Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: Benny Morris: The Kiss That Kills

[W]hether Morris is a professional liar, or just a lying amateur, he continues to uphold his lies. And he makes matters worse by claiming to be a friend.
Published: Tuesday, March 02, 2004 6:13 PM


I have seen several defenders of Israel react with pleasure to the supposed transformation of Benny Morris. I cannot read the mind of Benny Morris, but I can read his statements. Looking at them, and especially his recent and much-discussed interview with Haaretz, I see that Morris still claims that what he wrote about the Israeli War of Independence is true. The only difference is that now he claims to have "realized" that Israel was justified in doing bad things because the Palestinian leaders were never sincere about peace.

Israel, and indeed the Jewish people worldwide, are under assault from an organized propaganda campaign aimed at justifying anti-Semitism and genocide. The crucial battlefield is the minds of millions of Gentiles. The weapons used against the Jews are lies about Israel. In that battle, the new Benny Morris is even more harmful than the old.

For years, Benny Morris fabricated "facts" - mistranslated passages so that, for example, Ben-Gurion seemed to be saying Arabs should be expelled when in fact he was saying they should not be expelled. Morris took statements out of context or left out parts of quotations so that Israeli leaders seemed to be calling for the harshest conduct, when they were in fact calling for the most humane conduct possible under the circumstances. He even fabricated evidence wholesale - manufactured documents - to make Israel look bad. This is proved in devastating detail by Efraim Karsh. One of Prof. Karsh's best exposes is on the Internet. It is worth reading (http://www.meforum.org/article/466).

In order for Morris' supposed transformation to be positive he would have to repudiate his own writings. He would have to admit that he lied wholesale. By exposing his own lies, he would, to some extent, undo the damage he has done.

Morris has made no such admission. Instead, Morris still claims his writings were based on facts; only his moral conclusions were wrong. However, it wasn't Morris' moral conclusions that hurt Israel. When he wrote that Israel was formed through rape, murder and ethnic cleansing, and justified by deceit, he did not have to add, "And I disapprove." It was his lies, his manufactured "scholarship," which was picked up and spread worldwide by an eager media, and which poisoned the thinking of millions of people against Israel. Here was a Jewish scholar, supposedly driven by a passion for truth wherever it might lead, who accused Israel of terrible crimes.

I was one of the people affected by Morris. In large measure it was because of him that - and I am ashamed to have to say this - I once supported the PLO.

When I read Karsh and realized Morris had lied - not made mistakes, but fabricated evidence - I was sickened. Morris' lies were criminal, just as much as if he had attacked Israel with bombs. He helped undercut worldwide disgust for Palestinian terror; he helped create the political basis for a Palestinian terror state next door to Israel. Morris is responsible, like Yasser Arafat, for the murder of thousands of Israelis. But Arafat is not an Israeli Jew. Morally, Morris is worse than Arafat.

Over the past few years, Morris has found himself in danger of losing credibility due to the exposes written by Karsh and others. Moreover, many Israelis have learned through terrible experience that the PLO wants genocide. So, adapting to the new climate, Morris does a supposed about-face, claiming that while what he said about Israel was true, he was wrong about the Palestinian leaders. And because of this, says Morris, he was wrong to condemn Israeli actions.

What is the effect of this "change"?

Where honest scholars were once inspired to expose Morris' lies, now they will hold back. After all, Israel has so few friends and one does not want to abuse an important person who has seen the light. This is very understandable, but politically harmful, because Morris has not seen the light. He has seen his way out of a hole. By claiming what he wrote is true, but that he supports Israel anyway, he continues to attack Israel while undermining the exposure of his lies. He is far deadlier "defending" Israel than he was when he openly condemned her.

Now the enemies of Israel can say, "See? The friends of Israel are immoral scum - look at Morris. He has no trouble defending the 'Zionist entity' even though he, better than anyone, knows it was founded on what even he admits were crimes!" Notice that by supposedly switching sides, Morris' lying accusations are transformed into "admissions"!

Defenders of Israel seem slow to realize that we are facing a twenty-year propaganda blitz aimed at using the demonization of Israel to build a worldwide anti-Semitic movement with genocidal goals, including the physical destruction of Israel. The simplest explanation for Benny Morris' twenty-year campaign of lies against Israel - I have found his anti-Israel lies in the New York Times as far back as 1983! - is that he is a high-placed kapo, a propagandist assigned to stir up hatred against his own people.

But whether Morris is a professional liar, or just a lying amateur, he continues to uphold his lies. And he makes matters worse by claiming to be a friend.

With friends like Benny Morris, the Jewish people don't need enemies.