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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 26, 2004 / 3 Shevat, 5764

Politically Incorrect Historian

By Jonathan Tobin



Benny Morris' transformation highlights chilling truths about the conflict


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | If war is the "continuation of politics ... by other means," as German strategist Karl von Clausewitz famously wrote, then it must be said with equal certainty that the study of history in our day has become another form of warfare. No conflict better exemplifies this maxim than that between Arabs and Israelis. For the last 55 years and more, Zionist and anti-Zionist historians have waged war in the pages of their books.


Pro-Israel writers look to the past to justify by legal, historic and moral grounds the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty over the ancient homeland of the Jewish people.


At the same time, Arab writers as well as an international brigade of Jew-haters have done their best to depict the creation of the State of Israel as a crime.



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But the genre of historical writing that has done the most damage to Israel's image has not been the hatred-filled screeds coming out of the dubious academic institutions of Cairo and Damascus. It has been the work of Jews who have come to doubt the justice of Israel's cause that has emboldened its enemies the most. In the last 20 years, the rise of a new group of Israeli historians, known as "revisionists," has engendered a bitter debate about Israel's origins and policies.

NO TO THE STAINED-GLASS IMAGE
No person is as closely identified with this term as Benny Morris, a one-time journalist, prolific author and currently a professor of history at B en-Gurion University. In a number of works on the origin of the Palestinian refugee issue and Israel's War of Independence, Morris has earned a reputation as someone with little patience for the stained-glass version of the Zionist narrative. His research attempted to debunk the notion that all Arab refugees fled the territory that would become the Jewish state on their own, and that the conduct of Israel's soldiers and leaders was spotless.


Morris' work was greeted with dismay by many friends of Israel, who rightly worried that his version of history portrays the Jewish state as being born in sin.


The author reinforced his image as an icon of the Israeli left with his own anti-establishment behavior. In the late 1980s, Morris was briefly jailed when he refused to do his Israeli army reserve duty in the territories because he opposed Israel's presence there.


But ever since the Palestinian Authority rejected Israel's peace offer at the July 2000 Camp David summit and answered it with a terrorist war of attriti on, Morris has begun to make statements that have lost him his fans on the left.


The culmination of this process came when the Israeli daily Ha'aretz published a lengthy interview with the writer on Jan. 9. In it, Morris told journalist Ari Shavit — himself a highly partisan star of the Israeli left — that while his work uncovering Israeli wrongdoing would continue, he was no longer a supporter of peace efforts with the Palestinians.


Indeed, Morris shocked Shavit by asserting that Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion — whom Morris has roundly criticized as responsible for some of the suffering of Palestinian Arabs — probably made a mistake by not completely expelling all of them from the West Bank during the fighting in 1948 and 1949.

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"A society that aims to kill you forces you to destroy it," Morris said. Even more significantly, Morris pointed that all of the bad deeds which he is prepared to blame on Israelis do not amount to much when compared to the atrocities carried out elsewhere, as well as to the attempts of the Arabs to destroy Israel.


"When you take into account that there was a bloody civil war here and that we lost 1 percent of the population, you find that we [Israel] behaved very well," Morris told a dumfounded Shavit.


Morris is, of course, right. While we can debate some of the conclusions he draws from his research — and historians such as the redoubtable Efraim Karsh have placed many of them in doubt — the notion of the 1948 Israelis as morally perfect was always absurd. Wars are not moral events. Terrible things are sometimes done even in the name of righteous causes.


Much as Americans were once raised on such tame historical fare as Parson Weems' life of George Washington that portrayed the first president as a secular saint, Jews were fed much of the same about Israel's founders. But just as it does not undermine the legitimacy of the American republic to learn that Washington wasn't perfect, it won't kill us to learn the same about Ben-Gurion. Even more importantly, Morris' statements highlight the fact that Israel's democratic leaders did not act in a vacuum. They were locked in a war of survival that they'd tried to avoid via compromise against a foe whose purpose was the annihilation of the Jewish population.

‘THEY WANT IT ALL ’
Unlike many of his revisionist colleagues, Morris's hard look at Israelis of the past has not blinded him to the crimes of the Arabs during Israel's wars or to their current intentions. And that last point is what has so infuriated Morris' old friends. He is very clear in saying that Arafat has rejected peace with Israel on any terms.


"They want it all," Morris said. "Lod and Acre and Jaffa."


As for the Oslo process, Morris is now as cynical about it as he is about the War of Independence: "Oslo was a deception. Arafat did not change for the worse. Arafat simply defrauded us. ... He wants to send us back to Europe, to the sea we came from. ... They can't tolerate the existence of a Jewish state."


Concerning the Palestinians themselves, whatever wrongs they may have suffered, Morris doesn't sugarcoat their motives likening their widespread support for terror and the destruction of Israel to the actions of a "serial killer."


"Zionism was not a mistake. The desire to establish a Jewish state here was a legitimate one, a positive one. But given the character of Islam and given the character of the Arab nation, it was a mistake to think it would be possible to establish a tranquil state here," Morris noted.


Unfortunately, the trouble with being so clear-eyed about both the past and present is that it can leave you with little hope for the future. Morris sees no chance for peace in our generation against a foe he doesn't hesitate to describe as "barbaric." Israel and the West have no choice, he says, but to fight back in a clash of civilizations.


Israelis have no alternative, Morris said, but "to be vigilant, to defend the country as far as is possible. ... In the end, what will decide their readiness to accept us will be force alone."


The same chilling conclusion applies to America's struggle against Islamic terror.


If the study of history can teach us anything, it must be to be honest with ourselves. From the sound of it, ex-peacenik Benny Morris has learned his lesson.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here. In June, Mr. Tobin won first places honors in the American Jewish Press Association's Louis Rapaport Award for Excellence in Commentary as well as the Philadelphia Press Association's Media Award for top weekly columnist. Both competitions were for articles written in the year 2002.

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© 2004, Jonathan Tobin