The Corner

Edward Said’s Sister

It seems that HR 3077, the bill that would reform our system of federal subsidies to Middle East studies (and other area studies) programs was a featured attraction at the recent United Nations sponsored “International Day of Solidarity” with the Palestinian people. The U.N. sponsored conference held on that day was dedicated to examining the contribution of Edward Said to the Palestinian cause. Said’s sister, Jean Said Makdisi, addressed the conference, and her theme was the threat of HR 3077 to the Palestinian cause. I suppose I ought to be pleased that followers of Edward Said are unhappy about HR 3077–and about my role in promoting it. But frankly, they have a wildly exaggerated notion of what the bill will do. It certainly won’t stop pro-Palestinian professors from making their points on campus. I do think this bill will help bring a wider variety of viewpoints to our colleges and universities, however. That, I suppose, is what they’re afraid of.