Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Benny Morris' Alamo
Chris Shortsleeve Deconstructs Benny Morris in one of the best reviews I have yet read of the research of this "Progressive Zionist" (sic). Here are two small excerpts, but the entire article is a MUST READ!
Morris is markedly pro-Israel in that at various points he comes right out and blames the Palestinians as the original initiators of the conflict. He writes, "Muslims…drove the colonists, at least during the early decades of Zionism, toward occasional overassertiveness and even aggressiveness in an effort to wipe out the traces of their traditional and formerly humiliating image" (Morris, 13). This is the classic liberal Zionist position on who to blame for the violence between Israel and the Palestinians (if you haven’t guessed yet, it’s the Palestinians). Morris has the gall to pose as a progressive because he has made a very mild criticism of Israel’s ‘overassertiveness and aggressiveness.’ Nonetheless, let there be no mistake, the Palestinians "drove the colonists" to do it! Never mind that the colonizers colonized the Palestinians and took their land, it was the Palestinians who are to blame for the violence. Like a battered house wife sitting in an emergency room hospital bed, like a female rape victim who "provoked" her attacker by her very existence, the Palestinians having been hearing "why do you make me do it, honey? Why do you make me do it?" for over a hundred years. Would the Zionists then say that the Native Americans, who originally welcomed the Pilgrims as refugees but fought them when they let it be known that they came as colonists, provoked their own genocide? If the European crimes against European Jews were so bad (which they definitely were), why didn’t the Jews flee to Palestine as refugees and not as colonists? Why did they not, and why do they not, seek multiracial harmony, rather than the racist apartheid that is Israel today?
Time and again in this book, Morris traces the root of the conflict to Palestinians’ unwillingness to compromise with Jewish colonization and expropriation of their land, Palestinians’ unwillingness to meet the colonists halfway, the Palestinians’ unwillingness to sympathize with the Jews’ plight (Morris, 678). But while every ethical person should always sympathize with genocide, is colonization the answer to that? And furthermore, why should the Palestinians have to meet their colonizers halfway? Sure they should sympathize with the pain caused by the Jewish holocaust. Sure they should welcome the Jews as refugees and racial equals, with whom they should live side by side in multiracial harmony (just as the Israelis today should welcome the Palestinian refugees back into their country, recognize their right of return, and live with them side by side in multiracial harmony). But as long as the Jews in Palestine continue to be colonists and not racial egalitarianists, why should the Palestinians have to meet them halfway?
They’re colonizers. And the Palestinians are a colonized people. Why should they have to prove they’re a ‘partner in peace?’ Morris also writes that, "the Palestinians never really understood the Zionist claim to the land" (Morris, 678). This phrase "never really understood" is evocative of a Palestinian people too stupid to understand Zionist history.