Saturday, June 28, 2003

Nor is this the only way in which Mr. Said's account of an upbringing in "his" beautiful old house has proved baseless. He has spoken with characteristic vehemence about a famous later tenant. Pressing his role as victim, he has stated: "The house from which my family departed in 1948--was displaced--was also the house in which the great Jewish philosopher Martin Buber lived for a while, and Buber of course was a great apostle of coexistence between Arabs and Jews, but he didn't mind living in an Arab house whose inhabitants had been displaced."

The truth is the other way around. It was Mr. Said's aunt who evicted Buber, and not in 1948 but in 1942--the very period when the young Edward Said was supposedly residing in the house. That brings us to another element in Mr. Said's reconstruction of his Jerusalem childhood: his schooling. According to his standard version, he attended St. George's Anglican preparatory school in eastern Jerusalem. In a recent BBC documentary, Mr. Said is seen touring this school and turning the pages of an old, leather-bound student registry from his youth, where he points to the entry for one of his Jewish "friends."

Interestingly, we are not shown or told about any listing for Mr. Said himself in the St. George's student registry. And for good reason: Neither in the particular registry shown on camera nor in the school's other two registry books is there any record of his having attended this institution as he has claimed (although he might have been a temporary student on one or more of his brief visits with his Jerusalem cousins). Nor does the Jewish student he claims to recall remember Mr. Said. What about the family's departure as "refugees" from Jerusalem to Cairo? Mr. Said has repeatedly placed this event in mid-December 1947, citing the "panic" caused in Talbieh by the threat of Jewish forces. Yet, in the 51/2-month period leading up to the establishment of the state of Israel in May 1948, voluminous documents record only two incidents of intercommunal violence marring Talbieh's calm, and neither of these resulted in the permanent departure of local Arabs. The inevitable conclusion is that just as Edward Said and his immediate family were not long-term or permanent residents in Talbieh in the 1930s and '40s, so they were not resident there during the final months of the British Mandate. They cannot be considered "refugees" or "exiles" from Palestine in any meaningful sense of those two very weighty and politically charged terms.

Nor, of course, did they arrive in Cairo for the first time in late 1947. As scores of public records attest, Cairo is where the young Mr. Said grew up. There he resided with his family in luxurious apartments, attended private English schools, and played tennis at the exclusive Gezira Sporting Club as the son of one of its few Arab members until he was sent in 1951 to complete his schooling in America.

This isn't a new story, but it demands revisiting on a regular basis. Said, with the possible exception of Noam Chomsky, is the country's foremost academic charlatan and Arab supremacist. He is also, as this article proves, a supremely brazen and inept liar. I would note that Said, in response to this article, failed to refute a single one of its facts. He simply called its author a racist. This should come as no surprise, since Edward Said's definition of racism is: anyone who fails to agree with Edward Said. The entire academic establishment in America genuflects before this clown and you wonder why conservatives are so angry all the time.


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