Benny Morris in London: “a mob of Moslem hooligans”

Last month, Benny Morris gave a lecture in London courtesy of the LSE’s Middle East Centre. Many were unhappy at Morris being afforded such a platform, given his views on Muslims and Arabs, e.g.:

The phenomenon of the mass Muslim penetration into the West and their settlement there is creating a dangerous internal threat.

The Muslims are busy killing people, and killing people for reasons that in the West are regarded as idiotic. There is a problem here with Islam.

[T]he notion of sharing power or being a minority in a non-Muslim Arab polity is alien to the Muslim Arab mentality.

After the event, an article by Morris was published online by The National Interest, in which he relayed the hostile reception he experienced in typical fashion:

As I walked down Kingsway, a major London thoroughfare, a small mob—I don’t think any other word is appropriate—of some dozen Muslims, Arabs and their supporters, both men and women, surrounded me and, walking alongside me for several hundred yards…Several spoke in broken, obviously newly acquired, English. Violence was thick in the air though none was actually used. Passersby looked on in astonishment, and perhaps shame, but it seemed the sight of angry bearded, caftaned Muslims was sufficient to deter any intervention. To me, it felt like Brownshirts in a street scene in 1920s Berlin—though on Kingsway no one, to the best of my recall, screamed the word “Jew.”

Morris continued to talk about the questions he received from “Muslim participants” including “girls with scarves”, before concluding that “Muslim intimidation” is “cowing” the “British Christian majority” into “silence”.

But that (ahem) subtle messaging proved too much of a strain for Morris, and it now appears that he spoke in rather blunter terms to Makor Rishon, an Israeli newspaper:

As soon as they saw me I was surrounded by a mob of Moslem hooligans, screaming and cursing at me as I advanced toward the building…I had the feeling that I was surrounded by Nazis, except that instead of black shirts these were wearing Arab scarves on their heads.  They were unambiguously Islamofascists.  Some of them screamed in their broken foreign English that the UK should never have allowed me into the country.

This is the kind of person the Israel lobby will promote – and reminds me what a relief it was that Morris did not have the opportunity to spread his hate in Cambridge last year.

Norman Finkelstein v. Benny Morris

To readers I would highly recommend Norman Finkelstein’s new book, ‘This time we went too far’. It is the most systematic and thorough dismantling of the hasbara edifice erected by Israel and its apologists (including Morris). On paper, Morris is a fine historian, but in his media appearances he always dons the hat of the propagandist. In this debate from Russia Today’s CrossTalk, Benny Morris comes across as defensive and boorish. He uses the familar tools of the propagandist, derision and ridicule, to evade serious questions. Every one of his claims about Gaza — that Hamas used human shields, and that its leadership took sanctuary in basements of hospitals — is rebutted by extensive research carried out by the Goldstone Commission, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. (via MondoWeiss)

On this edition of Peter Lavelle’s CrossTalk, he asks his guests whether the current “indirect talks” between the Israelis and Palestinians are a waste of time.