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Will Jews become a persecuted minority?

Jan 21,2019 - Last updated at Jan 21,2019

Benny Morris, the famous Israeli new historian, said in an interview with Ofer Aderet of Haaretz that “this place will decline like a Middle Eastern state with an Arab majority... Jews will remain as a small minority within a great Arab sea of Palestinians, a persecuted or slaughtered minority”. This prophecy is not new though. In fact, others have expressed similar views a long time before Benny Morris uttered this line. However, it is important that Benny Morris himself said it.

He is the new historian who debunked one of the greatest myths of the official Zionist narratives of the 1948 war. In his book about the refugee problem, Benny Morris shocked many Israelis when he admitted that Israel did expel thousands of Palestinians. With the beginning of the new millennium, he shocked the pro-peace camp when he argued that Israeli prime minister David Ben Gurion made a grave mistake for not expelling all Palestinians.

Here, it is not as if I intend to expose Benny Morris’s racist ideas with regards to the Palestinians. Indeed, it puzzles me that a great historian like Benny Morris cannot express the root cause of all of the conflict. Wittingly or not, Benny Morris falls in the Zionist line of propaganda. From the get-go, Israelis tend to argue that the Palestinians would one day constitute a majority. Nevertheless, this line has been used to scare off the Israelis and to project the conflict as if it is between the minority versus majority (David vs Goliath). This effective Zionist propaganda helped the governments to justify Israel’s expansion at the expense of the Palestinians. Instead of opting to peace, Ben Gurion used to say that his country had no choice (ein briara).

Moreover, Benny Morris’s prediction that the Jews will be a persecuted or slaughtered minority reflects an orientalist mindset that projects the Palestinians as nothing but a bunch of killers. It does not seem that the most famous historian of Israel has ever read with understanding the Palestinians. Worse, it does not appear that he understands the grave consequences of settlers’ violent behaviour. Nor he understands the bitter taste of disposition. Needless to say, he sees the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land a normal practice. According to this line of thinking, the Palestinians have no right to resist the last colonial occupation on this planet. For him, Palestinians are nothing but wild animals!

His anti-Palestinian sentiments are all but obvious. I argue that the situation is not as grim as Benny Morris wants us to believe. The Palestinians opted for peace and agreed to partition Palestine into two states living in peace, side by side. But for this to materialise, Israel has yet to accept to the principle of the two-state solution. Unfortunately, the dominant Israeli right wants to keep their cake and eat it too. They seek to expand as much as they can and then make peace with stateless people.

In a nutshell, Benny Morris is wrong again. Israel has to realise that peace is possible, provided that Israelis withdraw to the 1967 borders and accept a just solution to the cause of refugees.

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