Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict
[ Palestinian nationalism ] [ A cause for Palestinian suppport ]

Edward Said's accusations against the United States

Edward Said believes the United States exhibit a “morbid fear and hatred of Arabs.” Such language would be understandable from an Iraqi fundamentalist, but Edward Said is a professor at a major United States university. Edward Said deals with the United States' residents daily and cannot help knowing they do not feel that way toward Arabs. Millions of Arabs are integrated into American society and willingly embrace their new nationality. Edward Said contrasts United States hatred for Arabs with the tolerance of Arabs in India, though thousands of Muslims die routinely in ethnic skirmishes in India, not in the United States. Edward Said further claims that Jewish xenophobia and intolerance infected the Arabs. But the Arabs invented the concept of jihad, intolerant of infidels, and tolerated Jews and Christians only as dhimmi. Palestinians barely tolerated the European Jews who lived in Palestine even before the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

United States policy is in fact pro-Arab. No democracy would support the destruction of Israel, and the United States does not support Arab goals in that regard. The United States supported Israel against Arab aggression in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War but pressured Israeli government to stop further expansion as soon as the danger to Israel passed. The United States advocated Israeli give-away of Sinai to Egypt for an unreliable treaty and pushed Israel to give away the Golan Heights for nothing. While successive American government could have quashed Palestinian hopes for statehood by withholding aid to Palestine and its Arab supporters or by threatening to unleash Israeli force, they fanned the hopes of Palestinians for independence from Israel. American subsidies to Arab states, both direct transfers and military protection, far exceed American aid to Israel, and per citizen benefits are probably higher in Kuwait than in Israel. America’s moral and political affiliation with Israel arises because Jews are fully integrated in American society and Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. Americans support Israel spiritually but cooperate with Arabs materially most of the time.

Edward Said calls the United States' outrage over Islamic terrorism hypocrisy, because the United States winks at Turkish persecution of the Kurds. Yet while the Muslims sponsor and export terrorism to much of the world, a threat to American strategies to preserve stability,[1] the Kurdish issue is a Turkish internal affair. Nothing has happened in Turkey like the Iraqi atrocities against the Kurds. When the struggle in Chechnya began to affect mostly civilians in Chechnya, the United States was quick to criticize her Russian partner. Edward Said calls the Gulf War of 1991 “the utmost cruelty,” which is ludicrous, since the United States showed extraordinary concern for Iraqi civilians. Edward Said’s label fits the Palestinian Liberation Organization and its shelling of Israeli border towns and blowing up Israeli buses with school children better.

[1] As the world’s arbiter of the balance of power, the United States prefers a little instability where everyone has more or less the same power, all dependent on the United States but not requiring its military involvement. Asymmetric warfare undermines arbiter’s credibility.