Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Who is a Palestinian, and who is an American? 

Martin Kramer explores the question of national identity through the case of Nadia Abu El-Haj, "the anthropologist who last year received tenure at Barnard after a furious controversy over her book, Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society." When it suits a narrative, Abu El-Haj is an "American." When it suits her career, she is a "Palestinian-American." Among many interesting points in the post, it is obvious that there are certain contexts in which being of Palestinian Arab descent benefits an academic career in the United States (presumably because of its built-in victim status), and is therefore useful to advertise. Unless, of course, that self-identification tends to impeach the scholar's professional objectivity, in which case Nadia Abu El-Haj becomes, simply, an American.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Apr 22, 10:39:00 AM:

I'd be interested in your thoughts on the tenure process issues involved in the "furious controversy" described in Jane Kramer's piece -- MCU  

By Blogger Fat Man, at Tue Apr 22, 02:54:00 PM:

Do you mean to assert that an American born citizen can not be a leftist idiot and a Jew hater?

I think Jimmy Carter disproves that idea.  

By Blogger Dr Yuval, at Tue Apr 22, 04:00:00 PM:

Yuval Brandstetter MD says

I think the point Martin Kramer makes is that an Arab who uses her Arab identity to discredit the Jews has "no axe to grind" according to PC BS, wheras a Jew doing the very same is an axe-man, hewing down the poor Arab, according to the same Columbia PC BS. Its affirmative action, or selective morality, or antisemitism by any other name. More so if practiced by Jews, as Jane Kramer confesses.
I avoid the use of the word Palestinian because my mother has a Palestinian passport,issued by His Brittanic Majesty King George, so does my dad, so do my wife's parents. Nowadays the word "Palestinian" is linked up with the word "terrorist" so I would rather not apply such vile associations with my parents and in-laws. Abu-El Haj is an Arab name, and so are all the other Arab names mentioned by Kramer. Lets keep my parents out of the fray then and call Arabs who abuse their American or British passport for Jihadi purposes by their proper ID: Arabs.  

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