Benny Morris is one of the leading experts in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Born in 1948, a history professor at the department of Middle East Studies at the University of Ben Gurion in the Negev, wrote basic books that no serious scholar or researcher who wants to understand something that is the most problematic and lasting historical conflict on a planetary scale, may be out of the question. Among them, Esilio, Israel and the Palestinian Exodus 1947-1949, Victims, History of the Arab-Zionist War 1881-2000, The First War of Israel. From the foundation to the conflict with the Arab states from 1947 to 1949. His glimpse of history is the shining and relentless one of an impenitent realist, who analyzes and protocollates the facts with completely dry eyes. We met in Jerusalem, in the Rehavia district, on a bright day at the end of June.
When you started writing about the Arab-Israeli conflict you were welcomed to the left as a scholar who was deconstructing the hegemonic narrative on the War of Independence. Subsequently, your admirers attacked you for what they considered a change of historical perspective. Has this change actually been? I never changed my historical perspective. I always wrote what the documents were telling me, and the perspective did not change. If you look at my first refugee book ( Esilo, Israel and the Palestinian Exodus, 1947-1949), the conclusions are exactly the same as those of the second version published sixteen years later. What has changed has been my assessment of the Palestinian will to make peace with Israel. In the 1990s I was cautiously hopeful that the Palestinians had changed their position and were ready to make peace. It turned out that they were not. When they rejected American and Israeli compromises in 2000, this episode changed my perspective. That is why many people got angry with me because I said that peace is not the fault of the Israelis but of the Palestinians.
In 1922, Mussa Kazim al Husseini, the head of the Arab-Palestinian Executive on Arabs and Jews, said, "Nature does not allow a spirit of cooperation between two so different peoples." After ninety-four years it seems that his words are still very modern. Do you agree with him?Yes, I seem to see things correctly. I do not think Jews and Arabs can live well in a state in which they share power. I would say that things have worsened, that the nearly one hundred additional years of animosity and violence have made them less available to trust each other than they were before. There has been terrorism, resumption of Arab outburst, Palestinian approach to fundamentalism. This has made it even more unlikely that peace can be achieved.
From your research it seems that you consider Arab rejection as the main obstacle for a resolution of the conflict. Is that so? From my point of view, Arab refusal has not changed. They said no to the compromise advanced by the British in the 1930s, they said no to the United Nations plan of division that expressed the will of the international community, they said no in 2000 with Arafat at Camp David and said another not with Abu Mazen as their leader at the Olmert compromise in 2008. Meanwhile, Hamas has become much stronger and opposed to any kind of territorial compromise. I see no compromise chance on the horizon.
I would like to talk about the attitude of the Zionist leaders before and during the Independence War. There is a vexata quaestio concerning the question of the will to transfer the Arab population before and during the war. There are those who argue that it was the product of a premeditation, eventually reaching the point of accusing the Zionist leaders of genocidal mentality, and those like you, according to whom the transfer was more the result of the Arab threat to the Jewish presence. What can you tell me about this?First of all, the issue has nothing to do with genocide or genocide. At worst, some Zionist leaders thought of the transfer and certainly not in the terms of massacres or mass murders, and in fact nothing of the kind took place. In 1930, while anti-Semitism increased in Europe, there was a need for a safe haven for Jews. The United States and England did not want to take them. Jewish desire was to come to Palestine where Jewish sovereignty had existed for centuries, and some leaders including Ben Gurion and Chaim Weizmann reasoned on the transfer of a portion of the Arab population or the whole Arab population from the area that would have to become Jewish state. Now, in 1937, the Peel Commission proposed to the Arabs a split by which Jews would acquire 17% of Palestine and Arabs something like 70%. The Jews thought it was just right if they were to take 17%, at least to be Arab-free so that they would have enough space to absorb persecuted Jews coming from Germany. That is what the Peel Commission considered right. He recommended the transfer as a prerequisite that accompanied the solution of the two states. That is what the Peel Commission considered right. He recommended the transfer as a prerequisite that accompanied the solution of the two states. That is what the Peel Commission considered right. He recommended the transfer as a prerequisite that accompanied the solution of the two states.
Some Jews rejected the idea of transfer as they thought there was something immoral in the idea of expelling part of the native population, but others thought that the morality of saving hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives overwhelmed the immorality of throwing out a few hundred of thousands of Arabs, two hundred and twenty-five thousand Arabs, from the area that was supposed to become the Jewish state. They did not have to go somewhere else, they would have gone to live with their people and they would be compensated. That was the idea, that's what the Peel Commission recommended, and was endorsed by people like Ben Gurion and Weizmann. The British governorship endorsed the idea, but then denied it, and in 1949 I advised that all Palestine was essentially placed under Arab sovereignty.
The transfer took place in 1947, 48 and 49 as a result of the War. The Arabs of Palestine and later those of the surrounding states attacked the Jews and the emerging Jewish state. It was a civil war for the first half, during which the population was mixed. The only way to win for the Arabs was to expel Jews from areas that were to become Arabs and Jews to expel Arabs from areas that would have to become Jewish. The Jews were more efficient and essentially hunted by the Arabs. Many of them fled as a result of this and the Jews made sure they did not return. Some were expelled, some were advised or ordered by their leaders to leave, thinking they would return once the Arabs had won the war.
Some historians, unlike me, do not think that when Ben Gurion and Chaim Weizmann talk of transfer in the 1930s were really willing to take it on. On the contrary, I think that they seriously considered the thing but that the British authorities did not want to implement it, and the Jews in the 1930s were not able to do it on their own, but they seriously considered the matter.
BEN-GURION’S DECLARATION ON THE EXCLUSIVE AND INALIENABLE
JEWISH RIGHT TO THE WHOLE OF
THE LAND OF ISRAEL:
at the Basle Session of the 20th Zionist Congress atZurich(1937)
(David Ben-Gurion was the first Prime Minister of Israel and
widely hailed as the State's main founder).
No Jew has the right to yield the rights of the
Jewish People in Israel -
David Ben Gurion
(David Ben-Gurion was the first Prime Minister of Israel and
widely hailed as the State's main founder).
"No Jew has the right to yield the rights of the Jewish
People in Israel. No Jew has the authority to do so. No Jewish body has the authority to do so. Not even the entire Jewish People alive today has the right
to yield any part of Israel. It is the right of the Jewish People over the generations, a
right that under no conditions can be cancelled. Even if Jews during a specific period proclaim they are
relinquishing this right, they have neither the power nor the authority to deny
it to future generations. No concession of this type is binding or obligates the Jewish
People. Our right to the country - the entire country - exists as an eternal
right, and we shall not yield this historic right until its full and complete
redemption is realized."
(David Ben Gurion, Zionist Congress, Basel, Switzerland,
"No country in the world exists today by virtue of its
'right'. All countries exist today by virtue of their ability to
defend themselves against those who seek their destruction
In November 1947, when a partition of the country was proposed, there were to be four hundred thousand Arabs in the Jewish state and just over five hundred thousand Jews, and Zionist leaders, including Ben Gurion and Weizmann, accepted the thing, the presence of a large Arab minority in Jewish state. One might say they were not sincere, they did not really mean it, but they said yes. The Arabs said no and they started to shoot.
When I interviewed German scholar and German politologist Matthias Kuntzel last winter, he stressed that during the Thirties the Muslim Brotherhood and Haji Amin at Hussein had Islamized the war against Zionism and the Jews. Do you agree with him that the most robust roots of the conflict are the religious ones?Not entirely. The conflict raises political elements and nationalist struggles between the two sides and also elements of religious conflict. At different times one of the two prevails, but certainly from the beginning there was a large religious element in Arab antagonism against Zionism and increased with Haji to Husseini. He was an ecclesiastical and he understood very well that to mobilize the Arab masses it was necessary to use religion, not politics. At that time the masses did not know what nationalism was but understood what it was when talking about Allah and the holy places. Husseini said that the Jews wanted to occupy the Mount of Temple, who wanted to destroy the mosques and this was accepted by the Arab masses and led them to violent attacks against the Jewish presence and the rising Jewish state. In Islam, there is a profound antagonism towards Judaism, and it is anchored in the Qur'an because Judaism was a rival religion when Mohammed began to preach and in fact destroyed some Jewish tribes. Religion is still the basis for continued Muslim antagonism against Jews and Christians and a justification for jihad.
Today, it is customary to define the Israeli presence in the West Bank, "occupation" with all that this definition implies, but this definition is highly controversial and openly contested by Israel. In fact, the territories are disputed. What is your position on the issue?Territories are definitely disputed, but there is also a half occupation. Why semi-occupation? Because some areas in the West Bank, especially those with a large Arab population are somehow governed by the Palestinian Authority but are also surrounded by Israeli blockades and military contingents, so there is a kind of occupation. So if the Palestinians want to go to Jordan or fly to the United States they must get an Israeli permit if they want to import something the imports must arrive in Israel if they want to export something, even in this case, what is being exported must go to Israel, if they want to build in some areas they must get Israeli permits. So it's a semi-occupation, it's an unusual occupation. Israel is not there but controls the surrounding area. The same thing applies to the Gaza Strip. It is completely under Hamas control, but Israel controls the airspace, the sea coast, and some of the exits from the Strip while Egypt controls another exit to the south. Hamas rules inside, puts people in jail, kills opponents, enforces religious law, this is true, governs somehow, they are sovereign in some way, but not completely because Israel surrounds them and supplies water and electricity. Basically they live by taking from Israel. it imposes religious law, this is true, governed in some way, they are sovereign in some way, but not completely because Israel surrounds them and supplies water and electricity. Basically they live by taking from Israel. it imposes religious law, this is true, governed in some way, they are sovereign in some way, but not completely because Israel surrounds them and supplies water and electricity. Basically they live by taking from Israel.
In One state two states liquid as completely unrealistic the idea of a binational state and write that "The idea of the two states remains the only moral and political base for a solution that offers a minimum of justice and trace a chance for peace for both peoples. " To what extent do Palestinians really want this solution?I do not think they want it. As they have done consistently in the past, they still do not want a solution today. They want all of Palestine. They believe they belong in terms of justice. Sharing the land with Israel, which has 78%, consider it completely unfair and I am not willing to accept it. Fatah, the so-called secular movement, pretends to want a binational solution, Hamas rejects it openly, Abu Mazen waves here and there, disagrees with a Jewish state alongside a Palestinian state but says yes, however, when it comes to negotiating will certainly not sign any agreement, as did Arafat and how Abu Mazen did not do it in 2008 when it was offered to him.
We say that in the end there is an agreement between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. How seriously could any agreement be reached against the strong opposition of Hamas who rules a million and five hundred thousand Arabs in Gaza?Hamas not only governs one million and five hundred thousand Arabs in Gaza but also has a profound influence on the West Bank and refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Hamas enjoys a very strong support. I do not think any leader of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas or his successor, will ever sign an agreement because it would be a death warrant. Hamas would kill him, Hamas would sovereignly agree if he were to sign it, but I do not believe it will sign him. Even if he did, as you suggest, Hamas would turn and many Palestinians would bow to Hamas because they were educated and inculcated with the idea that the Israelis are thieves and their presence in Israel is unlawful so they would not join. They think the story is on their side. This is a problem, as the story for them is the surrounding Arab states, the Arab economic power,
Jews are just over six million in this small corner of the world where there are hundreds of millions of Arabs, so the Arabs look at the thing objectively and say, it can not last, it's an anomaly. What we have to do is not sign any agreement and eventually demography, economic power, political power, will decide the outcome and end up like the crusaders who were expelled in the twelfth century.
Do you agree that the fictional narrative according to which the Palestinians are victims and the exploiting and persecuting Jews is a reformulation of the persistent anti-Semitic paradigm? It's a set of things. Look, both peoples are victims. Jews are the victims of two thousand years of Christian persecution and Muslim persecution and are victims of Arab attacks and Palestinian terrorism. The Arabs are victims in the sense that Israel has dispersed a large proportion from their homes, occupied the land and made them live under a semi-occupation form since 1967.
The Jews at the moment in the Middle East are the strongest, but if you look at the map and demographic reality, political reality, the Jews, are actually the disadvantaged in historical terms. We are stronger than the Palestinians but the Arab world, which is currently fragmented, is potentially much stronger than us.
I have named one of my Vittime books because both sides are victims and claim to be, but if you look at things in a historical perspective, Jews are the biggest victims even if, in an immediate sense, Palestinians are also victims and are entitled to feel like that. However, their victimization is largely self-produced because they were offered a state by the Peel Commission, the United Nations, Israel and have always said no. If they had accepted that they would not be victims, they would have a real state, not all of Palestine, but they would have a large portion or, as was offered later, a small portion, but in any case a state. They are partly victims because they have continued to say no.
In the West, prejudice against Israel is very strong. Many consider it a vestige of colonialism and this definition has been sold very well since the 1960s to the present. What do you have to say about this?The colonial paradigm refers to an imperialist motherland who sends their children to other lands, conquers and thus exploits natives and natural resources. Zionism was the project of a persecuted people in Europe, the Jews, who needed a homeland and came here and bought land plots. They did not win anything, they bought it. They were not agents of an empire, they thought they were agents in the service of their people. It is true that England initially supported them for a while and then took away their support, and it is also true that the United States has supported them for some time, but they have never been agents of the United States as can be seen from Obama / Netanyahu rivalry. It is true that in a certain way Israel protects some American interests and Western interests in the area as we share the same values and so on. There is something colonial in Zionism in the sense that it was a European movement and it is Europe that moves to a land of the Third World and gradually extends on it. In this sense there is a colonial element. Zionism has created what we callmoshavots ( cooperative agricultural community) and settlements that have gradually expanded, from few to more and more. So, once again, this is a colonial movement, but in no way can be compared to Western colonialism.
You are a cube realist. In what you write and say there is never a soft point. Is it too pessimistic to see Israel's future as a perennial fortress in the Middle East, or is it the best way to look at reality in reality?I believe that reality in the Middle East, and even more so after the so-called Arab awakening, means that Israel, in order to survive here, and I'm not sure if it will succeed, the Roman Empire has not survived, no one survives forever, to be a fortress, you need to be strong. It has to reject the Arab attacks and the Arab antagonism and Western malevolence, which is growing, as you say. Israel could behave better in a sense, it could stop settlements, never support the settlement business, show the West to be honest in its will to peace. There are actions that the government could do. For example, build a port in Gaza that could be monitored internationally and from Israel. I'm not saying it can be done, I'm not saying it might work. The real basic problem is not really Israel's gestures or politics but it is Arab refusal.
In this way we return to the main point. Yes, that's how it is, but that's how things are.
David Horowitz does not tell them. From your mouth you will never hear anything moderate because you know that the tomb of truth in this era is the politically correct Newspeak. Horowitz is the witness to an intense and radical political itinerary since a young Marxist intellectual in London in the 1960s worked with Bertrand Russell and became a friend of Isaac Deutscher, Trotzky's biographer and New Left English vats, when in the psychedelic and anarchoid California 68 approached the Black Panthers and then abandoned them when his vision changed profoundly. "Just as Stalin used the idealism and fidelity of my parents' generation to commit their crimes in the 1930s, Black Panthers have used the idealism of my generation in the 1960s," he said later.
Today, David Horowitz is the president of the conservative think tank who brings his name, the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the publisher of the real war machine against what he views as the American submission to progressive ideology, which is Frontpage Magazine.
Author of dozens of books, much of which is intended to highlight liberal gears and myths (and left tout court), is one of the most uncomfortable and abrasive voices of the American landscape.
I would like to begin with a question about the Freedom Center you are a president. What are the goals of the center? The center was created to defend free societies that are under attack by internal and external totalitarian forces. This first mission leads to a second: to awaken the conservatives and other patriots who do not understand that the "democratic" socialist "progressive" is a totalitarian force, or a favor of totalitarianism, and thus a formation in war against democracies that based on the free market.
Like George Orwell and Arthur Koestler, she comes from the left and became one of her most controversial opponents. If it were to identify the most persistent and fallacious ideas of the progressive mentality, what would they be? Virtually all left-wing ideas are false because they are based on the premise that if the left will be granted the necessary power it will create a mythical paradise called alternatively "communism" or "socialism" or "social justice." It is the seduction and impossibility of their utopian dreams that makes their followers so dangerous and available to ally with the enemies of democracy, even Islamic barbarians.
For years she has denounced the way in which many US campuses and universities have become liberal liberal indoctrination sites, if not clearly neo-Marxist and anti-Westernist. What made this happen? The blindness of conservatives against the threat. The term "liberal" attributed to the left, which is bigoted and intolerant, is a deceptive term. "Neo-Marxist" is too moderate. Not even Marx had demanded the expulsion of conservatives and dissidents from university faculties and conference lists.
Today, anti-Zionism is an expression of a mentality that goes hand in hand with anti-Americanism. For those who think so the West is seen as the source of all the problems. It's as if we were still in the Cold War period and the Soviet Union had never fallen. Agree? Antisemitism is a synonym of hatred for Jews. There is no other ethnicity or religion in the world that could be the target of such hatred as the Jewish state and no other antagonism - if not that against the United States - that could forge an alliance between the progressive left and Nazis of Islam, who, unlike Hitler who concealed his plans for the Final Solution, shout from the roofs that their goal is to complete the work begun by him.
How does he explain that characters such as Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, both Jews, have come to the point of weaving the praises of a terrorist group like Hezbollah who interprets Islam radically and is openly anti-Semitic? Chomsky and Finkelstein are delusional Jews whose religion is the utopian fantasy of the Left. This means that their priorities are Israel's anti-Americanism and destruction, which brings them to alliance with medieval Jewish hijackers whose goal is genocide not only of Jews, but of Christians, Hindus, and all non-Muslims.
It is no secret to anyone between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu there is a profound contrast to what is best for Israel and the Middle East. Many believe that President Obama was the least friendly American president of Israel. What do you think? Obama gave his support to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the source of Islamic terror and Nazism and the origin of the Palestinian genocidal campaign aimed at throwing all Jews into the sea. Although conservatives are still intimidated by telling the truth about Obama because it is black, Obama is an American traitor who has handed out nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to Iranians who openly proclaim their goal, "Death to the United States" and "Death to Israel ".
In his speech at Cairo in 2008, President Obama defined Islam as a "religion of peace," a definition used by President Bush Jr. This administration has consistently refused to connect jihadism to its Muslim, Koranic origins. How important is this state of affairs to change? It is crucial to overcome the global war that the Islamists have declared to us. The prophet Mohammed has incited the extermination of Jews and a war against the infidels, Christians, Hindus, atheists, and anyone who does not submit to Islamic faith. Islam is the only religion that has spread through the sword behind the specific order of its prophet.
Matthias Kuntzel, one of Europe's leading experts in the link between Islamism and Jihadism, in a recent interview with us, told us that the Iranian nuclear agreement was like promising a 10-year-long, full-fledged tanks petrol. Agree? Yes, but his words are too moderate. Obama gave nuclear weapons to the Middle East Hitler and therefore marked the death sentence of Israel. If Israel will be able to defend itself by deleting the Iranian regime it is to be seen. But the blood shedding Obama has authorized will be horrible.
As a last question I would like to ask Donald Trump. Many in Europe see it as a sign of a third-party involution and unfit to become president. What is your opinion about? I remember when Kennedy was murdered and Lyndon Johnson became president. I was in England at that time. The Europeans thought it the same way as Johnson. Europeans tend to look down from the Americans because we have saved them in two world wars. We had to do it because long ago they gave up the will to defend the magnificent cultures that their ancestors have created. Savior is crucified, this is a moral of Christianity that is rarely remembered.
For Emanuele Fiano, a member of the Pd National Secretariat, party security officer and Nedo's son, the writer who survived Auschwitz, the Liberation Day is not one day like another. In a recent post on Facebook he wrote that he will feel at home "parading along with the flags of the PD, the boys of Bella Hi and the flag of the Jewish Brigade at the April 25th march in Milan." We talk directly to him in this interview.
Mr Fiano, what is your meaning for April 25? Above all, is antifascism always current? Anti-Fascism is always present as it will always be the battle against any form of totalitarianism. We do not only celebrate the partisan martyrs and the joy of being free. We celebrate the story that has protected us from the danger of not seeing the signs, the symbols, the language of fascism, totalitarianism, discrimination and indifference in advance. Nowadays, in the face of the multitudes, that today, in the face of wars, persecutions and hunger, they call upon us for Europe's help, the neo-fascist and neo-Nazi movements and parties have been awakened and strengthened all over Europe, because as always in History is the other, the weaker, the helpless, the alien, who can run from scapegoat when the social condition becomes more difficult. Even for this reason what the European fascists have been,
What do you represent for her father's life and history, Nedo Fiano? My dad was my master of life, his perseverance in not forgetting, his joy and joy to live, his choice of teaching history to young people a moral imperative, are the way to go.
Every year there is a lot of controversy over the Jews' contribution to the Liberation struggle. What do you think? It is controversy for those who ignore the story, of those who confuse Jews and Israel, of those who deny Israel's right to exist together in this anti-Semitic hatred towards Jews in general. The Jews participated in the liberation struggle in Italy and Europe, they were the protagonists of memorable riots, even though they were reduced to slaves as in the case of the revolt of Warsaw ghetto, rebelled whenever they could. The youngest Italian partisan was a Jew, Franco Cesana; Primo Levi was a partisan.
How can we explain, especially to young people, the fundamental role played by the Jewish Brigade? The Jewish Brigade was the glorious choice of a group of Jewish inhabitants of then Palestine to participate in the liberation war in Italy framed in the Army of his Majesty. The body was constituted in 1944. It belonged to Jews from the territories that would become the present Israel. His military activities are mainly remembered for actions in Emilia and Romagna and for subsequent aid actions to the Jewish communities.
You April 25 will be in Milan square. Controversial issues for the presence of the flags and supporters of the Jewish Brigade? Yes, I'm afraid there will be the usual anti-Semitic and anti-Semitic faces that will be distinguished as always.