is no justification for acts of rape. There is no justification for acts of massacre. Those are war crimes. But in certain conditions, expulsion is not a war crime. I don't think that the expulsions of 1948 were war crimes.
  • My turning point began after 2000. I wasn't a great optimist even before that. True, I always voted Labor or Meretz or Sheli and in 1988 I refused to serve in the territories and was jailed for it, but I always doubted the intentions of the Palestinians. The events of Camp David and what followed in their wake turned the doubt into certainty. When the Palestinians rejected the proposal of [prime minister Ehud] Barak in July 2000 and the Clinton proposal in December 2000, I understood that they are unwilling to accept the two-state solution. They want it all: Lod and Acre and Jaffa.
  • The bombing of the buses and restaurants really shook me. They made me understand the depth of the hatred for us. They made me understand that the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim hostility toward Jewish existence here is taking us to the brink of destruction.... Palestinian society is a very sick society. It should be treated the way we treat individuals who are serial killers. Maybe over the years the establishment of a Palestinian state will help in the healing process. But in the meantime, until the medicine is found, they have to be contained so that they will not succeed in murdering us.... Something like a cage has to be built for them. I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no choice. There is a wild animal there that has to be locked up in one way or another.

Quotes about Benny Morris

  • Thus, as already mentioned, 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.
  • Historians who have examined Israeli history, as they would any other, trying to disentangle myth from fact and challenging accepted wisdom, have similarly found themselves in a minefield. The “new history” by historians such as Avi Shlaim and Benny Morris is, said Shabtai Teveth, a journalist and biographer of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, “a farrago of distortions, omissions, tendentious readings, and outright falsifications.” Israel, as we shall see, is by no means the only society to have its history wars, but because so much is at stake there, from the very identity of the nation to its right to exist on its land, the conflict can get ferocious.
  • His 1988 book, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947–1949, drove a coach and horses through the claim that the Palestinians left Palestine of their own accord or on orders from their leaders. With a great wealth of recently declassified material, he analysed the role that Israel played in precipitating the Palestinian exodus. … The hallmark of his approach was to stick as closely as possible to the documentary evidence, to record rather than to evaluate. While his findings were original and arresting, he upheld the highest standards of historical scholarship, and he wrote with almost clinical detachment. ... The message, pithily summed up in a long interview that Benny gave to Yediot Aharonot about his highly publicised conversion, is that 'the Arabs are responsible'. Where no evidence is available to sustain the argument of Arab intransigence, Benny makes it up by drawing on his fertile imagination. … His post-conversion interpretation of history is old history with a vengeance. It is indistinguishable from the propaganda of the victors.
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