Legal rights, refugees scholar Justus Reid Weiner dies at age 70

This past Saturday, Justus Weiner, an international lawyer at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, passed away at the age of 70 after a long illness.Weiner was a human rights lawyer who studied refugee claims. He exposed the persecution of Palestinian Christians in the territories under Palestinian jurisdiction. As such his research, books and work had significance that went far beyond the specific cases he analyzed. For that reason, Weiner’s accomplishments earned him appreciation and gratitude from Christians around the world.Among his published books are Middle Eastern Christians: Battered, Violated, and Abused, Do They Have Any Chance of Survival?, International Law and the Fighting in Gaza, Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society and Illegal Construction in Jerusalem: A Variation on an Alarming Global Phenomenon.He was most noted for an extremely courageous article he published in the September 1999 issue of Commentary, in which he exposed Palestinian polemicist Edward Said, who had grown into being one of Israel’s most formidable intellectual adversaries. The article was entitled “My Beautiful Old House and Other Fabrications by Edward Said.” Justus proved that in pursuit of the truth he was prepared to defy the conventional wisdom. That was a secret source of his strength. Said taught English literature at Columbia University and was admired by many university students on campuses across America. A key part of Weiner’s story related to Edward Said’s house in Jerusalem, including the legal title the Said family supposedly had to the house. Justus showed his tenacity by initiating a title search in Jerusalem, which disclosed that the house that had been so pivotal in Said’s writings and speeches never had the name of the Said family on it. In short, Justus exposed Said and punched a huge hole in his argument claiming rights to the land that was to become the State of Israel.  Weiner’s Commentary article is full of revealing details about Edward Said. Here was a Columbia professor who served as the main author of Yasser Arafat’s 1974 address to the UN General Assembly. It is noteworthy that at that stage, Arafat had not put up his supposed renunciation of terrorism. Yet in the judgement of academia and UN officials, he was entitled to be received by the international community.  The writer is the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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One Reply to “Legal rights, refugees scholar Justus Reid Weiner dies at age 70”

  1. I knew Justus when we growing up in Newton, Massachusetts.Then we grew up and lost track of each other. I was saddened to learn of his passing and extend condolences to his family.

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