Can One Be Simultaneously a Zionist and a Great Historian of Islam?

To Edward Said, the answer was a thunderous no. Bernard Lewis’s life and career, including his steadfast support of Israel, definitively demonstrate otherwise.

From the cover of Orientalism, by Edward Said.

From the cover of Orientalism, by Edward Said.

Response
June 14 2016
About the author

Itamar Rabinovich, president of the Israel Institute, is a former ambassador of Israel to the United States (1993-1996). Among his books is a biography of Yitzḥak Rabin, forthcoming from Yale.


Can one be a Zionist and, at the same time, a great historian of Islam and the Arabs? As Martin Kramer’s essay, “The Return of Bernard Lewis,” amply attests, and as its subject’s life and career unambiguously demonstrate, the answer is a resounding yes.

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More about: Bernard Lewis, History & Ideas, Islamism, Israel & Zionism, Middle East