PJ Media

Projection: Accusing Israel of Its Attackers’ Crimes

If Israel is guilty of massacres, rapes. and mass expulsions — ethnic cleansing — than why should anyone object if someone says it?

Tony Kushner cites an Israeli historian, Professor Benny Morris, as his source for charging that Israel was “born in sin”; Morris therefore is at the core of this controversy. Although Morris accuses the IDF of massacres, rapes, atrocities, and expulsions, he has recently attempted to explain this as necessary in order for the survival of the state. After all, most countries commit such crimes, or worse. But are his charges true, and if so, why blame Kushner and others for believing them and using them to attack Israel? (Read more on the recent Kushner controversy here.)

Ethnic cleansing of Jews is official policy in Arab countries; it was never advocated or practiced by Jews against Arabs. In 2005, the Sharon government carried out an ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Gaza Strip and it is advocated by some in Judea and Shomron.

Ethnic cleansing is central to the PLO and Hamas charters, broadcast daily in PA-sponsored media, taught in schools, and preached in mosques. Jews are not allowed to live in PA-controlled territory and nearly all Jews who lived in Arab countries were slaughtered or expelled.

Ethnic cleansing and genocide are part and parcel of Palestinianism, Islamism (like the Muslim Brotherhood), and the Arab war against Israel.

Charging Jews with this offense reflects a psychological twist – projection — in which the perpetrator accuses his victim of provocations and the crime instead of accepting his own responsibility. Morris provides the historical “facts” to legitimize charging Israel with ethnic cleansing, massacres, and atrocities; his “evidence,” however, is questionable and his narrative spurious.

Morris charges that Israeli troops committed a “major atrocity in the (Arab) village of Hule,” in which they “rounded up local males and POWs, crowded them into a house, shot them and blew up the building” (1948, p.344).  His sources? A secondary, far-left newspaper article written 30 years later and a book published in 2000.

Even more surprising is his use of unreliable secondary sources and unverified Arab claims for accusations of “massacres” and “atrocities,” and his admission that he had no access to crucial material where investigations were carried out.

More problematic than what Morris contends is what he omits: that given the opportunity, the Arab forces would have wiped out the entire Jewish community in Israel.

If ethnic cleansing was Israeli policy and practice in 1948, it seems to have been forgotten in many instances, and especially in 1967, when the government prevented Arabs from leaving, assisted Arab communities in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, and later incorporated large Arab populations in eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Prior to the Fatah/Hamas terrorist war launched in 2000, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were brought to Israel as part of family unification programs.

Although Morris’ work has been critiqued by Professor Efraim Karsh (and also here), and Morris has boldly defended Israel, Kushner appears uninterested in anything that would change his preconceived prejudice. That is why he does not deserve to be honored by an academic institution. Kushner represents the antithesis of what universities try to teach: honest inquiry and the search for truth.

That Morris’ works are published by university presses and cited as authoritative, despite professional deficiencies, is deeply troubling, but not exceptional. Willingly duped by anti-Israel propagandists, Kushner used Morris and other academics to defame Israel and join the parade of hate. That’s hardly honorable, or even smart.

Morris disagrees with Kushner’s views about Israel, but he bears responsibility for providing the basis for that attack.

As the recent “Nakba” riots prove, the issue is not what happened in June 1967.