Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict
[ Arabs want East Jerusalem for Palestinian capital ] [ Israel chose Arafat for Palestinian leadership ]


Edward Said dresses socialist views in anti-Israeli clothes

Some passages in Edward Said’s book suggest that his Palestinian nationalist rhetoric is about class struggle in the developing Palestinian society. Edward Said thinks Palestinian businessmen are speculators who collaborate with Israel. Professor Said admits that most Palestinians, certainly middle-class professionals, accept the present situation of coexistence with Israel, and therefore only the lower classes hate Israel and espouse radical anti-Israeli notions—and those Palestinians enjoy the support of leftist radicals elsewhere.

Edward Said blames the United States and Israel for liberalizing the Palestinian economy. In Said's view, producing goods for export to Israel is evil. Professor Said asserts that Israeli-sponsored deregulation distorts the Palestinian economy, while exactly the opposite is true. Edward Said prefers trade unions, government paternalism, and a heavily regulated, closed Palestinian economy.

The size of the thirty- to fifty-thousand man Palestinian police force, the largest sector of the economy, shocks Edward Said and indicates something wrong with Palestinian society.

Edward Said said that on at least one occasion and presumably on others, anti-Israeli riots were really anti-Arafat demonstrations. The common radicalism of youth protesting the older generation’s conservative values poses as the anti-occupation struggle with Israel. The Palestinian real problem, however, is not Israeli rule but the clash of generations. Various organizations, including the U.N., fan that non-specific Palestinian radicalism. Edward Said gleefully reports that a senior U.N. diplomat in Palestine urged him to incite the young to anti-Israel acts.

In general, the Palestinian war for liberation from Israel is a vent for social pressures. A Palestinian intellectual Edward Said interviewed says Palestinian anti-Israeli nationalism is a disguise for social transformation. Israel may have to force democratic changes in Palestine.

Edward Said is clear who his opponents are. He expressly calls the Adam Smith Institute his enemy, presumably on the ground of its liberal orientation. The list of foes includes the British Foreign Office and the former Arthur E. Andersen accounting and consulting firm. Edward Said abominates anything related to the free market and non-partisan politics.