Madam, - Conor McCarthy's review of a book on Edward Said (Weekend review, December 14th) secretes the toxic sludge of prejudice.

The inner spoliation lies, first, in his use of the phrase "the cause of Palestine". There is no state named "Palestine" so he has a duty to explain what he means. The late Suheir Muhsin of the PLO said: "Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel." The incendiary idea is that the war for "Palestine" entails the demise of the democratic state of Israel.

Second, McCarthy describes Said as a "Palestinian exile". True, Said claims that in 1947 Jews drove him from his "beautiful House" on Brenner Street in the Arab quarter of Jerusalem. But Said comes from the affluent Samalek district of Cairo. He never resided in Jerusalem, although he did holiday there. His family moved from Cairo to the |United States in the teeth of civil violence and Nasser's policy of appropriating private property. McCarthy slights the implication of this propaganda lie for an intellectual who professes that intellecturals must elicit the truth. His rubber-stamping of the assertion that Said has been "coherent and consistent" flies in the face of reason.

Although Said is not an exile from Jerusalem, he is an exile from truth. McCarthy's endorsement of Said as "the last Jewish intellectual" is the iron fist of anti-semitism in a velvet academic glove. His tin-god review shows that Said's acolytes in the academy toll an ideological bell that lacks a decent clapper. - yours, etc.,


c/o faculty of Law,

University College Dublin.