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Benny Morris

  • Don’t wait for Israeli archives to prove what Palestinians already know

    Israeli authorities are deliberately concealing historical documents to undermine evidence of the state's dark and violent origins. And the world is still falling for it. The village of Safsaf (“willow” in Arabic) appears on page 490 of the newest edition of Walid Khalidi’s All That Remains, a seminal book that catalogues 418 Palestinian communities that were destroyed and depopulated during the Nakba. A Palestinian eyewitness account describes the day when Zionist forces conquered the village and rounded up its residents in October 1948: As we lined up, a few Jewish soldiers ordered four girls to accompany them to carry water for…

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  • Why the inconvenient truths of the Nakba must be recognized

    By Tom Pessah Limor Livnat was furious. The minister of culture was speaking at a Knesset discussion about the Independence Day arrests in Tel Aviv, following an attempt by a small non-profit called Zochrot to commemorate the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948. The Israeli police surrounded the Zochrot office in central Tel Aviv, preventing the activists from exiting. One person spent a night in jail for reading aloud the names of destroyed Palestinian villages from a history book. But Livnat’s anger wasn’t directed at the police, but rather at those arrested: I went in with my iPhone to the…

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  • Traces of the Nakba: Book review of 'Stone, Paper'

    Despite attempts to conceal the memory of stones in the village of Hunin, papers in the kibbutz archives left a trail revealing the hidden war. In his bold book, Stone, Paper, Tomer Gardi places history in its present, as a driving political force, while rejecting the practice of historical writing. By Yehouda Shenhav | Translated by Dana G. Peleg There is a children’s game called "rock, paper, scissors." It's played with two players: each one hides his or her hand behind the back, and then they stretch their arms out forcefully and simultaneously, making one of three possible signs that…

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  • Gershom Gorenberg and 'The Mystery of 1948'

    An excerpt of Gershom Gorenberg's book published on Slate promises to shed more light on the Palestinian refugee question, but ends up blurring Israel's part in creating it Slate has published a few experts of Gershom Gorenberg's book, "The Unmaking of Israel." I like Gorenberg very much, and I think he is doing a very important job regarding the Israeli settlements (check out his excellent blog for more). Still, I haven't read his book yet (I hope to review it here sometime in the future), so I don't know if the provocative title of the published piece, The Mystery of 1948:…

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  • J14: The exclusive revolution

    How the largest social justice movement in Israel’s history managed to ignore the Palestinians This piece was co-written with Max Blumenthal. A shorter version originally appeared on Alternet. The men and women who set out to build a Jewish state in historic Palestine made little secret of their settler-colonial designs. Zionism’s intellectual author, Theodor Herzl, described the country he envisioned as “part of a wall of defense for Europe in Asia, an outpost of civilization against barbarism.” “All the means we need, we ourselves must create them, like Robinson Crusoe on his island,” Herzl told an interviewer in 1898. The Labor Zionist…

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  • Nakba: Why did Israeli historians whitewash an artillery attack?

    “Nakba Harta?” Historical facts are a stubborn thing, not as malleable as the right-wing propagandists would like Well, at least one good thing came out of Im Tirzu’s latest propaganda pamphlet, written by convicted explosives thief Erez Tadmor and Arel Segal: A re-examination of the flight of Palestinians from Haifa, which the two pointed to as a proof of Jewish purity of arms. An excellent Haaretz article (Hebrew) makes it clear the flight began after the Hagana shelled, on April 22, 1948, Haifa’s market square, after the Palestinians asked for a ceasefire. The shelling killed at least 10 Palestinians -…

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