Blood and Sand

Very few writers can avoid being "one sided". In the more than a century old Israeli Palestinian "blood and sand" saga, this is true more so. Benny Morris is a world wide respectable writer whose scholarly and impartial work portrayed the grim reality of Israel and Palestinian conflict, even giving equal weights to two "righteous victims", rightfully rejecting virulent anti-semitic fervors in despotic Arab leadership and manipulated populace, but also highlighting the suppressed historical facts of forceful exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland, massacres and rapes committed by zealot Israelis.

In The New Yorker, the writer David Remnick chronicled a writer's slow progression from preserving journalistic neutrality to being trapped in the middle of prejudicial notions of contemporary "us and them" mentality. The same Benny Morris who was so remarkable in depicting the plight of both Israeli and Palestinian complex reality, faltered from his earlier integrity as a writer, and commented the regrettable remarks like "his call to build “something like a cage” for the Palestinians: “I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no other choice. There is a wild animal that has to be locked up in one way or another.”

David Remnick observes the striking non-resemblance between Benny Morris' most recent "one sided" public pronouncements and his scholarly books that are completely opposite to each other. Why would a writer write books that are so blatantly different from their public stance? Here is David Remnick's observation: "What is so striking about Morris’s work as a historian is that it does not flatter anyone’s prejudices, least of all his own. The stridency and darkness of some of his public pronouncements is not a feature of “Righteous Victims,” which is the most useful survey of the conflict, or of “1948,” which is the best history of the first Arab-Israeli wars. In “1948,” the assembled compendium of aspiration, folly, aggression, hypocrisy, deception, bigotry, violence, suffering, and achievement is so comprehensive and multilayered that no reader can emerge without a feeling of unease—which is to say, a sense of the moral and historical intricacy of the conflict."

David Remnick's The New Yorker article is engrossing and balanced. Here is the link:
Blood and Sand
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