Martin Kramer cites Steven Salaita, the self-styled expert on why Palestinians are the native Americans of the 21st century as saying:
“My mother and grandmother’s blood connects me to the same place that binds us all—ancestor and descendant—together…. I am a devoted advocate of Palestinian nationalism.”
… on which Kramer comments as following: “Apparently it’s ‘progressive’ when a Palestinian professes blood-and-soil nationalism, and ‘regressive’ when an Israeli Jew does it.” Of course, Kramer is right but something is missing here and that’s how closely Salaita follows in the tracks of Edward Said.
In his book “Culture and Imperialism” Said praises the transformation of the once conservative MESA towards an organization supposedly more open to contemporary issues which he assumed “had formerly been occluded or minimized” by scholars such as Bernard Lewis or Daniel Pipes.[ref]Edward Said: Culture and Imperialism (London et al. 1994), 315.[/ref]
Underscoring his allegations already made in his previous book “Orientalism,” Said in his “Culture and Imperialism” lashes out against the above-mentioned scholars for advocating in their scholarly work “a policy line opposed to native Arab or Islamic nationalism” which allegedly had had “dominated” the professional discussion.[ref]Ibid.[/ref]
Yes, Edward Said was a nationalist. Since then, dealing with contemporary issues in Middle Eastern Studies (Germany in no way exempted) is less about facts, sources or expertise. Above all it’s about enforcing a post-colonial and nationalist narrative while not even discussing the obvious assumption that so much in the Arab World can be better explained by a failed modernization process.
Against this background, Salaita is Said’s legitimate heir (and he’d better get a job in Native American studies than in any Middle Eastern department).