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Fouad Ajami Goes to Israel


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fouad-ajami-goes-to-israelMosaic Magazine:

The Lebanese-born scholar knew more about the Jewish state than any Arab intellectual of his generation.

Martin Kramer

Jan. 8 2015


“In a curious way, my exposure to Israel was essential to my coming to terms with Arab political life and its material.” —Fouad Ajami


The scholar and public intellectual Fouad Ajami, who was born in Lebanon and died last summer in Maine at the age of sixty-eight, specialized in explaining to Westerners the complex and traumatic encounter of the Arab peoples with modernity. He didn’t write much about Israel per se, or claim any unique insights into its complexities. And yet, at a certain point in his life, he decided he would discover Israel for himself—not only by reading and meeting Israelis abroad, but by visiting the place.


As it happens, I witnessed several of the stages of this discovery, first as his student and later as his friend. Here I want to mark those stages, and then offer some observations on the crucial insight I believe he derived from his quest.


I start with a passage written in 1991:



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Thanks, @Valin. Didn't know he had passed.



I recall posting something about it. While I didn't always agree with him he was one of those people that I paid attention to.

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