CORRECTION: After subsequent research, I’ve discovered it’s likely that Uri Davis’ story below is false. I’ve found no corroboration for it and the Buber family denies that it happened. No member of the Said family with whom I corresponded verified it either. There was a dispute between the family and Prof. Buber and court action did force him to leave a different home at 10 Brenner Street, which the family owned. Buber then moved elsewhere in Jerusalem, eventually living in this home (pictured) on Hovevey Zion.
I would however be curious to discover what happened to the previous owner of that house who, I’m told by the Buber family, “returned to Turkey” during the 1948 War.
Read my updated version of the Buber-Said story here.
In a typically meandering, almost pointless argument with a Twitter member fraudulently appropriating the moniker “Buberzionist,” I did derive one benefit. I learned about the historical dispute between Martin Buber and Edward Said’s family pre-1948, when Buber was a tenant in the Saids’ gorgeous Jerusalem home. According to Uri Davis, Buber and Said had an argument, Buber stopped paying rent and Said took him to a British Mandatory court, where Buber lost his case.
Davis writes of his Buber’s final interaction with Said:
At the door, after returning the keys to Edward Said’s father, Buber turned round and said: “Mr Said, you just wait. I will be back.”
Before the War, the fighting forced the Saids to flee their home and go into exile in Egypt. Afterwards, true to his word, Buber returned and lived in the home for the rest of his life.
But the story doesn’t end there though Buber, who should’ve been a better student of world history, might’ve thought it did. The Saids will have the last laugh when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ends and they return to their home once more. Of course, I don’t know if they even want to. It might be more appropriate to turn it into a museum dedicated to the displacement of Jerusalem’s Arab residents in 1948. The disposition should be up to the Saids.
It’s ironic that the street on which the home stands should be called in Hebrew, Hovevey Tzion (“lovers of Zion”). The tragedy is that those who loved Zion like Buber would appropriate the property of those who preceded him in Israel, thereby stealing their legacy and suppressing it.
If readers have additional sources than Davis regarding the Said-Buber incident/history please let me know.