The History and Ethics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict with Dr. Benny Morris
The topic of today’s episode is the Israel-Palestine conflict. I’ve avoided discussing Israel on this podcast for two reasons. First, because I didn’t know enough to feel qualified to weigh in on it. Second, because it may literally be the most radioactive topic on planet Earth. A tiny mistake or misplace word can cause a level of backlash that I just don’t want to deal with. However, two things have changed over the past few months. I discuss these two factors in detail in the first few minutes of the episode. I want the first half of this podcast to serve as an introduction to basic historical facts behind the conflict. If you’re well versed on this topic, then you may want to skip the beginning. However, on the other hand, there is still quite a bit of interesting material there.
The rest of this podcast is about the ethics and the current politics of the conflict. Who is in the right, and who is in the wrong? Is Israel an apartheid state that’s oppressing a minority out of pure bigotry? Is it a colonialist, expansionist state motivated by religious belief? Or is it an embattled and legitimate nation-state surrounded by enemies that want only to survive? These are the questions that people struggle with and I brought in Dr. Benny Morris to help me answer them. Dr.Benny Morris has a unique vantage point on this issue. On the one hand, he is an Israeli Jew, and in recent years, he has become a major defender of Israel against global condemnation. On the other hand, he’s probably done more than almost anyone you could name, to discover and publicize Israel’s historical war crimes. He refused to serve in the Occupy West Bank Operation and was arrested as a result. His academic work on Israel is cited favorably by people like Noam Chomsky, who is all the way on the other side of the issue. Dr. Benny was at one point shunned by the Israeli academic community for being in essence “a traitor” to his people. He’s one of the few people who can really claim to have battle scars from both sides of this debate. Therefore, I thought he’d be a good person to help me weave through the complexities of the topic. I have a lot of admiration for Benny Morris, and I hope you find him as illuminating as I did.
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