Friday, November 02, 2012

Balfour Declaration

When I was an undergraduate student at the American University of Beirut, I took a most memorable course on the West and the Middle East with Walid Khalidi (by far one of the most effective teachers).  He once spent a class analyzing and dissecting the text of the Balfaour Declaration and his analysis never left me.  I still do the same on my classes on the Arab-Israeli conflict. 

PS Walid may not remember but we clashed in his office once.  I was writing a paper for the course on the Omani revolution and I was in his office discussing the paper.  I was already mobilized against him because he was dispatched by Arafat to meet with Lebanese fascist leaders (Sham`un and Gemayyel) at the time.  So he did not like my attitude at all and got very angry and yelled at me.  He was not amused and neither was I.  I later took a graduate class with him and did not think that he remembered that encounter.   Yet, if I have to recommend one book on the Palestine question, I recommend his massive From Haven to Conquest, and his lengthy introduction is the best part of the book.