The Social Scientist’s brain is invariably like a dungheap in that if you leave it long enough, it is likely that something will grow; the verbal diahorrea of Samuel P Huntington produces ‘The Clash of Civilisation and the Remaking of World Order’, the prolific, demagogue, Bernhard Lewis, denies the Armenian Genocide, and leaves me falling asleep, while reading his quite boring compendium of biases and prejudices, ‘From Babel to Dragomans’, while Raphael Patai’s, rascist nonsense, ‘The Arab Mind’ has “pride of place” on my bookshelves beside Oswald Spengler’s, ‘Der Untergang des Abendlandes’, Rosenberg’s. ‘Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts’ and Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf”. Huntington, Lewis and Patai are the intellectual precusors for people like Benny Morris, the dean of the Israeli “new historians” and they are also the men whose advice is frequently sought out by the neoconservatives in Washington.(1) It is all a variation of a theme that has its parallels elsewhere in history and one is tempted to think of Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineu, Houston Stewart Chamberlain and their “intellectual” sprog, Alfred Rosenberg, and, of course, his political masters. Alfred Rosenberg put himself beyond the pale as soon as he put pen to paper, Benny Morris did so in a 2004 interview with ‘Haaretz’,(2) if not before.
Ethnic cleansing we might think cannot be justified but for Benny “you cannot make an omlette without breaking eggs” and “there are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing”, which at the end of the day is preferable to genoicide and anyway the Arabs have lots of countries they can live in and think about what the Jews have suffered for thousands of years.(3) Benny, just doesn’t get it, does he? This is not just about Arabs and Jews, this is about a people who have had their land stolen by another people and if Benny really believes that the problem is Islam and the Arab mentality, then one really must wonder how he would have been talking had the powers that be decided to place the Zionists in that Western Civilisation that they seem to cherish so much. Perhaps, they should have been given Ireland or what about a chunk of Germany or the whole of Austria as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggested? After all the Europeans have lots of countries, they won’t miss one or a bit of one!
Finally, for Benny, it is a clash of civilisations and he says, “it is a struggle against a world that espouses different values.”(4) And we (Israelis) are on the front line. Exactly like the Crusaders, we are the vulnerable place in Europe at this place.”(5) Didn’t the Crusaders massacre Jews as well as Muslims? Anyway, back to that parallel in history that I drew at the beginning of this post and I think I have heard Benny’s crap somewhere else before. Yes, there is indeed, a struggle in a world that espouses different values but the parties in this struggle are not those that Benny Morris is thinking of. It is between those who seek to morally justify both ethnic cleansing and genoicide and those who reject both.