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September 26, 2003

DR. MANHATTAN offers a eulogy for Edward Said:

I’d argue that few if any intellectuals of his generation can truly be said to have been more devoted to “gods that fail.” Said spent much of the 1970s and 1980s advocating for a two-state solution for the Israelis and Palestinians. But when faced with the possibility that such a solution might actually be possible, Said became a fierce enemy of the concept and the means of its realization. Rather than agitating for a way to make the Oslo Accords better, he denounced Yasser Arafat as a dictator and a sellout. (The “dictator” part was certainly true, but Said’s sudden discovery of those tendencies after a long history as an Arafat adviser does not speak well of his powers of observance.) Rather than trying to work against Arafat to build a better Palestinian society during the Oslo years, he became a leader of the intellectual resistance to the whole two-state enterprise. His proposal was a “secular, binational state” – an idea that only makes sense in the ivory tower. It is well known that the Palestinians supported Yasser Arafat’s refusal to accept the Palestinian state offered at Camp David, believing they could get all of Israel. They were encouraged in this hope by intellectuals such as Said.

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