Sunday, March 07, 2004

A new letter in Al-Ahram Weekly. Al-Ahram Weekly is the English edition of the widely-read Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram. It publishes a column by Columbia professor Joseph Massad. Massad prints all kinds of distortions about Jews, Zionists, and Israelis, surprising even for a professor at Columbia. He comes from the school of propaganda which holds that Israelis and Jews should be cast as extremists in order to delegitimize Israel.

Al-Ahram Weekly is an interesting newspaper for several reasons. The first is that the correspondents are largely Westerners who work for English Middle East staffs. The second is that there is some intellectual diversity, none of it sympathetic to Israel, of course. The paper is subject to Egyptian censorship.

Nevertheless, it is, I think, an important publication both in Egypt and the Arab diaspora, and should be read to understand Arab opinions on the conflict, both amongst Arab intellectuals and government figures.

Zionists want peace
Sir-- Joseph Massad's 'Rome and Jerusalem revisited' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 19-25 February) was full of typical distortions, inaccuracies unbecoming of a college professor. It is not true that most Zionists would like to see Israel and the territories free of Palestinians. The vast majority of Zionists, Israelis included, firmly support the concept of two states for two peoples, as poll after poll has shown, and reject expulsion policies.

Kach, Meir Kahane's political party, is outlawed. Parties which promote the concept of voluntary transfer make up under 10 per cent of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. It is a shame that Mr Massad uses his platform at Columbia University and his column in Al-Ahram Weekly to work against peace, by spreading fabrications about how Jews think and feel.

Michael Brenner
New York, NY

Massad's original is available here:


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