Friday, April 16, 2010

Does Benny Morris really believe Iran calls for murder

Israel really is in a dispute with Iran. Iran really believes there should not be a Jewish majority state in Palestine. Because of that, people who disagree with Iran, especially people who disagree vehemently, and who intensely identify with Israel have a strong incentive to present Iran in as demonic a light as possible.

When Benny Morris claims Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls for murder, he is lying, he is making a statement that is a falsehood.
I take it personally: Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wants to murder me, my family and my people. Day in, day out, he announces the imminent demise of the "Zionist regime," by which he means Israel. And day in, day out, his scientists and technicians are advancing toward the atomic weaponry that will enable him to bring this about.
But there is a question of whether he has deluded himself or if he is cynically attempting to mislead or take advantage of the lack of familiarity of his audience. That raises a further question. If a person is driven by some form of intense emotional drive to delude himself, is that more noble than to be aware that one's statements are false and to make them in that knowledge?

Morris absolutely has enough access to information to have accurate reports of Ahmadinejad's statements, and as a researcher can be expected to have the intellectual curiosity to care. It is safe to say that Morris is aware that he is unable to produce an example of Ahmadinejad expressing any desire to murder him, his family or his people.

Does it matter? Not too much. Morris' statement hurts his case more than it helps. Just something to note.


lidia said...

Benny Morris is especially gross because he KNOWS (he helped to prove it) that Zionism is a criminal colonial regime. Still, he endorses it and urges for the finishing of ethnic cleansing in Palestina (in a suitable time, preferably during a nuclear war against Iran). He is a good example how colonialsit racism turns people clinicaly insane. Of course, he knows perfectly well what Ahmadinejad said and what he had not, but Morris could not let facts stop him.

Eamon said...


I agree that Ahmadinejad has not publicly advocated murdering Israelis. However, he does call for the abolition of the majority Jewish state. Can you explain why antagonizing Israel is so important for Iran that it is willing to spend billions of dollars and endure sanctions, covert paramilitary attacks, and possible military attacks for it?

Arnold Evans said...

First, Eamon, I'd like to note that you have not publicly advocated killing puppies and force-feeding their blood to babies. I admit that you have not publicly said you do that every day.

Of course I'm just making a point about your agreement with reservations that Ahmadinejad does not advocate murdering Israelis. Hopefully the tone is not harsh, but there is a reservation in the word "publicly" that is not warranted. You're asserting but not asserting that Ahmadinejad non-publicly does advocate murdering Israelis. By the terms of common decency and fairness, if you have no evidence of that, you don't get to reserve it.

But to your question: Ahmadinejad seems to you to be "antagonizing Israel" he seems to himself, most of his people and most people in his region to be "supporting Palestinians". A difference in perspective.

Nelson Mandela did not go to jail to "antagonize White South Africans".

In truth, the United States does not spend billions of dollars per year, sacrifice the lives of thousands of its soldiers, impose increasingly onerous security restrictions on its own travelers and restrict the constitutional and civil protections afforded its citizens to "antagonize Palestinians"

From an Iranian perspective, supporting Palestine is the right thing to do. If Egypt, Jordan or Saudi Arabia had leaderships that were not accountable to the US more than to their own people, they would also do the right thing.

Eamon said...

Thanks for the answer, Arnold, but I think your reaction to my use of the word "publicly" is petty. I never said that Ahmadinejad privately advocates murdering Israelis. However, if I removed the word publicly from the sentence, then I would be making an unproven assumption.

Secondly, for Iran, antagonizing Israel is linked to "supporting Palestinians". Your Mandela analogy doesn't fit, because Mandela didn't antagonize all white South Africans. He antagonized the apartheid regime in order to support those who were being oppressed by it, and the US is in fact antagonizing Palestinians by supporting Israel.

Arnold Evans said...

I meant not to have a hostile tone, but people deserve a presumption that they do not advocate murder. Except when I'm making that specific point, I'm perfectly willing to make the "unproven assumption" that you don't privately advocate killing puppies and force feeding their blood to babies.

That was my answer though. Ahmadinejad is not going out of his way to antagonize Israel any more than Obama is going out of his way to antagonize Palestinians.

Thank you for reading and contributing. Please continue.

Arnold Evans said...


Morris' behavior poses a question of what is the best way to respond. A flat out lie that a person pretends to believe and pretends to have an intense emotional connection to represents a gamble Morris is taking that because of the emotional intensity, people who are not fooled will be more gentle than they otherwise would in refuting the lie.

It really is a despicable thing. But on the other hand, is he really fooling anyone who is even a little bit informed by now? If someone tries to do something despicable and fails, how angry can anyone else get?

These are the questions Morris' gambit raises for me.

What do you think is the best response to Morris, if he deserves a response at all?

lidia said...

Arnold, I am flattered that you ask my opinion here :)

best response to Morris, I suppose, is to ask him, why HE wants (and PUBLICLY says it) to murder Palestinians and Iranians and others. Of course, not to get his answer, because it is known, but to let him expose himself and Zionism as a whole even more.

lidia said...

"Mandela didn't antagonize all white South Africans"

No, only 99% of them, just like Jews in Israel are NOT all are for ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, only 99% of them.

Arnold Evans said...

Lidia, that's an excellent point. I'm tempted to edit this post to include it because it deals with Morris' gall to attempt to actually stake moral high ground and it also adds another dimension, that Morris is projecting his own demonstrated propensity to advocate murder through military attacks on Iran onto the innocent Ahmadinejad.


lidia said...

Arnold, you are wellcome.