In 1951, in the wake of Israel’s expropriation of Palestinian lands, the Said family moved to the US, where Said enjoyed an Ivy League education.
First, we noted how the author, Rupert Christiansen, used a propagandistic and ahistorical euphemism to refer to the 1948 War, in which five Arab armies invaded and attempted to annihilate the nascent Jewish state. Further, the land in question before the war was part of the British Mandate, and not “Palestinian”.
In our complaint to editors, we objected to the language about 1948, but also about the sentence’s false suggestion that Said was a refugee.
First, it wasn’t the “Said family” that moved to the US in 1951, it was just Edward Said.
And, Said moved from Cairo, the location of his family home, not, as readers would likely intuit given the context of the article, from Jerusalem. In fact, Said’s family reportedly only stayed in Jerusalem for the first two years of his life. He was raised in Cairo, and only moved to the US in 1951 because his father sent him to a boarding school in Massachusetts after being expelled from an elite private school in Cairo.
The 1948 War – particularly Israel’s actions during the war – played no role whatsoever in Edward Said’s move to the US, and in fact didn’t impact his family at all.
After a series of communications with Telegraph editors, they agreed to revise the sentence, which now reads:
In 1951 Said moved to the US, where he enjoyed an Ivy League education.
- “My Beautiful Old House” and other fabrications by Edward Said (Commentary Magazine)