Saturday, January 1, 2011
[By Ben Cohen, crossposted from The Propagandist.]
Abu Khalil, seen here in a picture which may serve as a warning about the misuse of hair restoration products, berates me for my latest piece - published here in The Propagandist and on The Huffington Post - about Al Akhbar, a Lebanese newspaper with a Strasserite editorial line: anti-American, anti-capitalist and viciously antisemitic.
Abu Khalil, whom I have never met and never corresponded with, wants his readers to believe that I have no knowledge of Marx's oeuvre (dude, don't get into that with me - I really do.) And he's also spitting rage that a "Zionist hoodlum" like me - don't you just love that deliciously retro, Soviet term of abuse? - should criticize an Arab newspaper when I don't read Arabic.
It's that last point which has triggered my decision to respond. Abu Khalil is right. I don't read Arabic and I'd like to explain why. In 1941, my father's family was ethnically cleansed from Iraq in the wake of the farhud, a pogrom against Baghdad's Jewish community instigated by similarly "angry Arabs," allied with the Nazis and spurred on by the notorious Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, which resulted in hundreds of deaths and injuries and destroyed homes. Had it not been for that event - painstakingly documented in Edwin Black's superb book on the subject - my mother tongue would have been Arabic.
Hence my desire to set the record straight. And now I'll move on.