Middle Eastern Conflict

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Historian Benny Morris discusses his new book One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict.


Benny Morris

Comments [89]

Karen from Cobble Hill

Victims of Palestinian Violence and Terrorism since September 2000:

1,182 people have been killed by Palestinian violence and terrorism since September 2000.

Note: This list also includes 18 Israelis killed abroad in terror attacks directed specifically against Israeli targets, and 3 American diplomatic personnel killed in Gaza.

I hope Allah is happy with all the murder in his name.

May. 04 2009 02:12 PM
Ziad from Manhattan

Some very good statistics on

- 123 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 1,487 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000. {ratio more than 10 to 1 as you can see}

- 0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and 18,147 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967.

I hope your biases don't keep you blinded to the reality on the ground forever...

My family was ethnically cleansed from Ramlah in 1948. If you ever find yourself in that city, go visit city hall. That's my family's house which sits on a vast plot of land, used to be orange groves worth millions. Try to picture yourself and your family being kicked out of your house and land at gun point and dispossessed. The problem is that this is still happening with the Palestinians today. Where do you explain 4.25 million Palestinian refugees? God must be very proud with what you have done with your promised holy land.

May. 01 2009 12:41 AM
Karen from Cobble Hill

Remember that recent history the next time you hear someone say that more Israeli concessions will bring it peace, security, and a good image.

In recent weeks we have still another myth born, that supposedly the Netanyahu government said progress with the Palestinians depends on action against Iran's nuclear program. This never happened. As Deputy Foreign Ministry Danny Ayalon made clear, this government policy has three themes: negotiations with the PA, stopping Iran's nuclear program, and improving relations with moderate Arab states.

There's also a third myth regarding the Arab peace plan. Israeli governments welcomed the plan as a step forward but pointed out two problems preventing them from accepting it. Most important is the demand that any Palestinian who lived or whose ancestors ever lived on what is now Israeli territory can come and live in Israel. This is correctly seen as a ploy to destroy Israel. The other is that borders must be precisely those of 1967. If there's room for discussion it Israel will discuss this plan; if it's take-it-or-leave-it, there's no alternative but the latter.

Finally, the fact that Hamas rules the Gaza Strip is no Israeli rationale for refusing concessions but a huge fact of life. How can Israel make peace with "the Palestinians" when the PA has no such mandate? And how could Israel make peace with a Fatah-Hamas PA regime when such a coalition's effect would not be to moderate Hamas but to make Fatah even more radical.

It's silly to assure Israel that peace will bring it greater security when it's unclear whether the Palestinian government would be taken over by Hamas; wage another round of warfare; fire missiles and be "unable to stop" cross-border attacks; and invite in Iranian or Syrian troops. That kind of two-state solution would be far worse than the status quo.

Apr. 30 2009 03:38 PM
Karen from Cobble Hill

Aid to the PA is conditioned on absolutely nothing of the sort. These points aren't even mentioned and Western diplomats and journalists don't wax indignant about the PA's intransigence.

In short, Israel is asked to give without getting in return.

The foreign policy of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tsipi Livni often consisted of ritual confirmations that yes indeed they favored a two-state solution and couldn't wait until a Palestinian state came into existence.

That behavior didn't bother me, though they should have raised Israeli demands more often as well. Still, the problem is-and every Israeli saw this-that it brought little benefit. Hamas's takeover of the Gaza Strip, criticism of Israel in defending itself against Hizballah attacks in2006, and the general growing hostility of the Western intelligentsia all took place during the era of "We-favor-a-two-state-solution" repetition.

In the longer-term, the growing demonization of Israel has taken place after it pulled out of the Sinai Peninsula, south Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and large parts of the West Bank; offered to accept a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem; let the PLO come in to govern the West Bank and Gaza Strip (including bringing 200,000 Palestinians with it); and provided or permitted the arming of its security forces.

Apr. 30 2009 03:38 PM
Karen from Cobble Hill

How about recognizing Israel as a Jewish state since, after all, the PA Constitution defines its country-to-be as an Arab Muslim state and the PA makes clear that all Jews who have come to live there since 1967 must leave. These stances don't bother me in principle only the hypocrisy of doing one thing and demanding Israel do another.

How about agreeing-which any nationalist movement should be eager to do-that all Palestinian refugees be resettled in the state of Palestine.

How about accepting that a two-state solution would permanently end the conflict?

How about stopping daily incitement to kill Israelis and destroy Israel in PA institutions?

How about being open to border modifications or security guarantees like not bringing foreign troops onto Palestinian soil?

Apr. 30 2009 03:36 PM
Karen from Cobble Hill

Dissolving in the Two-State Solution
By Barry Rubin *
April 25, 2009

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted the two-state solution back in 1997 when he took over in the midst of the Oslo agreement peace process and committed himself to all preceding agreements.

This is not the real issue. The real issue is this: much of the world wants Israel to agree in advance to give the Palestinian Authority (PA) what they think it wants without any concessions or demonstration of serious intent on its part.

The first problem is that the demand is totally one-sided. Does the PA truly accept a two-state solution? That isn't what it tells its own people in officials' speeches, documents of the ruling Fatah group, schools, the sermons of PA-appointed clerics, and the PA-controlled media.

The second problem is that PA compliance with its earlier commitments is pretty miserable, though this is a point that almost always goes unmentioned in Western diplomatic declarations and media.

More often than not the PA's performance could be called one of anti-confidence-building measures. In other words, what it does makes Israel and Israelis less certain that it is ever going to make a stable and lasting peace.

The third problem is that this leaves no room for asking the question: what does Israel want in exchange for accepting a Palestinian state, leaving West Bank territory, or even agreeing to a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem.

Apr. 30 2009 03:36 PM
jgarbuz from Queens


We ended violence with fanatical Japan by incinerating some Japanese cities. Some say had we not done it, hundreds of thousands additional American GIs would have had to die in Japan. We demanded unconditional surrender and imposed governments of our choosing on both Germany and Japan. We kept troops there for years, and still do. I hope such extreme violence will not be required to end the war with the Arabs. But Jews will never give up their homeland again regardless of the price that will have to be paid by either side.

Apr. 29 2009 07:47 PM
JP from The Garden State

Thank you for your kind comments HJS.

jgarbuz from Queens ,

You’re missing my point. As I said, great leaders have achieved great feats against groups that no nothing but violence and aggression and who just continue to attack and attack. If you truly believe violence is not the answer and are willing to put your understandable anger aside by not reacting in a violent response and not worry about who did what and when in histroy, you might be able to solve this conflict once and for all. So far, violence on both sides has done absolutely nothing but create more of a divide and more violence and yes it is truly barbaric and pathetic behavior on both sides. Violence from either side will never end this conflict and continuing retaliation on both sides is only going to make it worse. Sorry but you just can’t "sweet talk" me over with the only way to address violence is with more violence.

Apr. 29 2009 05:22 PM
hjs from 11211

jgarbuz 35, in war, right and wrong is decided by the victors

Apr. 29 2009 04:28 PM
hjs from 11211

jp 55, 57 that's one of the best comment I've ever read on this board thanks!

Apr. 29 2009 04:28 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To 77

Don't want to wipe anybody out. If they live in peace and stop fighting the Jewish right to come home, then there would have been no fighting since 1920. Between 1882 and 1947, no Arabs were forced out of their homes, even though the Arab population nearly trebled in that time. It's only the long war started by them that led to all the problems. Christian Arabs in Israel make more money on average than Jewish Israelis. The Druze minority is not complaining and doing well, and are some of the IDF's toughest fighters. If the Arabs decide to live in peace, they can live in peace.

Apr. 29 2009 03:47 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Ziad

My ex-wife who I married in Israel was 5th generation Argentinian Jew, whose great-grandparents emigrated to Baron Hirsch's Jewish homeland in Argentina in the 1880s. Thousands of Jews came there, but in the end it failed. Just like the Jewish republic of Birobijan set up in the old USSR by Stalin. You can't just create an artificial state and expect it to succeed. There have to be genunine organic roots, or it just doesn't bloom. In Israel the Jewish state bloomed even under fire because that is the natural home of the Jewish people. Sure outside aid was useful, but it succeeded because of the honest feeling of most Jews who returned that it was really HOME and not just an artificial substitute. Maybe one reason why the Palestinians have such problems getting their own act together is that the true Arab homeland is in Arabia? I would venture to say so.

Apr. 29 2009 03:41 PM
JP from The Garden State

jgarbuz from Queens,

OK, go kill all the Palestinians and wipe them out completely. That seems to be the conclusion you’re coming to. Meet violence with only violence and justify your hate however you please. An eye for an eye, right? But Historically speaking, people have confronted hate, death and destruction and won without using any violence against their oppressors or enemies. Not only is it possible, it has happened. In our own history Martin Luther king taught to love your enemy and he lead probably the greatest civil rights movement anywhere in modern history. Is there still unrest and unjust in America with minorities? Hell yeah you bet. But King achieved more then anyone ever has with civil rights in this country and he did it by condemning violence and never raising his fists to white racist America, a group as powerful and angry as any in the world then or today.

Apr. 29 2009 03:38 PM
Ziad from Manhattan

Regarding #66
I am pro universal human rights, I am anti apartheid, anti racism, anti ethnic cleansing, and anti colonialism.

What if the Jews decided to create a homeland for them in Argentina, as Theodor Herzl wanted. Would we be going over immigration numbers there?

Not to confuse, Palestinians have always lived in their land, in their country for thousands of years. You make it sound like they were also in a race to migrate there. The major Jewish immigrations into Palestine only happend in the 1900s and are still going on today, some forming new settlements because God, the ultimate real estate broker, has promised them that land.

Note that the Palestinians for a whole long time were under some form of occupation, whether it was the British, the Ottomans, the Byzantines, the Romans, yes they have been and still are very weak. But never an occupier had in its designs this exclusivity - an "exclusive" state for one ethnicity- the Jews - in Palestine. I believe if it wasn't for this exclusivity, we wouldn't be where we are today.

Apr. 29 2009 03:19 PM
Karen from Cobble Hill

Major Palestinian Terror Attacks Since Oslo
This is a list of "major" terrorist attacks since the Oslo agreement was signed on September 13, 1993. Victims include citizens from the United States, Israel (Jews and Arabs), Romania, Thailand, Norway, the Former Soviet Union, South Africa, Ethiopia. More than 100 suicide bombings have been carried out since September 2000. To see the complete list of attacks, click here.

Date Location Casualities Responsibilty Notes
July 12, 2005 Netanya 5 killed, 70+ wounded Islamic Jihad Suicide bombing outside shopping mall.
February 25, 2005 Tel Aviv 5 killed, 50 wounded Islamic Jihad Bombing outside night club.
October 7, 2004 Taba 12 killed, 120+ wounded Bombing at Sinai holiday resorts.
August 31, 2004 Beersheba 16 killed, 100 wounded Hamas Two suicide bombings on buses.
March 14, 2004 Ashdod 10 killed, 16 wounded Hamas and Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades Twin suicide bombings at port
February 22, 2004 Jerusalem 8 killed, over 60 wounded Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades Suicide bombing on bus
January 29, 2004 Jerusalem 10 killed, 50 wounded Fatah al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade Suicide bombing on bus
October 4, 2003 Haifa 19 killed, 60 wounded Islamic Jihad Suicide bombing in restaurant owned by Jews and Arabs
September 9, 2003 Tel Aviv 8 killed, 32 wounded Hamas Suicide bombing at a hitchhiking post for soldiers
September 9, 2003 Jerusalem 7 killed, 50 wounded Hamas Suicide bombing at Cafe Hillel
August 19, 2003 Jerusalem 22 killed, 135 wounded Hamas Suicide bombing on a bus

Apr. 29 2009 03:15 PM
Jacob from Staten Island

My dear friends. start watching sesame St. in the west Bank and Gaza look in the text books we are bring up a generations full of hate how sad. look the sacrafice in Gaza the Israelis left and what did they get. The day is coming when everything will be as clear and understood.

Apr. 29 2009 03:08 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

jgarbuz from Queens #72. You go to do what got to do. No Cobra helicopters, no F-21 Kfir, F-16I Soufa, F-15I Ra'am jets, no Merkava
tanks but you have your body.

Apr. 29 2009 02:54 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Everything seems "barbaric" and stupid when your ox is not gored. When you have a 5 year old kid you drop off on the way to work, and then hear on the radio that a bomb went off half a block away. Or, your kids have 13 seconds to run into a shelter or possibly get hit by a rocket, you see things a certain way.

If I take the Palestinian POV, why shouldn't the Indian reservations not fortify themselves, and start launching rockets and suicide bombers at nearby suburbs of the "white eyes" who have been occupying their land for the last 2 centuries? I wonder how long American suburbanites would put up with rocket fire or suicide bombers coming from Indian tribal lands? How long would it take for demands that the army and the USAF start bombing? Ever been on some of those Indian reservations? Ever seen the alcoholism and the high poverty rates? Would occupation and poverty then justify rockets and suicide bombings?

Apr. 29 2009 02:37 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Absolutely correct Ziad #60 the horror committed by Nazis was thrown on the Middle East to absorb. After which the Western powers washed their hand from the Jewish Holocaust. The West’s redemption was the allowing -the Israeli State- the genocide and cultural destruction of another people namely the Palestinians. This is where we are.
All the Zionist propaganda as to who came first will not change the facts on the ground. Namely, that the Israeli state is an apartheid state like South Africa of mid to late 20th century. Where Palestinians are herded in Bantustans and camps in the West Bank and Gaza and where racial-ethnic identity cards must carried by Palestinians. Periodically extra Judicial murder, mass bombing are done, and always check points, lack of medical care, education sanitation, employment, and daily abuse by Israeli State jailors. All under the justification of self-defense. Hitler would very proud of this Zionist Israeli State.
Fortunately the world centers of power are moving to the East. The East did not participate in the horrible Jewish Holocaust and hence no need for redemption.

Apr. 29 2009 02:31 PM
JP from The Garden State

jgarbuz from Queens,

Wow, I never said Jews have to step aside and let the Arabs move in. So I take great offence to being called a “sweet talker”. On the contrary, if you read what I said, in this day and age, I think both sides are completely stupid to have to get down to the barbaric level of killing each other to settle this conflict. I’m not sweet talking anybody. In fact I’m scorning both sides, equally, for being so barbaric and stupid!!!

Apr. 29 2009 02:21 PM
JP from The Garden State

jgarbuz from Queens,

North American Indians were nomads from Asia. They did not declare North America as on big tribe or country. In fact, they constantly battled against each other so there wasn’t even a common ground that they banned together over. Technically, the American Indians are not indigenous to the America’s because they did not originate from the Americas, they originated from Asia and going further back, Africa.

As for who owns the Middle East, Arab tribes had no choice as to how it was divided up after the European colonies left. Same goes for Africa and South America. You can attribute a most of the world’s problems to tribes and religions that historically hate each other and are forced to live in the same county due to how Europe divided these continents up for what was best for Europe.

Apr. 29 2009 02:13 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To JP and Taher

It's always amazing that when people speak of finding "common ground" it is usually Jewish ground that always has to give way. That's because everyone knows that Jews are suckers for sweet talk, and are compromising by nature. But Israelis are a bit different. The land is too tiny and there are too few Jewish states around to be cavalier about giving up our hard won birthright to sweet talkers who threaten to get VERY mad at us if we don't do what they say. I say the Arabs have lots of land, and they have to be the ones to do the compromising from now on.

Apr. 29 2009 02:01 PM
Karen from Cobble Hill

In addition to roughly 600,000 Jews, 350,000 Arabs resided in the Jewish state created by partition. Approximately 92,000 Arabs lived in Tiberias, Safed, Haifa and Bet Shean, and another 40,000 were Bedouins, most of whom were living in the desert. The remainder of the Arab population was spread throughout the Jewish state and occupied most of the agricultural land.

According to British statistics, more than 70% of the land in what would become Israel was not owned by Arab farmers, it belonged to the mandatory government. Those lands reverted to Israeli control after the departure of the British. Nearly 9% of the land was owned by Jews and about 3% by Arabs who became citizens of Israel. That means only about 18% belonged to Arabs who left the country before and after the Arab invasion of Israel.

Apr. 29 2009 01:56 PM
Karen from Cobble Hill

#60 - I'm sorry you were offended for being called anti-Israel for presenting false facts that were anti-Israel. If I am mistaken, and you in fact are pro-Israel, I do sincerely apologize and glad to know you're pro-Israel.

These boundaries were based solely on demographics. The borders of the Jewish State were arranged with no consideration of security; hence, the new state's frontiers were virtually indefensible. Overall, the Jewish State was to be comprised of roughly 5,500 square miles and the population was to be 538,000 Jews and 397,000 Arabs. The Arab State was to be 4,500 square miles with a population of 804,000 Arabs and 10,000 Jews. Though the Jews were allotted more total land, the majority of that land was in the desert.

Further complicating the situation was the UN majority's insistence that Jerusalem remain apart from both states and be administered as an international zone. This arrangement left more than 100,000 Jews in Jerusalem isolated from their country and circumscribed by the Arab state.

Critics claim the UN gave the Jews fertile land while the Arabs were allotted hilly, arid land. This is untrue. Approximately 60 percent of the Jewish state was to be the arid desert in the Negev.

The Arabs constituted a majority of the population in Palestine as a whole — 1.2 million Arabs versus 600,000 Jews. The Jews never had a chance of reaching a majority in the country given the restrictive immigration policy of the British. By contrast, the Arabs were free to come — and thousands did — to take advantage of the rapid development stimulated by Zionist settlement. Still, the Jews were a majority in the area allotted to them by the resolution and in Jerusalem.

Apr. 29 2009 01:55 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Bill

"America" is a European name given to continents inhabited by native civilizations who did not call their lands "America." America is named after an Italian navigator, Americus Vespucci.
"Palestina" too is a name give by Europeans from Rome who occupied the Jewish homeland. This tendency of white Europeans to give their names to every place far from their own native homeland is no longer as accepted as was once the case. Anyhow, once the League of Nations was established, thanks to Woodrow Wilson, international law began to determine who is sovereign, and who belongs where. Besides drawing many borders all over Europe and the Middle East, it also decided that "Palestine" is the Jewish homeland, and gave Jews the right to return and resettle the country. Today, it is the UN that decides which territories will be accepted as sovereign states, and which will not. Israel was accepted as a sovereign state into the UN in 1950. But there is no sovereign state called "Palestine." Now will there be until there are peace treaties with Israel.

Apr. 29 2009 01:54 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

jgarbuz from Queens # 58, thanks for coming out of the closet. I thought there is a Fascists smell here. And always the loudest.
So it’s Ok for Serbs to murder Albanians and Bosnians in the 90’s.
Sick, really sick.

Apr. 29 2009 01:54 PM
JP from The Garden State

jgarbuz from Queens,

With your truly sad attitude towards a common ground (we should all sing Kumbaya), it will insure you and everyone else fighting in this archaic conflict will all die as angry and frustrated people…. Who will that help at the end of the day?

Apr. 29 2009 01:49 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Ziad

Many things the League did, and the UN did, may not have been "just." Denying the Kurds their state may have been unjust. Denying the Basques a state may be unjust. Denying the Navajo and the Lakota Sioux and the Cherokee their states may be unjust. So, after allowing 21 Arab states to be carved out of the Ottoman empire, allowing the Jews to have a very tiny slice was unjust? Not creating a 22nd Arab state was unjust? The UN did offer the compromise of a partition plan in 1947. Was it just for 21 Arab states and 5 Arab armies to attack the 600,000 Jews, many of them just arrived from DP camps in Germany? I guess justice is in the eyes of the beholder.

Apr. 29 2009 01:47 PM
Bill from New York

"The only TRUE American is a native aboriginal we call 'Indians.' The rest of us are settlers, or the descendants of settlers."

Ridiculous. 1. The ownership of this country or continent or continents you ascribe to them is a concept that post-dates and is not at all "native" to them. And your identification of peoples with land-masses is totally arbitrary. I'm a native of Washington State and have since moved to New York; on those terms I've left one land and settled in another, but on other terms I haven't gone anywhere because I'm still in the same country, and further, if I move to Canada or South American I've still not gone anywhere because I'm still in the "Americas." 2. The idea of "America" and being something called an American by virtue of being born to a culture native to it post-dates the people you speak of. They had no sense of themselves as such, not especially as a unitary people, when in actuality "they" were many "theys," as diverse and changing through movement, contact, and conflict as any peoples anywhere ever. 3. They arrived here as settlers, having first crossed the Bering land bridge. If we all belong where we came from (on your adolescent terms) we should all live in Africa and no where else.

Apr. 29 2009 01:44 PM
Ziad from Manhattan

#51 Karen: Refer to the Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe in his book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine," chapter 3 in particular & Chronology of key dates. I would also encourage reading Ben Gurion's memoirs and checking out the I.D.F archives, let alone the Palestinian accounts such as that of Walid Khalidi.

Also, when talking about percentages, I am talking about Palestine before 1948, i.e. before the creation of the state of Israel. Of course your numbers are going to look better if you are talking just about the West Bank and Gaza and how much of those were in Arab control. Note also that I am not accusing you of having any anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab agenda while you take liberty at name calling.

And just because something was agreed on by the League of Nations or the UN, or the super power at the time doesn't make it just. This is a very weak argument in my opinion. And respectfully, Jewish persecution by Europeans is not Palestinians' problem.

Apr. 29 2009 01:37 PM
jgarbuz from Queens


Let's all sing Kumbaya.

Apr. 29 2009 01:36 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Taher,

The Myth, raised by Arthur Koestler in his "13th Tribe" that most Ashkenazic Jews are descendants of Turkic Khazars converts has been debunked by DNA science. It is true that there is a higher proportion of Khazar DNA among the Hungarian Jews, such as those ultraorthodox antizionist ones you find in Williamsburg, but by and large, at least 50% of all Jews have what is now referred to as "Israelite" Dna. Many Kurds and some Palestinians do as well, showing Middle Eastern origins of most Jews, including European Jews. Anyhow, over 40% of Israeli Jews are the offspring of those who came from the Arab and Muslim countries.

As for the Serb-Kosorvar conflict, my sympathies were for the Serbs who alongside Jews died at the hands of the Nazis, Croat Ustashe and Handsjar SS. The atrocities committed against them were not publicized. Once the left wing media picks a side, the ducks all line up in a row.

Apr. 29 2009 01:35 PM
JP from The Garden State

We all come from Africa!!! We are all the same people!!! No matter what your religion, like it or not, we all have the same origin!!!

Apr. 29 2009 01:24 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

53, thanks for your Zionist- ultra nationalist fantasy history. Serb nationalist under
Slobodan Milosevic also claimed all of Illyria even though the Illyrians-otherwise known as Albanians- where on the piece of property for as far as 8000 years ago. We can also talk about whether the Ashkenazi are a decedents of the Khazars- a Turkic people- whose home land was in Kazakhstan.
So fantasy history about who came first get us no were. Either we are part of the problem or part of the solution.

Apr. 29 2009 01:19 PM
JP from The Garden State

It would almost be comical if people weren’t dieing. But instead here are 2 groups, Muslim/Arabs and the Jews that historically have been hated and discriminated against around the world by ruling western countries and white Christianity. They could be a very formidable ally for the advancement of Muslim/Arabs and Jewish society. But instead of banding together and fighting the good fight for human equality and peace, they can only fight and kill each other over sheer arrogance, stupidly, racism, ridiculous historic symbolism and try to hide it in the name of religion. No body deserves to die for any of these reasons and both sides are wrong until the killing stops and peace is made..

This is no better then 2 kids in the sandbox fighting over a toy truck with machine guns.

Apr. 29 2009 01:16 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Taher.

The League of Nations EXPLICITLY did not recognize Palestine as being part of the Greater Arab nation. The Mandate referred to the non-Jewish inhabitants neither as Arabs or Palestinians. They were not recognized as a national group entitled to sovereignty, autonomy or eventual statehood. The land was specifically recognized as the Jewish National Home implying Jewish sovereignty wherein non-Jews were to be minorities with civil and religious rights, but no distinct national rights. But twenty one Arab states eventually came into existence elsewhere, but no Kurdish state, no Assyrian state, but only tortuously one tiny Jewish state.

Apr. 29 2009 01:08 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To 46

The only TRUE American is a native aboriginal we call "Indians." The rest of us are settlers, or the descendants of settlers. All the territories occupied, settled and renamed by Europeans in the last few centuries, such as Canada, the US, Australia, etc., became states based on constitutions BECAUSE they could NOT claim those countries as ethnic homelands, the way the Germans or Irish or Italians could in Europe. But to believe that as a result, you can change the ethnic nature of ancient states to be like the American, Canadian or Australian models is presumptuous.
By the name "Palestina" was given to the land by white European occupiers from Rome. To its natives it is "Eretz Yisrael," or the Land of Israel. The Arabs are NOT indigenous. That is another myth. Even the Canaanites only arrived before 2400 BC.

Apr. 29 2009 01:00 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Thanks Karen # 50 for your suggestion. You may want take your own advice and further educate your self in recent and past history and cultures of the Middle East. Israel should not forever be in vacuum of it’s own creation. Yes, Israel should not be another Jewish Ghetto as was in Eastern Europe with a 2nd class Arab-Israeli population, and a pathology that all of humanity is against Jews.

Apr. 29 2009 12:55 PM
Karen from Cobble Hill

#49 Please get your facts straight - even if it might negate your anti-Israel agenda.

Nearly 80% of what was the historic land of Palestine and the Jewish National Home, as defined by the League of Nations, was severed by the British in 1921 & allocated to the non-Jewish Arabs to what became Transjordan. In typical Middel Eastern raicsm, Jewish settlement there was barred.

The UN partitioned the remaining ~20% of Palestine into two states. With Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank in 1950, and Egypt's control of Gaza, Arabs controlled more than 80 percent of the territory of the Mandate, while the Jewish State held a bare 17.5 percent.

Apr. 29 2009 12:49 PM
Karen from Cobble Hill

#47 Taher - rather than trying to smear someone by "guessing", i.e. stuffing lies in his mouth to discredit his comments - try arguing with him on the merits - if you can

it would be a lot more illuminating to the audience

Apr. 29 2009 12:38 PM
Ziad Rizk from Manhattan

A couple of comments to Benny Morris:
(1) He indicates that if Israel was made a multi-ethnic democracy with Jews ending up a minority then the Arab majority will at best suppress them or I think he even goes so far as to say "slaughter" them. He indicates that this is the case in the Middle East with minorities. I am a Christian Jordanian of Palestinian origin- as a minority I've never been really suppressed in Jordan nor do I know of other Christian families being suppressed. Arab countries have a long way to go on their human rights records but they don't have this exclusivity of rights, liberty and travel to one ethnic group over all other such as exists in Israel. The Christian minorities are ok in the Middle East. What about Jews living in Morocco? They are not being slaughtered.
Mr. Morris adds evidence to his claim by pointing out that there are no Jews living in the Arab world. While it's definitely not true in the case of Morocco, and Israeli tourists can be found in Jordan and Egypt, one should wonder to what extent the creation of Israel in 1948 and the ethnic cleansing that took place played a role in dividing Arabs and Jews. As per Ben Gurion and the Zionist leadership before the creation of Israel, the need to encourage massive Jewish immigration into Palestine would have also been a factor for Jews to leave neighboring Arab countries to Palestine. Bar mitzvahs were not uncommon in Egypt before 48.
(2)Mr Morris says that the Palestinians refused what was offered them citing a whole series of dates starting with the UN partition plan of 1947. It's important to understand UN resolution 181 adopted in 47:the Jews, who owned less than 6% of the land of Palestine and constituted one third of the population, were handed 56% of the overall territory. Perhaps it's unreasonable to expect of an indeginous people about to be colonized to refuse the fate that was to befall them anyway.

Apr. 29 2009 12:37 PM
Karen from Cobble Hill

Apr. 29 2009 12:35 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Hey, jgarbuz from Queens I guess in your worldview the fascist Vladimir Jabotinsky is rational, who Mr. Morris praises.
Also, in your view the Jewish Holocaust –a European event- gives licenses to destroy and murder Palestinians.

Apr. 29 2009 12:30 PM
Bill from New York

A Jewish homeland on those terms *is* different from an Irish homeland because the latter, save for the its irredentists or culturalists (i.e., conservatives), is a purely historical/descriptive category: the Irish are people who live in Ireland. You can fetishize your ancestry by calling yourself an Irish American, but you're still first and foremost American and whatever Irishness you happen to bring here and cling to contributes to whatever America happens to be, just as anyone of French, say, or Middle Eastern ancestry who moves to and becomes a citizen of Ireland becomes Irish and necessarily contributes to the changing of what that country was to it now is. There are those in America who've wedded nationalism to religion and cultural identity and they wear white pointy hoods. Very different dynamic, and very frightening.

Apr. 29 2009 12:14 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Gee, how Benny Morris's standing has fallen now that he has fallen out of step with the 60-year old Palestinian propaganda juggernaut. They hate rational opposition. They deny the Holocaust on the one hand, yet get all flustered when others deny the existence of Palestinian nationhood. They say, gas chambers did not exist. I say, no Palestinian nation ever existed. I don't want to put them in a cage. I just want to start acting like rational human beings.

Apr. 29 2009 12:09 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Benny Morris is an old style ethnic nationalist out of the 19th century with racist and Fascistic views.
Mr. Morris said in Haartez on Jan.5th 2004 “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." He is speaking of Palestinians.
Well, Brian just for fair airing you need to interview a Neo-Nazi.

Apr. 29 2009 12:04 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Next I would love to have Brian have on a guest to talk about the 850,000 Jews who fled the Arab countries, and what happened to them and their properties. Actually, I know what happened to most of them, if not their properties. Most became Israelis and live in places like Sderot, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beersheba. As for their properties, I can only speculate. Certainly no Palestinians were settled on them.

Apr. 29 2009 12:01 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The name "Jew" comes from JUDEA, a region not a religion. Jews are a tribal people with a tribal religion whose roots are in the Israelite tribe of Judah. Christianity means "Messianism" as Christos means messiah. Islam means "submission." Both of the latter are universal, not tribal religions. Abraham was told to "Get going to a land I will show you" and promised to be made into a great NATION. So Jewish national identity and religious identity are inextricably linked from the get-go. A Jewish homeland is no different than an Irish homeland.

Apr. 29 2009 11:56 AM
Bill from New York

"Also, why didn't the arab countries accept palestinians who moved to their lands as brothers. why do they still live in camps?"

Because they have no obligation to do so based on their Arabness any more than we would be obliged, based on our Europeanness, whatever that is, to accept European refugees in the event of some disaster. We might be obliged to accept them based on our shared humanity, though, and it's on those terms that we might ask the question not only of "the Arab countries" but the more proximal Israel as well.

Apr. 29 2009 11:55 AM
Geoff from Manhattan

I meant, "cutting off the racist, Brian"

Apr. 29 2009 11:51 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Yeah, bring on Finkelstein and Morris to debate each other. But give them at least a full hour.

Apr. 29 2009 11:50 AM
Bill from New York

Great post, Paolo. It's absolutely archaic, to put it mildly. In the Middle East these identities are mutually reinforcing and as such exactly the problem on which any so-called solution is founded and thus founders. Meanwhile the West seems all too willing to uphold the destructive terms--whether through ill-conceived piety or a kind of soft bigotry, if those are different--that on their own soil, if coming from, say, White Christian Nationalists, are widely viewed with embarrassment and labeled as the racism they in fact are.

Apr. 29 2009 11:48 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Pay no attention to those who cannot even correctly spell ISRA EL. Israel is real.

Apr. 29 2009 11:48 AM
Geoff from Manhattan

I can't believe that stuff about the Palestinians wanting to "overwhelm" Israel. Seems from everything I've heard that they are utterly poverty-stricken and subjected to humiliation and persecution at every turn.

Good job cutting off the racist Brian.

I agree that we need someone from the left on to balance out Morris' view.

How about Finkelstein?

Apr. 29 2009 11:47 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I suggest everyone read "1948" to get this noted and honest historian's take on what really happened then. Benny was the darling of the Palestinians and the Left when his earlier books showed that the Israelis were not angels. But now that he shows the Arabs were not the angels or such victims either, as some have painted them, he is now their new pariah. Benny Morris is very fair and historically accurate person an my faith in WNYC has been renewed to an degree by his being allowed to espouse what is now considered the contrary viewpoint by the extreme Left.

Apr. 29 2009 11:46 AM
Dave from NYC

The problem with inviting guests like Morris on is that they can spew such huge amounts of wrong information that there's little time left to refute even a fraction of what they say. So, we risk some listeners walking away believing some of the nonsense that's been thrown at them.

Just because someone has a book out doesn't make them worthy of inclusion on WNYC. Surely, we should examine the quality of the ideas an author wishes to present and be willing to conclude, as we should have in the case of Mr. Morris, that some views are too ill-formed to warrant air time on a station like ours.

Apr. 29 2009 11:38 AM
J Mac from long island

Wow...heard the "subhuman" comment from Moishe and realized that we are re-living a sad part of world history. We have in Gaza a ghetto-ized nation invaded and attacked by a well-armed nation, we have humans being called "less-than-human"...what makes this era different from the late 1930's, when my grandmother was held in Germany whilst the Nazis scanned her documents and birth records to determine whether or not she was Jewish? (She was Catholic, but detained for six weeks as an American citizen!) And what makes it different from any ethnic cleansing? Why does history have to repeat itself?

Apr. 29 2009 11:38 AM
ceolaf from brooklyn

We heard the problem from the first two callers.

1) A caller who condemned all of those -- especially Brian and his guest -- who would tell Palestinians and Jordanians what to do, as they can take care of themselves. And then, he immediately went on to tell Israel what it should do. This Israel detractor was apparently entirely unaware of his double standard.

2) The next caller actually called much of Palestinian society "sub-human." Clearly, he had no respect for or recognition of their fundamental humanity.

Lack of recognition for fundamental humanity and an inability to see one's own double standards? These are far too common on both sides of this issue, and make solutions inconceivable.

Apr. 29 2009 11:38 AM
Marcos from the Bronx

Thank you, Brian, for cutting off the "sub-human" caller.

As an outside observer it seems clear that Zionism as in a Jewish majority state, has already failed. The Jewish state would not survive such a mass crime against humanity, as a mass arab ethnic cleansing from it's territory. And, minority rule cannot stand forever.

One democratic state soon, or mass Jewish evacuation later, seem to be the only real options.

Apr. 29 2009 11:37 AM
jack from brooklyn

I was dismayed by your dismissal of someone refering to 'subhuman behavior'. Especially when you went on to talk about the expulsion of arabs from their land and the fear of the executions of isrealis immediatley after scolding him. But I guess that is par for the course human behavior in your book.

Apr. 29 2009 11:37 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Simple inarguable facts: in 1947, nearly 1 million Jews lived in the Arab countries. Today, less than 8,000. In 1947, 1.2 million Arabs lived in western Palestine. Today, over 5.4 million live in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank.
So who conducted ethnic cleansing based purely on the numbers?

Apr. 29 2009 11:36 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

All we have EVERY had has been the Leftist "blame America and blame Israel for everything" point of view. Benny Morris's seeing the light hopefully will encourage others to wake up and smell the coffee.

Apr. 29 2009 11:31 AM
Jesso from White Plains

I'm a little surprised that comments continue to refer to Morris as a "right wing" Israeli. This reflects a paucity of knowledge of the historical debate in which Morris was a major participant. He is, in fact, one of the original "revisionist" Israeli historians who first raised questions about the national narrative of Israeli history -- in fact, dealing specifically with the issue of Palestinian refugees -- he is rather an important figure in the "left" critique of Israeli history. But, in the end, he just happens to be an excellent and very qualified historian, which defies these political categories.

Apr. 29 2009 11:31 AM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

What a crock! Jewish populations being absent from Arab states is a relatively new phenomenon and is due in large part to the creation of Israel in the first place because it provided them with incentive to move there, and it is due to the special hostility that has arisen between Jews and Arabs since the Zionist movement got under way. Even Iraq had a Jewish minority before the war. Many of them have since fled because of the instability and attacks against them by extremists.

While Muslim states have NOT been wonderfully progressive towards minorities throughout history, it was Europe after all where 6 million Jews were slaughtered at the hands of the Nazis with their non-Jewish neighbors happily sending them off to the concentration camps. In terms of anti-Semitism, most of the Western and Middle Eastern world has had a horrible track record with the Middle East being much farther behind only since the end of World War II.

Apr. 29 2009 11:31 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

GOD BLESS YOU BENNY MORRIS FOR FINALLY SEEING THE LIGHT, and thank you Brian for FINALLY having what I have been begging for for a long time, a genuinely rational Zionist guest on to explain the REALITY of what is going on over there as opposed to the delusional and hallucinatory musings of the Jewish Left and other apologists for the Palestinian case.
Benny finally realized the error of his earlier musings and come to the inescapable conclusion that a "live and let live" Palestinian state alongside Israel as presently conceived and desired by many people of good will, is very simply NOT what the Arabs have in mind for the long run. Their plan is to overwhelm the Jewish state by hook or crook.

Apr. 29 2009 11:29 AM
Shoshana from Manhattan Beach

Leon, I believe that if the Arab countries accepted Palestinians they would lose their biggest PR issue.
It would be great to have a two state solution but how can you negotiate with someone who resorts to violence when they don't get everything they want? All Israel wants is peace and existence.

Apr. 29 2009 11:28 AM
hjs from 11211

it's not always the right wing side that's heard.i've heard both side and i like that. there is balance on the BL show

Apr. 29 2009 11:25 AM
JP from The Garden State

Please ask your guest how come Arab Israeli citizens are treated like 2nd class citizens in Israel? Before I get beat up and told I don’t know what I'm talking about, I don’t think the people of Israel are racists but why is the Government?

Apr. 29 2009 11:25 AM
Leon from new york

Whats wrong with a premise of peace for peace. why should it be land for piece?
Also, why didn't the arab countries accept palestinians who moved to their lands as brothers. why do they still live in camps?

Apr. 29 2009 11:25 AM
Norman from Manhattan

Search Google for "Barak's generous offer" for maps of Clinton's offer.

Apr. 29 2009 11:24 AM
Shoshana from Manhattan Beach

The anti-Israel sentiment in the callers and commenters scares me. There are plenty of left wing Israelis and Palestinians on the air.
Israel was willing to give up everything at Camp David. Whatever they give up is never ever enough.
I am also impressed that Morris is bringing up all the Jewish expulsions from Arab states. Noone ever talks about that.Why is that okay?

Apr. 29 2009 11:24 AM
Bobby G from East Village

I'm glad Brian cut off the caller that called Palestinians sub-human.

I just wonder how many Israelis agree with that?

Apr. 29 2009 11:24 AM
Mark from JC, NJ

I have no problem with Mr. Morris being on but I agree with Magnus, let's have a maybe a leftish Israeli person and a moderate Palestinian representative on the show.

Apr. 29 2009 11:24 AM
Daniel from Munich

hjs, I think you mean this:

Apr. 29 2009 11:24 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

I agree Magnus. It is always the right-wing Israeli side that is presented on this show. This is bad judgement on Brian's part, I assume.

Apr. 29 2009 11:23 AM
hjs from 11211

thanks for cutting off the racist calling for ethnic cleansing.

Apr. 29 2009 11:23 AM

Thank you, Brian, for not permitting such racist/inflammatory comments on your program. Doesn't the phrase "sub human" ring any bells for that last caller? Sigh...

Apr. 29 2009 11:23 AM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

The notion of retention of ethnic identity is absurd and the fundamental reason why none of this will ever work. Imagine, for a moment, if the stated reason for the USA banning immigration were to retain a white Christian nation. Would this be seen as a moral decision? Or a sign of an archaic worldview?

While nobody would ever accept it, the most stable and just state would be a secular, democratic multi-ethnic state (possibly one that includes other Middle Eastern countries near the Mediterranean) without either a Star of David or a crescent on its flag. Of course, to do this would be to ask people not to do what is in their nature. And it would require all parties involved to abandon the notion of nationality as a matter of ethnicity and religion.

Apr. 29 2009 11:21 AM
Darius from Prospect Heights

Brian, thank you for cutting off that "subhuman" calling caller.

Apr. 29 2009 11:20 AM
magnus westergren from manhattan

I'm disgusted that you would give airtime to a standard right-wing Israeli. When are you ever going to give airtime to the Palestinian side? Could you please have Rashid Khalidi or any reputable academic on the show to actually explain the conflict to AMerican listeners.

Apr. 29 2009 11:17 AM
hjs from 11211

does this look like a viable state?

Apr. 29 2009 11:11 AM
hjs from 11211

here here!

Apr. 29 2009 11:09 AM
Robert from NYC

To the moderator I think we are a bit tired of constantly being told to be quiet on issues involving Israel and the Middle East because it's sensitive. Lots of stories are sensitive and criticism is free speech.

Apr. 29 2009 11:04 AM
Kathryn from Armonk, NY

Since Arafat, the Palestinians have lacked a leader with enough clout to represent them internally and internationally.

Without a representative vested with the authority to negotiate, and to uphold the resulting bargains, how is a two-state solution even conceptually viable?

Apr. 29 2009 10:25 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Please ask Benny Morris why the decision by the League of Nations in 1922 to make all of "Palestine" west of the Jordan river the Jewish National Home was not respected by the United Nations in 1947 when they proposed the partition compromise - which the Arabs rejected anyway. What gives these Arabs who call themselves "Palestinians" the right to a 22nd Arab state? The Tamils in Sri Lanka don't get to have a state. The Basques don't have a state. The Kurds don't have a state. The Lakota Sioux and the Cherokee don't have states. I think there should be a ONE Jewish state solution,and the Arabs who do not agree to agree in a Jewish-majority state are invited to take their possessions and leave to go live in the other 21 Arab states. Many Jews from Arab countries, and the USSR and elsewhere did so to come to Israel.

Apr. 29 2009 10:15 AM
BL Moderator from Varick St. Studios

[[BL Moderator Writes: Yes, please, let's stay productive and respectful. As always, this is a sensitive and controversial interview and we would all be best served by on-topic and measured comments.
-BL Show-]]

Apr. 29 2009 09:50 AM
Peter from Sunset Park


Asking me if I have "ever read a book not written by alan dershowitz?" is not a productive way to discuss a serious issue. When you post an idea or question that is respectful and serious then we can discuss it.



Apr. 29 2009 09:38 AM
Gabrielle from Brooklyn

Peter - have you been to the West Bank and/or Gaza? have you ever been to a checkpoint? have you ever read a book not written by alan dershowitz? from your comment, i would assume not.

Brian - can Mr. Morris explain benjamin netenyahu's economic plan for the west bank? from what i understand he considers this more important than giving the Palestinians statehood.

Apr. 29 2009 09:10 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

The solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict has already been proposed and is pretty simple. Israel gives the Palestinian most of the West Bank, small parts of Israel to make up for the West Bank land held and some of Jerusalem, and the Palestinians stop strapping bombs to their children and stop all forms of terror and aggression. Does Benny Morris agree, or does he think things are more complicated then this? Of course, a big piece of the pie is that the Palestinians have to accept an end to hostilities. Does Benny Morris think this is possible in the near future?

Also, please ask Benny Morris his opinion about the most recent rounds of fighting between Israel and the Palestinians when in Gaza.

Oh, and please ask Benny Morris to speak about this whole "right of return" issue. Please ask Benny, "Isn't the right of return just a Trojan Horse attempt to destroy Israel?"

Apr. 29 2009 06:41 AM

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