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Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,255 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Since the 1948 war which drove them from their homeland, the Palestinian people have consistently been denied the most basic democratic rights. Blaming the Victims shows how the historical fate of the Palestinians has been justified by spurious academic attempts to dismiss their claim to a home within the boundaries of historical Palestine and even to deny their very exist ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published September 17th 2001 by Verso (first published 1979)
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Aug 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
Shelves: culturalstudies
The only question we should be asking about Palestine, really, is when we're gonna give it back to the Palestinians. It's a damn shame for all of us New Yorkers to share the historical burden of accomodating the location (what is now the Queens Museum) of the signing of the country's partition, which continues to result in the dislocation of its native sons and daughters from a land that is rightfully their own.
Edward W. Said tries to answer the question of Palestine in this book in the context of colonialism and orientalism. What is wonderful is how Said argues in favor of a two-state settlement to promote peace and neighborly understanding and common interest. The book exposes the facade of the Camp David peace accords of 1978 and the disastrous influences of the Arab states and the US on the peace process and the realization of a palestinian state.
The constant reminding of the islamic revoluti
Apparently, this was for some time the standard text on the Palestinian situation and Palestinian history. And it is classic Edward Said -- clear, well-written, persuasive. To the point where it seems to have become the template for the talking points of the Palestinian cause, pre-Oslo. If I was to recommend a single book on the topic, this would honestly be the one. No attempts at heartstring-pulling, no mention of traditions or of "ancestral" anything -- just solid, cold-blooded, grounded argu ...more
Jennifer Abdo
This is an excellent and must read on the conflict, but it is very academic, I should warn you. It reads like a textbook rather than human interest, so it is hard to get into, but it is worth the trouble.

There is a section devoted to debunking the lies in From Time Immemorial, which is enlightening to say the least, even if you haven't read the book because those lies are repeated over and over by the 'Israel can do no wrong' crowd.

This is a great explanation of the often neglected
Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW WOW WOW. This covers so much about the Palestinian perspective in a balanced way. It changed the way I think about antisemitism (because Palestinians are Semites too). A fair and inspiring book. Give peace a chance!
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
edward said and i need each other if we’re ever going to sneak out of this prison house of secular humanism. the question for *the question of palestine* is whether it’s a life ring toss on the rip-roaring ferocious tide or not out of that nihilism and total destroy ocean of state violence. it’s hard to believe in the continuity between the state and the subject when everything else is saturated with death. said and i need something else. lacking that, said is really good at the art of presentin ...more
Kowther Qashou
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really critical read on Palestine, and it does a great job at engaging the reader in critical thinking, especially given that Said takes a more theoretical approach in his analysis, rather than a practical one. That said, it made me realise a whole lot of things. There were a few things I disagreed with Said on, but needless to say, this is a wholly important text on Palestine. It also critically engages with Zionism, particularly the beginning of the movement, which not many texts on ...more
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
There is a definite tension between the two editors of this collection. Mr. Said favors assertion over demonstration. Nothing is more grating than a seemingly reasonable assertion that is never backed up. In one article, Said refers to a marvelous collection of Arabic documents in Lebanon that no one had used in their research on the subject. He then proceeds to tell his readers nothing about them, not even a sample. Am I to travel hither and thither just for a taste?
An excellent look at the Palestinian question by a scholar well-equipped to discuss the Palestinians on their own terms. The book is rather dated now, but remains critical to understanding how the Palestinians view themselves and how to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the Palestinian perspective.
Nazmul Hasan
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A poignant plea for peace. This book represents Edward Said's vision and scholarship.

Reading it in 2014, there are obvious gaps in understanding and the level of knowledge regarding the conflict Said expects from the reader is quite high. This is the reason I've given it a 4 star.

Jim Hudson
Although now rather dated, even given the author's '90s Epilogue, this is still a required read on the history of the Israel-Palestine situation by a highly qualified Palestinian scholar and politician. On the downside, the extent of the details Said provides can make for quite a slog at times.
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read to get a perspective about the progress of events from 19th century till the 70s of the 20th century. The end of the book depends heavily in its narrative on the political atmosphere of late 70s, which misses a lot of important later events, a non-complete list would include the assassination of Sadat, the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, fall of the USSR, Oslo agreement, 9/11, second intifada, and later wars on Lebanon and Gaza.
Would be interesting to find a refreshed analysis t
Negar Gh
I almost gave it a 4 star but the last section had me zoned out a bit. I URGE everyone to go read the first couple of chapters and you will be hooked, you'll be amazed, angered, in awe, in despair and loads of other emotions I cannot describe.
Catalina Elena Sapiains Lagos
There's nothing quite like angry erudition is there? Still too apologetic in my view but excellent book that brings you bang up to date (to 1992!). Excellent if you want to understand the history and impact of the formation of Israel (or Israeli occupation more like).
Mar 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Said doesn't seem like a particularly coherent thinker here. A lot of Said's introductory essay is just sort of ranting, as is Chomsky's essay. Finkelstein's is interesting, if a bit technical. I wasn't familiar with Peters' book, so I couldn't assess Finkelstein's. Hitchens' essay is awesome and solid, as one should expect from Hitchens. Kidron's essay is suggestive though uncorroborated. The final essay is good, as an overview of Palestinian identity.
Jasper Sendler
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: phd
Great academic insight into the problems and issues facing Palestine and Israel. Considering Said is writing in the 1970s he clearly shone a light on issues that are now more widely discussed. Note though- not a light read!
Dec 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: palestine
Still one of the best books on this crisis. This and Gun and the Olive Branch, and you're probably set.
Saleem Khashan
Dec 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Edward he is difficlut to read though, Viva Palestine, keep lyingwe will continue believing let us see who will last longer.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book on Zionism from the viewpoint of Palestinians. The first half of the book is especially interesting where he discusses the history of Zionism and its consequences to Palestinians. The second half of the book is a little hard to follow unless you are completely versed in the political history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In other words, his intended audience is one who is familiar with Israeli and Palestinian politics (and even Egyptian politics). This can be a proble ...more
Thomas Mackell
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
said never disappoints obviously. super comprehensive outlining of the problems/origins of zionism, the machinations of power keeping palestine in limbo, and movements for palestinian self-determination.
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Spoiler: Europe and America and Israel suck.
Rahim Laban كهيعص
First chapter is good, the rest are outdated.
May 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The most noticeable result of these international effects was, of course, the transformation of a liberation movement into a national independence movement, already implicit in the 1974 PNC notion of a state and national authority. But were other important changes, such as acceptance of United nations Resolutions 242 and 338 (unnecessarily stigmatized as evil incarnate by Palestinian orators for almost a generation), a period of realignment with Egypt after Camp David, and the acceptance of the ...more
Aalaa Mahmoud
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a story with this book, I got it from a blind date with a book at college, I was thinking about returning it back, however, just its old looking and its smell what attracted me.
I can say the book is fascinating, not as I thought at all. Edward's view of the facts deserves respect actually.
He tries to illustrate the story of Palestine from the Palestinians point of view. The book tells how Palestine existed,how it was only for Palestinians and how Israeli immigrants took the land. T
Arthur Kyriazis
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Edward so you book is a classic in the field but saying it is biased and clearly has a bone to pick in the fight he is pro-Arab pro-Palestinian and is notably anti-Zionist if you keep all these points in mind and Prof Said's viewpoint is very informative and so long as you understand his point of view this is an informative book.

In point of fact this book is the touchstone for the Palestinian argument for statehood. Unless you read it you will not understand the Palestinian argument.

With these
Prithvi Shams
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sober, yet impassioned account of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Distinctive in it's exploration of the effect that the Israeli occupation has had on the Palestinian consciousness and sense of identity. This marks it out from most geopolitical accounts and analysis, which may not often resonate with readers who do not have a personal stake in the affairs of the region.

This book is a recommended starting point for anyone who wants to avoid frothing rhetoric and is interested in a balanced mix
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is always nice reading the story from the perspective of other people. In this book Edward Said sheds a light on the story of Palestine and the people of Palestine from the view of its people; him being one of them. He tells how Palestine existed, how the Palestinian land was indeed inhabited by Palestinians before Israeli immigrants started to show up and take the land. He then proceeds to discuss the status of Palestinian refugees spread across the globe and their search of identity and dre ...more
Jan 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
The subtitle of this bk is "Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question". I'm barely knowledgable about Palestine, basically just supportive of the Palestinian cause because it seems so flagrantly clear that the Israelis have displaced them. At any rate, I found it to be convincing that the editors, Edward Said & Christopher Hitchens, are legitimate scholars on the subject & found that they stated their case clearly & convincingly.
Jul 19, 2015 rated it liked it
good read.

These groups of essays serves as an important reminder that the Palestinian cause and the Palestinians have to fight their way towards recognition of their plight. for there was a time where even their "victim-ness" status is denied, this denial was embraced in the publication of so-called books, media and above all international politics.

urghh, i really want to read this book, but my brain just will not let me. i read pages and go back and read them over and still have no idea what i read. i just can't handle historical nonfiction, i guess.
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Middle East/North...: The question of Palestine (September – October) 15 25 Oct 23, 2012 11:44PM  

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(Arabic Profile إدوارد سعيد)
Edward Wadie Said was a professor of literature at Columbia University, a public intellectual, and a founder of the academic field of postcolonial studies. A Palestinian American born in Mandatory Palestine, he was a citizen of the United States by way of his father, a U.S. Army veteran.

Educated in the Western canon, at British and American schools, Said appl
“Il sionismo, dalle prime fasi della sua evoluzione moderna sino alla creazione dello stato d'Israele, fece sempre appello a un'opinione pubblica europea, per la quale la classificazione dei territori d'oltremare e degli indigeni in classi inferiori era giusta e “naturale”. Ecco perché oggi ogni singolo stato o movimento di liberazione nelle ex colonie dell'Africa o dell'Asia comprende, si identifica e sostiene la lotta palestinese. In molti casi c'è un'indiscutibile coincidenza tra l'esperienza degli arabi palestinesi sotto il dominio sionista e la storia di quelle persone dalla pelle nera, gialla o scura che venivano descritte dagli imperialisti del XIX secolo come esseri inferiori e non propriamente umani.” 0 likes
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