March 23, 2003

Said Smears Rudy! Remember the

Said Smears Rudy!

Remember the $10,000,000 million that Saudi Prince Prince Ibn Al-Walid wanted to donate to NYC after 9/11? Then Mayor Rudolph Guiliani turned away the donation because of the below comments:

"I believe the government of the United States should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause," he added, calling for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"Our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of Israelis as the world (looks the other way)," said Walid, listed by Forbes Magazine as the sixth-richest man in the world with a fortune of more than 20 billion dollars."

When informed of Walid's comments, Giuliani retorted: "I entirely reject that statement. The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification for it when they slaughtered four or five thousand innocent people, and to suggest that there is a justification for it only invites this happening in the future," he said. "It is highly irresponsible and very, very dangerous. Not only are those statements wrong, they are part of the problem." [Note: The 4,000-5,000 figure, readers will recall, was the number observers thought dead through most of September 2001]

I believe Guiliani was spot on given that Walid's suggested linkage between Palestinian national aspirations and 9/11 was reprehensible. First, no matter how deep seated one's grievances about U.S. policy in the Middle East, the intentional murder of civilians wholly divorced from the conflict is unjustifiable. Second, recall that the first WTC bombing occurred in 1993--highwater mark of rosy Oslo talk with Rabin and Arafat feted on the White House lawn. The enhanced prospects for a Palestinian state then didn't stop theologically driven barbarians from attempting mass slaughter in our greatest city. It was disingenuous, tasteless and, yes, dangerous for the Prince to couple his gift with comments regarding how such actions might be caused by U.S. policy in the Middle East. Dangerous as they seem to provide justification for pursuit of, perhaps legitimate causes, through acts of grotesque violence.

What of Edward Said's take? In a piece ostensibly about a disunited wartime America (seemingly the length of a Tolstoyan tome) Said opines thus:

"In a fit of petulant rage, the then Mayor of New York (which also has the largest Jewish population of any city in the world), Rudolph Guiliani, returned the check to Al-Walid, rather unceremoniously and with an extreme and I would say racist contempt that was meant to be insulting as well as gloating. On behalf of a certain image of New York, he personally was upholding the city's demonstrated bravery and its principled resistance to outside interference. And of course pleasing, rather than trying to educate, a purportedly unified Jewish constituency."

Perhaps Said should forsake the pages of the Nation and other assorted leftish precincts and start submitting pieces over at the American Conservative?

Meanwhile, in a sloppy piece (gosh, doesn't even get Wolfy's title right!) written by one Josh Reubner, Paul Wolfowitz is derisively labelled a "court Jew" and urged to resign.

Posted by Gregory at March 23, 2003 04:22 PM
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