Benny Morris called ‘racist’,‘fascist’ by London protesters

"It sounded a bit like Nazis hounding a Jew on the streets of Berlin,” noted Ben-Gurion University professor and Israeli historian says.

By MACKENZIE GREEN
June 27, 2011 04:11
2 minute read.
Benny Morris

benny morris 311 courtesy. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Benny Morris, professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Israeli historian, said on Sunday that he was accosted by a group of Muslims in London recently.

“They were probably hanging around in order to demonstrate as I entered the building [at the London School of Economics],” he said. “They crowded around me in a threatening way, calling me ‘racist’ and ‘fascist.’” Morris, who was on his way to give a speech about the Israeli War of Independence, was accompanied by his wife and another woman as they made their way down Kingsway, a busy thoroughfare in central London. The three were nearing their destination when the group approached them. “It sounded a bit like Nazis hounding a Jew on the streets of Berlin,” said Morris.

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Morris, who identifies as one of Israel’s “New Historians,” has been a divisive figure due to his interpretation of the 1948 war.

Morris rejects the notion that Palestinians willingly left the area, saying many were forced from their homes by Israeli military commanders. Shocking his New Historian colleagues, he later revised his views on the expulsion of Palestinians, stating that the Israeli military was justified in its efforts to force Arabs from their homes once the state was attacked.

Morris’s controversial stances on the Arab-Israeli dispute have drawn criticism, and he said he has grown used to protests.

Normally, the police wouldn’t have been present at such a protest. However, this situation escalated and authorities were called. “The woman who accompanied [my wife and me] was quite frightened, and she called the police,” said Morris.

Once he entered the building, Morris said, the protesters dispersed, save for a few who made their way into the lecture.



“Everything was very orderly inside,” he explained.

But one thing he found confusing was the fact that the moderator of the lecture made no mention of the incident that had unfolded outside. “I assume it was out of fear, so as not to antagonize Muslims.”

When asked what this incident meant for Britain, Morris said, “They feel free to break the law in this way and threaten people. The idea is to threaten people so they don’t show up again. With the increase in the number of Muslims and their power in Britain and around the world, they will feel more emboldened to harass those they disagree with. This will curtail the freedom to speak freely in Britain and in Western Europe as a whole.”


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