Israel historian Benny Morris responds to critics left and right

JERUSALEM — Historian Benny Morris has a knack for enraging Israelis of every political stripe.

Morris' research on the 1948 war for independence challenged long-standing Zionist narratives that said Israel was not responsible for the creation of 750,000 Palestinian refugees. He infuriated right-wing Israelis by documenting secret plans to expel Arabs and accounts of massacres and rapes by Jewish forces....

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Morris, 63, insists he has no regrets.

You've scoffed at the fuss made about your supposed "right-wing conversion," but haven't you changed your views?

My historical views haven't changed at all, and my historical writing remains the same, for good or ill. In fact, my second book on the Palestinian refugee problem, which came out in 2004, has got material that is unpleasant for Israelis to read. But my political views have changed. In the 1990s I was cautiously optimistic that the Palestinians were changing their tune and becoming agreeable to a two-state solution. [The late Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat seemed to signal this with the Oslo process. Before the 1980s, they just talked about destroying Israel....

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