On a visit to Lebanon last July, Columbia University
professor Edward Said, a famous literary critic and champion
of the Palestinian cause, was photographed throwing stones
at Israeli army positions in Lebanon. Now his acts have
resulted in the cancellation of a lecture that he was due to
give in Vienna.
Said is a Palestinian Arab who has taught at Columbia
University as a professor of English and comparative
literature for more than 30 years. He is an active and
articulate supporter of the Palestinian cause. His intellect
and power of persuasion is such that he usually has a
visible influence on the students in his courses and even
many Jewish students leave them with a decided sympathy for
the Palestinian cause.
A senior member of the University and of the New York
literary establishment, Said has written and lectured in a
number of areas. He was due to give a lecture in Vienna
before the Freud Society of Vienna on May 6, the anniversary
of Freud's birth. However, after members of the Society saw
a photograph of him in the act of throwing a stone at an
Israeli guardhouse last July, the invitation was withdrawn,
according to a report in the New York Times.
In early February, Johann August Schulein, the society's
president, wrote to Mr. Said and canceled the invitation
because of "the political development in the Middle East and
the consequences expected."
Mr. Said called his stone throwing a "symbolic gesture of
joy" at the end of Israel's occupation of Lebanon.
During the period that Mr. Said visited Lebanon, dozens of
Palestinians came daily to the fence that separated Israel
and Lebanon and threw stones at Israeli soldiers and
farmers. Many times the stones just fell ineffectually but
on occasion they caused damage and injuries.
Displaying his flair for presenting his side, Mr. Said told
the Times, "Freud was hounded out of Vienna because
he was a Jew. Now I am hounded out because I'm a
But the Freud society said simply that it did not feel
comfortable hearing a speaker who also throws stones against
Israeli soldiers. Mr. Schulein said that a majority of the
society's 18 board members voted to withdraw the invitation,
but he would not give the exact vote.