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January 15, 2004

Survival of the fittest

Daniel Radosh

"There are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing..." Israeli historian Benny Morris gives a terrifying interview in which he lays out the crimes committed against Palestinians from 1948 to today, and then argues that every one of them was justified (OK, he draws the line at rape).

In Jabotinsky's day, being honest about what was "required" in dealing with the Arabs was far more common than it has since become, so it's fairly shocking to hear the arguments that actually dictate Israeli policy spoken out loud. That makes this interview a must-read for anyone hoping to understand the current situation there. Needless to say, I disagree with Morris' essential proposition: that revisionist (neo-revisionist?) Zionism is the only kind that will work. Indeed, I think Israel's problems stem from the fact that it was founded largely on Revisionism. Morris's argument that only more of the same can solve the problems that philosophy has already created is absurd on its face.

"If anyone objects that this point of view is immoral, I answer: It is not true; either Zionism is moral and just or it is immoral and unjust. We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality." -- Zev Jabotinsky

"You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." -- Benny Morris

Update: Haaretz readers respond.

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