Thursday, April 17, 2008

Aggressors were characterized as hapless victims and victims became aggressors

A history lesson, of sorts, here.

Morris and other new historians also failed to confirm and reinforce their conclusions with previously available sources. What they did confirm was what was already known: the collapse and dispersion of Palestinian society was largely the responsibility of Palestinian and other Arab leaders, not of the Zionists.

..In a letter to his son in 1937, David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, wrote:

We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their place. All our aspiration is built on the assumption - proven throughout all our activity - that there is enough room for ourselves and the Arabs in Palestine.

In The Birth, however, Morris claims Ben-Gurion penned the opposite: "We must expel Arabs and take their place." Curiously, in his Hebrew-language writings, Morris rendered Ben-Gurion's words accurately, perhaps knowing that readers could check the original source.
In a separate article, Morris distorted Ben-Gurion's words from an Israeli cabinet meeting on June 16, 1948:


We did not start the war. They made the war, Jaffa went to war against us. So did Haifa. And I do not want those who fled to return. I do not want them again to make war.

The key sentence, "I do not want those who fled to return," is simply not found in the text of the meeting transcript. Rather, it reads as follows:

We did not start the war. They made the war. Jaffa waged war on us, Haifa waged war on us, Beit Shean waged war on us. And I do not want them again to make war.

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