Benny Morris (1948-) is a Jewish Israeli who used to be a diplomatic correspondent for the Jerusalem Post but is now a professor of history at Ben-Gurion University. He lives in Li-On.
In Shlomo Ben-Ami writes:
Denounced as an "anti-Zionist" after the publication of his 1987 book, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949, Morris was denied tenure by practically every department of history in the country. It was not until 1996, when then President Ezer Weizman summoned Morris to his office and asked him to affirm his belief in Israel's right to exist that Morris was given his job at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Some recent articles by/about Morris and his lurch to the right:
One wonders what Ben-Gurion - who probably could have engineered a comprehensive rather than a partial transfer in 1948, but refrained - would have made of all this, were he somehow resurrected. Perhaps he would now regret his restraint. Perhaps, had he gone the whole hog, today's Middle East would be a healthier, less violent place, with a Jewish state between Jordan and the Mediterranean and a Palestinian Arab state in Transjordan. Alternatively, Arab success in the 1948 war, with the Jews driven into the sea, would have obtained the same, historically calming result. Perhaps it was the very indecisiveness of the geographical and demographic outcome of 1948 that underlies the persisting tragedy of Palestine.No wonder that Avi Shlaim is quoted, in the second article above, as saying:
"What Israel carried out in 1948 was ethnic cleansing and what Benny is telling us now is that Ben-Gurion should have been more thorough and comprehensive in his policy of ethnic cleansing. Benny seems to have lost his moral bearings."
In November 2003, Avi Shlaim described Morris thus:
'Benny Morris used to be a "Young Turk", but now he's become an old jerk with a vengeance.'Furthermore Shlaim states:
His post-conversion interpretation of history is old history with a vengeance. It is indistinguishable from the propaganda of the victors. He used to have the courage of his convictions. He now has the courage of his prejudices.
Uri Avnery is a veteran peace campaigner in Israel. His description of Benny Morris is interesting. The following is quoted from Avnery's commentary on the interview with Ehud Barak which Morris published in the 13 June 2002 issue of the New York Review of Books. (Both the Morris-Barak interview and Avnery's commentary on it, entitled Barak: A Villa In The Jungle, are accessible through this web-site, as is Deborah Sontag's New York Times article on Camp David, entitled Quest for Mideast Peace: How and Why it failed, which was mentioned in the Morris-Barak interview and which is obliquely referenced by Avnery in what follows):
Before going into the details of the interview, one has to mention the interviewer. He is Benny Morris, the former "new historian", who in one easy jump has turned from the idol of the left into the darling of the right, redeeming himself from the stigma of being a "post-Zionist".
It was a clever choice on Barak's part. Morris conducts the interview as a sycophantic devotee, accepting unquestioningly Barak's most hair-raising statements ... and refraining from asking any embarrassing questions, obvious as they might appear.
Morris has been accused in the past of being a "revisionist" of Zionist history, because of his book revealing how the Palestinian refugees were driven out in 1948. It is rather hilarious to perceive how, in this interview, he freely levels the accusation of "revisionism" at anyone who dares to doubt Barak's assertions.Barak does not expose himself to the questioning of a real, investigative journalist, like Deborah Sontag of The New York Times, nor does he confront an objective eye-witness, like Robert Malley, President Clinton's assistant at Camp David. These are two of the "revisionists" who evoked the ire of the Barak-Morris team, as well as that of Clinton, who-Barak recounts-called him in Sardinia to rave at Sontag's excellent and well-researched article about Camp David. "What the hell is this?" Clinton demanded, according to Barak.
See this Wikipedia (English) article
See this Wikipedia (French) article (English translation)