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Emet m'Tsiyon

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Should We View Rashid al-Khalidi, Walid al-Khalidi, and Edward Sa`id as Colonialists --or Imperialists?

Yaacov Lazowick reports the following claim by Prof Juan Cole who would disqualify children from certain activities on account of the deeds of their fathers:
About a year ago Juan Cole made an unfair statement about Tzipi Livni, whereby since her father had been a terrorist in the Irgun, she had no moral standing to be requiring a cessation of Arab terror; since she's Israel's Foreign Minister, he effectively was rejecting her right to negotiate. Her father's identity was more important than her own actions, you see. At the time I responded, and he responded to me, and you can see my summary of the exchange here.
Actually, we could take the principle that Cole enunciated and go farther with it. Rashid al-Khalidi is Obama's friend and has a well-paying post at Columbia U. The Khalidi family long were part of the Arab-Muslim upper crust in Jerusalem and indeed belonged to the governing class of the Ottoman Empire. Consider Yusuf Diya al-Khalidi.

Now, my query to Juan Cole: Should Rashid be considered an imperialist because his family were favored by the Ottoman Empire with high, prestigious positions?? Moreover, Walid Khalidi worked with prestigious American and British institutions, such as American U of Beirut, Harvard, etc. If AUB is an imperialist or colonialist institution, as a strict theorist of neo-colonialism should agree, then should Walid [and Rashid too who also held a post at AUB] be considered imperialists or colonialists?

Edward Said's father was an American citizen who fought in WW One for the USA. After WW One, he "settled" in Egypt and became prosperous. He was not a native Egyptian nor was his family ancestry Egyptian. He was a citizen of a Western state, an imperialist state by Lenin's definition. So William Said [Edward's father] was a settler in Egypt while the country was under British hegemony. That is he was a colonist, or maybe even a colonialist. Can anything that Said be taken as genuine, by Edward Said's own standards, since his father was a colonialist and he himself was raised in upper-middle class prosperity in a country where the overwhelming majority of people were very poor??

[based on a comment to Yaakov Lazowick’s blog of 11-5-08]
For more data on the family background of Rashid and Walid Khalidi, see:

Yaacov Shimoni, Political Dictionary of the Arab World [in Hebrew only: יעקוב שמעוני, לקסיקון פוליטי של העולם הערבי (ירושלים , כתר 1988 ) ע'113

Yaacov Shimoni and Evyatar Levine, eds., Political Dictionary of the Middle East in the 20th Century (New York: Quadrangle 1974), p 222

On Edward Said's father, see:
Justus Reid Weiner, "My Beautiful Old House," Commentary September 1999. Also see the footnotes to this article which were once available on line, and the letters in response to Weiner's article which were published in Commentary in January 2000. In particular, see the letters of Jerold Auerbach and Marlin Moshe Levin, as well as the rejoinder to the letters by Justus Weiner himself.

One more point in response to Juan Cole. Arab terrorism throughout the decades since 1920 has been aimed at murdering as many Jewish civilians as possible. Perhaps piece-meal genocide would be a better term for what is usually called Arab or "palestinian" terrorism. On the other hand, the terrorism of the Irgun [ אצ''ל ] and other Jewish armed groups was mainly aimed at the British, although there were occasional acts of retaliation for Arab genocidal actions. Looming above all other Arab acts was the Arab collaboration in the Holocaust, particularly in the person of Haj Amin el-Husseini [Husayni], the British-appointed mufti of Jerusalem.
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Coming: More on Zbig Brzezinski as Obama's Evil Genius, more on Jews in Jerusalem, Hebron, the Land of Israel, propaganda analysis, etc.

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