Letter: Morris should not be welcome here

That a venerable academic institution such as Yale, which two generations of my family have attended, would invite Israeli historian Benny Morris to speak has dismayed me to the point that I will not allow my grandson to apply next year.

Morris is an apologist for Israeli crimes against humanity. In a 2004 interview in Ha’aretz, he approved the “necessity” of ethnic cleansing in 1948 of over 700,000 Palestinians and faulted Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion for failing to expel all Arab Israelis; he intimated that it may be necessary to finish the job in the future. He has spoken of the murders, massacres and the “transfer” of the Palestinian population to other Arab nations as a necessary aspect of the survival of the State of Israel.

“Removal” or “transfer” of a people is a word redolent of the Nazi era, for it is what the Nazis did to the Jews of Europe. The principle has now become enshrined in Likud Party policy, with Morris’ blessing. It is a violation of international law, as is the indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations that occurred in the recent Israeli invasion of Gaza. Far from promoting any peaceful solution to the conflict in Israel and Palestine, Morris’ ideology can only be classified as an effective recruiting tool for terrorists.

Yale should be ashamed at its invitation to an advocate of crimes against humanity.

The Rev. Christine Geer

Feb. 3

Stonington, Conn.


  • Pierson '90

    "I will not allow my grandson to apply next year."

    This lady Rev. sounds like some kind of control freak.

  • Free Speech

    Yale's strength is that they would let Hitler speak at Woolsey Hall. The writer's granchild will be much happier at a state institution ruled by the mores of the booboisie (as Mencken dubbed our middle class).

  • 08

    An invitation to speak at Yale is not an endorsement, but rather a recognition of significance. If Mr. Morris's views represent ideas "enshrined in Likud Party policy," then that sounds significant enough to warrant an invitation.

    Yale is a place that is only enhanced by the presentation of different ideas, since one of the main goals of students there is to learn more about thinking for themselves. Whether you agree or disagree with the positions of guest speakers, you can use new ideas to influence, inform, or reinforce your own beliefs - without grandparents stepping in to cut you off from exposure to people they think you should disagree with!

  • Genocide Witness

    Benny Morris has also exposed the rape of Palestinian girls by Zionist soldiers in 1948. Below is a quote from his January 16, 2004 interview with Avi Shavit in Haaretz. As readers who have been trained to think of Zionist violence as being in self-defense, please ask yourself as you read this is what sense rape can be self-defense. And if you just say "oh war is war, terrible things happen in war etc. etc. …", you are rationalizing rape. Also, as Benny Morris says at the end of the quote, the particular instances he found are not just rare instances:

    According to your new findings, how many cases of Israeli rape were there in 1948?

    "About a dozen. In Acre four soldiers raped a girl and murdered her and her father. In Jaffa, soldiers of the Kiryati Brigade raped one girl and tried to rape several more. At Hunin, which is in the Galilee, two girls were raped and then murdered. There were one or two cases of rape at Tantura, south of Haifa. There was one case of rape at Qula, in the center of the country. At the village of Abu Shusha, near Kibbutz Gezer [in the Ramle area] there were four female prisoners, one of whom was raped a number of times. And there were other cases. Usually more than one soldier was involved. Usually there were one or two Palestinian girls. In a large proportion of the cases the event ended with murder. Because neither the victims nor the rapists liked to report these events, we have to assume that the dozen cases of rape that were reported, which I found, are not the whole story. They are just the tip of the iceberg."

    For people who are interested in learning how Benny Morris, a historian who has exposed the massacres and rape of Palestinians, justifies and rationalizes their elimination, take a look at Joel Beinin's excellent article:


  • Not a Zionist

    More thinly veiled anti-semitism: a one-sided (and ONLY one-sided) view of the situation.

  • First Amendment Fan

    With all due respect, ma'am, even if what you say is fully accurate - words like "crimes against humanity," "ethnic cleansing," and 'terrorist' are thrown around so often in the Israel-Palestine debate that they almost lose meaning (not to mention your comparison of the Israelis to Nazi Germany, which prejudices me against your credibility) - you are not protesting against the invitation of an actual war criminal, but merely an advocate for views you find distasteful.

    What would it say about the university and our values of free speech and inquiry if Yale were to deny a podium to any group whose views were considered offensive by some constituency or other? If there were no speeches allowed by proponents of the death penalty, or of access to abortion? Whose orthodoxy should Yale promote, if Yale is to deny access to certain points of view?

    And what message do you send to your grandson, if indeed you have the actual power to control where he applies to college? That only those whose views he agrees with are to be tolerated?

  • Darn Tootin'

    "There is a deep problem in Islam. It's a world whose values are different. A world in which human life doesn't have the same value as it does in the West, in which freedom, democracy, openness and creativity are alien. Therefore, the people we are fighting have no moral inhibitions."

    That about sums. it. up.

  • A Gazan

    I find it quite amusing that when Ahmedinejad visited Columbia, people protested and the president treated him with so much disdain. however, when Morris comes, he is revered.

    Yale is a pro-Zionist university. You can't argue against that

  • Recent Alum

    What is funny is that Benny Morris is politically liberal and a moderate on the Israel-Palestine issue. I wonder how Geer would have reacted if Yale had brought in a conservative pro-Israel speaker like Bill Kristol?

  • Anonymous

    Another indication of the decline of the American Protestant clergy.

  • Ya AllAH

    To #8

    You are speaking of the same university that will house former Afghan rebels?

    That showers support on the "can't we all just get along" wing of Gaza apologists?

    PRO Zionist? Other than its admissions office, Yale is treading awfully close to anti-semitism, if you ask me…

  • RJN

    Should not the grandson, or anyone else, for that matter, make his or her own determination……..???

  • Real veritas

    Can you guys focus on the real issue here instead of her decision to allow her grandchild to apply to Yale?

    To support #8A very huge percentage of Yale students are Jewish. Almost everyone who has a leading position in the administration is Jewish. In 2002, many universities signed a petition to divest from israel and Levin obviously did not sign it. Last year there was a petition to boycott Israeli universities, and again Yale rejected to join in. Whether or not you believe these petitions have a purpose or not, the mere fact that they are not even "considered" says something about the university.

    And #7: if that's what you believe, I'm really ashamed you attend Yale.

  • To #13

    *I* am ashamed that you cannot see the gun-barrel (or bomb-vest) of Truth staring you in the face…

  • Rev. Christine Geer

    In response to those who say all points of view should be heard, the following news item comes under the heading, then, of "What's good for the goose should be good for the gander." -
    Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Denied Entry to Gaza: The Right Rev'd Suheil S. Dawani, the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem and Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem that includes Gaza, after two hours of waiting was denied entry into the Gaza Strip at the Israeli EREZ security Crossing Point this morning along with Lutheran Bishop Mounib Younan.

    Both Bishops were on a Pastoral Visit to include the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza, an institution of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and to members of their communities as part of a five member delegation of the Jerusalem Heads of Church.

    At least the Bishops were on a humanitarian mission, which is more than I can say for Mr. Morris.I do sense that Yale would not have invited Hitler to speak in 1940 or thereafter.

    One small point: I am an Episcopal priest, and thus not a member of the "American Protestant clergy", which s/he sees as in decline. I wouldn't know. However, I suspect that this is another aspect of prejudice.

    On another point made by some correspondents, re/ my assertion that I would not "allow" my grandson to attend Yale, they are correct in pointing out that he, as well as my granddaughters, should go to the college of their choice. However, as the person who pays the former's tuition, I do have room for some persuasive input. Most likely He would choose another, less anti-Semitic/Palestinian institution (Palestinians being a Semitic people!). Incidentally, my granddaughters, whom I love dearly , are one-quarter Jewish, and we are all proud of their heritage.

    The Jewish community around the world is beginning to understand that whatever one labels actions taken against Palestinians for the past 60 years, those actions are by objective standards and international law unjust, counter to the admonitions in Judaism to "love justice", etc. and counter-productive to Israeli security.

    Let us all hope that peace with justice for all can soon be achieved in the land many call holy.
    Christine Geer

  • Oi Veh

    Dear Ms. Greer,

    I wonder if you will whistle the same tune when your granddaughters are subject to Shariah…

    Let us even entertain your likely disbelief regarding the coming Muslim era and ask the question more generally:

    How would you feel if your granddaughters were subject to Shariah?

    Islam, the religion of "peace and justice, held at temporary bay in "the land that many call holy" (may I assume from your careful wording that you are not among the "many"?) does not look kindly on granddaughters, nor Episcopalians (if you know what I mean).

  • to #16

    You have just insulted over 1 billion muslim people. You are very ignorant. I wonder why its fine to be islamophobic but not anti-Jewish.

  • TO # 17

    Insult them? I bite my thumb at them!

    Allah? He drives a black car.
    Allah? in the snack bar.

    Just because 1+ billion ppl are WRONG doesn't mean they merit sympathy…

    BTW: if Ms. Greer is a Christian priest, doesn't that imply that she thinks HER way is….um…BETTER?

    Heck: 100+MM Conservatives are insulted by the recent presidential election; you don't see us whining about it, do you?

  • to #17

    Regardless of What rev Greer thinks, I am sure she is tolerant towards other religions. You, on the other hand, are simply a bigot.

  • Bigot?

    So? Is there some reason that one should be other than chauvinistic with regard to Western Civilization?

    Is imposition of sharia--much to the detriment of gays and women--something to be lauded, applauded, anticipated, and welcomed?

    If not, why not, given that anything other than your vaunted "tolerance" is equal to submission (ironically, a rough translation of Islam itself).

    You think that Islam is here to co-exist with YOU? When Islam can "tolerate" coexistence of dar al-harb and dar al-Islam, perhaps then I will be tolerant of Islam.

  • Bigot?

    One more point: my supposed "bigotry" does not preclude Islam from seeking world domination.

    "Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that they are NOT out to get you…"

    Viva la France!

  • Name Calling

    For the guy yelling "bigot!":

    Is Islam not bigoted? Sure, sharia is egalitarian, at least for Muslim men… Non-Muslims (and Muslim women) are, of course, treated as inferiors at law.

    But, of course, pointing that out is…bigoted; right?

  • Religion of Peace

    Worst Fires in Australia's History

    AUSTRALIA has been singled out as a target for "forest jihad" by a group of Islamic extremists urging Muslims to deliberately light bushfires as a weapon of terror.

  • '04

    #18"Heck: 100+MM Conservatives are insulted by the recent presidential election; you don't see us whining about it, do you?"

    I certainly do. More or less constantly.

  • Yes, a bigot

    Have you even bothered learning about Islam, besides the couple arabic words that you've probably learnt off some random site? Islam means submission to God, and no one else. I find it very amusing how many Yalies get all their informtaion off of fox news. Besides Saudi, give me one Muslim country that subjucates women? Women are not inferior to men in Islam and are equal in rights and duties.

    I think you should look at your "western" society and see how equality doesn't really exist. It's just a facade.

  • Genocide Witness

    To the Islamophobes: In the crusades, Western princes were setting Jewish people on fire alive. It was Muslims who protected the Jewish people. In the inquisition and during many pogroms in Europe in the last two centuries, Jewish people escaped to Muslim countries to be protected. Of course ugly inhuman anti-semistism existed in Muslim countries existed and still does exist, but it is nothing like the genocidal barbaric acts that the freedom-loving west has inflicted upon Jewish people.

    If you actually read a bit of history, rather than watch Rush Limbaugh all day, you may learn something about reality and history.

  • Yep

    To #25: Where to start… Indonesia. Iran. (I would add France, but you wouldn't get the reference). Also, African countries that practice FGM happen to be: A) Christian B) Buddhist C) Islamic

    I assure you, my "credentials" far out weigh yours in the area of Islamic studies, ya akhi.

    to #26: thanks for the old news. You cite the crusades when stonings occur in Muslim countries on a daily basis--and supported by the government (can you say: Iran?).

    As for reading history, I have not only read it, I have lived it. You?

    Rush Limbaugh does not fit into my schedule but, given your apparent intimate knowledge, he seems to fit into yours. Thanks for the tip; I'll find the time to check him out.

    You two should really get out more. I recommend Denmark (and not for the marijuana). Or even Ontario. Or, heck, Britain these days…

  • Yep

    And how about a group near and dear to Yale?

    Punishments for homosexuality in Islamic countries:

    Afghanistan: death
    Mauritania: death
    Somalia: death
    Yemen: death
    Iran: death

    Ah, the religion of peace!

    Punishment for adultery? Death by stoning.

    Where? Saudi, UAE, Albania, the Sudan…

    And how does al-Quran instruct as as to the stones?

    "the stones…should not be so large that the offender dies after a few strikes, nor so small as to fail to cause serious injury."

    By the way, there IS mercy: if you can dig yourself out of the hole in which you are placed before the stones kill you, you are freed! Of course, men are buried to their waists; women, to their bosoms.

    Not many women escape.

    (BTW: there is a vid of an escape on youtube; the woman, alas, didn't make it).

    Ah, peace be upon you, my brother!

  • Y99

    "Besides Saudi, give me one Muslim country that subjucates [sic] women?"

    What?! Surely you jest! All kidding aside: what Muslim country does NOT subjugate women, pray tell?

    Absurd. Seriously absurd.

  • Yep

    Brave enough to admit my mistakes:

    I was wrong: it is the *Hadith* that prescribes stoning for adultery:

    Muslim 680 The Prophet said: "When an unmarried couple fornicate they should receive one hundred lashes and banishment for one year. In the cases of a married male committing adultery with a married female, they shall receive one hundred lashes and be stoned to death. If one of the pair is unmarried, one hundred lashes and exile for a year.

    And it is the *Hadoud* (Islamic Penal Code, Articles 102 & 104) that specifies the stones:

    Article 102 states that men shall be buried up to their waists and women up to their breasts for the execution.

    Article 104 states, referring to the penalty for adultery, that the stones used should "not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes; nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones (pebbles.)"

    Salaam aleikum, ya akhouni

    One more note: I was thinking about Ms. Greer. If she *really* cared, should would be fighting for women's rights in Middle Eastern countries instead of spending her ease in the safety of Connecticut. But, of course, the US (unlike some) is a free country…

  • To the islamophobes

    I'd first like to tell you that your Arabic sucks, quite a lot actually.

    Second, do you know all the conditions that end up two people being stoned? It's almost impossible to find four witnesses who saw the penetration. In addition, the rulers of such called Islamic States are abusing the power given to them by the name of Islam (read: Iran) and are killing people as they wish.

    Excuse me, but as genocide witness mentioned, the Christians have done far worse things than the current rulers of some Muslim countries.

    To #99, look at Jordan, Iraq (Yes, during Saddam's rule), Lebanon, Tunisia…etc.

    PS. FGM is a cultural thing and has nothing to do with Islam. it's practiced all over Africa and is denounced by Islam and Islamic scholars. You seriously should read more

  • Yep

    "All the conditions…" and yet, Islamic governments STILL manage to find folks to stone! If Youtube can manage to score a few vids of stonings, then imagine how many ACTUALLY take place!

    As for the horrors of Christians--please show me A) a Christian nation and B) the horrors it currently inflicts… And even in the historical context you are forced to cite, Christianity has done more good in the world than all that came before it; indeed, it is arguably the source of all that is good (which you, and other self-loathers, will of course deny, but Western Civ is what it is).

    As for FGM: please do not jump on the "cultural" canard: the VEIL is not in the Quran, and yet it is demanded. If it has nothing to do with Islam, why is FGM practiced by Muslims and not Christians? Why was there legislation--in the UNITED STATES, no less--to outlaw it? I do not think it was because the UCC was practicing FGM.

    Now, why not show me YOUR scholarship and list for me the GOOD that Islam has brought forth in, say, the last 100 years…

  • Alan Stein

    I submitted the following as a letter to the Yale Daily News, which refused to publish with the excuse: "Sorry we did not publish your letter. We are bound by practical concerns, most notably that of space, enough so that we cannot publish every piece we'd like to." It's interesting that they found plenty of space to publish a letter with misrepresentations, double standards and defamation.

    With her letter of February 4, "Morris should not be welcome here," Christine Geer has inadvertently performed a valuable service. She has demonstrated the unfortunate need for programs like YIISA, the Yale Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism.

    Omitting crucial context, Geer misrepresented the opinions of Morris about events that occurred the year he was born and about hypothetical situations that might occur in the future if Israel's enemies continue their jihad against the Jewish state.

    Ironically, Benny Morris has shown great sympathy for the mostly self-inflicted plight of the Palestinian Arabs, even going to jail after refusing to report for reserve duty in 1988 during the first Arab intifada. He is a dove, but enough of a realist to recognize "when the choice is between destroying or being destroyed, it's better to destroy."

    Geer also employs a double standard by not criticizing those calling for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the disputed territories. Neither the fact that these demands are often couched in euphemistic terminology, such as "removal of Israeli settlements," nor the fact that they are often made by well-known figures such as the so-called moderate chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and former president Jimmy Carter changes their essential nature.

    Completing a triad of offenses, Geer also defames the state of the Jewish people by falsely associating it with Nazism.

    Misrepresentations. Double standards. Defamation.

    Thank you, Yale, for providing a home for the Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism. It's sorely needed.

  • Alan Stein

    Re #15: Anti-semitism refers to hatred hatred of Jews, not hatred of Semites in general. Thus, being anti-Palestinian Arab, while despicable, does not constitute anti-Semitism.

    It's interesting that the debate is generally between people who support Israel and hate Israel; it is not between those who are pro-Israel and those who are pro-Palestinian Arab. Indeed, there is no conflict between being pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian Arab and it has generally been people who claim to support the Palestinian Arabs who have done them the most harm because their hatred of Israel transcends their interest in the welfare of the Palestinian Arabs.

    Alan Stein

  • Wondering…

    So he can't apply to Yale or Bard, according to another letter you sent to Bard (google search). Does he not have a mind of his own?