Hi! I’m Jeremy R. Hammond, author of Benny Morris’s Untenable Denial of the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
I’d like to tell you the story of why I wrote the essay contained in this short book.
When it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict, the main question we should be focusing on is: How it be resolved and a just peace realized?
To be able to answer that question, we need to understand the conflict’s origins and the reasons it persists today.
The problem is that most of what people think they know about the conflict simply isn’t true.
The propaganda narrative that the general public is inundated with is that Israel was established through a legitimate UN political process resulting in the fair partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. But the Arabs rejected Jewish self-determination, and when the Jews declared independence on May 14, 1948, the Arab states launched a war of aggression to wipe the nascent state off the map.
The truth is that the UN “partition plan” resolution, General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, neither partitioned Palestine nor conferred any legal authority for the Zionists’ unilateral declaration of the existence of Israel on May 14, 1948.
Furthermore, by that time, 300,000 Arabs had already fled from or been expelled from their homes by the Zionist forces.
By the end of the war, more than 700,000 Arabs had become refugees. This is the origin of the Palestinian refugee problem that exists today.
This is not controversial. And yet, there remains debate about whether what happened amounted to the crime of ethnic cleansing.
To understand the conflict’s origins, it is critical that we be able to determine an unequivocal answer to the question of whether the “Jewish State” of Israel was established through ethnic cleansing.
A unique opportunity to do just that presented itself in the fall of 2016. In the pages of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, a debate raged between Israeli historian Benny Morris and a number of his critics.
While his critics argued that ethnic cleansing did occur, Morris maintained that it did not, arguing that, while hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled or were expelled, this was not undertaken as a deliberate matter of policy.
Morris’s view accords with the US mainstream media’s narrative that the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem was simply the tragic consequence of a war started by the Arabs.
But how well does that narrative stand up to scrutiny? What does the documentary record actually tell us?
In the US, the media do not even touch the question of ethnic cleansing. It is as though there was not even a debate about it.
In Israel, however, it’s another story.
The series of back-and-forth articles in Haaretz presented an opportunity to examine the primary arguments used by those who deny that ethnic cleansing occurred, which are summarized by Morris in his contributions to the debate.
And what we can learn by examining Benny Morris’s denial is that it is irreconcilably contradicted by his own research!
By simply comparing the arguments made by Benny Morris to deny ethnic cleansing with his own research into the documentary record, we can see that his denials cannot withstand scrutiny.
So I wrote Benny Morris’s Untenable Denial of the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, which you can read free online at Foreign Policy Journal. (However, I do encourage you to own a copy in the booklet form so you’ll have it on your computer or Kindle whenever you need to review or refer to it!)
For one, this book is important because many — if not most — Americans are not even aware of the idea that Israel’s creation involved ethnically cleansing Arabs from their homes. It’s not that they don’t believe it happened, but that they have never even heard it suggested before that Israel’s creation involved anything other than a legitimate political process followed by a war started by the Arabs!
That is unacceptable. The mainstream media has utterly failed to properly inform the public about this issue. My book helps remedy that.
Furthermore, my book answers the question once and for all, by closely examining the arguments of a prominent denier, of whether Palestine was ethnically cleansed in 1948.
The answer (as indicated by the title!) is: Yes, it was ethnic cleansing.
No matter what your level of knowledge about this issue, here is how you can benefit from reading it:
- If you’ve only just been introduced to the suggestion that Palestine was ethnically cleansed of Arabs (i.e., if you only ever get your info from the US mainstream media), this short book will serve as a great introduction for you as to what the controversy is all about and what the documentary record shows.
- If you’re well aware of the debate, but are not convinced that what happened amounted to the crime of ethnic cleansing, this book will show you why there is absolutely no question about it: ethnic cleansing occurred.
- If you’re well-read on the conflict and know all about how Palestine was ethnically cleansed, this book will help you in your efforts to educate others by giving you the appropriate responses to the doubts and denials you no doubt routinely encounter as an advocate for a just peace, which must include respecting the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.
Benny Morris’s Untenable Denial of the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine is also a great companion to my other books on the subject!
Empower yourself with the knowledge to become an effective voice for peace. Read this book and learn the arguments to help put to rest this artificial “debate” about whether ethnic cleansing occurred.
It is a documented historical fact — untenable denials notwithstanding!