Sunday, February 1, 2009

Israeli Historian Benny Morris on NPR in the Bay Area: Gaza, Israel and the Middle East

Israeli Historian Benny Morris, interviewed on KQED, Public Radio

Benny Morris is a historian and author, most recently of "1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War." The book won the 2008 National Jewish Book Award in the category of History. Morris is a professor in the Middle East Studies Department at Ben-Gurion University in Israel.

Great, informative interview. Morris is a fascinating figure, part of the group that came to be known as "revisionist" historians of Israel, challenging prevailing myths around the founding of the modern Jewish state. Now reviled by much of the Left that once admired him for his groundbreaking work, Morris himself claims greatest allegiance to the pursuit of truth, or as close to the truth as an objective historian can get.
For Morris, the outbreak of the second Intifada in the year 2000 was a turning point, and his assessments of the situation changed dramatically to reflect that watershed moment. Like a good scientist, his conclusions are soberly and inevitably drawn, based on the evidence of history, rather than the wishful thinking of what might have or should have been.
He's also particularly good in his responses to listeners' questions. When asked, for example, what he thought about Avraham Burg's latest work, he minced no words and declared it a "terrible book." Likewise for Tom Segev's book on the 1967 War. Morris does not suffer fools gladly and is refreshingly politically incorrect.

david brumer


Lao Qiao said...

It's a good thing that Benny Morris can be heard. On the other hand, so much of the commentary we read and hear about Israel is hostile and unbalanced. Nicholas Kristof wrote a column that appeared in the New York Times today which showed no understanding at all of how the Arab states and Hamas have been abusing the Palestinian refugees in order to prevent the establishment of an independent state that could live in peace with Israel.

Uzi Silber said...

nicholas kristoff is a closet jew hater. nothing else explains his hostility to israel.
benny morris has changed his tune several times.

Lila said...

Hello! Is there anyway I can contact you about a person who is a Holocaust survivor from Czecheslovakia/Czech Republic who escaped to Israel

David Brumer said...

Sure. I'm at