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YU News

Studying Zionist Political Thought with Prof. Benny Morris

On March 23rd, 2023, the Straus Center-sponsored Zionist Political Thought seminar hosted the distinguished Israeli historian Benny Morris for a spirited and provocative virtual conversation about the history and historiography of Israel’s War of Independence. Morris explained how the opening of Israeli archives in the 1980s allowed him and other researchers to provide a more nuanced account of the War of Independence than had previously been presented to the public eye. And he shared his perspective on how views of the War of Independence have changed in different sectors of Israeli society since the work of the so-called New Historians began appearing in the 1980s.

Having studied Benny Morris’ seminal book 1948: The First Arab-Israeli War, students in the seminar asked many probing questions related to Morris’ scholarship, including David Ben-Gurion’s statesmanship, the military strategy and tactics of the Yishuv and the nascent state of Israel in 1948, and about the nuts and bolts of working with archives in Israel.

Offered in the Spring of 2023, Zionist Political Thought is a seminar co-taught by Meir Soloveichik, Liel Liebovitz, and Neil Rogachevsky. The course examines fundamental questions and debates in Zionist political thought from the founding of modern Zionism in the nineteenth century until the present day.