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The following is a debate on the topic of Israel and Palestine with Norman Fitgenstein, Benny Morris, Moyen Rabani, and Stephen Bonell, also known online as destiny. Norm and Benny are historians, Moeen is a Middle east analyst and Stephen is a political commentator and streamer. All four have spoken and debated extensively on this topic. The goal for this debate was not for anyone to win or to score points. It wasn't to get views or likes. I never care about those, and I think there are probably much easier ways to get those things if I did care. The goal was to explore together the history, present and future of Israel and Palestine in a free flowing conversation. No time limits, no rules. There was a lot of tension in the room from the very beginning and it only got more intense as we went along. And I quickly realized that this very conversation, in a very real human way, was a microcosm of the tensions and distance and perspectives on the topic of Israel and Palestine. For some debates, I will step in and moderate strictly to prevent emotion from boiling. For this, I saw the value in not interfering with the passion of the exchanges because that emotion in itself spoke volumes.


We did talk about the history and the future, but the anger, the frustration, the biting wit, and at times respect and camaraderie were all there. Like I said, we did it in an perhaps all too human way. I will do more debates and conversations on these difficult topics and I will continue to search for hope in the midst of death and destruction, to search for our common humanity in the midst of division and hate. This thing we have going on, human civilization, the whole of it is beautiful and it's worth figuring out how we can help it flourish together. I love you all. And now a quick few second mention of each sponsor. Check them out in the description. It's the best way to support this podcast. We got expressvpn for privacy, babble for learning new languages, policygenius for insurance and aid. Sleep for, you guessed it, sleep. Choose wisely, my friends. Also, if you want to work with our amazing team or just get in touch with me, go to contact and now onto the full ad reads. As always, no ads in the middle. I try to make these interesting, but if you skip them, please still check out our sponsors.


I enjoy their stuff. Maybe you will too. This episode is brought to you by expressvpn. I use them to protect my privacy on the Internet. I've used them for many years. I've had great conversations with several people on the podcast about the NSA and the overreach and power that's there. It's really interesting to think about the value of privacy, the value of digital privacy in our lives, how much we take for granted, how much we look the other way when the product or whatever we're using is good enough, and we become the product, our data becomes the product. It's really interesting. I think transparency there is required, because while it is true all of us value privacy, we're very hypocritical on that point. In many cases, we distrust certain things that don't violate privacy that much, and we trust blindly other things that violate a huge number of privacy, or at least have the capacity to. A lot of us use the smartphone with a camera looking at us always we trust that device. Human psychology is fascinating. It worries me how easily we could be convinced at a mass scale, by narratives, distributed propaganda, or centralized propaganda.


It all works, and it all is terrifyingly effective. Something to think about, and you should have several layers of protection in your digital and your physical space. ExpressVPN, a good VPN and that's the one I use, is something you should definitely be using. Go to slash Lexpod for an extra three months free. This episode is also brought to you by Babbel, an app and website that gets you speaking in a new language. Within weeks they got spanish, french, german, italian, russian, portuguese and more. I'm doing more and more translation. In fact, if you are somebody that speaks fluently in Russian and professionally does translation. I just did a very lengthy podcast where both me and the guests speak Russian, and I'm looking for translation from Russian to English, professionally done. Like really well done. This is actually a very difficult task. And then also for hopefully the same person, but not necessarily to do the voiceovers in English. Given how fast the other person speaks that I interviewed, it's actually a pretty tricky thing. But all that is to say that I deeply care about breaking down the barriers that language creates. I think a lot of those barriers are artificial.


They hide from ourselves the common humanity that is obviously there. There's differences, of course, in culture, in the music of a people, in the music of a language. But underneath it all, it's all the same fears, the same hopes, the same excitements, the same dynamics, same things we care about family and food and simple joy, big joy, chasing dreams, all that kind of stuff. Anyway, I use Babel more to learn languages I don't know that well. Sometimes I'll use it for Russian, just for fun practice getting the rust off. But I'm learning Spanish now. Also, I took French in high school and I'm very rusty. So I'm using Babel to again get some of the rust off, and one day I hope to get better at german and italian. I've traveled to Italy a couple of times. It would be very helpful to be able to speak the language so that I could navigate the streets with grace and skill. Anyway, for a limited time, you can get 50% off a one time payment for a lifetime Babble Lexpod that's 50% Lexpod spelled lexpod rules and restrictions apply. This episode is also brought to you by PolicyGenius, a marketplace for insurance.


All kinds life insurance, auto, home, disability, and I apologize for the heaviness of my tone in this few minutes that we get to spend together here. This episode was a difficult one, and perhaps this is a good moment to mention why. Because it's human beings talking about other human beings who are suffering. Human beings sitting in the comfort of a room that's not getting bombed, that's not getting shot at, a room that's surrounded by other rooms and other buildings that are safe in the way that most places in America are safe. Meaning, even when there is a crime, the rule of law applies. But the raw aspects of human nature, of the destruction and death involved in war, seems out of this world. It is difficult to really hold inside your mind the things I've seen in Ukraine, the hate I've seen in people's eyes. When I traveled to the West bank, there was a lot of love there, but there was also a lot of hate. And there's a heaviness that comes with conversations like this. Of course, I really, really tried to bring out the humanity, even moments of joy. The camaraderie I tried.


I'll continue to try. Anyway, this is about policy genius. You can find life insurance policies there that start at just $292 per year. For $1 million of coverage, head to lex or click the link in the description to get your free life insurance quotes and see how much you can save. That's lex. This episode is brought to you by eight sleep and spot three cover. Another thing that I get to enjoy in life and others don't. I've always been able to find joy in the simplest of things. In the absence of material possessions, I always saw beauty. Every moment has the capacity to create contentment, to create real happiness. Just this feeling of gratitude to be alive is a real feeling. Again. When I was in Ukraine, people that lost their home, that lost their family, there was still a kind of joy there, humor there. Again, a camaraderie there. That's hard to explain, I think, because when everything is stripped away, you're still grateful to be alive. And the people that you love that are still there, you're grateful for them and for those moments that you share. And that's the foundation of all of it.


That's the only thing that matters. All this bullshit that we buy and own, all that is just a beautiful icing on the cake, where the cake is just the very essence of existence, the very fact that we're alive, alive and are able to love each other and hold on to each other and to experience moments together when we just look and see each other like we're on this earth for a short time and we're in this together and we'll lose each other one day. But today we're together. I don't know. That's the most important thing. Everything else is just icing. But it's nice to have things. It's nice to have things you can enjoy together. It definitely is. Nice to have a bed to sleep on and to have modern technology and to have a bed that cools itself is like, ridiculous. I love it. It doesn't make any sense, but it's one of the things that just brings me happiness. You can check it out and get special savings when you go to asleep slash lex this is the Lex Friedman podcast. To support it, please check out our sponsors in the description. And now, dear friends, here's Norman Figelstein, Benny Morris, William Rabani, and Stephen Boneless.




First question is about 1948. For Israelis, 1948 is the establishment of the state of Israel and the war of Independence. For Palestinians, 1948 is an Aqba, which means catastrophe or the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians from their homes as a consequence of the war. What to you is important to understand about the events of 1948 and the period around there, 47, 49, that helps us understand what's going on today and maybe helps us understand the roots of all this that started even before 1948. I was hoping that Norm can speak first, then Benny, then Wayne, and then Norm.


After World War II, the British decided that they didn't want to deal with the Palestine question anymore, and the ball was thrown into the court of the United nations. Now, as I read the record, the UN was not attempting to arbitrate or adjudicate rights and wrongs. It was confronting a very practical problem. There were two national communities in Palestine and there were irreconcilable differences on fundamental questions. Most importantly, looking at the historic record on the question of immigration and associate with the question of immigration, the question of lend. The UN Special Committee on Palestine, which came into being before the UN one eight one partition resolution, the UN Special Committee recommended two states in Palestine. There was a minority position, represented by Iran, India, Yugoslavia. They supported one state, but they believed that if forced to, the two communities would figure out some sort of modus of Endi and live together. United Nations General assembly supported partition between what it called a jewish state and an arab state. Now, in my reading of the record, and I understand there's new scholarship on the subject which I've not read, but so far as I've read the record, there's no clarity on what the United Nations General assembly meant by a jewish state and an arab state, except for the fact that the jewish state would be demographically, the majority would be jewish and the arab state demographically would be arab.


The UNSCOP, the UN Special Committee on Palestine, it was very clear and it was reiterated many times, that in recommending two states, each state, the arab state and the jewish state would have to guarantee full equality of all citizens with regard to political, civil and religious matters. Now, that does raise the question if there is absolute full equality of all citizens, both in the jewish state and the arab state with regard to political rights, civil rights and religious rights, apart from the demographic majority, it's very unclear what it meant to call a state jewish or call a state Arab. In my view, the partition resolution was the correct decision. I do not believe that the arab and jewish communities could, at that point, be made to live together. I disagree with the minority position of India, Iran and Yugoslavia, and that, not being a practical option, two states was the only other option. In this regard, I would want to pay tribute to what was probably the most moving speech at the UN General assembly proceedings by the soviet foreign minister, Romiko. I was very tempted to quote it at length, but I recognized that would be taking too much time.


So I asked a young friend, Jamie Stern Weiner, to edit it and just get the essence of what Foreign Minister Gromiko had to say. During the last war, Gromiko said the jewish people underwent exceptional sorrow and suffering. Without any exaggeration, this sorrow and suffering are indescribable. Hundreds of thousands of Jews are wandering about in various countries of Europe in search of means of existence and in search of shelter. The United nations cannot and must not regard this situation with indifference. Past experience, particularly during the second world War, shows that no western european state was able to provide adequate assistance for the jewish people in defending its rights and its very existence from the violence of the Hitlerites and their allies. This is an unpleasant fact, but unfortunately, like all other facts, it must be admitted. Gromiko went on to say, in principle, he supports one state or the Soviet Union supports one state. But he said, if relations between the jewish and arab populations of Palestine proved to be so bad that would be impossible to reconcile them and to ensure the peaceful coexistence of the Arabs and the Jews, the Soviet Union would support two states.


I personally am not convinced that the two states would have been unsustainable in the long term if, and this is a big if, the zionist movement had been faithful to the position it proclaimed during the UNscop public hearings at the time Bengorian testified, quote, I want to express what we mean by a jewish state. We mean by a jewish state simply a state where the majority of the people are Jews, not a state where a Jew has in any way any privilege. More than anyone else. A jewish state means a state based on absolute equality of all her citizens and on democracy. Alas, this was not to be, as Professor Morris has written, quote, zionist ideology and practice were necessarily and elementally expansionist. And then he wrote in another book, Transfer, the euphemism for expulsion. Transfer was inevitable and inbuilt into Zionism because it sought to transform a land which was arab into a jewish state, and a jewish state could not have arisen without a major displacement of arab population. And because this aim automatically produced resistance among the Arabs, which in turn persuaded the Yeshua's leaders, the Yeshuv being the jewish community, the Yeshuv's leaders, that a hostile arab majority or a large minority could not remain in place if a jewish state was to arise or safely endure.


Or as professor Morris retrospectively put it, quote, a removing of a population was needed. Without a population expulsion, a jewish state would not have been established. Unquote. The arab side rejected outright the partition resolution. I won't play games with that. I know a lot of people try to prove it's not true. It clearly, in my view, is true. The arab side rejected outright the partition resolution, while israeli leaders, acting on the compulsions inevitable and inbuilt into Zionism, found the pretext in the course of the first arab israeli war to expel the indigenous population and expand its borders. I therefore conclude that neither side was committed to the letter of the partition resolution, and both sides aborted it.


Thank you. Norm asked that you make a lengthy statement in the beginning, Benny. I hope it's okay to call everybody by their first name in the name of Camaraderie. Norm has quoted several things you said. Perhaps you can comment broader than the question of 1948 and maybe respond to the things that Norm said.


Yeah. Unscop. The United Nations Special Committee on Palestine recommended partition. The majority of UNSCOP recommended partition, which was accepted by the UN General assembly in November 1947. Essentially looking back to the Peel commission in 1937. Ten years earlier, a british commission had looked at the problem of Palestine, the two warring national groups who refused to live together, if you like, or consolidate a unitary state between them. And Peele said there should be two states. That's the principle. The country must be partitioned into two states. This would give a modicum of justice to both sides, if not all their demands, of course. And the United nations followed suit. The United Nations, UNSCOP, and then the UN General assembly, representing the will of the international community, said two states is the just solution in this complex situation. The problem was that immediately with the passage of the resolution, the Arabs, the arab states, and the Arabs of Palestine said no. As Norman Frinkelstein said, they said no. They rejected the partition idea, the principle of partition. Not just the idea of what percentage, which side should get, but the principle of partition. They said no to. The Jews should not have any part of Palestine for their sovereign territory.


Maybe Jews could live as a minority in Palestine. That also was problematic in the eyes of the palestinian arab leadership. Hussein had said only Jews who were there before 1917 could actually get citizenship and continue to live there. But the Arabs rejected partition, and the Arabs of Palestine launched, in a very disorganized fashion, war against. The resolution, against the implementation of the resolution against the jewish community in Palestine. And this was their defeat in that civil war between the two communities, while the British were withdrawing from Palestine, led to the arab invasion, the invasion by the arab states in May 1948, of the country, again, basically with the idea of eradicating or preventing the emergence of a jewish state in line with the United nations decision and the will of the international community. Norman said that the zionist enterprise, and he quoted me, meant from the beginning to transfer or expel the Arabs of Palestine, or some of the Arabs of Palestine. And I think he's sort of quoting out of context the context in which the statements were made that the jewish state could only emerge if there was a transfer of arab population was preceded in the way I wrote it and the way it actually happened, by arab resistance and hostilities towards the jewish community.


Had the Arabs accepted partition, there would have been a large arab minority in the jewish state which emerged in 47. And in fact, jewish economists and state builders took into account that there would be a large arab minority and its needs would be cared for, et cetera. But this was not to be because the Arabs attacked. And had they not attacked, perhaps a jewish state with a large arab minority could have emerged. But this didn't happen. They went to war. The Jews resisted. And in the course of that war, arab populations were driven out. Some were expelled, some left because arab leaders advised them to leave or ordered them to leave. And at the end of the war, Israel said they can't return because they just tried to destroy the jewish state. And that's the basic reality of what happened in 48. The Jews created a state. The palestinian Arabs never bothered to even try to create a state before 48. And in the course of the 1948 war, and for that reason, they have no state. To this day, the Jews do have a state because they prepared to establish a state, fought for it and established it, hopefully lastingly.


When you say hostility, in case people are not familiar, there was a full on war where arab states invaded and Israel won that war.


Let me just add, to clarify, the war had two parts to it. The first part was the arab community in Palestine. Its militiamen attacked the Jews from November 1947. In other words, from the day after the UN partition resolution was passed, arab gunmen were busy shooting up Jews, and that snowballed into a full scale civil war between the two communities in Palestine. In May 1948, a second stage began in the war in which the arab states invaded. The new state attacked the new state, and they too were defeated. And thus the state of Israel emerged. In the course of this two stage war, a vast palestinian refugee problem occurred.


And so after that, the transfer, the expulsion, the thing that people call the Nakba, happened. Wayne, could you speak to 1948 and the historical significance of it?


Sure. There's a lot to unpack here. I'll try to limit myself to just a few points regarding Zionism and transfer. I think Heim Weitzman, the head of the world Zionist organization, had it exactly right when he said that the objective of Zionism is to make Palestine as jewish, as England is English or France is french. In other words, as Norman explained, a jewish state requires jewish political, demographic and territorial supremacy. Without those three elements, the state would be jewish in name only. And I think what distinguishes Zionism is its insistence, supremacy and exclusivity. That would be my first point. The second point is, I think what the soviet foreign minister at the time, Andre Gromiko, said is exactly right. With one reservation. Gromiko was describing a european savagery unleashed against Europe's Jews at the know. It wasn't Palestinians or Arabs. The savages and the barbarians were european to the core. It had nothing to do with developments in Palestine or the Middle east. Secondly, at the time that Gromika was speaking, those jewish survivors of the Holocaust and others who were in need of safe haven were still overwhelmingly on the european continent and not on Palestine.


Not in Palestine. And I think, given the scale of the savagery, I don't think that any one state or country should have borne the responsibility for addressing this cris. I think it should have been an international responsibility. The Soviet Union could have contributed. Germany certainly could and should have contributed. The United Kingdom and the United States, which slammed their doors shut to the persecuted Jews of Europe as the Nazis were rising to power. They certainly should have played a role. But instead, what passed for the international community at the time decided to partition Palestine. And here I think we need to judge the partition resolution against the realities that obtained. At the time, two thirds of the population of Palestine was Arab. The Yeshuv, the jewish community in Palestine, constituted about one third of the total population and controlled even less of the land within Palestine. As a preeminent palestinian historian, Walid al Khalidi has pointed out, the partition resolution in giving roughly 55% of Palestine to the jewish community, and I think 41. 42% to the arab community, to the Palestinians, did not preserve the position of each community or even favor one community at the expense of the others.


Rather, it thoroughly inverted and revolutionized the relationship between the two communities. And as many have written, the Nekbah was the inevitable consequence of partition. Given the nature of Zionism, given the territorial disposition, given the weakness of the palestinian community, whose leadership had been largely decimated during a major revolt at the end of the 1930s, given that the arab states were still very much under french and british influence, the NECBA was inevitable, the inevitable product of the partition resolution. And one last point also about the UN's partition resolution is, yes, formally, that is what the international community decided on the 29 November 1947. It's not a resolution that could ever have gotten through the UN General assembly today for a very simple reason. It was a very different general assembly. Most African, most asian states were not yet independent. Were the resolution to be placed before the international community today, and I find it telling that the minority opinion was led by India, Iran and Yugoslavia. I think they would have represented the clear majority. So partition, given what we know about Zionism, given that it was entirely predictable what would happen, given the realities on the ground in Palestine, was deeply unjust.


And the idea that either the Palestinians or the arab states could have accepted such a resolution is, I think, an illusion. That was in 1947. We saw what happened in 48 and 49. Palestinian society was essentially destroyed. Over 80%, I believe, of Palestinians resident in the territory that became the state of Israel were either expelled or fled and ultimately were ethnically cleansed. Because ethnic cleansing consists of two components, it's not just forcing people into refuge or expelling them. It's just as importantly preventing their return. And here, and Benny Morris has written, I think, an article about Yosef Weitz and the transfer committees, there was a very detailed initiative to prevent the return, and it consisted of raising hundreds of palestinian villages to the ground, which was systematically implemented and so on. And so Palestinians became a stateless people. Now, what is the most important reason that no arab state was established in Palestine? Well, since the 1930s, the zionist leadership and the hashmite leadership of Jordan, as has been thoroughly researched and written about by the israeli british historian Avi Slime, essentially colluded to prevent the establishment of an independent arab state in Palestine in the late 1940s.


There's much more here, but I think those are the key points I would make about 1948.


We may talk about Zionism, Britain, Un assemblies, and all the things you mentioned. There's a lot to dig into. So, again, if we can keep it to just one statement moving forward. Sure, after Stephen, if you want to go longer. Also, we should acknowledge the fact that the speaking speeds of people here are different. Steven speaks about ten times faster than me. Steven, do you want to comment on 1948?


Yeah, I think it's interesting where people choose to start the history. I noticed a lot of people like to start at either 47 or 48, because it's the first time where they can clearly point to a catastrophe that occurs on the arab side, that they want to ascribe 100% of the blame to the newly emergent israeli state to. But I feel like when you have this type of reading of history, it feels like the goal is to moralize everything first, and then to pick and choose facts that kind of support the statements of your initial moral statement afterwards. Whenever people are talking about 48 or the establishment of the arab state, I never hear about the fact that a civil war started in 47 that was largely instigated because of the arab rejectionism of the 47 partition plan. I never hear about the fact that the majority of the land that was acquired happened by purchases from jewish organizations of palestinian Arabs of the Otoman Empire before the mandatory period in 1920 even started. Funnily enough, King Abdullah of Jordan was quoted as saying, the Arabs are as prodigal in selling their land as they are in weeping about it.


I never hear about the multiple times that Arabs rejected partition, rejected living with Jews, rejected any sort of state that would have even had any sort of jewish exclusivity. It's funny because it was brought up before that the partition plan was unfair, and that's why the Arabs rejected it as though they rejected it, because it was unfair. Because of the amount of land that Jews were given, and not just due to the fact that Jews were given land at all. As though a 30% partition or a 25% partition would have been accepted. When I don't think that was the reality of the circumstances. I feel like most of the other stuff has been said, but I noticed that whenever people talk about 48 or the years preceding 48, I think the worst thing that happens is there's a cherry picking of the facts where basically all of the blame is ascribed to this built in idea of Zionism, that because of a handful of quotes or because of an ideology, we can say that transfer or population expulsion or basically the mandate of all of these Arabs being kicked off the land was always going to happen.


When I think there's a refusal sometimes as well, to acknowledge that regardless of the ideas of some of the zionist leaders, there is a political, social and military reality on the ground that they're forced to contend with. And unfortunately, the Arabs, because of their inability to engage in diplomacy and only to use tools of war to try to negotiate everything going on in Mandatory Palestine, basically always gave the Jews a reason or an excuse to fight and acquire land through that way, because of their refusal to negotiate on anything else, whether it was the partition plan in 47, whether it was the lucian peace conference afterwards where Israel even offered to annex Gaza in 51, where they offered to take in 100,000 refugees, every single deal is just rejected out of hand because the Arabs don't want a jewish state anywhere in this region of the world.


I would like to engage, Professor Morris, if you don't mind. I'm not with the first name. It's just not my way of relating.


You can just call me Morris. You don't need the professor.


Okay. There's a real problem here, and it's been a problem. I've had over many years of reading your work, apart perhaps from a grandchild. I suspect nobody knows your work better than I do. I've read it many times. Not once, not twice, at least three times. Everything you've written. And the problem is, it's a kind of quicksilver. You're very hard to grasp a point and hold you to it. So we're going to try here to see whether we can hold you to a point. And then you argue with me. The point. I have no problem with that. Your name, please?


Stephen Burnell.


Okay. Mr. Bonell referred to cherry picking and handful of quotes. Now, it's true that when you wrote your first book on the palestinian refugee question, you only had a few lines on this issue of transfer, four pages in the first book.


In the first book.


Four pages, maybe four. I'm not going to quarrel. My memory is not clear. We're talking about 40 years ago. I read it. I read it. But then I read other things by you. Okay. And you were taken to task, if my memory is correct, that you hadn't adequately documented the claims of transfer. Let me. Allow me to finish. And I thought that was a reasonable challenge, because it was an unusual claim for a mainstream israeli historian to say, as you did in that first book, that from the very beginning, transfer figured prominently in zionist thinking. That was an unusual. If you read Anita Shapira or you read Shaptai Tevit, that was an unusual acknowledgment by you. And then I found it very impressive that in that revised version of your first book, you devoted 25 pages to copiously documenting the salience of transfer in zionist thinking. And in fact, you used a very provocative and resonant phrase. You said that transfer was inevitable and inbuilt into Zionism. We're not talking about circumstantial factors. A war, arab hostility. You said, it's inevitable and inbuilt into Zionism. Now, as I said, so we won't be accused of cherry picking.


Those were 25 very densely argued pages. And then in an interview, and I could cite several quotes, but I'll choose one, you said removing a population was needed. Let's look at the words. Without a population expulsion, a jewish state would not have been established. Now, you are the one. Again, I was very surprised when I read your book here. I'm referring to righteous victims. I was very surprised when I came to that page 37 where you wrote that territorial displacement and dispossession was the chief motor of arab resistance to Zionism. Territorial displacement and dispossession were the chief motor of arab resistance to Zionism. So you then went on to say, because the arab population rationally feared territorial displacement and dispossession, it, of course, opposed Zionism. That's as normal as Native Americans opposing the Euro american manifest destiny in the history of our own country because they understood it would be at their expense. It was inbuilt and inevitable. And so now for you to come along and say that it all happened just because of the war, that otherwise the Zionists made all these plans for a happy minority to live there, that simply does not gel.


It does not cohere. It is not reconcilable with what you yourself have written. It was inevitable and inbuilt. Now, in other situations, you have said, that's true, but I think it was a greater good to establish a jewish state at the expense of the indigenous population. That's another kind of argument. That was Theodore Roosevelt's argument in our own country. He said, we don't want the whole of North America to remain a squalid refuge for these wigwams and teepees. We have to get rid of them and make this a great country. But he didn't deny that it was inbuilt and inevitable.


I think you've made your point. First, I'll take up something that Moeen said. He said that the Nakba was inevitable.


As have you, and predictable.


No, I've never said that it was inevitable and predictable. Only because the Arabs assaulted the jewish community and state in 19, 47, 48. Had there been no assault, there probably wouldn't have been a refugee problem. There's no reason for a refugee problem to have occurred. Expulsions to have occurred. Dispossession, massive dispossession to occur. These occurred as a result of war. Now, Norman has said that I said that transfer was inbuilt into Zionism in one way or another, and this is certainly true. In order to buy land, the Jews bought tracts of land on which some Arabs sometimes lived. Sometimes they bought tracts of land on which there weren't arab villages. But sometimes they bought land on which there were Arabs. And according to Ottoman law and the British, at least in the initial years of the british mandate, the law said that the people who bought the land could do what they liked with the people who didn't own the land, who were basically squatting on the land, which is the arab tenant farmers, which is, we're talking about a very small number, actually, of Arabs who were displaced as a result of land purchases in the Otoman period or the mandate period.


But there was dispossession in one way. They didn't possess the land. They didn't own it, but they were removed from the land. And this did happen in Zionism. And there's, if you like, inevitability in zionist ideology of buying tracts of land and starting to work it yourself and settle it with your own people and so on, that made sense. But what we're really talking about is what happened in 47 48. And in 47 48, the Arabs started a war. And actually, people pay for their mistakes. And the Palestinians have never actually agreed to pay for their mistakes. They make mistakes, they attack, they suffer as a result. And we see something similar going on today in the Gaza Strip. They do something terrible. They kill 1200 Jews. They abduct 250 women and children and babies and old people and whatever, and then they start screaming, please save us from what we did, because the Jews are counterattacking. And this is what happened then, and this is what's happening now. There's something fairly similar in the situation here, expulsion. And this is important, Norman, you should pay attention to this. You didn't raise that. Expulsion transfer were never policy of the zionist movement before 47.


It doesn't exist in zionist platforms. Of the various political parties, of the zionist organization, of the israeli state, of the jewish agency, nobody would have actually made it into policy because there was always a large minority, if there were people who wanted it, always a large minority of jewish politicians and leaders would have said, no, this is immoral. We cannot start a state on the basis of an expulsion. So it was never adopted and actually was never adopted as policy, even in 48, even though Bengurian wanted as few Arabs in the course of the war staying in the jewish state after they attacked it, he didn't want disloyal citizens staying there because they wouldn't have been loyal citizens. But this made sense in the war itself. But the movement itself and its political parties never accepted it. It's true that in 1937, when the British, as part of the proposal by the Peel commission to divide the country into two states, one Arab, one Jewish, which the Arabs, of course, rejected, Peele also recommended the Arabs. Most of the Arabs in the jewish state to be. Should be transferred, because otherwise, if they stayed and were disloyal to the emergent jewish state, this would cause endless disturbances, warfare, killing, and so on.


So Bengurian and Weitzman latched onto this proposal by the most famous democracy in the world, the british democracy, when they proposed the idea of transfer side by side with the idea of partition because it made sense. And they said, well, if the British say so, we should also advocate it. But they never actually tried to pass it as zionist policy, and they fairly quickly stopped even talking about transfer after 1938.


So just to clarify, what you're saying is that 47 was an offensive war, not a defensive war.


By the Arabs.


Yes, by the Arabs. And you're also saying that there was never a top down policy of expulsion.




Just to clarify the point, if I.


Understood you correctly, you're making the claim that transfer, expulsion and so on was in fact a very localized phenomenon resulting from individual land purchases. And that, if I understand you correctly, you're also making the claim that the idea that a jewish state requires a removal or overwhelming reduction of the non jewish population was, if the Arabs are attacking you, yes. But let's say prior to 1947, it would be your claim that the idea that a significant reduction or wholesale removal of the arab population was not part of zionist thinking. Well, I think there's two problems with that. I think what you're saying about localized disputes is correct. But I also think that there is a whole literature that demonstrates that transfer was envisioned by Zidas leaders on a much broader scale than simply individual land purchases. In other words, it went way beyond, we need to remove these tenants so that we can farm this land. The idea was, we can't have a state where all these Arabs remain and we have to get rid of them. And the second, I think, impediment to that view is that long before the UN General assembly convened to address a question of Palestine, palestinian and arab and other leaders as well, had been warning, ad infinitum, that the purpose of the zionist movement is not just to establish a jewish state, but to establish an exclusivist jewish state.


And that transfer, forced displacement, was fundamental to that project. And just responding to. Sorry, was it bonell or bonell? Yeah, with a B. Yeah. You made the point that the problem here is that people don't recognize is that the first and last result for the Arabs is always war. I think there's a problem with that. I think you might do well to recall the 1936 general strike conducted by Palestinians at the beginning of the revolt, which at the time was the longest recorded general strike in history. You may want to consult the book published last year by Lori Allen, a history of false hope, which discusses in great detail the consistent engagement by Palestinians, their leaders, their elites, their diplomats, and so on, with all these international committees. If we look at today, the Palestinians are once again going to the International Court of Justice. They're consistently trying to persuade the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to do his job. They have launched widespread boycott campaigns. So, of course, the Palestinians have engaged in military resistance. But I think the suggestion that this has always been their first and last resort and that they have somehow spurned civic action, spurned diplomacy, I think, really has no basis in reality.


I'll respond to that and then a question for norm to take into account, I think, when he answers, Benny, because I am curious. Obviously, I have fresher eyes on this and I'm a newcomer to this arena versus the three of you guys, for sure. A claim that gets brought up a lot has to do with the inevitability of transfer in Zionism, or the idea that as soon as the Jews envisioned a state in Palestine, they knew that it would involve some mass transfer of population, perhaps a mass expulsion. I'm sure we'll talk about plan Dalit or plan D at some point. The issue that I run into is, while you can find quotes from leaders, while you can find maybe desires expressed in diaries, I feel like it's hard to truly ever know if there would have been mass transfer in the face of arab peace, because I feel like every time there was a huge deal on the table that would have had a sizable jewish and arab population living together, the Arabs would reject it out of hand. So, for instance, when we say that transfer was inevitable, when we say that Zionists would have never accepted a sizable arab population, how do you explain the acceptance of the 47 partition plan that would have had a huge arab population living in the jewish state?


Is your contention that after the acceptance of that, after the establishment of that state, that Jews would have slowly started to expel all of these arab citizens from their country? Or how do you explain that in Lucian, a couple of years later, that Israel was willing to formally annex the Gaza Strip and make 200,000 or so people those citizens? But I'm just curious, how do we get this idea of Zionism always means mass transfer when there were times, at least early on in the history of Israel, and a little bit before it, where Israel would have accepted a state that would have had a massive arab population in it, is your idea that they would have just slowly expelled them afterwards?


Is that question to me or norm?


To either one? I'm just curious for the incorporation of the answer.


Yeah, there is some misunderstandings here, so let's try to clarify that. Number one, it was the old historians who would point to the fact, in Professor Morris's terminology, the old historians, what he called not real historians, he called them chroniclers, not real historians. It was the old israeli historians who denied the centrality of transfer in zionist thinking. It was then Professor Morris who, contrary to Israel's historian establishment, who said, now you remind me, it's four pages. But it came at the end of the.


No, it's at the beginning of the book. Transfer is dealt with in four pages. At the beginning of my first book on the refugee problem.


It's a fault of my memory, but the point still stands. It was Professor Morris who introduced this idea in what you might call a big way.


Yeah, but I didn't say central.


To experiment.


You're saying centrality. I never said it was central. I said it was there. The idea.


By the way, it's okay to respond back and forth. This is great. And also, just a quick question, if I may. You're using quotes from Benny, from Professor Morris. It's also okay to say those quotes do not reflect the full context. So if we go back to quotes we've said in the past, and you both here have written, three of you have written on this topic a lot, we should be careful and just admit, like, well, yeah, well, that's just real quick.


Just to be clear, the contention is that norm is quoting apart and saying that this was the entire reason for this, whereas Benny saying, it's a part of the.


I'm not quoting a part. I'm quoting 25 pages, where Professor Morris was at great pains to document the claim that appeared in those early four pages of his book. Now, you say it never became part of the official zionist platform.


Never became part.


Okay, policy, fine. We're also asked, well, this is true. Why did that happen? Why did that happen? It's because it's a very simple fact, which everybody understands. Ideology doesn't operate in a vacuum. There are real world practical problems. You can't just take an ideology and superimpose it on a political reality and turn it into a fact. It was the british mandate. There was significant arab resistance to Zionism, and that resistance was based on the fact, as you said, the fear of territorial displacement and dispossession. So you couldn't very well expect the zionist movement to come out in neon lights and announce, hey, we're going to be expelling you the first chance we get. That's not realistic.


Now, let me respond. Look, you've said it a number of times that the Arabs, from fairly early on in the conflict, from the 1890s or the early 19, hundreds said, the Jews intend to expel us. This doesn't mean that it's true. It means that some Arabs said this, maybe believing it was true, maybe using it as a political instrument to gain support to mobilize Arabs against the zionist experiment. But the fact is, transfer did not occur before 1947. And Arabs later said, and since then have said that the Jews want to build a third temple on the Temple Mount, as if that's what really the mainstream of Zionism has always wanted and always strived for. But this is nonsense. It's something that Husseini used to use as a way to mobilize masses for the cause, using religion as the way to get them to join him. The fact that Arabs said that the Zionists wanted dispossess us doesn't mean it's true. It just means that some Arabs thought that and maybe said it sincerely and maybe sincerely.


Professor Morris later became a self fulfilling prophecy. This is true. Professor Morris.


Arabs attacked the Jews.


Professor Morris, I read through your stuff. Even yesterday. I was looking through righteous victims.


You should read other things. You're wasting your.


No, no. Actually, no, I do read other things, but I don't consider it a waste of time to read you. Not at all. You say that this wasn't inherent in Zionism. Now, would you agree that David Bengorian was a Zionist?


A major Zionist?


Right. Would you agree Khan Weitzman was a Zionist?




Okay. I believe they were. I believe they took their ideology seriously. It was the first generation. Just like with the Bolsheviks, the first generation was committed to an idea. By the 1930s, it was just pure rail politique. The ideology went out the window. The first generation, I have no doubt about their convictions, okay? They were Zionists. Transfer was inevitable and inbuilt in Zionism. They keep repeating the same thing because, as I said, Dennis, Mr. Morris, I have a problem reconciling what you're saying. It either was incidental or it was deeply entrenched. Here I read it's deeply entrenched. Two very resonant words. Inevitable and inbuilt.


Deeply entrenched. I never wrote.


Well, I'm not sure it's something you just invented. Okay, fine. Let me concede something.


The idea of transfer was there. Israel Zhangville, a British Zionist, talked about it early on in the century. Even Herzel, in some way talked about.


Transferring 20 population according to your 25 pages. Everybody talked about.


We keep bringing up this line from the 25 page and the four pages. We're lucky to have Benny in front of us, right? Now we don't need to go to the quotes. We can legitimately ask how central is expulsion to Zionism in its early version of Zionism, in whatever Zionism is today? And how much power, influence does Zionism and ideology have in Israel and influence the philosophy the ideology of Zionism have on Israel today?


The zionist movement up to 1948, zionist ideology was central to the whole zionist experience, the whole enterprise up to 1948. And I think zionist ideology was also important in the first decades of Israel's existence. Slowly, the hold of Zionism, if you like, Bolshevism, held the Soviet Union gradually faded. And a lot of Israelis today think in terms of individual success and then capitalism and all sorts of things which are nothing to do with Zionism. But Zionism was very important. But what I'm saying is that the idea of transfer wasn't the core of Zionism. The idea of Zionism was to save the Jews who had been vastly persecuted in Eastern Europe and incidentally in the arab world, the muslim world, for centuries, and eventually ending up with the Holocaust. The idea of Zionism was to save the jewish people by establishing a state or reestablishing a jewish state on the ancient jewish homeland, which is something the Arabs today even deny, that there were Jews in Palestine or the land of Israel. 2000 years ago, Arafat famously said, what temple was there on Temple Mount? Maybe it was in Nablus, which of course is nonsense, but they had a strong connection for thousands of years to the land to which they wanted to return, and returned.


There they found that on the land lived hundreds of thousands of Arabs. And the question was how to accommodate the vision of a jewish state in Palestine alongside the existence of these arab masses living on, who were indigenous, in fact, to the land by that stage. And the idea of partition because they couldn't live together, because the Arabs didn't want to live together with the Jews. And I think the Jews also didn't want to live together in one state with Arabs in general. The idea of partition was the thing which the Zionists accepted. Okay, we can only get a small part of Palestine. The Arabs will get in 37 most of Palestine. In 1947, the ratios were changed. But we can live side by side with each other in a partitioned Palestine. And this was the essence of it. The idea of transfer was there, but it was never adopted as policy. But in 1947 48, the Arabs attacked, trying to destroy essentially the jewish designist enterprise and the emergent jewish state. And the reaction was transfer in some way not as policy. But this is what happened on the battlefield. And this is also what Bengurian, at some point, began to want.


As you know, one of the first books on this issue I read when I was still in high school, because my late father had, it was the diaries of Theodore Herzel. And I think Theodore Herzel, of course, was the founder of the contemporary Zionist movement. And I think if you read that, it's very clear for Herzel the model upon which the zionist movement would proceed. His model was Cecil Rhodes, I think Rhodes, from what I recall, correct me if I'm wrong, has quite a prominent place in Herzl's diaries. I think Herzel was also corresponding with him and seeking his support. Cecil Rhodes, of course, was the british colonialist after whom the former white minority regime in Rhodesia was named. And Herzel also says explicitly in his diaries that it is essential to remove the existing population from Palestine. Can I respond to this in a moment, please? He says, we shall have to spirit the penniless population across the borders and procure employment for them elsewhere or something. And Israel's Anglo, who you mentioned a land without a people. For a people without a land. They knew damn well it wasn't a land without a people.


I'll continue, but please go ahead.


There is one small diary entry in Herzel's vast.


Five volumes.


Yeah, five volumes. There's one paragraph which actually mentions the idea of transfer. There are people who think that Herzel was actually pointing to South America when he was talking about that the Jews were going to move to Argentina, and then they would try and buy out or buy off or spirit the penniless natives to make way for jewish settlement. Maybe he wasn't even talking about the Arabs in that particular passage. That's the argument of some people. Maybe he was, but the point is, it has only a 1% of the diary which is devoted to this subject. It's not a central idea in Herzel's thinking, what Herzel wanted, and this is what's important, not Rhodes. I don't think he was the model. Herzel wanted to create a liberal, democratic, western state in Palestine for the Jews. That was the idea. Not some imperial enterprise serving some imperial master, which is what Rhodes was about. But to have a jewish state which was modeled on the western democracies in Palestine. And this, incidentally, was more or less what Weitzman and Bengurian wanted. Bengurian was more of a socialist, Weitzman was more of a liberal westerner, but they wanted to establish a social democratic or liberal state in Palestine.


And they both envisioned, through most of the years of their activity, that there would be an arab minority in that jewish state. It's true that Bengurians strived to have as small as possible an arab minority in the jewish state, because he knew that if you want a jewish majority state, that would be necessary. But it's not something which they were willing to translate into actual policy.


Just a quick pause to mention that for people who are not familiar. Theodor Herzel, we're talking about over a century ago, and everything we've been talking about has been mostly 1948 and before.


Yes, just one clarification on Hertzel's diaries. I mean, the other thing that I recall from those diaries is he was very preoccupied with, in fact, getting great power, patronage, seeing Palestine, the jewish state in Palestine, I think his words an outpost of civilization against barbarism. In other words, very much seeing his project as a proxy for western imperialism in the Middle east.


He wanted to establish a jewish state which would be independent. To get that, he hoped that he would be able to garner support from.


Major imperial powers, including the Otoman sultan he tried to cultivate. I just want to respond to a point you made earlier, which was that people expressed their rejection of the partition resolution on the grounds that it gave the majority of Palestine to the jewish community, which formed only a third. Whereas, in fact, if I understood you correctly, you're saying the Palestinians and the Arabs would have rejected any partition resolution.


Yeah, I think a couple of things that, one, they would have rejected any. Two, a lot of that land given was in the Negev. It was pretty terrible land at the time. And then three, the land that would have been partitioned to Jews, I think I saw it was like 500,000 Arab. It would have been 500,000 Jews, 400,000 Arabs, and I think like 80,000 Bedouin would have been there. So the state would have been divided.


I think you raise a valid point, because I think the Palestinians did reject the partition of their homeland in principle. And I think the fact that the United Nations General assembly then awarded the majority of their homeland to the zionist movement only added insult to injury. I mean, one doesn't have to sympathize with the Palestinians to recognize that they have now been a stateless people for 75 years. Can you name any country, yours, for example, or yours, that would be prepared to give 55%, 25%, 10% of your country to the Palestinians? Of course not. And so the issue was not the existence of Jews in Palestine. They had been there for centuries. And of course they had ties to Palestine, and particularly to Jerusalem and other places going back centuries, if not millennia. But the idea of establishing an exclusively jewish state at the expense of those who are already living there, I think it was right to reject that. And I don't think we can look back now, 75 years later and say, well, you should have accepted losing 55% of your homeland, because you ended up losing 78% of it, and the remaining 22% was occupied in 1967.


That's not how things work. And I can imagine an american rejecting, giving 10% of the United states to the Palestinians. And if that rejection leads to war and you lose half your country, I doubt that 50 years from now, you're going to say, well, maybe I should have accepted that.


Sure. So I like this answer more than what I usually feel like I'm hearing when it comes to the palestinian rejection of the 47 petition plan. Because sometimes I feel like a weird switch happens to where the Arabs in the area are actually presented as entirely pragmatic people who are simply doing a calculation and saying, like, well, we're losing 55% of our land. Jews are only maybe one third of the people here, and we've got 45. And now the math doesn't work, basically. But it wasn't a math problem. I think, like you said, it was.


A matter of principle.


It was an ideology problem.


No, it was a matter of principle.


Yeah. Ideologically driven. That they, as a people, have a right to or are entitled to this land, that they've never actually had an independent state on that they've never had even a guarantee of an independent state on that they've never actually ruled a government.


That last point is actually not correct, because for all its injustice, the mandate system recognized Palestine as a class, a mandate which provisionally recognized the independence of.


That territory, of what would emerge from that territory, but not palestinian.


It was provisionally recognized, but the territory.


Itself was, but not of the palestinian people to have a right or guarantee to a government that would have was.


A british mandate of Palestine, not the british mandate of Israel.


The word exclusive, which you keep using is nonsense. The state which Bengurian envisioned would be a jewish majority state as they accepted the 1947 partition resolution, as Stephen said, that included 400,000 plus Arabs in a state which would have 500,000 Jews. So the idea of exclusivity wasn't anywhere in the air at all among the zionist leaders in 47, 48. They wanted a jewish majority state, but were willing to accept a state which had 40% Arabs. That's one point. The second thing is the Palestinians may have regarded the land of Palestine as their homeland, but so did the Jews. It was the homeland of the Jews as well. The problem was the Arabs were unable and remain to this day, unable to recognize that for the Jews, that is their homeland as well. And the problem then is how do you share this homeland either with one binational state or separate, partitioned into two states? The problem is that the Arabs have always rejected both of these ideas. The homeland belongs to the Jews, as Jews feel as much as it does.


I think, more than for the Arabs.


I would say for the Jews, it's the jewish people. I would also homeland.


Real quick, I just want for both of you guys, because I haven't heard these questions answered. I really want these questions to be. I'm just so curious how to make sense of them. It was correctly brought up that I believe that Bengurian had. I think Shlomo benamed describes it as an obsession with getting validation or support from western states, Great Britain. And then a couple decades later, it.


Explains the Suez war.


Exactly correct. That was one of the major motivators, the idea to work with Britain and France on a military operation, imperial stooge. But then the question again, I go back to if that is true, if Bengurian, if the early Israel saw themselves as a western fashioned nation, how could we possibly imagine that they would have engaged in the transfer of some 400,000 Arabs after accepting the partition plan? Would that not have completely and totally destroyed their legitimacy in the eyes of the entire western world? Would there not have been? How not?


Well, first of all, I think that zionist leadership's acceptance of the partition resolution, and I think you may have written about this, that they accepted it because it provided international endorsement of the legitimacy of the principle of jewish statehood, and they didn't accept the borders and in fact, later expanded the borders.


Second of all, the borders were expanded in war.


They accepted the UN partition resolution, borders. And all you can say that some of the Zionists, deep in their hearts, had the idea that maybe at some.


Point, including, they will be able to.


Get more, including their most senior leaders, who said so, and I think you've.


Quoted them, they grudgingly accepted what the United nations, the world community had said. This is what you're going to get.


And second of all, I mean, removing dark people, darker people, it's intrinsic. It's intrinsic to western history. So the idea that Americans or Brits or the French would have an issue with. I mean, French had been doing it in Algeria for decades. Americans have been doing it in North America for centuries. So how would Israel forcibly displacing Palestinians somehow besmirch Israel in the eyes of the west?


In the 1944 resolution of the labor party, and at the time, even Bertrand Russell was a member of the labor party, it endorsed transfer of Arabs out of Palestine. As Moines pointed out, that was a deeply entrenched idea in western thinking, that there was nothing, it doesn't in any way contradict or violate or breach any moral values to displace the palestinian population. Now, I do believe there's a legitimate question. Had it been the case, as you said, Professor Morris, that the Zionists wanted to create a happy state with a jewish majority, but a large jewish minority? And if by virtue of immigration, like in our own country, in our own country, given the current trajectories, non whites will become the majority population in our United States quite soon, and according to democratic principles, we have to accept that. So if that were the case, I would say maybe there's an argument that had there been mass jewish immigration changed the demographic balance in Palestine, and therefore Jews became the majority. You can make an argument in the abstract that the indigenous arab population should have been accepting of that, just as whites in the United States, quote unquote, whites have to be accepting of the fact that the demographic majority is shifting to non whites in our own country.


But that's not what Zionism was about. I did write my doctoral dissertation on Zionism, and I don't want to get now bogged down in abstract ideas. But as I suspect, you know, most theorists of nationalism say there are two kinds of nationalism. One is a nationalism based on citizenship. You become a citizen, you're integral to the country. That's sometimes called political nationalism. And then there's another kind of nationalism, and that says the state should not belong to its citizens, it should belong to an ethnic group. Each ethnic group should have its own state. It's usually called the german romantic idea of nationalism. Zionism is squarely in the german romantic idea. That was the whole point of Zionism. We don't want to be bundists and be one more ethnic minority in Russia. We don't want to become citizens and just become a jewish people in England or France. We want our own state, like the Arabs. No, wait. Before we get to the Arabs, let's stick to the Jews for a moment, or the Zionists. We want our own state. And in that concept of wanting your own state, the minority at best lives on sufferance and at worst gets expelled.


That's the logic of the german romantic zionist idea of a state. That's why they're Zionists. Now. I personally have shied away from using the word Zionism ever since I finished my doctoral dissertation, because that's painful, because, as I said, I don't believe it's the operative ideology today. It's like talking about Bolshevism and referring to Khrushchev. I doubt Khrushchev could have spelled Bolshevik, but for the period we're talking about, they were Zionists. They were committed to their exclusive state, with a minority living on sufferance, or at worst, expelled. That was their ideology. And I really feel there's a problem with your happy vision of these western democrats like Weitzmann, and they wanted to live peacefully with the Arabs. Weitzman described the expulsion in 1948 as, quote, the miraculous clearing of the land. That doesn't sound like somebody sheding too many tears at the loss of the indigenous population.


Let me respond to the word the unsufferance. I don't agree with. I think that's wrong. The jewish state came into being in 1948. It had a population which was 20% Arab. When it came into being after arab refugees, many of them had become refugees, but 20% remained in the country. 20% of Israel's population at inception, 1949, was Arab.


80% went missing.


No, I was talking about what remained in Palestine, Israel after it was created. The 20% who lived in Israel received citizenship and all the rights of Israelis, except, of course, the right to serve in the army, which they didn't want to. And they have supreme Court justices, they have Knesset members. They enjoy, basically, laws for a period. Sure, they lived under. No, wait a second. At the beginning, it's not fantasy. At the beginning, they received citizenship, could vote in elections for their own people, and they were put into parliament. But in the first years, the Israeli, the jewish majority, suspected that maybe the Arabs would be disloyal because they had just tried to destroy the jewish state. Then they dropped the military government and they became fully equal citizens. So if the whole idea was they must have a state without Arabs, this didn't happen in 49, and it didn't happen in the.


Professor Morris? Yes. Then why did you say, without a population expulsion, a jewish state would not have been established?


Because you're missing the first section of that paragraph, which was they were being assaulted by the Arabs. And as a result, a jewish state could not have come into being unless there had also been an expulsion of the population, which was trying to kill.


Norm, I'm officially forbidding you referencing that again. Hold on a second.




We responded to it. So the main point you're making, we have to take Bennyetta's word is like there was a war, and that's the reason why he made that statement.


I think just one last point on this. I remember reading your book when it first came out and reading one incident after the other and one example after the other, and then getting to the conclusion where you said the Nakba was a product of war, not design. I think, and I remember reacting almost in shock to that, that I felt you had mobilized overwhelming evidence that it was a product of design, not war. And I think our discussion today very much reflects, let's say, the dissonance between the evidence and the conclusion. You don't feel that the research that you have conducted and published demonstrates that it was, in fact, inherent and inbuilt and inevitable? And I think the point that Norm and I are making is that your own historical research, together with that of others, indisputably demonstrates that it does. I think that's a fundamental disagreement we're having here.


Can I actually respond to that? Because I think this is emblematic of the entire conversation. I watched a lot of Norm's interviews and conversations in preparation for this, and I hear normal say this all over and over and over again. I only deal in facts. I don't deal in hypotheticals. I only deal in facts. I only deal in facts. And that seems to be the case, except for when the facts are completely and totally contrary to the particular point you're trying to push. The idea that Jews would have out of hand, rejected any state that had Arabs on it, or always had a plan of expulsion is just betrayed by the acceptance of the 47 partition.


I don't think you understand politics. Did I just say that? There is a chasm that separates your ideology from the limits and constraints imposed by politics and reality. Now, Professor Morris, I suspect, would agree that the zionist movement, from fairly early on, was committed to the idea of a jewish state. I am aware of only one major study probably written 40 years ago, the binational idea in Mandatory Palestine by a woman. I forgot her name. Now you remember her.


I'm trying to.


Yeah. Okay. Would you know the book? I think so, yeah. She is the only one who tried to persuasively argue that the zionist movement was actually not formally, actually committed to the binational idea. But most historians of the subject agree the zionist movement was committed to the idea of a jewish state. Having written my doctoral dissertation on the topic, I was confirmed in that idea because Professor Chomsky who was my closest friend for about 40 years, was very committed to the idea that bi nationalism was the dominant trend in Zionism. I could not agree with. I couldn't go with him there. But, Professor Morris, you are aware that until the Biltmore resolution in 1942, the zionist movement never declared it was for a jewish state. Why? Because it was politically impossible at the moment. Until 1942. There is your ideology, there are your convictions, there are your operative plans, and there's also, separately, what you say in public. The zionist movement couldn't say in public, we're expelling all the Arabs. They can't say that. And they couldn't even say, we support a jewish state until 1942.


You're conflating two things. The Zionists wanted a jewish state. Correct? That didn't. That didn't mean expulsion of the Arabs. It's not the same thing. They wanted a jewish state with a jewish majority, but they were willing, as it turned out, both in 37 and in 40, 47, and subsequently, to have an arab minority, a large arab minority. They were willing to have a large arab minority in the country, and they ended up with a large arab minority in the country, 20% of the population, 49. And it's still.


They ended up for about five minutes before they were expelled. They agreed to it until 47, and then they were gone by March 1949.


What happened in between the rejection of the partition plan and the expulsion of the Arabs?


The Arabs launched the war.


Well, yeah, I mean, it wasn't random. Like there is a potential that random.


I totally agree with that. It was by design.


You can say that, but in this case, the facts betray you. There was no arab acceptance of anything that would have allowed for a jewish state to exist. Of course, number one. And number two, I think that it's entirely possible, given how things happen after war, that this exact same conflict could have played out and an expulsion would have happened without any ideology at play. That there was a people that disagreed on who had territorial rights to a land. There was a massive war afterwards, and then a bunch of their friends invaded after to reinforce the idea that the jewish people in this case couldn't have a state. There could have been a transfer.


Regardless, anything could have been. But that's not what history is about.


History is about palestinian rejectionism to any peace deal. Over and over and over.


When the ball was thrown into the court of the United nations, they were faced with a practical problem. And I. For 01:00 a.m. Not going to try to adjudicate the rights and wrongs from the beginning. I do not believe that if territorial displacement and dispossession was inherent in the zionist project, I do not believe it can be a legitimate political enterprise. Now, you might say that's speaking from 2022 or 2020. Okay? But we have to recognize that from nearly the beginning, for perfectly obvious reasons, having nothing to do with antisemitism, anti westernism, antieuropeanism. But because no people that I am aware of would voluntarily cede its country, you can perfectly understand native american resistance to euro colonialism. You can perfectly well understand it without any anti Europeanism, anti whiteism, antichristianism. They didn't want to cede their country to invaders. That's completely understandable.


You're minimizing the anti Semitic elements. You minimize in all your books.


You minimize.


No. Husseini was an anti Semite. The leader of the palestinian national movement in the. Was an anti Semite. This was one of the things which drove him and also drove him in the end to work in Berlin for Hitler for four years with giving nazi propaganda to the arab world, calling on the Arabs to murder the Jews. That's what he did in World War II. That's the leader of the palestinian arab national movement. And he wasn't alone. He wasn't alone.


Why is it if you read your book righteous victims, you can read it and read it and read it and read it, as I have, you will find barely a word about the Arabs being motivated by antisemitism.


It exists.


I didn't say it doesn't exist.


Agree that it exists.


Hey, I don't know a single non Jew who doesn't harbor anti Semitic.


We're talking about Arabs now.


Yeah, but I don't know anybody. That's just part of the human condition.


Anti Semitism. Hussein was Arabs.


So, Professor Morris, here's my problem. I didn't see that in your righteous victims. Even when you talked about the first interfadah and you talked about the second into Fadah, and you talked about how there was a lot of influence by Hamas, the islamic movement, you even stated that there was a lot of anti Semitism in those movements. But then you went on to say, but of course, at bottom, it was about the occupation. It wasn't about. And I've read it.


Yeah, you'll be moving from different.


No, I'm not.


Ages across the ages, your whole book. The occupation began 67. The one you're talking about.


I looked and looked and looked for evidence of this anti Semitism as being a chief motor of arab resistance to Zionism. I didn't see it.


Did he make that claim?


I don't remember the word chief.




Yes, binary.


Please don't give me this postmodernism binary.


You're the one thinking in terms of.


You're the one that said, do you have your book here?


Talk about black and white. You're talking in black and white concepts when history is much grayer. Lots of things happen because of lots of reasons, not one or the other. And you don't seem to see that.


Can I ask you a question? Because it's for them to talk to.


Just two.


Very quick question. What do you think the ideal solution was on the arab side from 47? What would they have preferred? And then the second one, what would have happened if Jews would have lost the war in 48? What do you think would have happened to the israeli population?


I think the Palestinians and the Arabs were explicit that they wanted a unitary, I think, federal state. And they made their submissions to Unskap. They made their appeals at the UN General assembly.


What do you mean by unitary and federal? I don't get that. They wanted an arab state. They wanted Palestine to be an word, unitary, federal. They wanted Palestine as an arab and exclusively arab state.


No, it wasn't an exclusively arab state. I think we have to distinguish between palestinian and arab opposition to a jewish state in Palestine, on the one hand, and palestinian and arab attitudes to jewish existence in Palestine. There's a fundamental.


Husseini, the leader of the movement, said that all the Jews who had come since 1917, and that's the majority of the Jews in Palestine in 1947, shouldn't be there.


Well, he did.


They shouldn't be citizens and they shouldn't be there.


He did say that. It's true. I can understand the sentiment, but I think it's wrong.


But also, you used the words earlier that it was supremacy and exclusivity that the Zionists.


I want to answer your question. As you met Husseini, did say that. And I'm sure there was a very substantial body of palestinian arab public opinion that endorsed that. But by the same token, I think a unitary arab state, as you call it, or a palestinian state, could have been established with arrangements, with guarantees to ensure the security and rights of both communities. How that would work in detail had been discussed and proposed, but never resolved. And again, I think jewish fears about what would.


The second Holocaust, that's what.


Well, no, that was the jewish fear.


A second Holocaust.


That may well have been the jewish fear. It was an unfounded jewish fear.


It was unfounded.


Of course it was unfounded what about.


Like in 48 and 56?


You really think that the Palestinians, had they won the war, were going to import ovens and crematoria, Germany?


But there were programs across, in almost every single arab state where there were Jews living after 48, after 56, after 67, there were always programs. There were always flights from Jews from those countries to Israel afterwards. I don't think it would be.


I wouldn't say there were always programs in every arab state. I think there was flight of arab Jews for multiple reasons, in some cases for precisely the reasons you say. If you look at the jewish community in Algeria, for example, their flight had virtually nothing to do with the arab israeli conflict. The issue of algerian Jews was that the French gave them citizenship during their colonial rule of Algeria, and they increasingly became identified with french rule. And when Algeria became independent and all the French ended up leaving out of fear or out of disappointment or out of whatever, the Jews were identified as French rather than Algerian.


This is a bit of a red herring. There were pogroms in the arab countries. In Bahrain, even, where there's almost no Jews, there was a pogrom in 1947. There was a program in the Lepo in 1947.


I'm not denying any of that history.


Killings of Jews in Iraq and Egypt in 19, 48, 49.


I'm not denying any.


But the Jews basically fled the arab states, not for multiple reasons. They fled because they felt that the governments there and the societies amid which they had lived for hundreds of years no longer wanted them.


Look, without getting into the details, I think we can both agree that ultimately a clear majority of arab Jews who believed that after having lived in these countries for centuries, for centuries, if not millennia, came to the unfortunate conclusion that their situation had become untenable. I also think that we can both agree that this had never been an issue prior to Zionism and the emergence of the state of Islam.


Groms didn't begin with Zionism in the arab world.


The issue is the point I raised, which is whether these communities had ever come to a collective conclusion that their position had become untenable in this part of the world. No, they were arab Jews.


Well, because untenable meant there was no alternative. But with the creation of Israel, there was an alternative right, a place where they could go and not be discriminated against or live as second class citizens or be subject to arab majority states. I also think it's interesting that when you analyze the flight of jewish people, and I've seen this, that it wasn't just. I agree with you. It wasn't just a mass explulsion from all the arab states. There were definitely push factors. There were also pull factors. Now, I don't know how you guys feel about the Nakba, but when the analysis, the Nakba comes in again, it's back to that. Well, that was actually just a top down expulsion. The retreat of wealthy arab people in the 30s didn't matter. Any of the messaging from the surrounding arab states didn't matter. It was just an expulsion from jewish people or people running from their lives from jewish massacres. Again, I feel like it's selective. It's a selective critical analysis of the.


Term jewish here because it wasn't the Jews of England or the Soviet.


Why I say jewish? Because prior to 48, Israeli, the Yishu.


It'S useful to say, refer to Zionists before 1948 and Israelis after 48. We don't need to implicate.


Well, sure, but the jewish people that were being attacked in arab states weren't Zionists. They were just Jews living there. Right.


Just comment on that. I was rereading Shlomo ben Ami's last book, and he does at the end discuss at some length the whole issue of the refugee question bearing on the so called peace process and on the question of 48 and the arab emigration, if you allow me. Let me just quote him. Israel is particularly fond of the awkwardly false symmetry she makes between the palestinian refugee crisis and the forced emigration of 600,000 Jews from arab countries following the creation of the state of Israel, as if it were, quote, an unplanned exchange of unpopular populations, unquote. And then, Mr. Benami, for those of you who are listening, he was Israel's former foreign minister, and he's an influential historian in his own right. He says, in fact, envoys from the Mossad and a jewish agency worked underground in arab countries and Iran to encourage Jews to go to Israel. More importantly, for many Jews in arab states, the very possibility of emigrating to Israel was the culmination of millennial aspirations. It represented the consummation of a dream to take part in Israel's resurgence as a nation. So this idea that they were all expelled after 1948, that's one area.


Professor Morris, I defer to expertise. That's one of my credos in life. I don't know the israeli literature, but as it's been translated in English, there is very little solid scholarship on what happened in 1948 in the arab countries and which caused the Jews to leave.


Arab Jews.


Arab Jews.




But Shlomo Ben Amin knows the literature. He knows the scholarship. Yes. From Morocco. Right.


From Iraq and has written on this issue.


And they wrote that the Jews and.


The arab lands were not pro Zionists. They weren't Zionists at all. Certainly Avi Schlaim's family was anti Zionist.


And Avi Schleim, when he was interviewed by Marin Rappaport on this question, he said, you simply cannot say that the iraqi Jews were expelled. It's just not true. And he was speaking as an iraqi Jew who left with his father family in 1948.


They were pushed out. They weren't exposed. Well, that's probably the right phrase.


I think it's more complex than that. I think it was. Sorry I interrupted.


No, you're not interrupting me, because I only know what's been translated into English, and the English literature on the subject is very small and not scholarly. Now, there may be Hebrew literature, I don't know. But I was surprised that even Shaloma benami, a steward of his state. Fair enough. On this particular point, he called it false symmetry.


No, Stephen is right. There was a pull and a push mechanism in the departure of the Jews from the arab lands post 48. But there was also a lot of.


Push, a lot of push that's indisputable.


And on the point of agreement on this one brief light of agreement, let us wrap up with this topic of history and move on to modern day. But before that, I'm wondering if we can just say a couple of last words on this topic. Steven?


Yeah. I think that when you look at the behaviors of both parties in the time period around 48, or especially 48 and earlier, there's this assumption that there was this huge built in mechanism of Zionism and that it was going to be inevitable. From the inception of the first zionist thought, I guess that appeared in Herzl's mind, that there would be a mass, violent population transfer of arab Palestinians out of what would become the israeli state. I understand that there are some quotes that we can find that maybe seem to possibly support an idea that looks close to that. But I think when you actually consult the record of what happened, when you look at the populations, the massive populations that Israel was willing to accept within what would become their state borders, their nation borders, I just don't think that the historical record agrees with the idea that Zionists would have just never been okay living alongside arab Palestinians. But when you look at the other side, Arabs would out of hand reject literally any deal that apportioned any amount of that land for any state relating to jewish people or the israeli people.


I think it was said, even on the other end of the table that arab Palestinians would have never accepted. The Arabs would have never accepted any jewish state whatsoever. So it's interesting that on the ideology part, where it's claimed that Zionists are people of exclusion and supremacy and expulsion, we can find that in diary entries, but we can find that expressed in very real terms on the arab side. I think in all of their behavior around 48 and earlier, where the goal was the destruction of the israeli state, it would have been the dispossession of many jewish people. It probably would have been the expulsion of a lot of them back to Europe. And I think that very clearly plays out in the difference between the actions of the Arabs versus some diary entries of some jewish leaders.


Benny, one thing which stood out, and I think Moeen made this point, is that the Arabs had nothing to do with the Holocaust. But then the world community forced the Arabs to pay the price for the Holocaust. That's the traditional arab argument. This is slightly distorting the reality. The Arabs in the 1930s did their utmost to prevent jewish immigration from Europe and reaching Palestine, which was the only safe haven available, because America, Britain, France, nobody wanted Jews anywhere, and they were being persecuted in central Europe and eventually would be massacred in large numbers. So the arab effort to pressure the British to prevent Jews reaching Palestine's safe shores contributed indirectly to the slaughter of many Jews in Europe, because they couldn't get to anywhere and they couldn't get to Palestine because the Arabs were busy attacking Jews in Palestine and attacking the British to make sure they didn't allow Jews to reach this safe haven. That's important. The second thing is, of course, there's no point in belittling the fact that the arab palestinian arab national movement's leader, Husseini, worked for the Nazis in the 1940s. He got a salary from the german foreign ministry.


He raised troops among Muslims in Bosnia for the SS. And he broadcast to the arab world calling for the murder of the Jews in the Middle east. This is what he did. And the Arabs since then have been trying to whitewash Husseini's role. I'm not saying he was the instigator of the Holocaust, but he helped the Germans along in doing what they were doing and supported them in doing that. So this can't be removed from the fact that the Arabs, as you say, paid a price for the Holocaust, but they also participated in various ways in helping it happen.


I'll make two points. The first is you mentioned Hajj Ameen al Husseini and his collaboration with the Nazis. Entirely legitimate point to raise. But I think one can also say definitively, had Hajj Amin al Husseini never existed, the Holocaust would have played out precisely, certainly as it did. Certainly as far as palestinian opposition to jewish immigration to Palestine during the 1930s is concerned, it was of a different character than, for example, british and american rejection of jewish immigration. They just didn't want Jews on their soil.


Objectively, it helped the Germans kill the Jews.


In the palestinian case, their opposition to jewish immigration was to prevent the transformation of their homeland into a jewish state that would dispossess them. And I think that's an important distinction to make. The other point I wanted to make is we've spent the past several hours talking about Zionism, transfer and so on. But I think there's a more fundamental aspect to this, which is that Zionism, I think, would have emerged and disappeared as yet one more utopian political project had it not been for the British what the preeminent palestinian historian Walid Khalidi has termed the british shield, because I think without the british sponsorship, we wouldn't be having this discussion today. The british sponsored Zionism for a very simple reason, which is that during World War I, the Otoman armies attempted to march on the Suez Canal. Suez Canal was the jugular vein of the british empire between Europe and India. And the British came to the conclusion that they needed to secure the Suez Canal from any threat. And as the British have done so often in so many places, how do you deal with, you know, you bring in a foreign minority, implant them amongst a hostile population, and establish a protectorate over them?


I don't think a jewish state in Palestine had been part of british intentions. And the Balfour declaration very specifically speaks about a jewish national home in Palestine. In other words, a british protectorate. Things ended up taking a different course, and I think the most important development was World War II. And I think this had maybe less to do with the Holocaust and more to do with the effective bankruptcy of the United Kingdom during that war and its inability to sustain its global empire. It ended up giving up India, ended up giving up Palestine. And it's in that context, I think, that we need to see the emergence of a jewish state in Palestine. And again, a jewish state means a state in which the jewish community enjoys not only a demographic majority, but an uncontestable demographic majority, an uncontestable territorial hegemony, and an uncontestable political supremacy. And that is also why, after 1948, the nascent israeli state confiscated, I believe, up to 90% of lands that had been previously owned by Palestinians who became citizens of Israel. It is why the new israeli state imposed a military government on its population of palestinian citizens between 1948 and 1966.


It is why the israeli state effectively reduced the Palestinians living within the israeli state as citizens of the israeli state to second class citizens, on the one hand, promoting jewish nationalism and jewish nationalist parties, on the other hand, doing everything within its power to suppress and eliminate palestinian or arab nationalist movements. And that's why today there is a consensus among all major human rights organizations that Israel is an apartheid state. What the israeli human rights organization Betselim describes a regime of jewish supremacy between the river and the sea.


You're really tempting a response from the other side. On the last few sentences, we'll talk about the claims of apartheid and so on. It's a fascinating discussion. We need to have it norm on.


The question of the responsibility of the Palestinian Arabs for the Nazi Holocaust. Direct or indirect? I consider that an absurd claim. As Romiko said, and I quoted him, the entire western world turned its back on the Jews. To somehow focus on the Palestinians strikes me as completely ridiculous. Number two, as Moween said, there's a perfectly understandable reason why palestinian Arabs wouldn't want Jews. Because in their minds, and not irrationally, these Jews intended to create a jewish state which would quite likely have resulted in their expulsion. I'm a very generous person. I've actually taken in a homeless person for two and a half years. But if I knew in advance that that homeless person was going to try to turn me out of my apartment, I would think 10,000 times before I took him in. Okay. As far as the actual complicity of the Palestinian Arabs, if you look at Raul Hilberg's three volume classic work, the destruction of the european jury, he has in those thousand plus pages, one sentence, one sentence on the role of the mufti of Jerusalem. And that, I think, is probably an overstatement. But we'll leave it aside. The only two points I would make, aside from the Holocaust point, is, number one, I do think the transfer discussion is useful because it indicates that there was a rational reason behind the arab resistance to jewish or zionist immigration to Palestine, the fear of territorial displacement and dispossession.


And number two, there are two issues. One is the history, and the second is being responsible for your words. Now, some people accuse me of speaking very slowly, and they're advised on YouTube to turn up the speed twice to three times whenever I'm on. One of the reasons I speak slowly is because I attach value to every word I say. And it is discomforting disorienting. Where you have a person who's produced a voluminous corpus, rich in insight and rich in archival sources, who seems to disown each and every word that you pluck from that corpus by claiming that it's either out of context or it's cherry picking. Words count. And I agree with Lex. Everybody has the right to rescind what they've said in the past. But what you cannot claim is that you didn't say what you said.


I'll stick to the history, not the current propaganda. 1917 the zionist movement began way before the British supported the zionist movement for decades. In 1917, the British jumped in and issued the Balfour Declaration supporting the emergence of a jewish national home in Palestine, which most people understood to mean eventual jewish statehood in Palestine. Most people understood that in Britain and among the Zionists and among the Arabs. But the British declared the Balfour Declaration, or issued the Balfour Declaration not only because of imperial self interest, and this is what you're basically saying, they had the imperial interests, a buffer state which would protect the Suez Canal from the east. The British also were motivated by idealism. And this, incidentally, is how Balfour described the reasoning behind issuing the declaration. And he said, the western world, western Christendom owes the Jews a great debt, both for giving the world and the west, if you like, values, social values as embodied in the Bible, social justice and all sorts of other things. And the christian world owes the Jews because it persecuted them for 2000 years. This debt we're now beginning to repay with the 1917 declaration favoring Zionism.


But it's also worth remembering that the Jews weren't proxies or attached to the british imperial endeavor. They were happy to receive british support in 1917 and then subsequently when the British ruled Palestine for 2030 years. But they weren't part of the british imperial design or mission. They wanted a state for themselves. The Jews happy to have the british support them, happy today to have the Americans support Israel. But it's not because we're stooges or extensions of american imperial interests. The British, incidentally, always described in arab narratives or propaganda as consistent supporters of Zionism. They weren't the first british rulers in Palestine, 1917 1920. Herbert Samuel no, before Herbert Samuel. Samuel came in 1920. The British ruled there for three years previously, and most of the leaders, the british generals and so on, who were in Palestine were anti zionist and subsequently in the British, occasionally curbed zionist immigration to Palestine in the 1939, switched horses and supported the arab national movement and not Zionism. They turned antizionist and basically said you Arabs will rule Palestine within the next ten years. This is what we're giving you by limiting jewish immigration to Palestine. But the Arabs didn't actually understand what they were being given on a silver platter.


Husseini again. And he said, no, no, we can't accept the british white paper of May 1939, which had given the Arabs everything they wanted, basically self determination in an arab majority state. So what I'm saying is the British at some point did support the zionist enterprise, but at other points were less consistent in this support. And in 1939, until 1948, when they didn't vote even for partition for jewish statehood in Palestine in the UN resolution, they didn't support Zionism during the last decade of the mandate. It's worth remembering that.


I'd like to respond to that. I mean, speaking of propaganda, I find it simply impossible to accept that Balfour, who as british prime minister in 1905 was a chief sponsor of the Aliens act, which was specifically. He changed his mind, which was specifically designed to persecuted eastern european Jews out of the streets of the UK, and who was denounced as an anti Semite by the entire british jewish establishment a decade later, all of a sudden changed his mind. People change their minds. But when the changing of the mind just coincidentally happens to coincide with the british imperial interest, I think perhaps the transformation is a little more superficial than he's being given credit for. It was clearly a british imperial venture. And if there had been no threat to the Suez Canal during World War I, regardless of what Balfour would have thought about the Jews and their contribution to history and their persecution and so on, there would have been no Balfour there.


Real quick as a question on that, why did the British ever cap immigration then from Jews to that area at all?


Well, we're talking now about 29.




But I'm saying that if it was. If the whole goal was just to be an imperialist project, like there were terrorist attacks from jewish firms, but I'll answer. Yeah, in the 40s.




And we're talking now about 1917. And as I mentioned earlier, I don't think the British had a jewish state in mind. That's why they use the term jewish national home. I think what they wanted was a british protectorate loyal to and dependent upon the British. I think an outstanding review of british policy towards these issues during the mandate has been done by Martin Bunton of the University of Victoria. And he basically makes the argument that once the British realized the mess they were in, certainly by the late 20s, early 30s, they recognized the mess they were in. The irreconcilable differences and basically pursued a policy of just muddling on and muddling on in the context of british rule in Palestine, whose overall purpose was to serve for the development of zionist institutions. Yeshua's economy and so on meant even if the British were not self consciously doing this, preparing the groundwork for the eventual establishment of a jewish state. I don't know if that answers your.


Question, except they did turn anti Zionist. 1939.


Yes, of course.


Maintained they were being shot off by.


And maintained that Zionist. No, before they were being shot up, but maintained that anti zionist posture until 1948.




And if I may just also one point. You mentioned Hajamin al Husseini during world. Entirely legitimate. But what I would also point out is that you had a zionist organization, the Lehi.


300 people.


300 people. One of whom happened to become an israeli prime minister, an israeli foreign minister, a speaker of israeli parliament.


Maybe you should give this name.


Yichak Shamir, proposing an alliance with Nazi Germany in 1941.


Shamir proposed.


Well, no, the Leahy proposed.


Some people in the Lehi proposed, of.


Which Shamir was a prominent herring. Also no. Okay, well, if he's a red herring, I'm sorry.


The lucky was an unimportant organization. In the Yeshuv, 300 people versus 30,000 belong to the Hagana. So it was not a very important organization. It's true. Before the Holocaust actually began, they wanted allies against the British where they could.


41, from what I recall, 1940, they.


Approached the german emissary in Istanbul or something.


And if I may, proposed an alliance with Nazi Germany on what the Leahy described as on the basis of shared ideological principle. Well, they said they did.


No, they did. Revile.


Why are you doing these things?


The lefty was reviled by the majority.


But you know what the statement said? On the basis of a shared ideology. Why do you say no?


Do you think that. Wait, the Lexi people were Nazis? Is that what you're saying?




Are you saying that, forget statements. You like to quote things, but were they Nazis? Were the Lechi Nazis? That's what I'm asking.


What did he say?


Some of them supported Stalin.


Basis of the pact was their agreement on ideology.


There wasn't any pact. They suggested they proposed an agreement.


Right. And what did the agreement say?


They wanted arms against the British. That's what they wanted.


Well, that's what Hajjamin al Husseini wanted also.




No, but others in India, lefty people didn't work in Berlin helping the Nazi regime.


That's what the IRA wanted also no.


But this is what Hajjamin al Husseini. Did you know that he was an anti semiter? You've probably read some of his works. He wasn't just anti british, he was also anti Semitic. So he had a common ground with Hitler.


I think we can agree every anti Semite is a Hitlerite. I think we can.


He literally worked with the Nazis to recruit people. He wasn't just a guy post.


Absolutely revolting, disgusting human being, this.


I'm happy. But the problem is you're saying that. You're saying the move.


I don't even understand. Of all the crimes you want to ascribe to the palestinian people, trying to blame them directly. Indirectly. Indirectly or indirectly, three times the move for the Nazi Holocaust is completely lunatic.


Hold on. Wait. He's not blaming them for the Holocaust. He's saying that from the perspective. No, he's saying that from the perspective of Jews in the region. Palestinians would have been part of the region. That is exactly. You've not read what he said.


I've read him.


You don't understand him.


Believe me, I'm a lot more literate than you, Mr. Barrack. I'm going to believe the guy that wrote Wikipedia. That's great Hebrew.


And you call yourself an israeli historian. On different grounds.


If I can just respond.


I'm just saying that there were two tricks. That's fine. There were two tricks that are being played here that I think is interesting. One is you guys claim that the leahy was trying to forge an alliance with Nazi Germany because of a shared ideology.


That's what they said.


Yeah, but hold. No, it's about what you said. You brought that up to imply that Zionism must be inexperably linked.


No, I'm sorry. No, you're putting words in my mouth.


Okay, wait. Well, then what was the purpose of saying that? The Lehi claimed that the lehi who.


Were the reason I.


Small group of people that were reviled by many in Israel, by everybody, practically.


They were called terrorists.


The israelist movement called them terrorists. Yes, and hunted them.


Shamir called himself a terrorist. They were so irrelevant that their leader ended up being kicked upstairs to the leader of the israeli parliament.


That's israeli parliament.


To the Israeli. To israeli foreign minister.


And bagan.




You want to characterize him as irrelevant as well, go ahead.


No, characterize him as relevant or irrelevant based on what happens decades later. The timeline matters. Well, the question is, what is the point of saying that the Leahy tried.


To forge an is relevant. Is bringing up the mufti of Jerusalem and trying to blame the Holocaust.


The mufti was the leader of the Palestine Arab national and he had as.


Much to do with the Nazi Holocaust as I did.


No, he recruited people for the SS. How can you get away from that?


No, he recruited people for the SS. He recruited soldiers in the Balkans, mostly Kosovars, which was disgusting. I have no doubt about that. But he had one wrote letters saying.


Don'T let the Jews out. Receive letters from Husseini during the Holocaust. During the Holocaust. Don't let the Jews out. Don't let the Jews out. I'm not saying he was a major.


Architect of the Holocaust, but if we're.


Agreed, if we're agreed that Haj Ameen al Husayni, the mufti of Jerusalem, collaborated with the Nazis during World War II and actively sought their sponsorship, why is.


It irrelevant and probably wanted the destruction of european jewelry.


He probably wanted a lot of things. Okay, if that's relevant, why is it irrelevant that a prime minister of Israel, not prime minister.


In 1941, he wasn't prime minister of Israel. He was a leader of a very small terrorist. So do you consider terrorist.


Do you consider it irrelevant that many years ago Mahmoud Abbas wrote a doctoral thesis which is basically tantamount about Mahmoud Abbas?


Okay, but I didn't bring it up. You're the one who's bringing it up. Belittling the holocaust. That's what you're saying? The president of the Palestinian National Authority belittled the Holocaust? I said it didn't happen or only a few Jews died.


I think that's a fair characterization of.


But I didn't bring it up.


I brought it up. Okay. Because my question is then why is Shamir's antecedency relevant?


He was a terrorist leader of a very small, marginal group, was the head of the movement at the time.


Also, the point of bringing up Hussein's stuff wasn't to say that he was a great further of the Holocaust. It's that he might have been a great further in the prevention of Jews fleeing to go to Palestine to escape the Holocaust. That was the point.


And I explained why I think that's not an entirely accurate characterization. And then I wanted to make another point. If it's legitimate to bring up his role during World War II, why is it illegitimate to bring up a man who would become Israel's speaker of parliament, foreign minister. Why is it, and was also responsible for the murder of the United Nations'first international envoy, Bernadati, Folky Bernadati. Why is all that irrelevant?


I don't think anybody, I think that the reason why he was brought up was because jewish people in this time period would have viewed it as there is a prevention of Jews leaving Europe because of the Palestinians pressuring the British to put a curb that 75,000 immigration limit. Yes, but it's not about them furthering the Holocaust or being an architect. Major minor play in the Holocaust. Well, he was a major player in that region. So if you wanted to bring up.


Morris, made the specific claim that the Palestinians played an indirect role in the.


Holocaust, the indirect role would have been the prevention of people escaping from.


Yes, and my response to that is, first of all, I disagree with that characterization. But second of all, how can you disagree with that?


They forced the British to prevent emigration of Jews from Europe and reaching safe shores in Palestine. They did again. And they knew that the. Was Palestine persecuted in Europe?


Was Palestine the only spot of land on earth?


Yes, basically that was the problem. The Jews couldn't emigrate.


What about your great friends in Britain, the architects of the Balfour decade, by the late 1930s? What about the United States?


Weren't happy to take in Jews and the Americans?


And why are Palestinians, who were not Europeans, who had zero role in the rise of Nazism, who had no relation to any of this, why are they somehow uniquely responsible for what happened in.


Europe and uniquely the only safe haven for Jews?


Oh, really? The United States wasn't a potential safe haven. The only one was Palestine. The United States had no room for Jews.


It did have room, but it didn't.


But it didn't want safe haven.


This is something you'd be focusing your.


America should be blamed for not letting Jews in during the 30s, but nobody.


Blames them for the Holocaust.


Well, indirectly.


Indirectly, I've never heard it said that Franklin Delanore Roosevelt was indirectly responsible for the Holocaust. I never heard that. Now maybe it's in israeli literature because the Israelis have gone mad. Yes. Your prime minister said the whole idea of the gaze chambers came from the mufti of Jerusalem. That's nonsense. We all know.


But we also know that Netanyahu, Netanyahu says so many things which are, and.


He happens to be the.




You're not responsible for them. But it is relevant that he is the longest serving prime minister of Israel.


Unfortunately, about the israeli public.


And he gets elected not despite saying such things, but because he says his.


Voters don't care about Hajamin al Husayni or Hitler. They know nothing about his vote, his base, know nothing about anything. And he can say what he likes and they'll say yes. So they don't care if he says these things.


You may well be right anyway, not to beat a dead horse. But I still don't understand. I'll just conclude by saying I don't understand why the mufti of Jerusalem is relevant.


He is relevant. He is relevant because Shamir wasn't the head of the national movement. He represented 100 or 200 or 300 gunmen who are considered terrorists by the zionist movement at the time. The fact that 30 years later, he becomes prime minister, that's the quirks of history. Hajjamin Hussein, he was the head of the Palestine Arab national movement at the time.


Anyway, what can you do? I think we're speaking past each other.


We're not. I'm talking facts.


Let's move to the modern day, and we'll return to history, maybe 67 and other important moments. But let's look to today in the recent months. October 7. Let me ask sort of a pointed question. Was October 7 attacks by Hamas on Israel genocidal? Was it an act of ethnic cleansing? Just so we lay out the moral calculus that we are engaged in?


The problem with the October 7 is this. The Hamas fighters who invaded southern Israel were sent, ordered to murder, rape, and do all the nasty things that they did. And they killed some 1200 Israelis that day and abducted, as we know, something like 250 civilians, mostly civilians. Also, some soldiers took them back to Gaza, dungeons in Gaza. But they were motivated not just by the words of their current leader in the Gaza Strip, but by their ideology, which is embedded in their charter from 819 88, if I remember correctly. And that charter is genocidal. It says that the Jews must be eradicated basically from the land of Israel, from Palestine. The Jews are described there as sons of apes and pigs. The Jews are a base people, killers of prophets, and they should not exist in Palestine. It doesn't say that they necessarily should be murdered all around the world, the Hamas charter, but certainly the Jews should be eliminated from Palestine. And this is the driving ideology behind the massacre of the Jews on October 7, which brought down on the Gaza Strip, and I think with the intention by the Hamas, of the israeli counter offensive, because they knew that that counter offensive would result in many palestinian dead, because the Hamas fighters and their weaponry and so on were embedded in the population in Gaza.


And they hoped to benefit from this in the eyes of world public opinion, as Israel chased these Hamas people and their ammunition dumps and so on, and killed lots of palestinian civilians in the process. All of this was understood by Sinoir, by the head of the Hamas, and he strived for that, but initially he wanted to kill as many Jews as he could in the border areas around the Gaza Strip.


I'll respond directly to the points you made, and then I'll leave it to norm to bring in the historical context that Hamas Charter is from the think, 1980, 819 88. So it's from the think. Your characterization of that charter as anti Semitic is indisputable. I think your characterization of that charter is genocidal, is off the mark. Simplicity, and more importantly, that charter has been superseded by a new charter. In fact, has been. Well, there is no new charter.


There is an explanation, a statement, 2018, supposedly clarifying things which are in the charter, but it doesn't actually step back from what the charter says. Eliminate Israel. Eliminate the Jews from the land of Israel.


And in 2018, the Hamas charter, if we look at the current version of the charter, it's not a call to.


Charter, whether you're calling it a charter. It wasn't. The only thing called a charter is what was issued in 1988 by Yasin himself.


Anyway, it makes a clear distinction between Jews and Zionists in 2018. Now, you can choose to dismiss it, believe it, it's sincere, it's insincere, whatever.


Insincere is probably the right word.


Secondly, I'm really unfamiliar with fighters who consult these kinds of documents before they.


Go on education system.


In the kindergarten, they're told, kill the Jews. They practice with make believe guns and uniforms when they're five years old in the kindergartens of the Hamas at the.


Instruction of the commissioner general of UnRa.


Right? I didn't say that.


I said the Hamas has kindergartens and summer camps in which they train to kill Jews children.


Secondly, five and six, secondly, you keep saying Jews, to which I would respond.


They use the word Jews, to which.


I would respond that Hamas does not have a record of deliberately targeting Jews who are not Israelis. And in fact, it also doesn't have a record of deliberately targeting either Jews or Israelis outside Israel and Palestine. So all this talk of, unlike the.


Khisbala, which has targeted, well, we're talking about Jews outside. We're talking about Palestine.


We're talking about October 7 and Hamas. If you'd also like to speak about Hazballah, let's get to that separately, if you don't mind. So again, genocidal. Well, if that term is going to be discussed, my first response would be let's talk about potentially genocidal actions against Israelis rather than against Jews for the reasons that I just mentioned. And again, I find this constant conflation of Jews, Israel, Zionism to be a bit disturbing. Secondly, I think there are quite a few indications in the factual record that raise serious questions about the accusations of the genocidal intent and genocidal practice of what happened on October 7. And my final point would be, I don't think I should take your word for it. I don't think you should take my word for it. I think what we need here is a proper, independent, international investigation. And the reason we need that of genocide during this conflict, whether by Palestinians on October 7 or Israel thereafter. And the reason that we need such an investigation is because Hamas is. There won't be any hearings on what Hamas did on October 7 at the International Court of Justice, because the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of genocide deals only with states and not with movements.


I think the International Criminal Court and specifically its current prosecutor, Garim Khan, lacks any and all credibility. He's been an absolute failure at his job. He's just been sitting on his backside for years on this file. And I think I would point out that Hamas has called for independent investigations of all these allegations. Israel has categorically rejected any international investigation, of course, fully supported by the United States. And I think what is required is to have credible investigations of these things, because I don't think you're going to convince me. I don't think I'm going to convince you. And this is two people sitting across a table from each other.


Certain things you don't even have to investigate. You know how many citizens, civilians died in the October 7?


But that's not, you know that there.


Are lots of allegations of rape. I don't know how persuaded you are of those. They did find bodies without heads.


There were no behavior.


There were some beheadings, apparently.


The Israelis didn't even claim that in the document they submitted before the ICJ. Go read what your government submitted. It never mentioned beheadings.


Well, as far as I know, I read people who were beheaded.


We could bring it up right now.


You also deny that there were rapes there?


I didn't deny. I said I've not seen convincing evidence that confirms it. I've said that from day one, and I'll say it today, four and a half months later.


Do you know that they killed eight or 900 civilians in their. Absolutely.


That seems to me indisputable.


Okay, well, I'm glad that you're.


I've said that from day one.


Well, to be clear, you haven't. You did a debate. I don't remember the talk show. But you seem to imply that there was a lot of crossfire, and then it might have been the IDF.


That I said that. There is no question. Because the names were published in horrors. There is no question that roughly, of the 1200 people killed, 800 of them were civilians. I see 850. Fine. So I never said that. But then I said, no, we don't know exactly how they were killed, but 800 civilians killed, 850. No question there. And I also said, on repeated occasions, there cannot be any doubt, in my opinion as of now, with the available evidence that Hamas was responsible for significant atrocities. And I made sure to include the plural.


There's a lot of tricky language being employed here. Do you think of the 850?


It's called attaching value to words and not talking like a motor mouth.




I am very careful about qualifying, because that's what language is about.


That's great. Then let me just ask a clarifying question. Do you firmly believe that the majority of the 850 civilians were killed by Hamas?


My view is, even if it were, half, 400 is a huge number by any reckoning.


Wait, you didn't. Even if. Wait.


Because, Professor Morris, I don't know. I agree with Moin Rabani. I'm not sure if he concedes the 400. I'll say, why 400? Because I have 400. Right. Maybe a couple of individuals were killed in this video. I don't know.


You're saying from day one you believe this particular thing, and you clearly don't. You clearly don't believe this. You said people died. That's not controversial.




Hold on.


Hold on.


That's not controversial?


Mr. Bennell, I attach value to words.


You said that.


Mr. Bennell, please slow down the speech and attempt to listen. When I was explicitly asked by Pierce Morgan, I said, there can be no question that Hamas committed atrocity.


I've heard this.


On October 7, if you want me to pin down a number. I can't do that and ask you.


To pin down a number. You can listen to what I'm asking. No, my question. I'll ask a very precise.




It's a very easy.


If I understood your question correctly.


My question is, do you think the majority of the people that were killed on October 7, the civilians, were killed by Hamas? Or are we subscribing to the idea that the IDF killed hundreds, four or 500?


No, but let me explain why that's a difficult question to answer. The total number of civilians killed was 800 850. We know that Hamas is responsible probably for the majority of those killings. We also know that there were killings by islamic jihad. We also know we're bunching together the.


Islamic jihad and the Hamas that's splitting.


I'm speaking in opposition to the conspiracy theory that people like. Do you prefer Norm or Professor Frankelstein or. I don't know. How do you prefer.


It's not a conspiracy theory.


The conspiracy theory is the idea that the IDF killed the majority of them.


It's not a conspiracy theory.


There's also a theory that, as Norm pointed out on the show that he was on, that he thought that it was very strange that given how reputable israeli services are when it comes to sending ambulances, retrieving bodies, he thought it was very strange that number was continually being adjusted.


And do you know why you say.


That in combination with. Well, I'm not sure how many were killed.


Do you know why the number went down? The number went down because the israeli authorities were in possession of 200 corpses that were burned to a crisp that they assumed were Israelis who had been killed on October 7. They later determined that these were, in fact, palestinian fighters. Now, how does a palestinian fighter get burned to a crisp?


No, you're mixing two things. Some of the bodies they weren't able to identify, and eventually they ruled that some of them were actually arab marauders rather than israeli victims. A few of them, also of the Jews, were burnt to a crisp. And it took them time to work this out. And they came out initially with a slightly higher figure, 1400 dead, and eventually reduced it to 1200.


And the reason is that a proportion of israeli civilians killed on October 7, I don't believe it was a majority. We don't know how many. Some were killed in crossfire, some were killed by israeli shell fire, helicopter fire, and so on. And the majority were killed by Palestinians. And of that majority, we don't know. I mean, again, I understood your question as referring specifically to Hamas, which is why I tried to answer it that way. But if you meant generically Palestinians, yes, if you mean specifically Hamas, we don't have a clear breakdown of Hamas.


No, I don't mean specifically Hamas. But I just think when you use the word some, that's doing a lot of heavy lifting, that's fine, but some can mean anywhere from 1% to 49%.


But we don't know.


So the numbers here and the details are interesting and important, almost from a legal perspective. But if we zoom out the moral perspective, are Palestinians from Gaza justified in violent resistance?


Well, Palestinians have the right to resistance. Palestinian. That right includes the right to armed resistance. At the same time. Armed resistance is subject to the laws of war, and there are very clear regulations that separate legitimate acts of armed resistance from acts of armed resistance that are not legitimate.


The attacks of October 7, where did they land? For you?


There has been almost exclusive focus on the attacks on civilian population centers and the killings of civilians on October 7. What is much less discussed to the point of amnesia is that there were very extensive attacks on israeli military and intelligence facilities on October 7. I would make a very clear distinction between those two. And secondly, I'm not sure that I would characterize the efforts by Palestinians on October 7 to seize israeli territory and israeli population centers as in and of themselves, illegitimate.


You mean attacking israeli civilians?


No. Legitimate? No, that's not what I understand what you said. I think what you had on October 7 was an effort by Hamas to seize israeli territory and populations and kill civilians. That's not what I said. What I said is I think.




Would not describe the effort to seize israeli territory as in and of itself illegitimate, as a separate issue from the killing of israeli civilians, where in those cases where they had been deliberately targeted, that's very clearly illegitimate.


Families were slaughtered in kibutz.


But I'm making many of them left.


Wingers who helped Palestinians go to hospitals in Israel and so on, again, even drove palestinian cancer patients to hospitals.


Again, I'm making a distinction.


You don't seem to be very condemnatory of what the Hamas.


I don't do selective condemnation.


I'm not talking about selective. I don't do selective condemnation of this specific.


Well, you know what? You know what it is?


I would, for example, condemn israeli assaults on civilians. Deliberate assaults on civilians. Yes, I would condemn them. But you're not doing that.


You know what the issue is. I've been speaking in public now, I would say, since the late 1980s and interviewed and so on. I have never, on one occasion, ever been asked to condemn any israeli act. When I've been in group discussions, those supporting the israeli action or perspective, I have never encountered an example where these individuals are asked to condemn what Israel is doing. The demand and obligation of condemnation is exclusively applied, in my personal experience, over decades is exclusively applied to Palestinians, and.


Israel is condemned day and night on every television channel.


I'm telling you about a personal experience lasting decades.


You said, quote, oh, no, I'm trying to quote what you just said.


I shouldn't have said anything at any.


Professor Morris. Yes. You just said, I would condemn anytime Israel deliberately attacks civilians. Okay. The problem, Professor Morris, is over and over again. You claim in the face of overwhelming evidence that they didn't attack civilians.


That's not true. I've said Israel has attacked. Israel attacked extensively about. I know that in Kathur Kassim, they killed civilians.


Selecting. Cherry pick, if I were you, cherry pick. Let's fast forward when you were an adult. What did you say about the 1982 Lebanon war?


What did I say?


You don't remember? Okay, allow me. Okay. So it happens that I was not at all by any. I had no interest in the Israel Palestine conflict as a young men until the 90s. True. Until the 1982 Lebanon war. Yeah.


Lost the passage.


I'll find it.


Okay. Real quick, while he's searching for that.


Yeah, allow me.


You bring up something that's really important that a lot of people don't draw a distinction between. In that there is just causes for war and there is just ways to act within a war. And these two things principally do have a distinction from one another. However, while I appreciate the recognition of the distinction, the idea that the cause for war that Hamas was engaged in, I don't believe if we look at their actions in war or the statements that they've made, it doesn't seem like it had to do with territorial acquisition.


No. The point I was making was what was Hamas trying to achieve militarily on October 7? And I was pointing out that the focus has been very much on Hamas attacks on civilians and atrocities and so on. And I'm not saying those things should be ignored. What I'm saying is that what's getting lost in the shuffle is that there were extensive attacks on military and intelligence facilities. And as far as, let's say, the other aspects are concerned, because I think either you or Lex asked me about the legitimacy of these attacks. I said, I'm unclear whether efforts by Hamas to seize israeli population centers in and of themselves are illegitimate, as opposed to actions that either deliberately targeted israeli civilians or actions that should reasonably have been expected to result in the killings of israeli civilians. Those strike me as, by definition, illegitimate. And I want to be very clear about that. Illegitimate means, you condemn them, illegitimate means, they are not legitimate.


I have a problem condemning your side. Yes.


No, not condemning my side. I have a problem with selective outrage. And I have a problem with selective condemnation. And as I explained to you a few minutes ago, in my decades of appearing in public and being interviewed, I have never been asked to condemn an israeli action. I've never been asked for a moral judgment on an israeli action. Exclusive request for condemnation has to do with what Palestinians do. And just as importantly, I'm sure if you watch BBC or CNN. When is the last time an israeli spokesperson has been asked to condemn an israeli act? I've never seen it.


I don't think we condemn the arab site either, though, right? I don't think there was any condemnation, no.


But now that we're talking about israeli victims, all of a sudden morality, I.


Think the reason why it comes up is because there's no shortage of international condemnation for Israel. As norm will point out a million times that there are 50 billion UN resolutions. You've got amnesty International, you've got multiple bodies of the UN. You've got now this case for the ICJ. So there's no question of if there's condemnation.


Sorry, if I can interrupt you. In 1948, the entire world stood behind the establishment of a jewish state in.


The entire world except arab states and the muslim states. Well, not the entire world.




But I think you know what I mean by that.


The western democracies. That's what you're saying.


Well, then also my quick question supported.


The establishment of Israel.


My quick question was you said that you believe that this is a very short one. You think that there's an argument to be made that the people in Gaza, that Hamas and islamic jada, whoever participated, had a just cause for war. Maybe they didn't do it in the correct way, but they maybe had a just cause for war.


How do you think there's a maybe there? The Palestinians.




You think they absolutely had a just cause for war? Do you think that Israel has a just cause for Operation Swords of iron?


No, of course not.


Okay. All right.


You can say your quote.


Okay, first of all, on this issue of double standards, which is the one that irks or irritates Moeen, you said that you are not a person of double standards. Unlike people like Moween. You hold high a single standard and you condemn deliberate israeli attacks on civilians when they occur. And I would say that's true for the period up till 1967, and I think it's accurate. Your account of the first into Fada there, it seems to me you were in conformity with most mainstream accounts. And the case of the first interfadah, you also used, surprisingly, you used arab human rights sources like al Haq, which I think Moween worked for during the first interfadah. That's true. But then something very strange happens. So let's illustrate it.


Wait, there's something strange which happened is the Arabs rejected.


Okay, wait.


Peace office, by accepting the Oslo agreements.


By rejecting his time a campaign, if we have time I know the record very well. I'd be very happy to go through it with you, but let's get to those double standards. So this is what you have to say about Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. You said Israel was reluctant to harm civilians, sought to avoid casualties on both sides, and took care not to harm lebanese and palestinian civilians. He then went on to acknowledge the massive use of IDF firepower against civilians during the siege of Beirut, which traumatized israeli society. Morris quickly enters the caveat that Israel, quote, tried to pinpoint military targets, but inevitably, many civilians were hit. That's your description of the Lebanon war? As I say, that's when I first got involved in the conflict. I am a voracious reader. I read everything on the Lebanon war. I would say there's not a single account of the Lebanon war in which the estimates are between 15 and 20,000 palestinian Lebanese were killed, overwhelmingly civilians. The biggest bloodletting until the Karan Gaza genocide. Biggest bloodletting, I would say. I can't think of a single mainstream account that remotely approximates what you just said.


So, leaving aside, I can name the books voluminous, huge volumes. I'll just take one example. Now, you will remember, because I think you served in Lebanon in 80 02:00 a.m.. I. Correct on that, yeah. So you will remember that dove Yarmia kept a war diary. So, with your permission, allow me to describe what he wrote during his diary. So he writes, the war machine of the IDF is galloping and trampling over the conquer territory, demonstrating a total insensitivity to the fate of the Arabs who are found in its path. A PLO run hospital suffered a direct hit. Thousands of refugees are returning to the city. When they arrive at their homes, many of which have been destroyed or damaged, you hear their cries of pain and their howls over the deaths of their loved ones. The air is permeated with the smell. Destruction.




Does that sound like your description of the Lebanon war?


Forget my descriptions.


The point you're making.


Let me just finish my sentence. The point you're making, which you somehow forget, is that there are Israelis who strongly criticize their own side and describe how Israelis are doing things which they regard as immoral. You don't find that on the arab side?


Mr. Morris, I'm not talking about you. The historian. How did you depict the Lebanon?


Because I believe that the israeli military tried to avoid committing a civilian.


By Robert Fisk and pity the nation. Journalists I know has always been right. So that's why you can say with such confidence that you don't condemn deliberate israeli attacks on. Because there weren't any.


No, I didn't say there weren't any. You agreed that I have condemned israeli.


Yes, there are civilians. I never quarrel with facts. Your description of the 1982 war is so shocking, it makes my innards writhe. And then your description of the second intafada, your description of defensive shield.


Bombers when arab suicide bombers were destroying Jews and masses and busses and in restaurants. That's the second Indifada. Do you remember that? You can try suicide bombers in Jerusalem's busses.


But if you forgot the numbers.


I don't forget.


It was three to one.


They killed mostly armed palestinian gunmen.


That's what you say, but that's not what Amnesty International said. That's not what human rights was.


I don't remember what they said.


I do. No, that's not what.


I don't know whether their figures are right. My figures are right. Listen, in the second, rather some fourth palestinian, most of them armed people, and.


Israelis were killed, almost all of them. Professor Morris, fantasy. But I'm not going to argue with here. Here's a simple challenge. You said not to look at the camera. Scares the people. I'll make the open challenge.


You are going to scare them.


No. Professor Morris, open challenge. Words are in print. I wrote 50 pages analyzing all of your work. I quote, some will say cherry pick, but I think accurately quote you. Here's a simple challenge. Answer me in print. Answer what I wrote and show where I'm making things up. Answer me in print.


I'm sorry.




I'm not familiar.


That's no problem. You're a busy man. You're an important historian. You don't have to know everything that's in print, especially by modest publishers. But now you know. And so here's the public challenge. You answer and show where I cherry picked, where I misrepresented. Send me the article, and then we can have a civil, scholarly discussion.


I'm not sure we will agree, even.


If we don't have to agree. It's for the reader to decide, looking at both sides, where this truth stands.


And if I may ask, it's good to discuss ideas that are in the air now, as opposed to citing literature that was written in the past as much as possible, because listeners were not familiar with the literature. So, like, whatever was written, just express it. Condense the key idea, and then we can debate the ideas.


Two aspects. There's a public debate, but there's also written words.


Yes. I'm just telling you that you, as an academic historian, put a lot of value in the written word, and I think it is valuable. But in this incidentally, not the only.


Historian who puts value to words, I also do, actually, more than just one.


Or two sentences at a time.


But in this context, just for the.


Educational purpose, teaching people no purpose is. Why would people commit what I have to acknowledge, because I am faithful to the facts. Massive atrocities on October 7. Why did that happen? And I think that's the problem. The past is erased, and we suddenly went from 1948 to October 7, 2023, and there is a problem there.


So, first of all, you have complete freedom to backtrack, and we'll go there with you. Obviously, we can't cover every single year, every single event, but there's probably critical moments in time.


Can I respond to something relating to that? The Lebanon war. I looked at the book that he got this from and what the quote was from. It sounds cold to say it, but war is tragic and civilians die. There is no war. That this has not happened in. In the history of all of humankind. The statement that Israel might take care not to target civilians is not incompatible with a diary entry from someone who said they saw civilians getting killed. I think that sometimes we do a lot of weird games when we talk about international humanitarian law or laws that govern conflict, where we say things like, civilians dying is a war crime, or civilian homes or hospitals getting destroyed is necessarily a war crime, or is necessarily somebody intentionally targeting civilians without making distinctions between military targets or civilian ones. I think that when we analyze different attacks or when we talk about the conduct of a military, I think it's important to understand prospectively from the unit of analysis of the actual military committing the acts, what's happening, and what are the decisions being made, rather than just saying retrospectively, oh, well, a lot of civilians died.


Not very many military people died, comparatively speaking. So it must have been war crimes, especially when you've got another side. I'll fast forward to Hamas that intentionally attempts to induce those same civilian numbers, because Hamas is guilty of any war crime that you would potentially accuse. And this is according to Amnesty international people that norm loves to cite. Hamas is guilty of all of these same war crimes, of them failing to take care of the civilian population, of them essentially utilizing human shields to try to fire rockets free from attacks. Essentially, yes. I'm just saying that essentially in terms of how international law defines it, not how Amnesty International defines it, but Amnesty International describes times of human shielding, but they don't actually apply the correct international legal saying, believe it or not, Norm, the entire Geneva Convention is all on Wikipedia. It's a wonderful website. But I'm just saying that on the Homas side, if there's an attempt to induce this type of military activity, attempt to induce civilian harm, that it's not just enough to say, like, well, here's a diary entry where a guy talks about how tragic.


I think the problem with your statement is that if you go back and listen to it, the first part of it is war is hell. Civilians die. It's a fact of life. And you state that in a very factual matter. Then when you start talking about Hamas, all of a sudden you've discovered morality and you've discovered condemnation, and you've discovered intent, and you are, unfortunately, far from alone in this. You know who, for me, is a perfect example.


Wait, hold on. Just remember something. We don't need examples. The false equivalency of the two sides is astounding. When Hamas kills civilians in a surprise attack on October 7, this isn't because they are attempting to target military targets and they happen to stumble into a giant festival of people that.


Well, they did happen to stumble into it.


They did. But when they stumbled into it, it wasn't an issue of trying to figure out a military target or not. They weren't failing a distinction. There wasn't a proportionality assessment done. It was just to kill civilians. Even the Amnesty International in 2008 and in 2014 and even today, will. I don't think there's, like, a type to attack.


Find anyone who will deny that Hamas has targeted civilians.


Sure, you gave the example, but there's a difference.


Because of suicide bombings during the second and Tafada. I mean, facts are facts.


Sure, but I'm saying that the Hamas targeting of civilians is different than the incidental loss of life that occurs when Israel does.


Genocide is the intentional mass murder.


Genocide is an entirely separate claim.


Yeah, but the idea that Israel is not in the business of intentionally targeting civilians. I know that's what we're supposed to believe, but the historical record stands.


No, it does.




I don't believe it does.


You've written about.


Well, when you say historical, do you mean like in the. Or do you mean like over the.


Past, from the last century to the. This century? I just like to make the way you characterized it. I think the best example of that I've come across during this specific conflict is John Kirby, the White House spokesman. I've named him tears tossed around for.


A very good reason when he's talking.


About palestinian civilian deaths. War as hell. It's a fact of life. Get used to it. When he was confronted with israeli civilian deaths on October 7, he literally broke down in tears.


One is deliberate and one isn't. He understood that.


No, that's what he tried to make us.


No, he was speaking facts. That Hamas guys who attacked the kibutzim, apart from the attacks on the military sites, when they attacked the kibutzim, were out to kill civilians. And they killed family after family, house after house. The israeli attacks on Hamas installations. No, you don't know israeli pilots.


Thank God.


No, you don't know israeli pilots. They believe that they are killing Hamas Niks. They're given.


Sure they believe.


And if the Hamas hiding behind civilians.


Civilians die every time they target a kid, I'm sure they believe it's Hamas. When they killed the four kids. I know they believe. Even though they were diminutive side. Even though they were. Let's see the side.


I know what he's quoting. You've lied about this particular instance in the past. Those kids weren't just on the beach, as is often stated in articles. Those kids were literally coming out of a previously identified Hamas compound that they had operated.


With all due respect, you're such a fantastic moron. It's terrifying. That wharf was filled with journalists. There were tens scores of journalists. That was an old fisherman's shack. What are you talking about? It's so painful. It's so painful to listen to this idiocy.


And to be clear, on the other side, you're implying that a strike was okayed on the israeli side, where they said, we're just going to kill four palestinian children today for no reason.


Do you believe that?


Do you believe that?


Here we go.


We'll never answer that.


I will answer the question.


Pilots will out.


I will even answer.


And it was a crime because that was strike. That was a drone strike. So it was a proof all that we're going to kill children today.


Do you want me to answer, or do you want your motor mouth to go? Okay, answer. In 2018, there was the great march of return in Gaza. By all reckonings of human rights organizations and journalists who were there, it was overwhelmingly nonviolent, organized by the Hamas. What? Whoever organized.


Organized by Satan.


Let's start. I agree. Let's go for the big one, the big McGillah. It's Satan. Okay. Overwhelmingly organized, overwhelmingly nonviolent. Resembled, at the beginning, the first bombs here and there. First antifada represent the first. Okay. Not bombs, but they tried to make holes in the. Okay.




Let's continue.


Yeah, but I'm not sure Israel behaved morally in.


As you know, along the Gaza perimeter, there was Israel's best trained snipers, correct?


I don't know. Best trained. There were snipers.






Okay. All right.


Hey, laugh.


It's hilarious. The story is so funny.


You're lying about the great march of return had aspects of violence to it. Even the UN says it themselves. But you only collect what the UN says that you like.


The problem, Mr. Morelli, is you don't know the english language.


I can read from the UN website itself. In regards to the great march of return, they said majority of protesters acted in a peaceful manner. Most protests doesn't have approached the fence to damage it, burning fires, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails towards israeli forces flying incendiary kites and balloons into israeli territory. The latter results in extensive damage to agricultural land and nature reserves inside Israel and risked the lives of israeli civilians. Some incidents of shooting going on explosives.


Talk fast. I'm just trying to think that you're coherent.


I'm just reading from the UN.


Yeah, but you.


I know you like the time. Only when they agree with you.


You got the months wrong. You got the months wrong. We're talking about the beginning in March 30.


That march mostly.


Okay, allow me to finish. So there were the snipers. Okay. Now you find it so far fetched. Israelis purposely deliberately targeting civilians. That's such a far fetched idea. An overwhelmingly nonviolent march. What did the international march.


It was a campaign.


Whatever you want to call for months. Whatever you want to call months. Yeah. What did the UN investigation find?


Well, he just read.


I read the report. I don't read things off of those machines. I read the report. What did it find? Brace yourself. You thought it was so funny, the idea of IDF targeting civilians. It found. Go look this up on your machine.


I already know what you're going to say. You're going to say it found that only one or two of them were.


Justified killings, targeted journalists, targeted medics. And here's the funniest one of all. It's so hilarious. They targeted disabled people who were 300 meters away from the fence and just standing by trees. If it's true.


Just quick pause.


I think everything was fascinating to listen to, except the mention of hilarious. Nobody finds any of this hilarious. And if any of us are laughing, it's not at the suffering of civilians or suffering of anyone. It's at the obvious joyful camaraderie in the room. So I'm enjoying it. And also the joy of learning. So thank you.


Can we talk about the targeting civilian thing a little bit? I think there's like an important underlying. Not necessarily that I think it's important to understand. Yeah, I think it's important to understand. There's like three different things here that we need to think about. So one is a policy of killing civilians. So I would ask the other side. I'm going to ask all three because I know there won't be a short answer. Do you think there is a policy top down from the IDF to target civilians? That's one thing. A second thing is he said yes. But then the second thing is. Or there's two distinctions I want to draw between. I think Benny would say this, I would say this. I'm sure. Undoubtedly there have been cases where IDF soldiers for no good reason have targeted and killed Palestinians that they should not have done. That would be prosecutable as war crimes as defined by the rum statue.


Some have been prosecuted.


Yeah, absolutely. Practically nothing. I'm sure that we would all agree. For soldiers that happens. But I think that it's important that when we talk about military strikes or when we talk about things, especially involving bombings or drone attacks, these are things that are signed off by multiple different layers of command, by multiple people involved in an operation, including intelligence gathering, including weaponeering. And they also have typically, lawyers involved. When you make the claim that an idea of soldier shot a Palestinian, those three people, the three hostages that came up with white flags and something horrible happened, I think that's a fair statement to make and I think a lot of criticism is deserved. But when you make the statement that four children were killed by a strike, the claim that you're making. Yes, deliberately. The claim that you're making. The claim that you're making is that multiple levels of the IDF signed off on just killing.


I have no idea what that.


If you don't understand the process, then let me educate you. I can tell you I do understand the process. I'm telling you right now. No. Can you tell me people who work in the military, what's your knowledge of the idea audience can look this up. Do you think that bombing and strikes are decided by one person in the field? Do you think one person, can I respond to airplane drones.


A pilot doesn't do it on his.


Own apparatuses that are designed to figure out how to strike and who to strike. So when you say that four children are targeted, you're saying that a whole apparatus is trying to murder four Palestinians.


You make my argument better than this argument, because really, that it's impossible at the command level. It's impossible at the command level. But you said that they couldn't have done it at the bottom if it weren't.


Also, you don't understand the strength of the claim that you're making. You're saying that from a top down level that lawyers or Palestinians.


It's true. It's true. I don't spend my nights on Wikipedia. I read books. I admit that as a signal waste of time. Yeah, I know books are a waste of time. With all due regard, the only thing.


You take from them are two or.


Three quotes that you use. I completely respect the fact, and I'll say it on the air as much as I find totally disgusting. What's come of your politics? A lot of the books are excellent, and I'll even tell you, because I'm not afraid of saying it. Whenever I have to check on a basic fact, the equivalent of going to the Britannica, I go to your books. I know you got a lot of the facts right.


Benny Moore's partner.


I would never say books are a waste of time. And it's regrettable to you that you got strapped with a partner who thinks that all the wisdom. All the wisdom.


He didn't say they're a waste of time.


I'd like to respond to what you were saying. I think the question that we're trying.


To answer, I think you don't understand Israel.


Let me finish how it works. I think we're all agreed that Palestinians have deliberately targeted civilians. Whether we're talking about Hamas and Islamic jihad today or previously.


I prefer the word murdered and raped rather than targeted. Targeted is too soft for what the Hamas did.


I'm okay with. I'm not talking about.


I'm talking about this now.


Yeah, but I'm trying to answer his question. Historically, there is substantial evidence that Palestinians have targeted civilians. Whether it's been incidental or systematic is a different discussion. I don't want to get into that now. For some reason, there seems to be a huge debate about whether any Israeli has ever sunk so low as to target a civilian.


No, we've agreed both this has happened here, and I think agreed on that.




What we're saying is it's not policy, which is what you guys are implying, that they kill civilians deliberately.


If I understand you correctly, you're basically making the claim that none of these attacks could have happened without going through an entire chain of command strike cells.


That are involved in, like, drone attacks or plane attacks.


My understanding of the israeli military, and you could perhaps you've served in it, you would know better. It's actually a fairly chaotic organization.


No, that's not true. Especially not the air force. Extremely, extremely organized. The air force works in a very organized fashion, as he says, with lawyers, chain of command, and ultimately the pilot drops the bomb where he's told to drop it.


Was that 200 strikes in like 60 seconds? I think. I think at the opening of protective edge. Yeah. The coordination between. Talking about 2000 day, I think edge was 2014. But I'm just saying that the coordination in the military is pretty tight.


My understanding of the israeli military, it's very awful, is that it's quite chaotic, and there's also a lot of testimonies from Israel. But be that as it may. Okay, I'm prepared to accept both of your contentions that it's a highly organized and disciplined force. Air Force, under any scenario, is going to be more organized than the other branches. And you're saying such a strike would have been inconceivable?


Well, I'm not necessarily inconceivable. I'm just saying that that would have required.




I don't think good evidence has been.


Presented to say that's your basic claim, is that it would be fair to assume that such a strike could have only been carried out with multiple levels of authorization and signing off. Okay, let's accept that for the sake of argument. We have now seen incident after incident after incident after incident where entire families are vaporized in single strikes.


Who is in the families? Who lives in the house?


Family members.


No family members next to the house?


Family. We have seen incident.


Do you know that Hamasniks weren't in that house? Do you know that their ammunition dumps weren't?


Why do I have to prove a negative?


You're saying that they deliberately targeted families? If Israel wanted to kill civilians in Gaza, they could have killed 500,000 by now. With a number of the fact that they've only killed a certain small number.


30,000 is a small number.


Small number in proportion.


30,000, small number in proportion.


Over four months, probably is an indication that targeted and that there are Hamas targets in these places.


So I've given children is only. And if that's the case, why is it? Yeah, you said only. Professor Morris, here's a question for you. If we take every combat zone in the world for the past three years, every combat zone in the world, in.


Vietnam, Americans killed a million people.


Yeah, I was in the anti war movement, so don't strap me, a million people. Fine. And 30 million Russians were killed. So, enjoying World War Ii. Everything else is irrelevant. Okay, here's the question, Professor Morris. Here's a question. It's very perplexing. If you take every combat zone in the world for the past three years, and you multiply the number of children killed by four, every combat zone in the world, you get gossip. Okay? So when you.


What's that supposed to prove?


Okay, I'm going to tell you. Shut up.


You're relying.


No, I'm not relying on the numbers that everybody else. I'm lying in the numbers.


Even if we take the numbers, though, what is that?


Those are hamas numbers, okay? Which may not be true. They could invent anything. Because you don't think that they are a mendacious organization.


I know mendacious, believe me. You like mendacious, as in the israeli Ministry of foreign affairs. Okay, so here's the thing. You say they could have killed 500,000, but they only killed only. That's your words. They only killed 30,000.


You believe that they deliberately target civilians. They would have killed many, many more. The fact is that they don't deliberately.


Target civilians, Professor Morris.


And you don't understand.


For a historian. I don't want to understand israeli society. You want to know the truth. I don't want to. I don't want to get inside their heads.


That's the problem 90% of historian tries to get into the heads of.


There's a limit. There's a limit. When 90% of Israelis think that Israel is using enough or too little force in Gaza. I don't want to get inside that head. 40% think that Israel is using insufficient force in Gaza. I don't want to get inside that head. I don't want to get inside the head of people who think they're using insufficient force against the population. Against the population, half of which is children. I don't want to get inside that head. But here is the point. Because your partner wants to know the point. You don't understand political constraints. One of your ministers said, let's drop an atomic bomb on you really meant that?


No. It was said in a sort of a questionable way. He didn't say they should drop an. I'm not supporting messianic idiot. He didn't say drop an apology.


None other than Israel's chief historian, the famed, justifiably famed Benny Morris thinks we should be dropping nuclear weapons on Iran.


Iran has for years, its leaders for years have said we should destroy Israel. You agree with that? They've said we should destroy Israel. Israel must be destroyed. Is that correct? This is what the iranian leaders have been saying since Khomein.


I would say iranian leaders have sent mixed.


Okay, okay. But some of them have said including.


And then when it doesn't, you decide to throw international.


Norm, stop, please. Norm, just for me, please. Just give me a second. You said that there's no genocide going on in Gaza. Let me ask that clear question, the same question I asked on Hamas attacks. Is there, from a legal, philosophical, moral perspective, is there genocide going on in Gaza today?


Is there a genocide going on in Gaza? Well, in several years, we will have a definitive response to that question. What has happened thus far is that on the 29 December, the Republic of South Africa instituted proceedings against Israel pursuant to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of genocide. South Africa basically accused Israel of perpetrating genocide in the Gaza Strip. On the 26 January, the court issued its initial ruling. The court at this stage is not making a determination on whether Israel has or has not committed genocide. So just as it has not found Israel guilty, it certainly also hasn't found Israel innocent. What the court had to do at this stage was take one of two decisions. Either South Africa's case was the equivalent of a frivolous lawsuit and dismiss it and close the proceedings, or it had to determine that South Africa presented a plausible case that Israel was violating its obligations under the genocide convention and that it would, on that basis, hold a full hearing. Now, a lot of people have looked at the court's ruling of the 26 January and focused on the fact that the court did not order a ceasefire.


I actually wasn't expecting it to order a ceasefire. And I wasn't surprised that it didn't, because in the other cases that the court has considered, most prominently Bosnia and Myanmar, it also didn't order a ceasefire. And South Africa, in requesting a ceasefire, also didn't ask the court to render an opinion on the legitimacy, or lack thereof, of Israel's military operation. From my perspective, the key issue on the 26 January was whether the court would simply dismiss the case or decide to proceed with it.


And it decided to proceed.


And I think that's enormously.


Genocide. You already said they committed genocide, but.


If I could just allow. That's correct. Now, I don't run away.


So, Norman, you did say Israel.


Can you let me finish?


Well, the end of the story is you specifically asked whether I think Israel is committing genocide. I explained formally there is no finding. And as you said, we won't know for a number of years. And I think there's legitimate questions to be raised. I mean, in the Bosnia case, which I think all four of us would agree was clearly a case of genocide, the court determined by the Serbs. Yes. In the Bosnia case, the court determined that of all the evidence placed before them, only Srebreniza qualified as genocide, and all the other atrocities committed did not qualify as genocide. International law is a developing organism. I don't know how the court is going to respond in this case, so I wouldn't take it as a foregone conclusion how the court is going to respond.


But Norman has determined already.


I have, too, because you're asking. My personal opinion is also so as a matter of law, I want to state very clearly it has not been determined and won't be determined for several years. Based on my observations and the evidence before me, I would say it's indisputable that Israel is engaged in a genocidal assault against the palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.


Yeah, with the program. The PLO is long past.


As you were saying. Genocide is not a body count. Genocide consists of two elements. The destruction of a people in whole or in part. So in other words, you can commit genocide by killing 30,000 people. It doesn't have. Well, five probably is below. There is a threshold, yes, but I think 30,000 crosses the threshold, and not reaching 500,000 is probably relevant. And the second element is there has to be an intent. In other words.


And you believe there's an intent?




I think if there is any other plausible reason for why all these people are being murdered, it's not genocide. And as far as intent is, what.


About hiding behind a human shield? You don't think that's the reason for them being killed?


Well, let's get the intent part out of the way first. South Africa's.


Forget South Africa. I'd like to finish government. That's got nothing to do with anything.


I think they're pro Satan as well. Last time. No, they're pro Hamas for some reason. You don't have a problem with people being pro israeli at the time of this. But if they support Palestinians right to life or self determination, they get demonized and delegitimized as pro supported an organization.


Which murdered 1200 people deliberately. That's my point.


But supporting a state that has murdered 30,000.


But they haven't because these are. 30,000 are basically human used by the. Hamas wanted killed. Okay. They wanted them killed.


All right.


Hamas wanted these people killed.


If I could just get you don't.


Think they wanted them killed?




Provide them with shelters. They build tunnels for their fighters, but not one shelter for their own civilians.


You asked me about intent.


Of course they want them killed.


You asked me about intent. And the reason that I bought in the south african application is because it is actually exceptionally detailed on intent by.


Quoting numerous sorts of idiotic ministers in Israel.


Well, yeah, including the prime minister.


The defense minister didn't say genocide.


No, he said, use the word. According to Asa Kasher, the philosopher of the IDF, he said that Netanyahu was vowing genocide. So he's an idiot.


He's an idiot, but he passed it.


So the reason I raised the south african application is twofold. Hamas or no Hamas, it's exceptionally detailed on the question of intent. And secondly, when the International Court of Justice issues a ruling, individual justices.




Give their own opinion. And I found the german one to be the most interesting on this specific question, because he was basically saying that he didn't think South Africa presented a persuasive case, but he said their section on intent was so overpowering that he felt he was left with no choice but to vote with the majority. So I think that answers the intent part of your question.


So, for the ICJ case that South Africa's brought, I think there's a couple things that need to be mentioned. One is, and I saw you two talk at length about this, the plausibility standard is incredibly low. The only thing we're looking for is a basic presentation of facts that make it conceivable possible that. Plausible. Plausible. Which legally, this is obviously below criminal conviction. Below.


Think of it as an indictment.


Sure. Possibly, maybe even a lower level than even an indictment. So, plausibility is an incredibly low standard, number one. Number two, if you actually go through and you read the complaint that South Africa filed, I would say that if you go through the quotes and you even follow through to the source of the quotes, the misrepresentation that South Africa does and their case about all of these horrendous quotes, in my opinion, borders on criminal.


Well, 16 ICJ judges disagree.


That's fine if 16 ICJ judges disagree, but I'm going to give incompetent. You know, they could be.


But even the american judge, she must have been awful incompetent if she was unable to see the misrepresentations that Mr. Bonell, based on his Wikipedia entry, was able to find.


So this is based on the official ICJ report that was released. I'm not sure if you read the entire. Did you go through and actually identify any of the sources for the underlying quote.


Actually brace yourself for this and Moween could confirm it. Yaniv Kogan, an israeli, and Jamie Stern Weiner, half israeli. They checked every single quote in the Hebrew original. And Yaniv Kogan loved the guy. He has terrifying powers of concentration. He checked every single quote. Is that correct? Moeen and Jamie checked every single quote in the English, in the context and where there were any contextual questions, they told us.


I think they found one.


Yeah, I think they found one. So I do not believe that those 1615 judges was 15 to 216 to two. I think they're 15 under court plus two. So it's 17. So it's 15 to two. I don't think those 15 judges were incompetent. And I certainly don't believe the president of the court, an American, would allow herself to be duped.


Okay. I didn't want to read one.


Let him read.




So this was taken from the south african complaint. There's tons of these, but. So here's one. In the complaint for the ICJ, they said that on the twelveth of October, 2023, President Isaac Herzog made clear that Israel was not distinguishing between militants and civilians in Gaza, stating in a press conference to foreign media in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, over 1 million of whom are children, quote, quote, it's an entire nation out there that is responsible. It is not true, this rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved.


I saw that.


It's absolutely not true. And we will fight until we break their backbone, end quote. If you actually go to the news article that they even state, they even link it in their complaint, the full context for the quote was, quote, it is an entire nation out there that is responsible. It's not true, this rhetoric about civilians not being aware, not involved, it's absolutely not true. They could have risen up. They could have fought against that evil regime which took over Gaza in a coup d'eta. But we are at war. We are defending our homes. We are protecting our homes. That's the truth. And when a nation protects its home, it fights. And we will fight until we break their backbone. He acknowledged that many Gazans had nothing to do with Hamas, but was adamant that others did. Quote, I agree there are many innocent Palestinians who don't agree with this. But if you have a missile in your goddamn kitchen and you want to shoot it at me, am I allowed to defend myself? We have to defend ourselves. We have the right to do so. This is not the same as saying there's no distinction between militants and civilians in Gaza.


His statement here is actually fully compliant with international law to the letter, because if you are storing military supplies in civilian areas, these things become military targets and you're allowed to do proportionality assessments afterwards. So if this is supposed to be one of many quotes that they've shown, that is supposed to demonstrate genocidal intent, but it is very easily explained by military intent or by a conflict between two parties.


I saw that press conference.


Wait, let me just say something. All of this talk is a bit irrelevant because it may sound to the listeners that the court in the Hague has ruled that Israel is committing genocide. No, I think it just is going in the next few years to look at the whole. There has been no determination at all. And as Stephen says, some of the quotes are not exactly accurate quotes or taken out.


Okay. It is correct, as Moen put it, that it'll be several years before the court makes a determination.


And my guess is that it will determine there was no genocide.




No, I'm just giving you my guess.


I can't predict. I got it all wrong. Actually, as Maureen will attest, I got it all wrong the first time. I never thought the american judge would vote again, would vote in favor of plausibility.


So you admit that you were wrong?


Yeah, of course. I think I tell Maureen twice a day, I was wrong about this and I was wrong about that. I'm not wrong about the facts. I try not to be. But my speculations, they can be wrong. Okay, leaving that aside, first of all, as Moen pointed out, there's a difference between the legal decision by the ruling and an independent judgment. Now, South Africa was not filing a frivolous case. That was 84 pages. It was single.


Even 84 pages can be frivolous.


It takes an hour and a half to read. It was not a massive case.


It was single spaced and it had literally hundreds of footnotes.


Can still be frivolous with.


It's possible. Of course it could be, yeah. I read the report. To tell you the truth, I followed very closely everything that's been happening to October 7. I was mesmerized. I couldn't believe the comprehensiveness of that particular report. Number two, there are two quite respected judges. Excuse me. There were two quite respected experts of international law sitting on the south african panel, John Dugard and Vaughan Lowe. Vaughan Lowe. As you might know, he argued the wall case in 2004 before the International Court of Justice. Now, they were alleging genocide, which in their view, means the evidence in their minds, we're not yet at the court, the evidence in their minds compels the conclusion that genocide is being committed. I am willing because I happen to know Mr. Dugard personally and have correspond with von Lowe. I've heard their claim. I've read the report. I would say they make a very strong case. But let's agree plausible. Now, here's a question. If somebody qualifies for an olympic team, let's say a regional person qualifies for olympic team, it doesn't mean they're going to be on the olympic team. It doesn't mean they're going to win a gold medal, a silver medal or a bronze medal.


But they can swim. That's what you're saying?


No, I would say that's a very high bar. You're saying they can swim to even.


Qualify, swim well enough to have a.


Realistic prospect to even make it to plausible.


That is not what plausible means. It is absolutely not.


Mr. Borelli, please don't teach me about the english language.


So the declaration of judge.




The court is not asked at this present phase of the proceedings to determine whether South Africa's allegations of genocide are well founded. They're not well founded. They're not even well founded. You said that plausible was a high standard. It is absolutely not. It is a misrepresentation of the strength of the case against Israel, just like the majority of the quotes they have in this case are. And also, you said it was an extremely well founded case. They spend like one fourth of all of the quotations, some even pulled from the Goldstone report, that actually deal with the intent part, which is, by the way, I think you guys, I don't know if you use the phrase the dolos specialis, that the intentional part of genocide.


I don't know that term.


I think it's called dolos specialis. It is the most important part of genocide, which is proving the special. It is a highly special intent to commit genocide.


It's possible that Israelium.


No. Yes, I understand the state of mind, but for genocide, there is. It's called dolos specialis. It's a highly special intent. Did you read the case?




It is a highly special intent.


I'm going to ask you again. Yes, please stop displaying your imbecility.




I'm sorry. If you think the declaration of the.


Hood on public display that you're a moron, at least have the self possession to shut up.


Did I read putting my display on camera? Putting yours in foot?


I read the case around four times. I read all of the majority opinion. The declarations. I read Aron Barack's declaration.


Then why are you lying and saying plausible is a high standard?


Because I said even reaching the benchmark of plausibility is a very high standard in the world. It's the equivalent of a regional player qualifying for an Olympics. It's still two steps removed. You may not be on the team and you may not get a medal, but to get qualified, which in this context is the equivalent of plausible, you must be doing something pretty horrible. As it happens.


That's what the court will rule. Remember what I just told you.


I don't expect to be even around when the court reaches its final decision. Why? It'll take a long, long time.


Two years?


No, I don't think it'll take two or three years.


Bosnia, which was admittedly a special type of case because they were accusing Serbia of sponsoring the bosnian Serbs, that took, I think, 17 years from 90.


I assume they'll take two or three years.


But the point you're making.


So this is a legal horrible must be happening to even achieve horrible. It's a war. They weren't rendering a ruling on a war. They were rendering a ruling on a genocide.


And I think.


That Israel is committing operation as well.


Yeah, but I think the problem with your characterization is you're saying in so many words, the South Africans basically only have to show up in court with a coherent statement.


That is correct.


In today's atmosphere, that's probably.


They needed to do a lot more.


They needed atmosphere. The american judge, judges go according to what the majority want to hear.


Yeah, but they needed president.


They needed to persuade the court that it was worth investing several years of their time in hearing this case. They're well paid whether they take this case or not. I mean, they have a full docket whether they accept or reject this case. And I don't think we should.


Remember what I just said. They won't rule there was genocide. Remember what I said.


Also, I recommend people actually read the case and follow through a lot of the quotes that they just don't show. Genocidal, the israeli minister of finance on the eigth of October 2023. This is taken from the ICJ. This is from South Africa. Submission, Bizalul Smotrik. I can't read this stated. There you go. Okay. At a meeting of the israeli cabinet, that, quote, we need to deal a blow that hasn't been seen in 50 years and take down Gaza, end quote. But again, if you click through and you read the source, their own linked source, it says, as per this own source. Quote, the powerful finance minister, settler leader Bezelal Smotrik. I can't pronounce things demanded at the cabinet meeting late Saturday that the army, quote, hit Hamas brutally and not take the matter of the captives into significant consideration, end quote.




In war, as in war, you have to be brutal. End quote. He was quoted as saying, quote, we need to deal a blow that hasn't been seen in 50 years and take down Gaza, end quote. You can't strip the quotation of Hamas, an entity that you're at war with, and then pretend that there's genocidal intent.


That's not genocide.


When the Ukrainians say we need to.


Defeat Russia, that's not genocidal. No.


When Ukraine says we need to defeat Russia, is that genocidal citizen?


Professor Morris, here's another one. When the defense. Ridiculous.


Yes, ridiculous.


The american judge, he also doesn't determine policy. The american judge. The american judge read, you are holding.


The american judge to.


Well, he was the president.


He'll appeal to authority when it agrees with him and we won't deal with the actual facts of the matter.


The american judge read several of the quotes.


Look at the American Supreme Court today. They may support.


Shows you, Professor Marv, without going too far afield, if you heard a statement by the defense minister. The defense minister said, we are going to prevent any food, water, fuel or electricity from entering God's.


Did Israel do that?


Okay. No, I'm wondering what he said. I'm asking you. Isn't israeli government. But we're talking about statements now, intent. How would you interpret that after 1200.


Of your citizens are murdered the way they were? I would expect extreme statements by lots of politicians. By lots of politicians.


But you don't accept extreme.


Wait. But you don't accept they let in water, they let in gas.


But you don't accept extreme palestinian statements after they lost their entire country, not just 1200 people.


That's a good point. No, it's a good point.


And on that.


On that moment, brief moment of agreement. Let's just take a quick pause. We need a smoke break, water break.


Bathroom break, Russia as a genocide.


What is take down Gaza?


We went to war with Iraq and we wanted to destroy Iraq. That was a genocidal statement. There's a reason why genocide is such an importantly guarded concept. And it's not to condemn every nation that goes to war. But you do know how to pronounce my name.


He made you into an italian all.


The time by your solicitude for international law.


You should try learning it sometime. It would help you sort out a lot of the civilian deaths.


Unfortunately, 15 judges disagree.


You could keep citing the judges. You should actually try reading the actual statements.


This is tiring. You've invited us to a tiring session. Yeah.


There you go.


How are you guys doing?


Okay. There are major things to discuss here, not just what some court is doing and going to judge in two years time.




Okay. So what you just said is my whole, one of the reasons why I feel so strongly about this particular conflict is because there are really important things to discuss, but they will never be discussed. We're not going to talk about about like Area A, B and C or what, a transference of territory. Instead we're going to talk about apartheid. We're not going to talk about the differences in how do you conduct war in an urban environment where people, we're just going to talk about genocide. We're not going to talk about what's a good solution for the Palestinians. We're just going to say ethnic cleansing.


Possible to be productive over the next 2 hours and talk about solutions.


About solutions. I have no idea what to say. I don't see any solutions. If you wanted a positive end to this discussion, which is what you said at the beginning, I can't contribute to that because I'm pessimistic. I don't see anywhere any way forward here.


But the solution is easy. The reason why the solution is hard is because the histories and the myths are completely, there's a different factual record.


One of the things it'd be good to talk about solutions with the future is going back in all the times it has failed.


But even at that, we're probably not going to agree. He's going to say, you could write that. I can predict the whole line. He's going to say from 93 to 99, he's going to say Israel didn't adhere to the Oslo courts ever settlement expansion continued, raids happened into the West bank, that there was never a legitimate, that Netanyahu came in and violated the Y memorandum. The transference. He's going to say all of this and he's not going to bring up anything that Palestinian said. And then for Camp David, he's going to say that Arafat was trying, that the maps and the territorial exchange wasn't good enough, that they were asking Palestinians to make all the concessions that Israel would have.


Lay it all up.


Lay it up.


You do talk quickly.


Yeah, I know.


My future book should interest you guys.


Oh, what are you working on?


No, it's not working on it's actually going to come out. It deals with israeli and arab atrocities, war crimes, I call them, in the 48 war.


Oh, really?




Yeah, just deals with that subject because I know you've also talked about the closure of the archives and stuff.


Well, it's marginal because it deals with that as well. But they have tried to seal off documents which had already used and seen. Now they don't let people see them. That's happened, but it's marginal in terms of its effect.


Were the british archives useful for you.


For this new book? Well, for this list, it's mostly israeli archives. The british and Americans and the UN did deal with these subjects, but not as well as israeli documents.


What's your casualty count for Dariyasin?


It's about 100. I think there's agreement on that by Israelis and Arabs, 105, because before they were, they used to say 245 or 254. Those were the figures the British and the Arabs and the Hagana agreed on.


At the beginning because the Red Cross, I think, was the one that first put out that number.


I don't remember. Maybe it was, what's his name, Jacques de Reynier or maybe. Yeah, maybe he came up with that number, but it was just, he didn't count. They didn't count bodies. They just threw the number out. And everybody was happy to blame the Urugun and the Lechi for killing more Arabs than actually.


Well, and they put it to good use as well.


Well, they said that it helped precipitate more evacuation.


So they were, they also used that number.


So first of all, thank you for that heated discussion about the present. I would love to go back into history in a way that informs what we can look for by way of hope for the future. So when has, in Israel and Palestine have we been closest to something like a peace settlement, to something where both sides would be happy and enable the flourishing of both peoples?


Well, from my knowledge of the 120 years or so of conflict, the closest I think the two sides have been to reaching some sort of settlement appears to have been in the year 2000, when Barak and then subsequently Clinton offered a two state settlement to PLO, Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat, and Arafat seemed to waiver. He didn't immediately reject what was being offered, but ultimately came down at the end of Camp David in July 2000. He came down against the proposals. And Clinton, who said he wouldn't blame him, later blamed Arafat for bringing down the summit and not reaching a solution there. But I think there on the table, certainly in the Clinton parameters of December 2000, which followed the proposals by Barak in July. The Palestinians were offered the best deal they're ever going to get from Israel unless Israel is destroyed, and then there'll just be a palestinian arab state. But the best deal that Israel could ever offer them, they were offered, which essentially was 95% of the West bank, east Jerusalem, half of the old city of Jerusalem, some sort of joint control of the Temple Mount and the Gaza Strip, of course, in full.


And the Palestinians said no to this deal. And nobody really knows why Arafat said no. That is, some people think he was trying to hold out for slightly better terms. But my reading is that he was constitutionally, psychologically incapable of signing off in a two state deal, meaning acceptance of the existence of a jewish state. This was really the problem of Israel.


Or of a jewish state?


Of a jewish state, the jewish state of Israel. He wasn't willing to share Palestine with the Jews and put his name to that. I think he just couldn't do it. That's my reading. But some people say it was because the terms were insufficient and he was willing, but was waiting for slightly better terms. I don't buy that. I don't think so. But other people disagree with me on this.


What do you think?


Well, just briefly, in response, Arafat formally recognized Israel in 1993. Earlier, I don't think, actually that in 2000 and 2001, a genuine resolution was on offer, because I think the maximum Israel was prepared to offer, admittedly more than it had been prepared to offer in the past, fell short of the minimum that the Palestinians consider to be a reasonable two state settlement. Bearing in mind that as of 1949, Israel controlled 78% of the british mandate of Palestine, the Palestinians were seeking a state on the remaining 22%. And this was apparently too much for Israel. My response to your question would be, wait.


They were being offered something like 22 or 21%.


They were being offered, I think, less than a withdrawal to the 1967 borders with mutual and minor and reciprocal land swaps. And the just resolution of the refugee.


Problem was one of the.


You know, I worked for a number of years with International Crisis group, and my boss at the time was Rob Malley, who was one of the american officials present at Captain be thrown out.


Of the State Department. Whatever.


The point I want to make about Rob was he wrote, I think, a very perceptive article in 2001 in the New York Review Books. I know that you and Ahud Barak have had a debate with them, but I think he gives a very compelling reason of why and how Camp David failed. But rather than going into that, you.


Wrote that together with Hussein Ara.


Hussein Ara, who was not at Camp David. Yes, but in response to your question, I think there could have been a real possibility of israeli palestinian and arab israeli peace in the mid 1970s in the wake of the 1973 October war. I'll recall that in 1971 Moshe Dayan, Israel's defense minister at the time, full of triumphalism about Israel's victory in 1967, speaking to a group of israeli military veterans, stated, if I had to choose between Sharma Sheik without peace or peace without Sharma Sheik, this is referring to the Sinai resort in Egyptian Sinai, which was then under israeli occupation. Dayan said, I will choose for Sharma Sheik without peace. Then the 1973 war came along and I think israeli calculations began to change very significantly. And I think it was in that context that had there been a joint Us soviet push for an arab israeli and israeli palestinian resolution that incorporated both an israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines and the establishment of a palestinian state in the occupied territories, I think there was a very reasonable prospect for that being achieved. It ended up being aborted, I think, for several reasons. And ultimately the egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, decided, for reasons we can discuss later, to launch a separate unilateral initiative for israeli Egyptian rather than arab israeli peace.


And I think once that set in motion, the prospects disappeared because Israel essentially saw its most powerful adversary removed from the equation and felt that this would give it a free hand in the occupied territories, also in Lebanon to get rid of the PLO. And so, and you ask when were we closest? And I can't give you an answer of when we were closest. I can only tell you when I think we could have been close. And that was a lost opportunity. If we look at the situation today, there's been a lot of discussion about a two state settlement. My own view, and I've written about this, I don't buy the arguments of the naysayers that we have passed the so called point of no return with respect to a two state settlement. Certainly if you look at the israeli position in the occupied territories, I would argue it's more tenuous than was the french position in Algeria in 1954, than was a british position in Ireland in 1916, than was an ethiopian position in Eritrea in 1990. And so as a matter of practicality.


As a matter of principle, I do.


Think the establishment of a palestinian state in the occupied territories remains realistic. I think the question that we now need to ask ourselves, it's one I'm certainly asking myself since October 7 and looking at Israel's genocidal campaign, but also looking at larger questions is it desirable? Can you have peace with what increasingly appears to be an irrational, genocidal state that seeks to confront and resolve each and every political challenge with violence and that reacts to its failure to achieve solutions to political challenges with violence by applying even more violence? That has an insatiable lust for palestinian territory, that a genocidal apartheid state that seems increasingly incapable of even conceiving of peaceful coexistence with the other people on that land. So I'm very pessimistic that a solution is possible. I grew up in western Europe in the long shadow of the Second World War. I think we can all agree that there could have been no peace in Europe had certain regimes on that continent not been removed from power. I look at Southeast Asia in the late 1970s, and I think we're all agreed that there could not have been peace in that region had the Kmer Rouge not been ousted.


I look at southern Africa during the 1990s, and I think we can all be agreed that had the white minority regimes that ruled Zimbabwe and South Africa not been dismantled, there could not have been peace in that region. And although I think it's worth having a discussion, I do think it's now a legitimate question to ask. Can there be peace without dismantling the zionist regime? And I make a very clear distinction between the israeli state and its institutions, on the one hand, and the israeli people, who I think, regardless of our discussion about the history, I think you can now talk about an israeli people and a people that have developed rights over time, and a formula for peaceful coexistence with them will need to be found, which is a separate matter from dismantling the israeli state and its institutions. And again, I haven't reached clear conclusions about this, except to say, as a practical matter, I think a two state settlement remains feasible. But I think there are very legitimate questions about its desirability and about whether peace can be achieved in the Middle east with the persistence of an irrational, genocidal apartheid regime, particularly because israeli society is beginning to develop many extremely, extremely distasteful, supremacist, dehumanizing aspects that I think also stand in the way of coexistence that are being fed by this regime.


So if you look back into history when we were closest to peace, and do you draw any hope from any of them?


I feel like in 2000, I feel like the deal that was present, at least at the end of the Taba summit, I think in terms of what Israel, I think, had the appetite to give and what the Palestinians would have gotten, would have definitely been the most agreeable between the two parties. I don't know if in 73, I'm not sure if the appetite would have ever been there for the arab states to negotiate alongside the Palestinians. I know that in Jordan, there was no love for the Palestinians after 1970, after black September. I know that Sadat had no love for the Palestinians due to their association with the Muslim Brotherhoods. Attempted assassinations in Egypt.


Sorry, which Plo and the Muslim Brotherhood.


Sadat was upset because there were attempted assassinations by people in. Oh, no, an assassination. It was a personal friend of his, Yusuf al Si Bai. I can't pronounce that he was assassinated.


By a Palestinian killed by the Abu Nidal organization. Sure.


Admittedly he says as much belongs to his owner group, not PLO directly. But I think that there was a history of the Palestinians sometimes fighting with their neighboring states that were hosting them if they weren't getting the political concessions they wanted. The assassination of the jordanian king in 51 might be another example of that. In Jordan. It feels like over a long period of time, it feels like the Palestinians have been kind of told from the neighboring arab states that if they just continue to enact violence, whether in Israel or abroad, that eventually a state will materialize. Somehow I don't think it's gotten them any closer to a state. If anything, I think it's taken them farther and farther and farther away from one. And I think as long as the hyperbolic language is continually employed internationally, the idea that Israel is committing a genocide, the idea that there is an apartheid, the idea that they live in a concentration camp, all of these words. I think further the narrative for the Palestinians that Israel is an evil state that needs to be dismantled. I mean, you said as much about the institution, at least, of the zionist government.


Israel's government is probably not going anywhere. All of the other surrounding arab states have accepted that, or at least most of them down in the Gulf, Egypt and Jordan have accepted that. The Palestinians need to accept it, too. The israeli state or the state apparatus is not going anywhere. And at some point they need to realize, like, hey, we need a leader that's going to come out and represent us, represent all of us, is willing to take political risks, is willing to negotiate some lasting peace for us. And it's not going to be the international community or some invocation of international law or some invocation of morality or justice that's going to extricate us from this conflict. It's going to take some actual difficult political maneuvering on the ground of accepting Israel of accepting Israel.


Which they formally did in 1993.


Which they formally did in 1993. Yeah, but then no lasting peace came after that in 2000.


No, because 1993 was not a peace agreement.


Sure, the Oslo Accords were an interim.


Final solution, were an interim interim agreement. And Palestinians actually began clamoring for commencing the permanent status resolutions on schedule. And the Israelis kept delaying them. In fact, they only began, I believe, in 99 under american pressure on the Israelis.


I think you're being a bit one sided. Both sides didn't fulfill the promise of Oslo and the steps needed for Oslo. There was palestinian terrorism which accompanied Israel's expansion of settlements and other things. The two things fed each other and led to what happened in 2000, which was a breakdown of the talks altogether when the Palestinians said no. But I don't agree, incidentally, with this definition of Israel or the israeli state as apartheid. It's not. There is some sort of apartheid going on in the West bank. The israeli regime itself is not an apartheid regime. This is nonsense by any definition of apartheid, which.


Well, by the formal definition, I think it qualifies.


No, it doesn't qualify. Apartheid is a race based distinction between different segments of the population. And some of them don't have any representation at all. Like the blacks in South Africa, no rights at all. In Israel itself, the minority, the Arabs do have representation, do have rights and so on. I don't think Israel is also genocidal. I don't think it's been genocidal. It wasn't so in 48, it wasn't so in 67. And it hasn't been recently, in my view. And talk about dismantling Israel and that's what you're talking about is, I think Stephen said it correctly, is counterproductive. It just pushes Israelis further away from willing to give Palestinians anything.


Please, Norm, tell me you have something optimistic to say. Optimistic to say.


Even though I agree, I've thought about it a lot and I agree with Moeen's analysis. I'm not really in the business of punditry. I rather look at the historical record where I feel more comfortable and I feel on terra firma. So I'd like to just go through that. I agree. And I disagree with Moen on the 73 issue. After the 1973 war, it was clear that Israel was surprised by what happened during the war and it took a big hit. The estimates are. I don't know what numbers you use, but I hear between two and 3000 israeli soldiers were killed during the 90 was 2500. Yeah. Okay, so I got it right. I read different numbers. It's a very large number of Israelis who were killed. There were moments at the beginning of the war where there was a fear that this might be wasn't.


Everybody forgets Israel's atomic weaponry.


I know.


So how could they have been?


Didn't Diane talk about the collapse of the third temple?


He did, but it was hysterical. I don't know Syrians or Egyptians, but.


We'Re talking about perception.


I can't tell you if he was hysterical or not.


No, he was.


But I'm just saying let's not bog down on that. The war is over and when President Carter comes into power. Carter was an extremely smart guy, Jimmy Carter, extremely smart guy, and he was very fixed on details. He was probably the most impressive of modern american presidents, in my opinion, by a wide margin. And he was determined to resolve the conflict on a big scale. On the arab israeli scale. On the palestinian issue, he wouldn't go past what he called a palestinian homeland.


He went palestinian national home.


On the palestinian national home, he wouldn't go as far as a palestinian state. I'm not going to go into the details of that. I don't think realistically, given the political balance of forces that was going to happen. But that's a separate issue. Let's get to the issue at hand, namely, what is the obstacle or what has been the obstacle since the early 1970s. Since roughly 1974, the Palestinians have accepted the two state settlement on the June 1967 border. Now, as more pressure was exerted on Israel because the Palestinians seemed reasonable, the Israelis, to quote the israeli political scientist Avner Yaniv, he since passed from the scene. He said, Yaniv, in his book, Dilemmas of Security, he said that the big Palestinian, big israeli fear was what he called the palestinian peace offensive. That was their worry, that the Palestinians were becoming too moderate. And unless you understand that, you can't understand the June 1982 Lebanon war. The purpose of the June 1982 Lebanon war was to liquidate the PLO in southern Lebanon because they were too moderate. The palestinian peace offenses. I'm going to have to fast forward. There are many events. There's the first in Tafada.


Then there's the Oslo court. And let's now go to the heart of the issue, namely the 2000 2001 negotiations. Well, the negotiations are divided into three parts. For the sake of listeners. There's Camp David in July 2000. There are the Clinton parameters in December 2000. And then there are negotiations in Taba in Egypt, Taba in Egypt in 2001. Those are the three phases. Now I have studied the record probably to the point of insanity, because there are so many details you have to master.


I'll vouch for that.


The insanity part, actually, I will vouch for it. I will personally vouch for it. There is one extensive record from that whole period, from 2000 to, you could say, 2007, and that is what came to be called the Palestine papers, which were about 15,000 pages of all the records of the negotiations. I have read through all of them, every single page. And this is what I find. If you look at Shlomo Benami's book, which I have with me prophets without honor, it's his last book. He says, going into Camp David, that means July. Going into Camp David, July 2000, he said the Israelis were willing to return about, not return, but will withdraw from 90, relinquish 92% of the West Bank.


Bename was at Camp David.


Yeah, he was at Taba. Oh, yeah. He was also at Camp David. They wanted, Israel wanted to keep all the major settlement blocks. It wanted to keep roughly 8% of the west bank. They were allowing for. You put it at 84% to 90% in your books. They put it at roughly 92%. Israel was willing to give up.


How you calculate?




What stage Camp David, because there were two weeks.


I'll get to that.


Proposals change during.


Israel wants to keep all the major settlement blocks.


Means the border area of the west.


Well, not the border. We have Ariel, we have Malay Adumim, we have, as Condoleetza Rice called Ariel. She said it was a dagger into the heart of the west bank. So they want to keep 8% of the land. They want to keep the settlement blocks. They want to keep 80% of the settlers. They will not budge an inch on the question of refugees. To quote Ahud Barak in the article he co authored with you in the New York Review of Books, we will accept, and I think the quote's accurate, no moral, legal, or historical responsibility for what happened to the refugees. So forget about even allowing refugees to return. We accept no moral, legal or historical responsibility for the refugees. And on Jerusalem, they wanted to keep large parts of Jerusalem. Now, how do we judge who is reasonable and who is not? Ben Ami says, I think the israeli offer was reasonable. That's how he sees it. But what is the standard of reasonable? My standard is, what does international law say? International law says the settlements are illegal. Israel wants to keep all the settlement blocks. 15 judges. All 15. In the war decision in 2004, in July 2004, all 15 judges, including the american judge Bergenthal, ruled the settlements are illegal under international law.


They want to keep 80% of the settlers under international law, all the settlers are illegal in the West bank. They want to keep large parts of east Jerusalem. But under international law, East Jerusalem is occupied palestinian territory. That's what the international, not palestinian. Okay?


There's never been a palestinian state. How could it be palestinian?


I listened patiently to you.




Under international law, if you read the decision, all territory, the not 2004 wall decision, all territory beyond the green Line, which includes East Jerusalem, is occupied palestinian territory. Exception to the Golan Heights, the designated unit, according to the International Court of Justice, the designated unit for palestinian self determination. And they deny any right whatsoever on the right of return. The maximum, I don't want to go into the details now. The maximum formal offer was by Ahud Omar in 2008. He offered 5000 refugees could return under what was called family reunification. 5000 in the course of five years and no recognition of any israeli responsibility. So if you use as the baseline what the UN General assembly has said and what the International Court of Justice has said, if you use that baseline, international law, by that baseline, all the concessions came from the palestinian side. Every single concession came from the palestinian side. None came from the israeli side. They may have accepted less than what they wanted, but it was still beyond what international law allocated to them. Now you say allocated to Palestinians? Yes. Thank you for the clarification. Now about Arafat. Like the musti, never liked the guy.


I think that was one of the only disagreements Moen and I had when Arafat passed. You were a little sentimental. I was not. Never liked the guy. But politics, you don't have to like the guy. There was no question, nobody argues it, that whenever the negotiations started up, the Palestinians just kept saying the same no, no.


They kept saying, no, no.


Professor Morris, with due respect, incorrect. They kept saying, international legitimacy, international law, UN resolutions. They said, we already gave you what the law required. We gave that in 1988, November 1988, and then ratified again at Oslo in 1993. And they said, now we want what was promised us under international law. And that was the one point where everybody on the other side agreed. Clinton. Don't talk to me about international law, Livney. During the Omart administration, she said, I studied international law. I don't believe in international law. Every single member on the other side, they didn't want to hear from international law. And to my thinking that that is the only reasonable baseline for trying to resolve the conflict. And Israel has, along with when has.


International law been relevant to any conflict, basically in the world over the last hundred.


That's why the Palestinians have to recognize Israel, because that's international law. That was un resolution two four two.


By international law or in accordance with international.


Professor Morris, for argument's sake, let's agree on that. Strictly for argument's sake, what's the alternative? Dennis Ross said, we're going to decide who gets what on the basis of needs. So he says Israel needs this, Israel needs that. Israel needs that. Dennis Ross decides to be the philosopher king. He's going to decide on the basis of needs. Well, if you asked me, since Gaza is one of the densest places on earth, it needs.


Part of Sinai. It needs a nice big chunk of Sinai. That's what it actually needs.


Okay, I don't even want to go there. It needs a nice big chunk, but I have to accept. International law says no, okay, international law is irrelevant. Now. Vietnam says, I think the israeli offer was reasonable, okay? And he's a reasonable guy, even though, okay, I don't want to go there. I've debated him and partly agreed with you, but who decides what's reasonable? I think the international community in its political incarnation, the General assembly, the Security Council, all those UN Security Council resolutions saying the settlements are illegal, annexation of east Jerusalem is null and void, and the international court of justice, that to me is a reasonable standard. And by that standard, the Palestinians were asked to make concessions, which I consider unreasonable or the international community considers unreasonable.


I think that the issue is when you apply international law or international standards, I wouldn't say what Benny Moore says, that they're irrelevant, but I think that these have to be seen as informing the conversation. I don't think these are the final shape of the conversation. I don't think historically Israel has ever negotiated within the strict bounds of whether we're talking resolution two four two, whether we're talking about any general assembly resolutions. That's just not how these negotiations tend to go. You might consider international opinion on things, but at the end of the day, it's the bilateral negotiations, oftentimes historically started in secret, independent of the international community, that end up shaping what the final agreements look like. I think the issue with this broad appeal to international law is, again, going back to my earlier point about all of the euphemistic words. All it simply does is drive palestinian expectations up to a level that is never going to be satisfied. For instance, you can throw that ICJ opinion all you want. It was an advisory opinion that came in 2004. Have Palestinians gained more or less land since that 2004 advisory opinion was issued?


How would your standard be then?


Both sides have to have a delegation that confronts each other and they assess the realistic conditions on the ground. And they try to figure out, within the confines of international law, within what both sides are reasonable for. But like, for instance, this statement of, like, full retreat from the West bank, what is it, 400,000 settlers. How many settlers live in the West bank now?


Probably half a million. Yeah.


You're going to.


Depends if you include the Jerusalem suburbs.


Four or 500,000 people are never with the Jerusalem suburbs. Perhaps half a million people.


Jerusalem, not settlements.


I know that, but that's not what the law, the law calls it null and void.


We can say whatever we want until we're blue in the face, but there's half a million israeli people are not being expelled from my response.


You're basically saying, if I understand correctly, there's only one way to resolve this and that is through direct bilateral negotiations.


Probably, yeah.


Okay. Or ideally, but I've taken over your house. Okay. You're not going to go to the police because the laws of only. Of limited value. So you come over and sit in what is now my living room. That used to be your living room, and we negotiate. The problem there is that you're not going to get anything unless I agree to it and standards and norms and law and all the rest of it be damned. So you need to take into account that when you're advocating bilateral negotiations that effectively, that gives each of the parties veto power. And in the current circumstances, Palestinians have already recognized Israel.


You keep bringing that up like it's a significant confession.


It's not even true.


But it doesn't. The recognition from Palestine isn't doing anything for Hamas.


Totally reject. I'm not talking about Hamas is the majority among the palestinian people. They won the elections in 2006.


They won a majority of the seat.


Yes, exactly. Every opinion poll today says the majority of Palestinians.


That sounds.


Support the Hamas. That sounds. Hamas absolutely rejects Israel. If Arafat 1993 or whatever, issued a sort of recognition.


It wasn't a sort of recognition.


Recognition of Israel. It's meaningless. It's meaningless. It's meaningless. I don't believe that Arafat was sincere about it.


Does it matter what you or I think?


Well, most Israelis do, and that does matter.




That does matter. But Hamas says no and Hamas is the majority.


So for years, the israeli and us demand was that the Palestinians recognize two, four two. And they did. But you're saying, okay, we demanded that they do this, but it was meaningless when they did it. Then the demand was that tactical thing.




Then the demand was that the PLO recognize Israel tactical. Okay. We demanded that they did this. And they did it, but it's meaningless.


And they never changed their charter, the PLO, you may remember that. In fact, they supposedly abrogated the old charter but never came up with a new one.


No, there's no new charter in 1996.


And Farukadumi said, of course the old charter is still in force.


Yes, but the point is, the Palestinians demands are constantly made of them. And when they accede to those demands, they're then told, actually, what you did is meaningless. So here's a new set of demands. I mean, it's like a hamster.


Let me tell you what.


If you run fast enough, you'll get out of the.


No, no. The bottom line is that Israel would like a palestinian, sadat. It wants the Palestinians. Listen, Israelis want the Palestinians to actually accept the legitimacy of the state of Israel and the zionist project and then live side by side with them in two states. That's what the position is true today.


And what is the formal position of this government?


No, no. I'm saying I don't know if it exists.


Okay, it's predecessor.


And its predecessor. And its predecessor. Come on.


That's what Israelis want. They want change of psyche among the Palestinians. If that doesn't happen, there won't be a Palestinian.


Moen has an interesting point. So here's the problem. And it's exactly the problem that Moen just brought up. Now, I read carefully your book, one state, two states. With all due respect, absolutely a disgrace coming from you. Coming from you, most reviewers didn't agree with you. Yeah. Coming from you was like you wrote it in your sleep. It's nothing compared to what you wrote before. I don't know why you did it. In my opinion, you ruined your reputation. Not totally, but you undermined it with that book. But let's get to the issue that Moen wrote. Here's what you said. You said formally, you said, yes, it's true, the Palestinians recognize Israel. But then you said viscerally, in their hearts, they don't. They didn't really recognize Israel. So I thought to myself, how does Professor Morrison know what's in the hearts of Palestinians? I don't explained. I was surprised. As a historian, you would be talking about what's lurking in the hearts of Palestinians. But then you said something which was really interesting. You said, even if in their hearts they accepted Israel, you said, quote rationally, they could never accept Israel because they got nothing.


They had this beautiful Palestine, and now they're reduced to just a few pieces, a few parcels of land, so they will never accept said there's no way they can accept.


No, I would say that as well.




The two states doesn't make any sense.


Exactly. As Maleen said. You keep moving the goalpost until we reach the point where we realize, according to Benny Morris, there can't be a solution.


So why don't you just say that outright?


Why don't you say it outright that according to you, the Palestinians can never be reasonable because according to you, they.


Want all of Palestine.


According to you, they couldn't possibly agree to a two state summon because it's such a lousy settlement.


Because that won't palestine.


But you said rationally they couldn't accept it. Not their feelings.


It's both.


You said rational. You went from formally, viscerally, rationally. So now we're reaching the point where according to Benny Morris, the Palestinians can't be reasonable because reasonably, they have to reject two states. They want all of absolutely correct. There's no way to resolve the problem.


According to your majesty, he said that himself. He said they should dismantle Israel.


That's what he's saying.


What I said, I'm glad you didn't deny it. I've written extensively on this issue on why a two state settlement is still feasible, and I came out in support of that proposition. Perhaps in my heart you can see that I was just bullshitting. But that's what I actually wrote. That was a number of years ago. And just as a matter of historical record, beginning in the early 1970s, there was fierce debate within the palestinian national movement about whether to accept or reject. And there were three schools of thought. There was one that would accept nothing less than the total liberation of Palestine. There was a second that accepted what was called the establishment of a fighting national Authority on palestinian soil, which they saw as a springboard for the total liberation of Palestine. And there was a third school that believed that under current dynamics and so on, that they should go for a two state settlement. And our friend and correspondent Kauter Lowerse has written a very perceptive article on when the PLO, ready in 1976, came out in open support of a two state resolution at the Security Council, PLO accepted it. Israel, of course, rejected it, but the resolution didn't pass because the US and the UK vetoed it.


It was both of them.


I think it was nine to five.


Okay. Yeah, but fact of the matter is that the PLO came to accept a two state settlement. Why they did it, I think, is irrelevant. And subsequently the PLO acted on the basis of seeking to achieve a two state settlement. The reason? I think, and I think, Norm, you've written about this, the reason that Arafat was so insistent on getting minimally acceptable terms for a two state settlement at Camp David and afterwards was precisely because he knew that once he signed, that was all the Palestinians were going to get. If his intention had know, I'm not accepting Israel. I simply want to springboard, he would have accepted a palestinian state in Jericho.


But he didn't, he insists I've ever understood. He should have logically accepted the springboard and then from there launched his next stage. He should have done that.