Sunday, April 8, 2007

Profile of an Orientalist: Bernard Lewis at 90

By International Relations Center . April 3, 2007

Bernard Lewis, the renowned historian of the Middle East who celebrated his 90th birthday in 2006, has provided much of the ideological ammunition for the Bush administration policy of Middle East transformation and global war on terror. A favorite of neoconservatives, Lewis, born in England and a naturalized U.S. citizen since 1982, was bestowed in 2007 with the annual Irving Kristol award from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Previous recipients of AEI's yearly award include Dick Cheney, Robert Bork, David Packard, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan, Michael Novak, Clarence Thomas, and Norman Podhoretz. According to a Wall Street Journal account of the awards ceremony, Lewis "described Muslim migration to Europe as an Islamic attack on the West and defended the Crusades as 'a late, limited and unsuccessful imitation of the jihad' that spread Islam across much of the globe." Lewis gave a "ringing endorsement of the ill-fated Crusades," and "he made the point that the Crusades, as atrocious as they were, were nonetheless an understandable response to the Islamic onslaught of the preceding centuries, and that it was ridiculous to apologize for them" (Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2007).

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