Thursday, October 30, 2008

Look Who Came to Dinner!!!!!!

From left to right, Michelle Obama, then Illinois state senator Barack Obama, Columbia University Professor Edward Said and Mariam Said at a May 1998 Arab community event in Chicago at which Edward Said gave the keynote speech. (Image from archives of Ali Abunimah)

Edward Watie Said hated Jews so much he once stood on top of a hotel in Palestine and threw rocks at Israli soldiers below. A dangerous radical and personal friend of Barack Obama.

Michelle Obama and Barack Obama listen to Professor Edward Said give the keynote address at an Arab community event in Chicago, May 1998. (Photo: Ali Abunimah)

David Fromm

If the United States was caught unawares on 9/11, Edward Said's name belongs high on the list of those responsible.

Said based both his academic work and his political advocacy upon his identity as a Palestinian refugee. He often told the story of his birth in Jerusalem and his family's loss of its house in that city during the war that began (as Said seldom mentioned) when six Arab armies attacked Israel after it declared its independence in 1948.

Said's claims turn out to be less than fully true, as Justus Weiner demonstrated in a lengthy article in the September 1999 issue of Commentary. Said's family's principal residence was Cairo, and it was in that city that Said was born and raised. Said's wealthy father, an American citizen, sometimes sent the young Said to Jerusalem to visit relatives, and Said may even have attended school there for a time, but the image Said created for himself as (in Weiner's phrase) the "avatar of Palestinian suffering" was almost purely bogus.

One last thought. Said served for many years on the Palestinian National Council – the theoretical government of the Palestinian national movement. As such, he was at least formally implicated in Yasser Arafat's three-decade-long terrorist crime spree. Nor did Said flinch from his responsibility: He may not have liked Arafat much as a man or leader, but he excused and condoned Arafat's atrocities. Yet ironically, the same Islamic intolerance that has unsuccessfully sought since 1948 to drive the Jews out of Israel lay at the foundation of the larger campaign to drive Christians like the Said family out of the whole Middle East. The thugs and murderers to whom this embittered exile lent his strength were the same thugs and murderers who had exiled him in the first place. And the only people in the region who championed the humane, liberal, and democratic values that Said praised but did not practice were the very Israelis to whose extermination he sacrificed both his vocation and his integrity.

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