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It can be done

Avi Shlaim, 9 June 1994

Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of ‘Transfer’ in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948 
by Nur Masalha.
Tauris/IPS, 235 pp., £19.95, May 1994, 0 88728 235 0
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The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1947-1951 
by Ilan Pappé.
Tauris, 324 pp., £39.50, June 1992, 1 85043 357 7
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... Flapan in The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities in 1988. The same year saw the publication of Benny Morris’s The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949. Morris describes the flight of the Palestinians wave after wave, town by town, and village by village. He gives numerous specific examples of ...

Israel’s Dirty War

Avi Shlaim, 18 August 1994

Israel’s Border Wars, 1949-56: Arab Infiltration, Israeli Retaliation and the Countdown to the Suez War 
by Benny Morris.
Oxford, 451 pp., £40, September 1993, 0 19 827850 0
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... Benny Morris is one of the most original and prolific contributors to the new or revisionist Israeli historiography of the Arab-Israeli conflict. What distinguishes the new historians most clearly from the traditionalists is that they are critical of the claims made by Israeli governments, claims which were turned into national myths and as such continue to influence popular attitudes to the Arabs even now ...

‘It was necessary to uproot them’

Charles Glass: Post-Zionist historiography, 24 June 2004

A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples 
by Ilan Pappe.
Cambridge, 333 pp., £15.99, January 2004, 0 521 55632 5
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The Gun and the Olive Branch 
by David Hirst.
Faber, 624 pp., £16.99, August 2003, 0 571 21945 4
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The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited 
by Benny Morris.
Cambridge, 664 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 521 81120 1
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... or Moshe Dayan’s on his American fund-raising tours, people listen. One post-Zionist historian, Benny Morris, has taken the argument a step further: yes, he says, Ben-Gurion and the Haganah had a hand in expelling Arabs; but, no, there was nothing wrong with this. Morris told the Haaretz journalist Ari Shavit in a ...

All the difference

Avi Shlaim, 25 June 1992

The Road Not Taken: Early Arab-Israeli Negotiations 
by Itamar Rabinovich.
Oxford, 259 pp., £19.50, December 1991, 0 19 506066 0
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... of what Israelis call their War of Independence. The authors of these books – Simha Flapan, Benny Morris, Ilan Pappé and myself – are sometimes collectively referred to as the ‘new historians’ or the ‘Israeli revisionists’. Revisionist historiography challenged the traditional Zionist version of the birth of Israel on a number of ...

Cleansing the Galilee

David Gilmour, 23 June 1988

The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities 
by Simha Flapan.
Croom Helm, 277 pp., £25, October 1987, 0 7099 4911 1
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Collusion across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement and the Partition of Palestine 
by Avi Shlaim.
Oxford, 676 pp., £35, May 1988, 0 19 827831 4
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The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949 
by Benny Morris.
Cambridge, 380 pp., £30, March 1988, 0 521 33028 9
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... History at the Hebrew University, and several younger historians such as Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev and Benny Morris. A handful of older men have also encouraged the re-examination of Israel’s past, including the late Simha Flapan, a pioneer of the state’s early days, and Dr Israel Shahak, president of the Israeli League for Civil and Human Rights. Three ...

‘Abu Nidal, Abu Shmidal’

Avi Shlaim, 9 May 1991

Israel’s Secret Wars: The Untold History of Israeli Intelligence 
by Ian Black and Benny Morris.
Hamish Hamilton, 603 pp., £20, February 1991, 0 241 12702 5
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... Ian Black is the Guardian correspondent in Jerusalem and the author of Zionism and the Arabs. Benny Morris worked for the Jerusalem Post before it lurched to the right and is the author of the highly-acclaimed The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949. He is a leading member of the group of ‘new’ or revisionist Israeli historians ...

Short Cuts

Adam Shatz: Israel and Iran, 23 September 2010

... writer to predict an Israeli attack. On 18 July 2008 in the New York Times, the Israeli historian Benny Morris claimed that ‘Israel will almost surely attack Iran’s nuclear sites in the next four to seven months.’ Like Goldberg, he made much of Israel’s fear that ‘its very existence was at stake’ so long as the ...
... have finally come to their senses and are fully supporting our policies.’ On television, Benny Morris of Ben Gurion University repeated his support for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, claiming this as the best means of solving the conflict in Palestine. The New York Times and the New Republic were among the many stages on which ...

The Great Lie

Charles Glass: Israel, 30 November 2000

The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World 
by Avi Shlaim.
Allen Lane, 670 pp., £25, April 2000, 9780713994100
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Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999 
by Benny Morris.
Murray, 752 pp., £25, January 2000, 0 7195 6222 8
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A Blood-Dimmed Tide: Dispatches from the Middle East 
by Amos Elon.
Allen Lane, 354 pp., £20, August 2000, 0 7139 9368 5
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Fabricating Israeli History: The ‘New Historians’ 
by Efraim Karsh.
Frank Cass, 236 pp., £39.50, May 2000, 0 7146 5011 0
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From Herzl to Rabin: The Changing Image of Zionism 
by Amnon Rubinstein.
Holmes & Meier, 283 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 8419 1408 7
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... Their work has steadily eroded the ‘old history’, especially since the publication in 1987 of Benny Morris’s The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-49. Morris’s research into the archives of the Israeli Defence Forces demonstrated what Palestinian Arab refugees and historians had been saying for ...

Israel’s Lies

Henry Siegman, 29 January 2009

... within the Zionist movement resorted to terrorist activities for strategic reasons. According to Benny Morris, it was the Irgun that first targeted civilians. He writes in Righteous Victims that an upsurge of Arab terrorism in 1937 ‘triggered a wave of Irgun bombings against Arab crowds and buses, introducing a new dimension to the conflict’. He ...

The Two-State Solution: An Autopsy

Henry Siegman: An Autopsy, 24 May 2018

... even if they hadn’t rejected the partition plan or declared war on the new Jewish state. As Benny Morris and other historians have written, the war crimes ordered by Ben-Gurion and executed by his generals were not intended for any purpose other than ensuring the departure of a panicked Arab population. Nothing more profoundly expresses the ...

The Great Middle East Peace Process Scam

Henry Siegman: There Is No Peace Process, 16 August 2007

... Israel’s own struggle for national independence was no exception. According to the historian Benny Morris, in this conflict it was the Irgun that first targeted civilians. In Righteous Victims, Morris writes that the upsurge of Arab terrorism in 1937 ‘triggered a wave of Irgun bombings against Arab crowds and ...

Can the law be feminist?

Lorna Finlayson, 25 January 2018

Butterfly Politics 
by Catharine MacKinnon.
Harvard, 490 pp., £23.95, April 2017, 978 0 674 41660 4
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... people’. In fact, Israeli forces have raped and sexually abused women. The right-wing historian Benny Morris has documented the multiple incidents of rape and murder of Palestinian women and girls that occurred in 1948 (he suspects these attacks are just ‘the tip of the iceberg’). Although the prevalent view, which ...

Ariel the Unlucky

David Gilmour, 5 April 1990

Warrior: The Autobiography of Ariel Sharon 
by Ariel Sharon and David Chanoff.
Macdonald, 571 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 356 17960 5
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The Slopes of Lebanon 
by Amos Oz, translated by Maurie Goldberg-Bartura.
Chatto, 246 pp., £13.95, January 1990, 0 7011 3444 5
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From Beirut to Jerusalem 
by Thomas Friedman.
Collins, 541 pp., £15, March 1990, 0 00 215096 4
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Pity the nation: Lebanon at War 
by Robert Fisk.
Deutsch, 622 pp., £17.95, February 1990, 0 233 98516 6
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... version of events and ignore the work of Israel’s best modern historians, such as Avi Shlaim and Benny Morris. Qibya was a disgusting incident which reminded the pro-Zionist New York Post of Lidice, but in Sharon’s autobiography it becomes almost an unlucky misunderstanding. One night in 1953 he took his commando unit into Jordan, killed a dozen ...

Belts Gleaming

Charles Glass: Uri Avnery, 11 June 2009

1948: A Soldier’s Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem 
by Uri Avnery, translated by Christopher Costello.
Oneworld, 398 pp., £12.99, October 2008, 978 1 85168 629 2
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Israel’s Vicious Circle 
by Uri Avnery and Sara Powell.
Pluto, 230 pp., £15, July 2008, 978 0 7453 2823 2
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... the girls too, that we will find. That is a kind of primitive instinct within us.’ (According to Benny Morris, writing in 2003, about a dozen cases of rape were reported during the war, but ‘they are just the tip of the iceberg.’) One of Avnery’s fellow soldiers regrets that the appearance of a British patrol stopped him from raping an Arab ...

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