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October 31, 2008

Comments

I imagine that in a few weeks, when he contemplates the shredded remains of his honor, he will too.

You know, I understand this as a rhetorical gesture. But really, now. Is there any reason left to imagine that McCain is a man who would know a compunction if one were to smack him across the face or who could "contemplate" his way out of a wet paper bag?

I understand John McCain, a squalid excuse for a human being, has been known to associate with demagogic, America-hating filth like Sarah Palin.

Both have rubbed against terrorist Andrew McCarthy in airport bathrooms, who has been known to spy on Republican politicians through NRO glory portals.

All of them are armed.

As I read this, McCain didn't accuse Rashid Khalidi of being like a neo-Nazi. He accused the University of Chicago of being like a neo-Nazi organization.

I suppose that makes it less libelous, but it does make it a lot more silly.

McCain is just whining because even most of the neo-Nazis aren't dumb enough to vote for him.

McCain was making a big deal of the connection with Khalidi on Larry King--or rather, he was playing the "we don't know what their connection was, but we need to find out, don't we?" It's the worst kind of race-baiting, because the people McCain is trying to appeal to aren't going to get past the fact that the guy's name is Rashid Khalidi. He could be the head of the Egyptian Coptic Church for all they know and they'll assume he's a jihadist because his name sounds foreign to them.

You know, I knew back during the primaries that "muslim" would be the new n-bomb if Obama made it this far, but it's still disturbing to see it.

If you saw the Palin use of him, she merely said his name -- well, mispronounced it, but came close -- and the audience started booing. She had described him as a 'radical from the neighborhood,' but that wasn't what they were booing, but his mere Arabic name.

This is sad, if Obama wins and survives through his two terms, disgusting if he does not.

(And am I the only one who thinks that, were Obama to be attacked, McCain would be sincerely shocked at what he had brought about, but that Palin would just laugh -- at least off camera?)

And am I the only one who thinks that, were Obama to be attacked, McCain would be sincerely shocked at what he had brought about

Yes, you are alone.

I think people see this for what it is: a desperate, sad flail.

Underlying the attacks on Khalidi is not only the reprehensible notion that having a foreign-sounding name is "proof" that you're not "pro American". (It's stunning that at this point anybody could continue to believe that McCain has any "honor" that would make him embarrassed about the squalid things he's done in his egomaniacal quest to be President.)

Even more dangerous, the attacks depend on the ludicrous notion that a person endorses 100% of all the opinions and actions of anybody he meets with.

It's the latter assumption that's most dangerous. It encourages people to live in a cocoon where "everybody" thinks the way they do. It encourages leaders (like McCain and Palin) to surround themselves with fawning yes men, who never question anything they say.

One of the things that's most encouraging about the possibilities for an Obama Presidency is his well-documented tendency to seek out experts with dissenting opinions, to actually listen to what they say, and to be willing to change his mind if confronted with persuasive evidence. His election would be a mandate for reality-based decision making.

Unfortunately, the media at FOX, Cnn and MSNBC as well as the major networks have a tendency to support the case. Not all of them, but Scarborough, yesterday, was making a big case about it and I am sure Fox was as well. Sanchez may have taken care of Goldfarb but only to viweres that can see the nuance in what he did.

As someone mentioned on publius' thread, I hope that Khalidi is just one of many that bring suits against McCain and Palin after this is all over.

Now what should Obama have done to please McCain? Obviously, he should have wrapped himself in a full-body condom as he went about his life, inquiring of cocktail-party throwers: "Are you planning on inviting anybody at all controversial? Because I can't meet them, I'm going to run for president, you know." "No, I'm sorry, I have to decline serving on the board of your charity until you consent to remove every member whose background I disappove ---yes, I know it's valuable work, but I have my future to think of!"

If the tape is so totally innocuous, why hide it?

Now the LA Times says that showing it could "endanger" the guy who filmed it. What's up with that?

If the tape is so totally innocuous, why hide it?

Now the LA Times says that showing it could "endanger" the guy who filmed it. What's up with that?

Posted by: Doodad Pro | October 31, 2008 at 08:42 AM

If the LA Times really wanted to "hide" the tape - wouldn't they have just not published the story? Further, John McCain himself is a far more ardent supporter of Rashid Khalidi - to the tune of $450,000 according to right-wing media star Lou Dobbs.

In short, just another Karl Rove flat-out lie. Rove's tactics are like Nigerian fraud e-mails - the first few catch people unaware, but now we just laugh and discard them.

If the tape is so totally innocuous, why hide it?

Now the LA Times says that showing it could "endanger" the guy who filmed it. What's up with that?

From their own website:

"The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it," said the newspaper's editor, Russ Stanton. "The Times keeps its promises to sources."

Jamie Gold, the newspaper's readers' representative, said in a statement: "More than six months ago the Los Angeles Times published a detailed account of the events shown on the videotape. The Times is not suppressing anything. Just the opposite -- the L.A. Times brought the matter to light."

Even Eric Zorn, who is usually as conservative as they come, is condemning the McCain campaign. I guess he's familiar with Khalidi from Khalidi's days at the University of Chicago.

http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2008/10/ethics-and-the-rashid-khalidi-tape.html

Even Eric Zorn, who is usually as conservative as they come, is condemning the McCain campaign. I guess he's familiar with Khalidi from Khalidi's days at the University of Chicago.

http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2008/10/ethics-and-the-rashid-khalidi-tape.html

Shorter LATimes: "You'll just have to believe what we claim about this tape because we don't want you to see how much spin was involved in the way we wrote the story."

What a great way to make people distrust you.

I have to disagree with the notion that Khalidi's writings on Israel are entirely innocuous. Israel's policies are flawed in some important ways and it's true that Israeli Arabs have suffered a great deal in the last 60 years. But it can;t be ignored that Palestinian leadership is at least as culpable for its people's suffering, if not moreso, and that Israel does have legitimate right to protect its citizenry from violence. Khalidi disproportionately blames Israel for the problems, and does seem to largely gloss over Palestinian terror as a kind of understandable if inexcusable anomaly. It's not understandable, and it shouldn't be given scholarly opprobrium, even if it isn;t legitimized.
Khalidi is a legitimate scholar, but his views on Israel are (understandably - he grew up in a Palestinian home and doubtless formed his views largely in response to those sentiments) biased. I can understand why his views are disproportionate to reality, but I still wouldn;t want him to have a serious influence on policy.
I support Obama for president, in part because I think the "associations" he has been linked to are tenuous. But if I DID think Khalidi had any kind of serious influence on Obama's thinking, I might be uncomfortable.

What a great way to make people distrust you.

Whereas breaking confidentiality agreements under political pressure would demonstrate complete journalistic integrity.

I have to disagree with the notion that Khalidi's writings on Israel are entirely innocuous

Did anyone actually make this claim?

Khalidi disproportionately blames Israel for the problems, and does seem to largely gloss over Palestinian terror as a kind of understandable if inexcusable anomaly

Do you have citations? From what I understand, Khalidi has been a frequent critic of Palestinian leadership, and takes heat for it amongst his fellow Palestinians.

and does seem to largely gloss over Palestinian terror as a kind of understandable if inexcusable anomaly. It's not understandable

It's perfectly understandable: when people see their homes destroyed and their children killed, it's a perfectly understandable reaction to fight back by any means available. The means used may be inexcusable, but the reaction is humanly understandable.

takes heat for it amongst his fellow Palestinians.

Khalidi was born in the U.S., no?

Eric,

I read an article of his yesterday - unfortunately I can;t seem to dig it up as the Google search I used to find it now only brings up thousands of conservative diatribes.

Look, I was skeptical Khalidi was as described - after all, most smears on Obama have been unconvincing. And I think this one is too, in two senses: 1) Obama has never indicated he accepts Khalidi's view beyond expressing basic empathy for Palestinian Arabs, which, I think, is fair and appropriate. 2) Khalidi is not an anti-Semite.

But that he isn't anti-Semitic doesn't mean his views on Israel aren't biased. Again, I meant to dig up that article he wrote - I want to say it was on Salon.com - but I can't find it. Nonetheless, I do think he is strongly partisan - which is fine. It's just that not everything understandable is right, and I wouldn't want him to have a serious role in shaping Obama's policies. He blames Israel more than is justified by the facts, and does so in emotionally-charged terms (apartheid, holocaust, etc.) that I feel undermine his credibility in THIS particular respect. He is, as said, a fine scholar in general. And he is NOT an anti-Semite.

Khalidi was born in the U.S., no?

Yes. Sloppy wording. But it seemed odd to say that he took heat from Palestinians and fellow Palestinian-Americans.

D. Rosen,

That's fine. I agree for the most part (though unless Israel sorts out its treatement of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, apartheid becomes an apt descriptor). Or at least, one could argue that in good faith.

But that's the point: nothing Khalidi has said or written warrants the response that the McCain camp has ginned up. There's nothing wrong with Obama knowing the guy, going to his party or anything else.

As you point out, he's not an anti-semite. His views are controversial to some, but whose aren't - especially around this issue of all issues.

But I'm pretty sure we agree on that.

Once again, we repeat the cycle: an overstatement by McCain against Khalidi is met by overstatements on behalf of Khalidi against McCain. Khalidi is not a monster, but the fact of the matter is that his views on Israel are troubling to a large number of Americans (myself included). To echo D. Rosen: if I believed that Obama shared Khalidi's views, I would not vote for Obama.

As I read this, McCain didn't accuse Rashid Khalidi of being like a neo-Nazi. He accused the University of Chicago of being like a neo-Nazi organization.

Khalidi was a spokesperson for the PLO when he ran the exiled Palestinian News Agency in the 1970s and early 1980s. I think that it is fair to describe the PLO of that era as a terrorist organization. It's that tie that is primarily driving the "neo-Nazi" charge.

There's nothing wrong with Obama knowing the guy, going to his party or anything else.

There may be nothing wrong with Obama going to that party, but it kinda depends on what Obama said while he was there. Frankly, the LA Times should release the tape.

Khalidi was a spokesperson for the PLO when he ran the exiled Palestinian News Agency in the 1970s and early 1980s. I think that it is fair to describe the PLO of that era as a terrorist organization. It's that tie that is primarily driving the "neo-Nazi" charge.

How well does that tie in with support from a group that McCain was a chair of?

Frankly, the LA Times should release the tape

And burn their source? Come on Von. Why would they do that? They already reported on the story, and what was on the videotape.

Larison's right. This is the last gasp.

http://www.amconmag.com/larison/2008/10/29/the-last-gasp/

The worst thing about this is that the McCain campaign has put a *private citizen* at risk for physical attack for nothing, for a sound bite, to whip up their frenzied voters. The right wing was all up in arms that "Joe the Plumber"'s veracity on his name, identity, and tax bracket were examined by curious viewers but Obama and Biden never whipped their crowds into spasms of hatred with Joe's name. Nor did they threaten the end to civilization of Joe and people like him get close to the white house. Its time to stop pretending that is it OK for one party, the republican party, to attack and put at risk innocent civilians and citizens in their quest for power. Who has to get hurt before we acknowledge just how ugly that campaign has become?

aimai

"He blames Israel more than is justified by the facts,"

Endlessly debatable.


" and does so in emotionally-charged terms (apartheid, holocaust, etc.) that I feel undermine his credibility in THIS particular respect."

I doubt he claims that what Israel has done is comparable to the Holocaust. As for apartheid, quite a few people use that comparison, including Olmert and Desmond Tutu. Whether it is helpful or not is debatable--some Israel defenders obviously find the term offensive while Palestinians and others (including some Israelis) think it fair. It could be fair and still not helpful if it just makes people defensive.

"does seem to largely gloss over Palestinian terror as a kind of understandable if inexcusable anomaly. It's not understandable, and it shouldn't be given scholarly opprobrium, even if it isn;t legitimized."

You are aware of how Israel achieved its current demographic? Do you think that one side has had a monopoly on war crimes during the past several decades? "Understandable" means just that--I understand why there would be acts of terrorism and war crimes in a long conflict between two ethnic groups fighting over the same real estate, which doesn't mean I think such acts are justifiable.

I hate to call out von but I'd like to point out that Khalidi's opinions on Israel are no farther out than the opinions of many leftist Israelis and many, many, many centrist American Jews. Von may want to claim some kind of "pro-israeli" mantle but he's no more "pro-israeli" than plenty of Israelis and American Jews who find nothing wrong with Khalidi's writings or political suggestions. Il ne faut pas etre plus royaliste que le Roi on these matters. And more to the point siding with the most radical, angry, dangerous and even terroristic side of Israeli society (the settler side that is even now threatening violence against Israeli soldiers for their "pro-palestinian" stance) isn't actually being "pro-Israel" but rather "pro-demagogue and neo-con." If Khalidi is outside that circle of lunacy that doesn't make him "anti semitic" or "neo-nazi" it just makes him pro-negotiated settlement.

I'd also like to point out what others have pointed out. There are real nazis, let alone neo-nazis out there, and McCain's direct appeals to white solidarity in the face of that new "welfare queen" "people who receive help from the government" and "community organizers" is a direct appeal to them. He doesn't suddenly get to have it both ways and accuse other people of neo-nazi friends until the Republican party apologizes for David Duke and Haley Barbour and stops race baiting this election. I'll wait.

aimai

Eric,

No, the McCain camp's attacks on Khalidi are really over the top, and disingenuous to boot; and frankly, as a Jew, I'm always embarrassed and uncomfortable with the charge of anti-Semitism being thrown about so loosely. It's a serious thing, and it is cheapened when angry conservatives use it for partisan reasons, purporting to speak for Jews generally. It's not right.

Unfortunately, many, many Jews buy what these people are selling, which is sad.

McCarthy on why McCain's association with Khaladi doesn't matter but Obama's does:

    But that's water under the bridge now, and none of it changes the obvious: Whatever typically infurating dalliances McCain may have had with Khalidi and ACORN, they don't compare to the depth of relationship that Obama had with Khalidi and ACORN — and like-minded Leftists. It's not even close.

    McCain, moreover, is an authentic American hero who loves our country as it is and would essentially preserve it. Obama is an untried radical who sees our country as fundamentally flawed (America's "soul," Michelle Obama tells us, "is broken" and can only be healed by Obama) and loves not America but a vision of what America could be once he's through imposing "redistributive change" and "social justice."

McCarthy's giving Hewitt a run for his money in the Biggest Hack race.

(let's see if i can post this one!)

Khalidi is a legitimate scholar, but his views on Israel are (understandably - he grew up in a Palestinian home and doubtless formed his views largely in response to those sentiments) biased. I can understand why his views are disproportionate to reality, but I still wouldn;t want him to have a serious influence on policy.

...
I read an article of his yesterday - unfortunately I can;t seem to dig it up as the Google search I used to find it now only brings up thousands of conservative diatribes.

Or in other words, you are one of those people who have not actually seen the film or read the book that they are expressing very strong opinions about. Your entire critique of a man who writes whole books and many articles for a living comes down to one supposed reading of an article on Salon that you now cannot find. Do you see how you are already buying into the premise of the Palin witch-hunt?

his views on Israel are (understandably - he grew up in a Palestinian home and doubtless formed his views largely in response to those sentiments) biased

By the way, that's called racism, even if it's a fairly mild manifestation of it. As a Jew, I assume you think that all Muslims are lazy zealots, which I don't blame you for, it's quite understandable and entirely inevitable given how you were raised.

You see how this works now?

Whereas breaking confidentiality agreements under political pressure would demonstrate complete journalistic integrity.

They are the ones who decided to run an article in a way that had already compromised their integrity. Even Woodstein had corroborating sources for Deep Throat.

Even Woodstein had corroborating sources for Deep Throat

Wait. They have more than corroboration, they have the actual videotape!

Are you saying that the LA Times should get another source to corroborate what they saw on the videotape?

Von: To echo D. Rosen: if I believed that Obama shared Khalidi's views, I would not vote for Obama.

Does this mean you are now voting for Obama?

Way upthread D. rosen said this:

I support Obama for president, in part because I think the "associations" he has been linked to are tenuous. But if I DID think Khalidi had any kind of serious influence on Obama's thinking, I might be uncomfortable.

Posted by: D Rosen | October 31, 2008 at 11:34 AM

And I really find that odd. I mean, really odd. Not just qua jew, but qua citizen of a large, complex, powerful country like America that is engaged in an attempt to settle a long running struggle/long running sore in the middle east. Even if I thought Khalidi was some kind of extreme pro palestinian political figure--even if I mistook this professor for ARafat himself--I wouldn't be surprised or dismayed to find him welcomed to the table for peace negotiations. Who are we negotiating with if not two sides of an entrenched, complex, angry, historically conflicted set of communities *both* of which have their hands more than bloodied with the blood of the innocent and *both* of which have complex, conflicting, requests that the US is being asked to *broker.*

Inevitably there are going to have to be people at the table in any serious negotiations who have a history as "terrorists" or "freedom fighters" (Haganah? Irgun? Begin? anyone?), who have been involved in violence and even in corruption *on both sides.* And you know what? A sucessful diplomatic approach is going to have to be able to weed out some voices while listening to others regardless of some biographical details. That's one of the ways in which diplomacy is like all out warfare--you can't always pick your partners because of their virtues.

So, to my mind, Khalidi is a non issue because he's a good, honest, thoughtful, academic who has written important stuff on a hotly contested topic. That's not really up for grabs or a matter of perspective, those are the facts as people who are intimate with his scholarship are attesting. But even if he were strongly opposed to Israel's existence, or complicit in some of the internecine violence in the region there is no reason why an Obama administration should scorn to *at least hear him out* and try to include some part of his perspective in a negotiated settlement--even if "including" that perspective means working out a way to ignore it and move past it. That's what real leadership, negotiation, and diplomacy require if they are to bear fruit and not simply degenerate into Bushian finger pointing and shouting.

aimai

"The fact that he repeats the charge that Khalidi was a spokesman for the PLO, a claim that Khalidi denies, and that there is independent reason to think is false -- "

You know who else was an actual PLO spokesperson, and an actual member of PLO leadership during the Sixties and Seventies? Mahmoud Abbas, aka Abu Mazen.

"Khalidi was a spokesperson for the PLO when he ran the exiled Palestinian News Agency in the 1970s and early 1980s. I think that it is fair to describe the PLO of that era as a terrorist organization. It's that tie that is primarily driving the 'neo-Nazi' charge."

In case anyone hasn't noticed, the scary PLO metamorphisized into the Palestinian Authority, which the United States recognizes and treats with and has endless dealings with, etc., as does Israel. This isn't 1973. WTF?

Either we should break relations with the PA, because they were once the scary PLO, or we shouldn't, and attempts to make supporters of the PLO and PA boogiemen have to mean that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are also such boogiemen. WTF?

Ah, found the article : http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080526/khalidi

You can read it and make your own judgment; and mine is as described.

Last thing I'll say: being raised in a Palestinian home (note: not "having Palestinian genes," which would indeed be racist) is probably going to result in different views about this topic than being raised in an Israeli or, in most cases, a Jewish home. The views and sentiments you hear are different. Sorry that bothers you.

I hate to call out von but I'd like to point out that Khalidi's opinions on Israel are no farther out than the opinions of many leftist Israelis and many, many, many centrist American Jews. Von may want to claim some kind of "pro-israeli" mantle but he's no more "pro-israeli" than plenty of Israelis and American Jews who find nothing wrong with Khalidi's writings or political suggestions.

Again, I do not suggest that the attacks on Khalidi are proportionate to his views. And, to the extent that you read me otherwise, disagree with Khalidi's views is not the same as agreeing with the views of his more vehement opponents. I tend Disraelish in my fp views, and I do not exclude Israel (or Britain, or France, or China) from the equation. (Although it is undoubtably true that democracies are more likely than nondemocracies to share our "permanent interests".

"Khalidi was a spokesperson for the PLO when he ran the exiled Palestinian News Agency in the 1970s and early 1980s. I think that it is fair to describe the PLO of that era as a terrorist organization. It's that tie that is primarily driving the 'neo-Nazi' charge."

In case anyone hasn't noticed, the scary PLO metamorphisized into the Palestinian Authority, which the United States recognizes and treats with and has endless dealings with, etc., as does Israel. This isn't 1973. WTF?

Leaving aside the fact that you missed my point, I wouldn't much want a spokesperson for the PA to have the ear of Obama either.

Leaving aside the fact that you missed my point, I wouldn't much want a spokesperson for the PA to have the ear of Obama either.

I would. That would be a most excellent development.

It's always better to be well informed, and in this case, even-handed.

As aimai said, both sides have a tremendous amount of blood on their hands (Israel more, for sure, but let's not get bogged down in body counts), and in order to resolve such a long and bloody dispute, it is necessary to deal with people inolved in...that long and bloody dispute!

Don't shun Sharon and the Likudniks, nor Abbas and the remnants of the PLO. Hell, don't shun Hamas either, as there will be no lasting peace unless they're included.

Last thing I'll say: being raised in a Palestinian home (note: not "having Palestinian genes," which would indeed be racist) is probably going to result in different views about this topic than being raised in an Israeli or, in most cases, a Jewish home. The views and sentiments you hear are different. Sorry that bothers you.

Khalidi is clearly a person who has not uncritically absorbed and regurgitated the prevailing opinions of those around him. I don't mean to attack you, but I think you are falling for this two-level game they play: sure the mental midgets whoop and holler just because of Khalidi's name, but they are also trying to get more thoughtful people, like yourself, who see that he's patently a reasonable and interesting person, to nevertheless discount his views on the basis of his background.

It's actually very insulting to a scholar to dismiss her work on the basis of her gender/ethnicity/age/whatever, apart from being a cheap and predictable way to avoid engaging an intimidating argument.

Ah, found the article : http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080526/khalidi

You can read it and make your own judgment; and mine is as described.


So your judgment that Khalidi "does seem to largely gloss over Palestinian terror" stands even though he clearly mentions "the moral, legal and political disadvantages in the [Palestinians'] use of violence" and urges a preference for non-violent resistance; and your judgment that he uses "emotionally-charged terms (apartheid, holocaust, etc.)" stands even though the essay to which you link doesn't use the word "apartheid" at all and uses the word "Holocaust" only to refer to, you know, the Holocaust.

As I understand it, Khalidi's argument in this essay (and in The Iron Cage) is that the Palestinian leadership has been dealt a bad hand (not specifically by Israel, but also by the former colonial powers and the US) and has generally played it badly, and that the current plight of the Palestinian people is the result of both those things. If that's a "biased view," I'd love to hear an unbiased one.

Eric:

What they're saying is the LA Times is lying, and they're saying THAT because they're either smear-artists or so partisan (or racist) that they believe Obama must be a closet radical.

Ergo, at a private party, he MUST have said radical things like "Death to Israel" and "Down with Whitey!" or whatever the smear of the week is. And if ONLY THE LA TIMES WOULD RELEASE THE TAPE THEY COULD PROVE IT.

Von aside -- I frankly never understood what drives von on some of these issues -- you're talking about people who believe Larry Johnson has secret tapes of Michelle Obama chanting "Down with Whitey", that Obama is the love child of Malcom X and was born in Canada, and that Bill Ayers and Obama have a long-term plan to turn the US into the new Communist Muslim State.

Arguing with insane people is kind of pointless.

"Leaving aside the fact that you missed my point, I wouldn't much want a spokesperson for the PA to have the ear of Obama either."

Why not? "Having the ear" doesn't mean "having hypnotic control." What's wrong with hearing the POV of any side of a conflict? I certainly would fault any relevant Israeli figure or negotiater who didn't listen to members of the PA, and for that matter, of Hamas, just as I'd fault any relevant authority figure or negotiater in the PA, or Hamas, who didn't listen to what Israelis of various prominent views had to say.

But you'd want them to be ignorant? Why? Should you and I stop listening to each other, for fear of poisonous wrong views contaminating each other? I don't think so, but what's your consistent view on this?

"Don't shun Sharon and the Likudniks"

I think it's okay to not talk to Sharon now.

von: "Khalidi was a spokesperson for the PLO when he ran the exiled Palestinian News Agency in the 1970s and early 1980s."

Do you have any evidence that he was a PLO spokesman? He has denied it, and a piece I linked to in the original post provides a pretty decent bit of evidence that Israeli intelligence didn't think he was either.

I thought the Jewish Telegraphic Agency had something relevant to say....

Ah, that's the link I was too lazy to look up. ;)

Okay, having read the Nation piece Khalidi wrote, I don't see anything objectionable in it.

Here are the conclusions:

[...] In particular, Palestinians lacked clarity about the moral, legal and political disadvantages in the use of violence against an Israeli polity able to mobilize in defense of its actions, however unspeakable, the most powerful tropes of victimhood in modern Western culture. This confusion among some Palestinians exists although farsighted thinkers like Edward Said and Eqbal Ahmad understood decades ago that nonviolent resistance was integral to Palestinian success; although the greatest successes of the Palestinians were won by the unarmed popular protests of the first intifada; and despite widespread (but underreported) peaceful joint Palestinian-Israeli protest movements against Israel's illegal wall inside the West Bank. Many Palestinians understandably cling to the legitimate right of any people under occupation to resist their oppressors. They see only the extensive, continuous violence directed by Israel against the Palestinians, much of it structural and integral to the maintenance of the occupation. They cannot understand that because of Israel's cloak of permanent victimhood, its massive violence remains either invisible or justified in the West, while every Israeli casualty seems to be mourned there with infinite sadness and is taken as another sign of the inherent barbarity of the Palestinians.

Today we are witness to the spectacle of two feeble and clueless Palestinian political movements, both lacking strategic vision and bereft of the selfless patriotism that would lead them to bury their petty differences, fighting like two cocks on a garbage heap, as the Arabic expression has it. They do so although overwhelming majorities of Palestinians have consistently demanded that they compromise with each other in the interest of national unity. The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority has abandoned any idea of popular mobilization, any last shred of an ethos of service to the people, any sense of the vital importance of national unity if even minimal Palestinian objectives are to be achieved, any respect for the democratic process that brought its rivals in Hamas into power in January 2006, and any sense of the danger of hitching the Palestinians to the bankrupt policies of a lame-duck American President who heads the most pro-Israeli Administration in US history.

The blindness of Hamas is as bad: neither able to fight nor to negotiate effectively, neither able to compromise with Fatah nor to govern on its own, and no more able to break free of the clutches of its external backers than is Fatah vis-à-vis its own foreign backers, Hamas has lurched from disaster to disaster since its unexpected victory in the 2006 elections. Undermined by the refusal of the United States and Israel even to attempt to negotiate with a Hamas-dominated government, last summer it made the fatal mistake of taking over the Gaza Strip in response to preparations for a US-supported coup by Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan. Hamas reached a low point in April, when a poll showed that it enjoyed the support of less than 18 percent of Palestinians (versus 32 percent for Fatah, whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, however, is even more unpopular than Ismail Haniya of Hamas: 11.7 percent to 13.3 percent). The ideological bankruptcy and the degree of popular rejection of both of the formations that dominate Palestinian politics are illustrated by the fact that together they enjoy the support of barely 50 percent of Palestinians.

If there is to be a resolution of the Palestine problem, it depends on the Palestinians' understanding the massive disadvantages they labor under in fighting a struggle for liberation against the heirs of the victims of the Holocaust, in the growing shadow of worldwide Islamophobia. It depends on their unity and on their adopting the appropriate strategy and tactics for this difficult task, in mobilizing the powerful moral force of their cause and the remarkable strengths of Palestinians under occupation and in the diaspora who have withstood extreme pressures but have neither submitted nor despaired. These strengths must be deployed not just for a defensive steadfastness but for a positive goal of liberation, peace and justice, one that can change the terms of the conflict and the way it is understood, and win over enough of their opponents and enough of the outside world to change the unfavorable balance of forces that today keeps them scattered, dispersed, confined and imprisoned sixty years after the destruction of Arab Palestine.

He castigates Hamas and the PA, and calls for nonviolent unity of Palestinians to "change the terms of the conflict and the way it is understood, and win over enough of their opponents and enough of the outside world to change the unfavorable balance of forces." What's so scary about that?

If this isn't agreeable, what the heck is?

As long as we're speculating as to the contents of heretofore unreleased materials, I'm just going to have to assume the reason for Palin's failure to release her medical records is that Trig is not in fact her son. I mean, if she's got nothing to hide why not release them?

Khalidi disproportionately blames Israel for the problems, and does seem to largely gloss over Palestinian terror as a kind of understandable if inexcusable anomaly.

I'm sick and tired of the blame game, the rhetoric and kindergarten ethics. Instead I have started to simply count the dead: in this conflict the number of Palestinian deaths has been consistently much, much higher than the number of Israeli deaths.

This is the most disingenuous, racist bullshvt imaginable from the McCain campaign.

Any pro-Palestinian activist whose project receives money from the IRI is already viewed as a tool of U.S. and Zionist policy by virtue of that funding. Rashid Khalid would not be getting the defense he's getting from establishment figures if he were anything other than a "good" Palestinian, i.e. a trusted communication channel to the Palestinian leadership. Years and months of "oh, where are the Palestinians we can talk to, who will denounce the corruption in the PLO/PA?". Well, Rashid Khalidi is and was such a person.

That, despite that, the McCain campaign is feeding his name to their pitchfork-wielding rabble (with their super-nuanced understanding of his past and present role, positions, and politics -- riiiight) for a marginal gain in the Florida vote is grotesque, racist pandering -- racist because it relies on the assumption that no one with an Arab heritage is trustworthy unless he or she's completely bought. And maybe not even then.

He castigates Hamas and the PA, and calls for nonviolent unity of Palestinians to "change the terms of the conflict and the way it is understood, and win over enough of their opponents and enough of the outside world to change the unfavorable balance of forces." What's so scary about that?

It's scary to some people because it might work if given the chance.

Gary Farber: If this isn't agreeable, what the heck is?

Or, what Gary said.

I don't mean to pick on any other commenter so I'll make my comment generic. The accusation that a *respected scholar* whose work has been published widely and widely critiqued and accepted on its merits, should be criticized because he "comes from a Palestinian American home" and we can presume his family had some personal insights into the history and experience of their people that doesn't jump exactly with the experience of my aunt dina in Philadelphia or my husband's great aunt who digs latrines for the Israeli army is just sickening, to me. Yes, its racist. But even more to the point its deeply offensive, as offensive as some Poles telling the survivors of the Warsaw ghetto that their perspective is "warped" by the fact that they weren't able to be outside the ghetto enjoying the comforts of christian polish households.

True fact, I 've got Israeli Jewish relatives in Israel, and Palestinian Muslim relatives by marriage in Nablus. My grandfather was forbidden to speak in US synagogues after advocating a two state solution after 1948 and that ban continued, as far as I know, right up until his death.
In a conflict both sides have different histories and experiences of that conflict and it might come as some surprise to some posters but both sides can truly have experienced atrocities, deaths and crimes even as they have committed such atrocities themselves. And inevitably both sides will tell their stories differently to their children. That's the nature of the conflict. We can't end those conflicts without fully airing and respecting the truths behind those grievances. That is as true in the case of Israel/Palestine as it has been in any of the world's other critical ethnic and territorial disputes such as cypruss/Turkey? Protestant/Catholic in Northern Ireland? Bosnian/Serb?

Like Novakant I'm sick and tired of the fright quotes from the American neo-cons and their followers. Ohmygod! There are Palestianians out there who don't think Israel and its democracy are the greatest thing since sliced bread! Unpossible! Within the American context these people are identical to the white republicans who throw up their hands in horror at Reverend Wright's few harsh words for American history, or Michelle Obama's remark that "she is proud" of america now in a way she hadn't been before. Can we please stop pretending that Palestinian opinions about the death of the Ottoman empire and the birth of Israel are illegitimate because they are sometimes angry? Who *wouldn't* be angry? I sure would and I'm a jew.


aimai

McCain's campaign has reason to believe that this attack will produce positive results for them. That they are willing to use it is egregious, but what is scary and disappointing is that there is actually reason to believe it will produce movement TOWARD them.

This means that at least a significant portion of our citizenry is actually so afraid of thoughts or ideas that MIGHT NOT conform that they are willing to attempt to ban them, or, at least, to strongly sanction them.

I emphasize MIGHT NOT conform because I seriously doubt if most of those who are the target of this and similar attacks have any idea what those thoughts and ideas that they wish to ban or sanction really are.

Fear is a useful survival mechanism, but fear of POSSIBLE non-conforming thoughts and ideas is ridiculous. And fear of anyone who may have been exposed to possible non-conforming thoughts and ideas is really something to fear!

I keep thinking there must be a way to communicate with people who think like this. Yet, it seems that even trying would be admitting that I have possible non-conforming thoughts and ideas and that therefore, the communication is over before it begins. To me, McCain and his campaign are sad and pathetic. The real problem is the Americans who are so very afraid of thoughts and ideas.

Any thoughts or ideas? Don't be afraid...

Khalidi was a spokesperson for the PLO when he ran the exiled Palestinian News Agency in the 1970s and early 1980s. I think that it is fair to describe the PLO of that era as a terrorist organization. It's that tie that is primarily driving the "neo-Nazi" charge.

According to the New York Times article today about Khalidi weathering this controversy, he flatly denies being a spokesman for the PLO. He was working for universities in Lebanon at the time, so reporters would call him for analysis.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/31/nyregion/31khalil.html?ref=politics

this is going too far and it is not something obama should allow to continue unchallenged.

Even though it still bothers me, I could see why he wouldn't stand up to defend bill ayers (a man who undoubtedly stepped over the line in his opposition to the savage butchery of the people of vietnam, laos, and cambodia and who has since dedicated his life to the improvement of inner-city schools...) from the right wing assassins but rashid khalidi deserves to be shielded from these people. obama needs to call in the press people traveling with him and announce to them in unequivocal terms that his professional and maybe even personal relationship to khalidi is not something that he feels any need to run away from. whatever their differences may be on the middle-east conflict, khalidi is a widely respect scholar whose work has made a valuable contribution to the israelie-palestinian dialogue.

what is happening right now is not so much that obama is being smeared via his associations to a couple of university of chicago intellectuals - as we can tell from the polls - but it is the names of these two man who are forever tarnished as the media (and, in his silence, obama is complicit in this) blithely accepts the proposition that their association is something to be smeared with. by raising these racist ravings to the level of actual campaign attack the media is effectively turning rashid khalidi from a respected scholar into a figure, potentially odious enough to hurt a presidential candidate.

the degree of villainy attributed to these two men is inferred solely from the public stature of the man they are supposed to hurt. but all of this wouldn't work if the candidate under attack was actually willing to defy the basic assumption that he need to be ashamed of knowing and working with either of them...

he needs to put an end to this.

if he does not then this is a way in which john mccain's dishonor could very well end up tainting barack obama as well...

Jeez, Marty freaking Peretz speaks up for Khalidi.

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