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26 March 2011


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William R. Cumming

Dr. Baram! Thanks for this post. Most if not all that read and participate in this blog hope for a liberal democratic Egypt also. Time will tell whether popular will in Egypt will somehow be reflected in its governance. The same for Israel. And the US in 2012. All of are well aware that in democracy there can be a "tyranny" of the majority that threatens minority rights and individualism. A careful line drawing that serves as a cautionary tale to any majority. History has not ended.


Any time someone calls the NYTimes a liberal newspaper I hear George W. Bush's voice in my head.


Dr Baram, what has Land Lease program have to do with the discussion about Stalin's political support to establish state of Israel ? Is your observation that Stalin was an ally of the West, a reason why Stalin supported fervently its birth?


Dr. Baram,

I can find no 'anonymous' posting on the March 5 posting of your response to Yusuf al-Misry either stating or implying "that since Hitler was killing the Jews anyway, the fact that Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, joined him in Berlin did not matter...."

If you are refering to my comment that the Grand Mufti did not speak for all Muslims and that he was opposed by other Muslim clerics in his recruitment efforts in what was then Yugoslavia, then I can only conclude you are being purposely misleading. Then again perhaps the comment you refer to was deleted?

Roy G

With all due respect to Dr. Baram, I do not think that Zionists were/are Stalinists, not at all. Yet, his sum characterization as the Mufti as a Nazi speaks volumes about the debate; after all, this is a hackneyed technique of forestalling any further inquiry or understanding as to the Mufti's motives or experience. He is a Nazi, end of story, we need, indeed must, not inquire any further.

Of course, this narrative ignores the Mufti's decades of fighting for Palestine, practically a mirror image of his Zionist counterparts in Irgun and other radical Zionist organizations.

What is really interesting is that Dr. Baram can so openly admit to the necessity of aligning with Stalin as necessary for the survival of Israel, while remaining blind to the fact that the Mufti's alliance with Hitler was essentially similar.

Of course, Dr. Baram would love for the 'peace' that has existed between the governments of Israel and Egypt to continue, as it has been very beneficial to Israel, and a few top Egyptian officials. Perhaps what Dr. Baram secretly fears about any so-called 'radical Islamists' is that their idea of 'peace' may not involve turning a blind eye toward the carte blanche that Israel has enjoyed for so many years over its non-citizen indigenous population.


Prof Baram, sorry I am kind of anonymous too.

Somehow I wonder if you heard about this book by Gil Ayal: The Disenchantment of the Orient,
Expertise in Arab Affairs and the Israeli State.

I admittedly found it fascinating. It's surely not perfect but it might be interesting to reflect even for a scholar of Iraq. Would I be absolutely wrong that you necessarily looked on Iraq firmly from a future potential threat scenario too? To what extend could Israel's self-perception as being surrounded by a sea of enemies limit the scholarship? Did it in your studies? Do you see chances it ever will be modified by a slightly more wide cultural perspective, maybe a perspective open for chances beyond the pure threat scenario and the accompanying militarily / Iron Wall perspective?

Seems I agree agree with par4. The NYT can be considered liberal on many issues but only hesitantly so on the Israel/Palestine issue. It's feels too, they have no other chance, if they want to avoid being painted in a way that may harm their image, more than it already is by right-wing propaganda. Did you think during the run up of the war against Iraq Judith Miller offered a specifically liberal perspective?

Concerning what feels a monolithic assessment as Palestinians and Arabs as such:
Do you feel a more profound multi- and interdisciplinary project much beyond the resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict, lavishly funded, that looks more closely on the genesis of images on both side, context, stereotypes, development, antisemitism before and after the arrival of Zionism, changing patters, the politicization of scholarship that seems to construct--I am admittedly not a scholar on the Arab nations--an inherent Muslim antisemitism backwards in age. Politicization of scholarship among the diverse Arab nations, different perspectives, reasons, contexts? Comparative studies, images of Muslims and Arabs over the ages in Europe.

Do you know of similar projects/initiatives?

To what extend you think the idea of a straight line of antisemitism from times immemorial into the future could turn out a self-fulfilling prophecy? Or does asking this question show, I am an antisemite after all?


sorry, bad proof-reading:

Comparative studies, images of Arabs/Muslims and Jews over the ages in Europe.

William R. Cumming

LeaNder! What is official Israeli policy on teaching of Arabic in its school system? My understanding is the pre-1948 settlers of Israel often were fluent in Arabic but perhaps wrong.

Patrick Lang


I don't know about then but very few Israeli Jews know any Arabic now. They live in completely different worlds just a few hundred yards apart in some cases. there is zero interaction. the wall just formalizes what was already the truth. pl

William R. Cumming

Thanks PL for confirming my understanding! Any Arabs speaking Yiddish?

Patrick Lang


Few Israelis can speak Yiddish. Modern Hebrew is the spoken language. A lot of Palestinians know Hebrew, especially the ones who live in Israel proper. They have no choice in the matter. pl

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