The education of Benny the Barbarian
By Ahmed Amr
First things first. Allow me to introduce Benny the Barbarian, a Professor of history at Ben-Gurion University. His opinions are considered progressive in Israel and in certain western circles, including The Guardian, a leftist British paper that regularly publishes his articles. Of late, Benny the Barbarian has come across newly released documents from Israeli Archives that deal with the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948.
A lot of Benny's 'discoveries' are common knowledge to the average Palestinian high school graduate. His research mirrors the family histories of millions of Palestinian refugees. Neither is Benny the first Israeli to document the systematic expulsion of the Palestinians and the destruction of their villages and towns. That honor goes to the late Dr. Israel Shahak who pioneered this area of research three decades ago.
What makes Benny the Barbarian's work so interesting is that his account of the Israeli atrocities during the 1948 war are based on a review of Israeli Defense Forces Archives.
The details of the ethnic cleansing campaign during the Nakba are detailed in his soon to be published book ("The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited", Cambridge University Press).
In an interview with Haaretz, Benny "the barbarian" Morris voiced some candid and disturbing opinions about his newly acquired knowledge. Being a barbarian, Morris apparently enjoyed the accounts of massacres, rapes and forced transfers. So much so, that he opines that Ben Gurion was a wimp who didn't have the stomach to finish off the Palestinians by cleansing them all the way to the Jordan River. He goes on to make a case for future episodes of ethnic cleansing that would include the possible transfer of Israeli Arabs.
Just so you get a visual of Benny the Barbarian, the account in Haaretz noted that Morris "describes horrific war crimes offhandedly, paints apocalyptic visions with a smile on his lips." Remember that smile as you review the discoveries of Benny the Barbarian. Here, in his own words, is a sample of the atrocities that so delighted this Israeli 'progressive' historian.
The Discoveries of Benny the Barbarian:
"What the new material shows is that there were far more Israeli acts of massacre than I had previously thought. To my surprise, there were also many cases of rape. In the months of April-May 1948, units of the Haganah [the pre-state defense force that was the precursor of the IDF] were given operational orders that stated explicitly that they were to uproot the villagers, expel them and destroy the villages themselves."
"In Acre four soldiers raped a girl and murdered her and her father. In Jaffa, soldiers of the Kiryati Brigade raped one girl and tried to rape several more. At Hunin, which is in the Galilee, two girls were raped and then murdered. There were one or two cases of rape at Tantura, south of Haifa. There was one case of rape at Qula, in the center of the country. At the village of Abu Shusha, near Kibbutz Gezer [in the Ramle area] there were four female prisoners, one of whom was raped a number of times. And there were other cases. Usually more than one soldier was involved. Usually there were one or two Palestinian girls. In a large proportion of the cases the event ended with murder. Because neither the victims nor the rapists liked to report these events, we have to assume that the dozen cases of rape that were reported, which I found, are not the whole story. They are just the tip of the iceberg."
How many massacres are not enough for Benny? Again, in his own words:
"Twenty-four. In some cases four or five people were executed, in others the numbers were 70, 80, 100. There was also a great deal of arbitrary killing. Two old men are spotted walking in a field - they are shot. A woman is found in an abandoned village - she is shot. There are cases such as the village of Dawayima [in the Hebron region], in which a column entered the village with all guns blazing and killed anything that moved."
"The worst cases were Saliha (70-80 killed), Deir Yassin (100-110), Lod (250), Dawayima (hundreds) and perhaps Abu Shusha (70). There is no unequivocal proof of a large-scale massacre at Tantura, but war crimes were perpetrated there. At Jaffa there was a massacre about which nothing had been known until now. The same at Arab al Muwassi, in the north. About half of the acts of massacre were part of Operation Hiram [in the north, in October 1948]: at Safsaf, Saliha, Jish, Eilaboun, Arab al Muwasi, Deir al Asad, Majdal Krum, Sasa. In Operation Hiram there was a unusually high concentration of executions of people against a wall or next to a well in an orderly fashion."
"That can't be chance. It's a pattern. Apparently, various officers who took part in the operation understood that the expulsion order they received permitted them to do these deeds in order to encourage the population to take to the roads. The fact is that no one was punished for these acts of murder. Ben- Gurion silenced the matter. He covered up for the officers who did the massacres."
"On October 31, 1948, the commander of the Northern Front, Moshe Carmel, issued an order in writing to his units to expedite the removal of the Arab population. Carmel took this action immediately after a visit by Ben-Gurion to the Northern Command in Nazareth. There is no doubt in my mind that this order originated with Ben- Gurion. Just as the expulsion order for the city of Lod, which was signed by Yitzhak Rabin, was issued immediately after Ben-Gurion visited the headquarters of Operation Dani [July 1948]."
"From April 1948, Ben-Gurion is projecting a message of transfer. There is no explicit order of his in writing, there is no orderly comprehensive policy, but there is an atmosphere of [population] transfer. The transfer idea is in the air. The entire leadership understands that this is the idea. The officer corps understands what is required of them. Under Ben-Gurion, a consensus of transfer is created."
"Ben-Gurion was a transferist. He understood that there could be no Jewish state with a large and hostile Arab minority in its midst. There would be no such state. It would not be able to exist."
How Did Benny the Barbarian react to his Discoveries?
"If you expected me to burst into tears, I'm sorry to disappoint you. I will not do that."
"Ben-Gurion was right. If he had not done what he did, a state would not have come into being. That has to be clear. It is impossible to evade it. Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here."
" I do not identify with Ben-Gurion… he got cold feet during the war. In the end, he faltered."
"If he was already engaged in expulsion, maybe he should have done a complete job. If Ben- Gurion had carried out a large expulsion and cleansed the whole country - the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan River. If he had carried out a full expulsion - rather than a partial one - he would have stabilized the State of Israel for generations."
"If the end of the story turns out to be a gloomy one for the Jews, it will be because Ben-Gurion did not complete the transfer in 1948. Because he left a large and volatile demographic reserve in the West Bank and Gaza and within Israel itself."
"In certain conditions, expulsion is not a war crime. I don't think that the expulsions of 1948 were war crimes. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. You have to dirty your hands."
Benny the Barbarian on the need to make more omelets and break more eggs:
"If you are asking me whether I support the transfer and expulsion of the Arabs from the West Bank, Gaza and perhaps even from Galilee and the Triangle, I say not at this moment. But I am ready to tell you that in other circumstances, apocalyptic ones, which are liable to be realized in five or ten years, I can see expulsions."
"The Israeli Arabs are a time bomb. Their slide into complete Palestinization has made them an emissary of the enemy that is among us. They are a potential fifth column. In both demographic and security terms they are liable to undermine the state. So that if Israel again finds itself in a situation of existential threat, as in 1948, it may be forced to act as it did then."
"Ben-Gurion argued that the Arabs understand only force and that ultimate force is the one thing that will persuade them to accept our presence here. He was right."
"Something like a cage has to be built for them. I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no choice. There is a wild animal there that has to be locked up in one way or another."
History Lessons for Benny the Barbarian:
Like most Zionists, or more precisely Yiddish supremacists, Benny Morris feels perfectly entitled to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians. To support his case for additional atrocities, Benny the Barbarian veers into the dark realm of Zionist Mythology.
Here is Benny painting the Israelis as the victims: "A people that suffered for 2,000 years, that went through the Holocaust, arrives at its patrimony but is thrust into a renewed round of bloodshed, that is perhaps the road to annihilation. In terms of cosmic justice, that's terrible. It's far more shocking than what happened in 1948 to a small part of the Arab nation that was then in Palestine."
A History Lesson for Benny the Barbarian: This "patrimony" mythology is still considered intellectually acceptable in Israeli academic circles. Has this Israeli 'historian' not yet discovered his Yiddish ancestors, the Khazars of Eastern Europe (www.khazaria.com)? Do they even mention Khazars in Israeli archives?
The reason Morris looks European is because he is European. Unlike the Khazars, The history of the indigenous people of Palestine, since the birth of Christ, is very well documented. The Jewish inhabitants of Palestine gradually converted to Christianity and later to Islam. In fact, those Palestinian who still practice the Christian faith are the only followers of Jesus that can claim to have been converted by Christ himself. If Palestine had been empty, awaiting the return of Benny the Barbarian and his clan, who exactly were the Romans taxing when the Arabs arrived in the seventh century? A century and a half after the birth of Christ, in 131 AD, who were the 50,000 Palestinian Jewish fighters who rallied around Bar Kochba in a three year Intifada against the Roman Legions? Who were the converts to Christianity who built the Byzantine churches in the third and fourth centuries? Who exactly did the Arabs conquer when they invaded in the 7th century?
By the early 7th century, many Palestinians Jews had converted to Christianity. Others still remained Jews. Both communities lived side by side, occasionally breaking the peace for a bout of religious civil war. A few years before the Arab conquest, the Persians invaded Palestine. Together with their Palestinian Jewish allies they went about the grim business of settling scores with Palestinian Christians. When Jerusalem was reclaimed by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 629 AD, it was the Palestinian Jews who were brutally massacred. When the Arabs arrived in 632 AD, they allowed the Jews of Palestine to reenter Jerusalem.
Eventually three distinct communities adopted the culture and language of the Arabs. The Palestinian Jewish community and the Palestinian Christian community coexisted with Palestinian converts to Islam until the Crusades. Jewish accounts of their ill treatment by the crusaders attest to the fact that many Arabic speaking Palestinians were still practicing the Jewish faith as late as the 11th century.
After the Crusades, Palestine was restored to Arab rule. Later it came under Turkish rule, which lasted until the British invaded in 1917. By the time Eastern European Jews formed their Zionist organizations and made their plans to ethnically cleanse the natives of the Holy Land, the Palestinians had already been invaded by the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, the Arabs, The Crusaders, Napoleon's army and the British.
Benny the Barbarian is not completely ignorant of this history. In the Haaretz article he tip toes to the margins of historic accuracy by stating that "Like the Crusaders, we are the vulnerable branch of Europe in this place." How exactly did this Yiddish European crusader acquire a right to a Middle Eastern patrimony?
Morris makes an apt comparison between the indigenous Palestinians and the native people of North America. "Even the great American democracy could not have been created without the annihilation of the Indians. There are cases in which the overall, final good justifies harsh and cruel acts that are committed in the course of history."
On this point, Benny the Barbarian needs to understand a crucial difference between Americans and Israelis. The vast majority of Americans don't stay up at night sharpening their knives for another round of ethnic cleansing against what remains of the great native tribes of North America. The Canadians honor their native tribes as the "First People" of Canada. In New Zealand, the Maoris share equal rights with citizens of European descent. You will never meet a Kiwi who doubts that the original inhabitants of both islands were Maoris. No Spaniard ever claims that the Spanish are the indigenous people of South America. No other European people, save the Yiddish, make such outlandish historical claims. Even the Arabs do not make a claim to being the original inhabitants of Egypt, North Africa or the Levant.
As for the Holocaust, it was a crime by Europeans against Europeans based on a test of faith. The people of the Middle East had nothing to do with it. Why should the Palestinians bear the burden of this horrendous crime? Morris is certainly aware that ethnic cleansing was on the Zionist agenda long before the First World War. Using the Holocaust as an excuse is not only disreputable scholarship; it is also a cheap ride on the back of the six million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis.
Benny the Barbarian claims two thousand years of suffering. Unfortunately, for him, he can probably only document a thousand years of his people's history. The Khazars are about as far back as one can go in documenting Yiddish lineage. If any Israelis want to challenge this thesis, I suggest they begin with DNA studies. Take the DNA challenge, Benny. It might jolt your historic memory enough to acknowledge that nothing about you is Middle Eastern. So enough already with the patrimony scam.
It is beyond absurd that Zionists have not only stolen the land of the Palestinians but also insist on expropriating the historical heritage of the ancient Palestinian people. Morris and his ilk should get a grip and discover their real ancestry. The average Israeli of European descent is as Middle Eastern as your average Polynesian. Stop confusing your kids, Benny! In one instant, you plead the cause of your 'Western' people. A minute later, you insist on the right to a Middle Eastern patrimony. No wonder you emerged as an ethnic cleansing freak straight out of your mother's English womb.
Introductory logic and ethics for Benny the Barbarian:
Morris: "Remember another thing: the Arab people gained a large slice of the planet. Not thanks to its skills or its great virtues, but because it conquered and murdered and forced those it conquered to convert during many generations. But in the end the Arabs have 22 states. The Jewish people did not have even one state. There was no reason in the world why it should not have one state. Therefore, from my point of view, the need to establish this state in this place overcame the injustice that was done to the Palestinians by uprooting them… And in our case it effectively justifies a population transfer."
Does Morris still not realize the difference between ethnic Arabs and the ancient people of North Africa and the Levant who were Arabized? When native people, like the Egyptians and the Palestinians, adapt a new culture do they automatically lose their right to remain inhabitants of the land of their ancestors? By converting to Christianity and Islam, did the indigenous people of the Holy Land commit some reprehensible crime which demands continued repression and displacement by European and American Jews of Khazar origins? Does Benny Morris think that there are too many 'Latin' states? Should the Costa Ricans pay a price for the conquest of Latin America by the Spaniards? As a student of history, does he not know that the 'forced conversion' argument is much stronger in the case of the Spaniards? Should we ethnically cleanse the Costa Ricans to make room for an ingathering of the Gypsies?
Intellectual honesty lessons for Benny the Barbarian:
Morris: "The peoples of Africa were oppressed by the European powers no less than the Palestinians were oppressed by us, but nevertheless I don't see African terrorism in London, Paris or Brussels. There is something else here, something deeper, that has to do with Islam and Arab culture."
On this count, Benny is acting the fool. Didn't he just go through the archives of the Israeli Army? Did he happen to see any mention of the King David Hotel or the hundreds of other terrorist acts committed by the likes of Shamir and Begin, who were both later honored with jobs as Israeli Prime Ministers? If it is simply a question of Islam and Arab culture, how come Spain doesn't seem to have a problem with Morocco or Tunisia? Are the Algerians still engaging the French? Are Egyptians still retaliating for 70 years of British imperial rule? Do Indonesians still want to settle scores with the Dutch? Besides, why are Israeli acts of ethnic cleansing and murderous repression not considered acts of terror?
When the Zionist terrorists assaulted British forces in Palestine, they demonized the English as Nazis. Had it not been for the British, the Zionist schemes would never have seen the light of day. These days, it is fashionable for Israelis and American Jews to deride the French. The very same French who armed Israel to the teeth and helped make it a nuclear power. It was French arms that gave Israel the power to launch the 1967 war. Both the French and the British joined the Israelis in invading Egypt in 1956.
Yet the Israelis and their fellow travelers in the American Jewish community have a nasty habit on turning on old friends. Ben Hecht, the Hollywood writer, was so moved by the anti-British Jewish terrorists in Palestine that he published a 'Letter to the Terrorists of Palestine" in the New York Herald Tribune on May 15. 1947. "Every time you blow up a British arsenal, or wreak a British jail, or send a British railroad train sky high, or rob a British bank, or let go with your guns at the British betrayers and invaders of your homeland, the Jews of America make a little holiday in their hearts."
Benny seems not to notice the difference between ruling over a native people and annihilating them. During seven decades of British rule in Egypt, the British committed one massacre in a little village called Denshiway that resulted in about a dozen casualties. British progressives were livid and took to the streets of London to voice their outrage. The Israelis, on the other hand, kill that many Palestinians every week. The Israelis did not come to Palestine to exploit the natives but to get rid of them. Another thing that seems to have escaped Benny's attention is the Mau Mau of Kenya, the ANC of South Africa and the FLN of Algeria. So before Benny the Barbarian starts lecturing Palestinians on their methods of resisting the existential threat of expulsion, maybe he should advise his brethren on more civilized ways to conduct a repressive military regime.
When the British finally left Egypt, the country emerged intact. In fact, the Brits left behind an impressive legacy of progressive institutions and development projects. Half a century after London left Cairo, many Egyptians remain staunch anglophiles. On the other hand, every single Palestinian suicide bomber was born under the umbrella of unremitting Israeli repression. It is this culture of institutional Israeli communal violence against the natives that breeds the desperate suicidal despair, which so horrifies Benny the ethnic cleanser.
Sensitivity training for Benny the Barbarian:
Morris the bigot: "There is a deep problem in Islam. It's a world whose values are different. A world in which human life doesn't have the same value as it does in the West, in which freedom, democracy, openness and creativity are alien."
There you go again, Benny, acting all Western and 'freedom loving'. Can Benny the Barbarian spare a few moments to make up the very short list of countries that conduct a regime as repressive as the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza? At the dawn of the 21st century, can Morris come up with the name of another land thieving foreign occupation army? Does this ethnic cleanser think that his mind set is any way 'civilized'? If Israel is such an 'open' society, why exhaust so much effort to keep people in the dark about Israel's history of ethnic cleansing? Why does Israel censor some of Benny's writings?
Why assault and murder international solidarity activists like Rachel Corrie, Thomas Hurndall and Brian Avery? Why attack foreign journalists? Why the murder of so many children? Why are so many Palestinians killed by shots in the back by government sanctioned execution squads? I will grant that Israelis and their supporters are very creative in selling their crude racism to the world. But what do such 'talents' have to do with freedom, democracy and the love of liberty? Over the course of the last few years, Benny and his Likudnik fellow travelers have succeeded in preempting a two state solution. Will they now extend the 'one man, one vote' franchise to non-Jewish inhabitants of the Holy Land? Or will they just continue to build Apartheid walls to cage and suffocate the natives?
A word of caution is in order. A rudimentary understanding of statistics would suggest that making generalizations about 14 million Jews would be far more accurate than making any sweeping conclusions about the multi-cultural multi-racial billion plus Muslims. Consider the fact that the only modern era Jewish Majority State is an institutionally racist state with a documented history of ethnic cleansing. Israel is a state where folks like Benny the Barbarian are considered 'progressive'. American Jews, well-educated and wealthy, are militant in their support of this belligerent racist repressive state. These two Jewish communities account for nearly 80% of the world's Jewish population. In fact, the organized American Jewish community is the only ethnic constituency in the United States that actively promotes a thug like Sharon, a foreign serial war criminal. They support his agenda even at the expense of American interests. Using their media monopolies, they do not hesitate to defame and demean fellow Americans of Arab decent or Islamic faith. Both Jews and Arabs concentrate in a few major American cities. Their kids go to the same schools and their sick to the same hospitals. Yet American Jewish leaders are more than willing to indulge in the arson of defamation to support ethnic cleansers like Benny Morris and Ariel Sharon.
My point is that it would be a lot easier to put 14 million Jews on the analysis couch than a billion plus Muslims. Still, it makes a lot more sense to provide therapy for the Bennys of the world using one couch for one barbarian. A majority of Jews don't need the therapy and don't share Benny's crude ethnic cleansing fantasies. But they need to start confronting the many militants in Israel and America who are drifting in a very dangerous direction. Because statistically speaking, if Benny's violent racist views become the norm among Israelis and Jews, one would have to seriously reflect on 'Jewish values'.
Barbarians 101 for Benny:
For Benny Morris, the Palestinians are nothing more than "The barbarians who want to take our lives." Palestinian society "is in the state of being a serial killer. It is a very sick society. It should be treated the way we treat individuals who are serial killers."
If Benny the Barbarian wants an encounter with a serial killer, allow me to introduce him to Ariel Sharon, the butcher of Qibya, Sabra and Shatila, Jenin, Rafah and Nablus. Does Benny Morris so quickly forget that Ben Gurion, Rabin, Shamir, Begin and Sharon all have war crimes on their rap sheet? What kind of sick society consistently sanitizes the war criminal past of its leaders? The historic record indicates that being a serial war criminal is a requirement for getting elected Prime Minister in Israel. How does Benny the Barbarian account for the fact that virtually every major Jewish organization in Israel and America continue to support Sharon in his daily crime sprees against the Palestinians?
Anti-hate therapy for Benny the Barbarian:
"The phenomenon of the mass Muslim penetration into the West and their settlement there is creating a dangerous internal threat. A similar process took place in Rome. They let the barbarians in and they toppled the empire from within."
This is the latest twist in the evolving right wing racist drift among America's Jewish elite and Israelis. It is not enough for them to wreak havoc among the native people of the Holy Land. Benny Morris wants to export Israeli bigotry to the rest of the west. After all, a round of ethnic cleansing in Europe and America would allow Israelis to go back to the business of finishing off the Palestinians. Morris obviously has ants in his pants waiting for one last bout of ethnic cleansing all the way to the shores of the Jordan River. When Benny the Barbarian says that "in five or ten years, I can see expulsions"; he is not talking about a vision. He is making plans for the future. In your sick dreams, Benny. This isn't going to be your daddy's 1948. This time you will have to perform your ethnic cleansing abominations with the lights on.
Many Israelis talk about 'transfer' in much the same way that Americans talk about school vouchers. Discussing ethnic cleansing in Israel has never been taboo. For Israelis, it is just another public policy debate. The Likud Party is looking at it seriously. That is probably why Sharon is not too worried about the 'demographic bomb'. He knows something that the statisticians don't. Already, Israeli politicians think nothing of running on an expultionist platform. Radio talk shows on the subject are not considered politically incorrect.
Benny the Barbarian is not the only Israeli sharpening his knives. If this is what 'progressive' Israelis say in public, what exactly does Sharon plan for in private? The Israeli government needs a stern warning from the United States that ethnic cleansing is not an option. It cannot be that the American Embassy in Tel Aviv is unaware of the growing expultionist movement in Israel. The Bush Administration should be pressured to take a firm stand on this urgent matter and send the Israelis an unmistakable message now.
Congress needs to allocate some of the American aid money that is lavished on Israel for anti-hate programs and therapy couches. Barbarians like Benny will likely exhaust more than one couch for effective treatment.
Miss Manners pointers for Benny the Barbarian:
Morris: "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 that it would be possible to establish a tranquil state here that lives in harmony with its surroundings."
Being an Israeli means never having to say you're sorry. It is very difficult to hold a rational debate with a delusion bigot like Benny the Barbarian. Not that it would make a difference to ethnic cleansers like Morris, but perhaps he should ponder the words of Nathan Chofshi, a Russian Jew who witnessed first hand the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. "We old settlers in Palestine who witnessed the flight could tell him how and in what manner we, Jews, forced the Arabs to leave their cities and villages …. Here was a people who lived on its own land for 1300 years. We came and turned the native Arabs into tragic refugees. And we still dare to slander and malign them, to besmirch their name. Instead of being ashamed of what we did and of trying to undo some of the evil we committed by helping these unfortunate refugees, we justify our terrible acts and even attempt to glorify them."
Stop the slander, Benny. Get in touch with your Yiddish self. Before you dream up under round of ethnic cleansing consider making amends for the last mass expulsion of the Palestinians.
Benny, you can start your therapy sessions by repeating the following mantra every time you feel the itch to indulge in another round of genocide: "I want to grow up to be like Nathan Chofshi. I refuse to be party to more ethnic cleansing. I will not slander the victims of Zionism. I promise not to turn any more Palestinians into tragic refugees. I will not besmirch their name. I will never malign their culture. I will not slander their religions, be they Muslim or Christians. When my eyes encounter Army Archives documenting Israeli atrocities, I will hang my head in shame. I am no historian. I am a Yiddish son of a Khazar. I am not worthy of this lecture. I am not worthy of this lecture. I am not worthy ...".
Note from the author: For a full transcript of Benny's ethnic cleansing ran, use this link. www.counterpunch.org/shavit01162004.html
Ahmed Amr is the editor of NileMedia.com. This article is free to publish at will.
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