An Israeli historian who was mobbed by pro-Palestine activists at an LSE Middle East lecture was targeted by a leaflet campaign in the days prior to the event.

Benny Morris, 75, was heckled by students at the London School of Economics (LSE) just 15 minutes into his lecture about the Israeli-Palestinian crisis on Monday.

The appearance of the radical Israeli historian, who was once jailed for refusing to do military service in the West Bank, sparked fury from students due to remarks he has made in the past, including referring to Palestinians as ‘wild animals’.

MailOnline can reveal he was targeted by a leaflet campaign in the days leading up to the lecture, with students calling for the event to be cancelled.

Posters were put up online and around the university buildings with photos of the historian and controversial quotes from his books and interviews.

One of the quotes featured in the posters is taken from a 2004 interview where he says ‘there are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing’.

An Israeli historian who was mobbed by pro-Palestine activists at an LSE Middle East lecture was targeted by a leaflet campaign in the days prior to the lecture

An Israeli historian who was mobbed by pro-Palestine activists at an LSE Middle East lecture was targeted by a leaflet campaign in the days prior to the lecture

An Israeli historian who was mobbed by pro-Palestine activists at an LSE Middle East lecture was targeted by a leaflet campaign in the days prior to the lecture

Posters were put up online and around the university buildings with photos of the historian and controversial quotes from his books and interviews

Posters were put up online and around the university buildings with photos of the historian and controversial quotes from his books and interviews

Posters were put up online and around the university buildings with photos of the historian and controversial quotes from his books and interviews

A 2004 interview taken from Haaretz magazine was also quoted in the posters at LSE

A 2004 interview taken from Haaretz magazine was also quoted in the posters at LSE

A 2004 interview taken from Haaretz magazine was also quoted in the posters at LSE

MailOnline can reveal he was targeted by a leaflet campaign in the days leading up to the lecture, with students calling for the event to be cancelled

MailOnline can reveal he was targeted by a leaflet campaign in the days leading up to the lecture, with students calling for the event to be cancelled

MailOnline can reveal he was targeted by a leaflet campaign in the days leading up to the lecture, with students calling for the event to be cancelled

One leaflet included a quote from his 2009 book One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict, which reads: ‘Arabs, to put it simply, proportionately commit far more crimes, and commit far more lethal traffic violations than do Jews.’

The full passage in the book reads: ‘The value placed on human life and the rule of secular law is completely different, as exhibited in Israel itself in the vast hiatus between Jewish and Arab perpetration of crimes and lethal road traffic violations. 

‘Arabs, to put it simply, proportionately commit far more crimes, and commit far more lethal traffic violations than do Jews In large measure, this is a function of different human value systems, such as the respect accorded to human life and the rule of law.’

Another leaflet shows the quote: ‘The phenomenon of the mass Muslim penetration into the West and their settlement there is creating a dangerous internal threat,’ taken from an interview in 2004.

A 2004 interview taken from Haaretz magazine was also quoted.

It reads: ‘[T]here are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing. I know that this term is completely negative in the discourse of the 21st century, but when the choice is between ethnic cleansing and the annihilation of your people, I prefer ethnic cleansing.’

It continues: ‘If [David Ben-Gurion] was already engaged in expulsion, maybe he should have done a complete job. If Ben-Gurion ha carried out a large expulsion and cleansed the whole country…he would have stabilised the State of Israel for generations. The Israeli Arabs are a time bomb. 

‘Their slide into complete Palestinization has made them an emissary of the enemy hat is among us. They are a potential fifth column. In both demographic and security terms they are liable to undermine the state.’

The Pro-Palestine activists staged multiple protests and boycotts since Israel launched its military offensive in Gaza in response to Hamas‘ October 7 attack. 

In a heated exchange, footage shows students standing and shouting angrily in the lecture theatre at Mr Morris saying ‘we do not want you here’ and ‘racism off our campus’.

One female student quotes comments made by Mr Morris in the 2004 interview in which he called Palestine the ‘fifth column’ and Israeli-Arabs ‘a time bomb’. 

Pro-Palestinian students called for eminent Israeli historian Benny Morris to be kicked off of The London School of Economics' after he was accused of being a racist

Pro-Palestinian students called for eminent Israeli historian Benny Morris to be kicked off of The London School of Economics' after he was accused of being a racist

Pro-Palestinian students called for eminent Israeli historian Benny Morris to be kicked off of The London School of Economics’ after he was accused of being a racist

Mr Morris was heckled by students as he gave a lecture about the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, but he hit back and said 'he'd rather be a racist than a bore'

Mr Morris was heckled by students as he gave a lecture about the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, but he hit back and said 'he'd rather be a racist than a bore'

Mr Morris was heckled by students as he gave a lecture about the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, but he hit back and said ‘he’d rather be a racist than a bore’

The lecture erupted into chaos when the students turned on the historian after he labels the student ‘quite boring’.

A male voice from the crowd is heard accusing him of being ‘racist’ to which he responds: ‘I’d rather be a racist than a bore.’ 

Jeering can be heard as people cry out ‘shame’ and start chanting ‘he’d rather be a racist than a bore’. 

Other students were ejected from the lecture by the university’s Dean Professor David Kershaw.

An irate student who was asked to leave is recorded in one clip saying: ‘You are violating the discrimination, harassment and bullying policy of this school. You are in violation. You are endangering your Palestinian students. 

‘By legitimising this and normalising it. This is not right. Apartheid off our campus.’ 

Mr Morris continued with his lecture, which overran its scheduled finish time of 8pm by 15 minutes.  

Chants of ‘free, free Palestine’ can be heard during the lecture, while outside a crowd of pro-Palestine students staged a protest as Mr Morris’s talk is ongoing inside the building. 

Drums are banged and a person leading the chant on a megaphone says: ‘Apartheid off campus. Benny Morris off campus.’ 

The lecture on ‘Rethinking 1949 and the Israeli Palestinian conflict’ took place on Monday evening and was advertised on the LSE’s website. 

The university’s students’ union newspaper, The Beaver, reported Prof Kershaw had responded to criticism about the event in an email sent to students in February.

In it, it is claimed he spoke of having a ‘balanced discussion on the current political conflict’ and detailed a discussion he had with the Prime Minister of Jordan who encouraged him to ‘create a space for everyone from all sides to speak’. 

Mr Morris’s previous guest attendance at LSE in 2011 was also met with protests on the streets of London by human rights activists. 

A statement by Sarah Onifade, the Welfare and Liberation Sabbatical Officer at LSE, said: ‘I want to express my strong disappointment about the upcoming event with Benny Morris by the LSE Law Department. Benny Morris has a history of making comments such as “There are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing…” and “Something like a cage has to be built for them. I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no choice…”

‘I believe comments like this have no place in our academic institution, or in any inclusive society. I firmly believe that his presence on campus will negatively impact all students and create a hostile environment that undermines our principles of diversity, equality, and mutual respect. Such inflammatory rhetoric not only goes against our values of inclusivity and tolerance, but it also undermines our efforts to foster a safe and supportive campus environment for all.

‘While I respect and understand the desire for academic freedom, I feel that the event with Benny Morris is a greater threat to the wellbeing, and sense of belonging, for many students at LSE, and I believe all students should feel respected and valued within our community – no one should have to bear the burden of fear and hostility in their academic environment.

‘I stand in solidarity with the students who are distressed at this event, and echo concerns of safety and wellbeing for all students on campus. Like many others, I want to categorically state that I do not endorse the presence of Benny Morris on campus. This being said, I do urge our community to be respectful and be mindful of students and staff who do wish to attend the event – their wellbeing and safety fundamentally need to be regarded.’

MailOnline has contacted LSE for comment.

Mr Morris's lecture on 'Rethinking 1949 and the Israeli Palestinian conflict' was advertised on the LSE's website

Mr Morris's lecture on 'Rethinking 1949 and the Israeli Palestinian conflict' was advertised on the LSE's website

Mr Morris’s lecture on ‘Rethinking 1949 and the Israeli Palestinian conflict’ was advertised on the LSE’s website

Pro-Palestine protesters gathered outside of the building as Mr Morris spoke inside the building and chanted for him to get kicked off of campus

Pro-Palestine protesters gathered outside of the building as Mr Morris spoke inside the building and chanted for him to get kicked off of campus

Pro-Palestine protesters gathered outside of the building as Mr Morris spoke inside the building and chanted for him to get kicked off of campus

Mr Morris was jailed in the 1980s after refusing to serve in Israel's reserves against the first intifada as he disagreed with the country's policies (Pictured in 2008)

Mr Morris was jailed in the 1980s after refusing to serve in Israel's reserves against the first intifada as he disagreed with the country's policies (Pictured in 2008)

Mr Morris was jailed in the 1980s after refusing to serve in Israel’s reserves against the first intifada as he disagreed with the country’s policies (Pictured in 2008)

Thousands of people again marched in London yesterday to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza in a demonstration

Thousands of people again marched in London yesterday to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza in a demonstration

Thousands of people again marched in London yesterday to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza in a demonstration

Welsh singer-songwriter Charlotte Church (centre) joined the demonstrations in the capital on Saturday

Welsh singer-songwriter Charlotte Church (centre) joined the demonstrations in the capital on Saturday

Welsh singer-songwriter Charlotte Church (centre) joined the demonstrations in the capital on Saturday

Activists staged a mass-sit down protest at London Liverpool Street station last October

Activists staged a mass-sit down protest at London Liverpool Street station last October

Activists staged a mass-sit down protest at London Liverpool Street station last October

Pro-Palestine protests have cost the Met Police £32.2 million so far as thousands more marchers are set to take to London streets this weekend. Pictured: Police officers during a Pro-Palestinian demonstration on January 6, 2024

Pro-Palestine protests have cost the Met Police £32.2 million so far as thousands more marchers are set to take to London streets this weekend. Pictured: Police officers during a Pro-Palestinian demonstration on January 6, 2024

Pro-Palestine protests have cost the Met Police £32.2 million so far as thousands more marchers are set to take to London streets this weekend. Pictured: Police officers during a Pro-Palestinian demonstration on January 6, 2024

As well as this hefty price tag, the force has announced that they have required 35,464 officer shifts, and more than 5,200 officer rest days to be cancelled in order to manage the disruptions. Pictured: A pro-Palestine march on October 28, 2023

As well as this hefty price tag, the force has announced that they have required 35,464 officer shifts, and more than 5,200 officer rest days to be cancelled in order to manage the disruptions. Pictured: A pro-Palestine march on October 28, 2023

As well as this hefty price tag, the force has announced that they have required 35,464 officer shifts, and more than 5,200 officer rest days to be cancelled in order to manage the disruptions. Pictured: A pro-Palestine march on October 28, 2023

In an interview with Fathom in 2015, Mr Morris somewhat backtracked on his comments he made more than a decade earlier to Israeli news site Haaretz in which he tried to justify ethnic cleansing of Palestine and called Israeli Arabs a ‘time bomb’.

Asked about his controversial work and if he would do anything differently, Mr Morris told Israel online journal Fathom he could have said things in ‘a more temperate way’ when he spoke with Haaretz in 2004.    

‘Not that I have a problem with what I said, but there were one or two phrases which provided ammunition to hostile critics,’ he said. 

‘But I don’t think I have changed anything I have ever written. I would take nothing back regarding my views about 1948 or the conflict, because what I wrote originally and what I continue to write is always based on persuasive evidence.’

Mr Morris was jailed in the 1980s after refusing to serve in Israel’s reserves against the first intifada as he disagreed with the country’s policies. 

He had fought in the 1967 Six-Day War and was later wounded near the Suez Canal. 

Mr Morris called current Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a ‘hateful, corrupt leader in an interview with the Los Angeles Times last year in which he spoke about the October 7 slaughtering of Jews by Hamas. 

‘When you have women raped and civilians taken hostage, it hardens Israeli hearts towards Palestinians,’ he said. 

‘But it might also reopen the whole Palestinian question. For decades Israel basically said, “We can live with this small amount of terrorism and occasional shooting matches,” but now the Palestinian problem is back on the international agenda and that’s certainly a result of this attack by Hamas.’

He said he favoured a two-state solution but ‘my fear is that Palestinians still don’t want a two-state solution and believe Palestine is theirs and that the Jews came here illegally’.

Today senior Tories expressed fresh fears that central London has become a ‘no-go area’ for Jewish people during pro-Palestinian protests in the capital.

Michael Gove, the Levelling Up, Communities and Housing Secretary, is expected to produce a new official definition of 'extremism' within days

Michael Gove, the Levelling Up, Communities and Housing Secretary, is expected to produce a new official definition of 'extremism' within days

Michael Gove, the Levelling Up, Communities and Housing Secretary, is expected to produce a new official definition of ‘extremism’ within days

Lord Howard, the former Tory leader and ex-home secretary, warned it was 'unacceptable' that some Britons believe there are 'no-go areas' for them

Lord Howard, the former Tory leader and ex-home secretary, warned it was 'unacceptable' that some Britons believe there are 'no-go areas' for them

Lord Howard, the former Tory leader and ex-home secretary, warned it was ‘unacceptable’ that some Britons believe there are ‘no-go areas’ for them

It came as thousands of people again marched in London yesterday to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza in a demonstration organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Such demonstrations have become a regular occurrence in the wake of the Hamas terror attacks on 7 October and Israel’s bloody assault on Gaza in response.

But there have been repeated claims of anti-Semitic abuse during the marches, with the Prime Minister having recently warned of an explosion of ‘extremist disruption’.

Rishi Sunak used a speech in Downing Street last week to pledge a new crackdown on a ‘poison’ being spread by Islamist and far-right groups.

Michael Gove, the Levelling Up, Communities and Housing Secretary, is expected to produce a new official definition of ‘extremism’ within days.

He claimed this would help ‘good-hearted people’ decide whether they should join marches, some of which he said had been ‘organised by extremist organisations’.

Lord Howard, the former Tory leader and ex-home secretary, today warned it was ‘unacceptable’ that some Britons believe there are ‘no-go areas’ for them.

The Conservative peer, whose father was a Jewish Romanian immigrant who came to Britain in the 1930s, spoke on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg show.

Asked if he agreed that London was now sometimes a ‘no-go area’ for Jews, he replied: ‘Yes, unfortunately that is true. This is an area where it’s very difficult to get the balance right.

‘The right to protest is undoubtedly a fundamental part of a free society and we must maintain the right to protest. But it’s also unacceptable that sections of our community think our streets are no-go areas for them.

‘So how you strike that balance, how you try and reconcile those two sometimes conflicting rights is a really, really difficult challenge. And I don’t think we’ve quite got it right at the moment.’