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Edward Said Showed Intellectuals How to Bring Politics to Their Work

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It is well known that Edward Said was a prominent intellectual who stepped outside of his professional role to argue for the cause of Palestine. Along with a few others — Noam Chomsky surely chief among them — Said stood out in the United States and Europe during the 1970s and ’80s as a voice of rationality, skepticism, and courage.

He challenged the prevailing mainstream positions on the Palestine/Israel question, which were largely rooted in liberal Zionism, demonstrating Washington’s complicity with Israeli conquest, colonization, and breaches of international and human rights law, and argued for a just peace. In doing so, he suffered obloquy of a particularly extreme kind, including personal…

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