Benny Morris: Protestors oppose speech by Israeli historian, author

Historians in the News

A peaceful protest preceded a speech by a controversial author and professor at Wesleyan University Monday.

Benny Morris, writer of “1948: A History of the First Arab Israeli War,” spoke to a room full of students and teachers from the university, but his speech did not entail the concepts that most vexed protestors outside the Usdan Center.

The group opposed to Morris’ speech — the Middle East Crisis Committee — accuses him of favoring ethnic cleansing.

“Why are you going in?” committee chairman Stanley Heller asked as a couple climbed the stairs to enter the building. “The guy is a total racist and warmonger.”

According to Heller, Morris came out in favor of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 2000 and even said efforts to such avail did not go far enough.

Heller referred to an interview Morris gave in 2004, in which the protestor claims Morris justified ethnic cleansing.

“Sometimes horrible things have to be done,” Heller alleges Morris said. “Like the annihilation of the American Indian was a good thing basically because it opened up the country to the American democracy.”

Heller and other protestors also said they disagreed with Morris’ view favoring war against Iran.

“Now he has become hysterical,” Heller said. “Says Iran is going to perform a second Holocaust on Israel. … I mean, it’s all bogus.”...

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