Sunday, December 04, 2005

What passes for scholarship in the Arab world

I came across an amusing piece in Asharq Alawsat just now. The author is described this way:
Ghida Fakhry is New York Bureau Chief of Asharq Al Awsat and a weekly columnist for the newspaper. From 2002 to 2004, she was Anchor of Al-Hayat/LBC’s main evening news broadcast live from London. During the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, she reported on location from Kabul and Baghdad, and interviewed numerous senior US officials, including Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. During her journalistic career, she covered extensively the United Nations as New York Bureau Chief of Al Jazeera and for Abu Dhabi Television. She traveled on special assignments with Kofi Annan to the Middle East and conducted several in-depth interviews with the Secretary-General of the UN. She appears as a guest analyst on CNN, ABC News, NBC and MSNBC. Ghida Fakhry holds an M.A in Near and Middle Eastern Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and an M.A. in International Relations from Boston University.

One would think that with such credentials she would have at least a passing familiarity with Middle Eastern history.

One would be wrong.
The United Nations marked last Tuesday the "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" held every year on 29 November. Paradoxically, this is the day the General Assembly adopted in 1947 Resolution 181 on the "Future Government of Palestine" –a landmark if forgotten resolution that set forth the "Plan of Partition with Economic Union" that was to establish an "Arab State" in 43.5 percent of then British-occupied Palestine, a "Jewish State" in 56.5 percent of that territory, and an international enclave to include Jerusalem and its surroundings. In adopting the Partition Plan, the United Nations committed two sins. The first one, by paving the way towards the establishment of two States, the United Nations legislated a fundamentally artificial political segregation between "Arabs" and "Jews", as if an Arab could not belong to the Jewish faith and a Jew to the Arab world. It laid a barrier between communities that more often than not intersected, had more to unite than divide them. It was a conceptual distinction that pitted communities against each other that had coexisted peacefully for centuries and, aided by the migratory influx of European Jews into Palestine, fuelled hatred and deepened the sense of injustice. The second sin of the United Nations was to adopt a Plan and not ensure its implementation. To say the least, this is undoubtedly the international organization’s biggest blunder.
As the author well knows, there is no paradox to the date that the UN chose to annually condemn Israel and pretend to care about Palestinian Arabs. It was chosen on purpose.

As I have documented many times in the Palestine Postings blog, the life of Jews in Palestine was hardly peaceful (the 1929 massacres would seem to prove that), and to blame the UN for the Arabs' terroristic intransigence against allowing Jews to control any land in the entire Middle East is pretty funny. The separation between Jews and Arabs were wholly the fault of the Arabs who just couldn't stomach Jews in power.

But the funniest part of this poorly-written paragraph is that she is blaming the UN for not making sure that Resolution 181 was not implemented! The Jews accepted 181 wholeheartedly, it was the Arabs who rejected it unanimously - and tried to destroy the Jewish state that resulted.

There is no doubt in my mind that Ms. Fakhry knows these facts as well as anyone.

So the only conclusion that can be drawn is that this esteemed Arab journalist and scholar is simply a liar.

Which begs the question - why do CNN, ABC and NBC use easily provable liars as analysts?