Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question

Edward W. Said, Other Verso $34.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-86091-175-3
The aim of these exhaustive, detailed essays and book reviews is to highlight what Said, a professor at Columbia, calls in his introduction the ""grotesque, almost parodistic garishness'' of pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian scholarship in the West, particularly in the U.S., where, he says, ``it is as if even the narrative of Palestinian history is not tolerable.'' In one piece, Said examines the reception of Joan Peters's book, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine, which argues that most of the Arabs in Palestine in 1948 were recent arrivals from other parts of the Arab world: despite widespread enthusiasm in the U.S., the book was greeted with embarrassed disavowal in Israel and a critical thrashing for shoddy methodology in Britain. Hitchens, a columnist for the Nation, attempts to debunk the longstanding Israeli argument that Palestinians left their homes in 1948 because Arab governments made broadcasts urging them to do so, not because Israelis forced them out. Noam Chomsky maintains that in the 1980s, in the U.S., terrorism as applied to the Middle East ``refers to terrorist acts by Arabs, but not by Jews, just as `peace' means a settlement that honors the right of national self-determination of Jews, but not of Palestinians.'' Other contributors argue that there was an Israeli policy in 1948 of expulsion of Arab civilians, discuss the characteristics of Palestinian population over the centuries, and so on. This is a challenging book. (January)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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