A tale of two videos

September 20, 2012

I wonder how many of you were struck by the contrast between the zeal of America’s Leftist media to publicize a video of Mitt Romney that was secretly shot in a private home with the insistence of the Los Angeles Times for the last four years that it cannot release a video of a young Senator from Illinois speaking at a going away party for his good friend Rashid Khalidi.
Darren Jonescu was quite struck by that contrast, as was I. Here are some of his comments on the issue. 

And what about the other secret video, the one the media has chosen to suppress and guard for all these years?  It apparently shows a mutual admiration society of Chicago terrorists, supporters of terrorists, communist revolutionaries, Islamists, anti-Semites, and Barack Obama (as featured speaker), gathered to celebrate a prominent spokesman for anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian propaganda.  Nothing to see here.  Move along, move along.

One last note.  In this age of domestic surveillance drones, “domestic terror” accusations against Tea Party conservatives, and the Obama administration’s reluctance to say that it will never criminalize speech criticizing a religion (see here), ought not this Romney “secret video” story give one pause?  This video was shot behind closed doors, in a private home.  The leftist mouthpiece media has been tripping all over itself to publicize it as quickly and widely as possible.  There is a message here, whether intended or otherwise: watch what you say — anywhere, in any company, even in the privacy of your own home.  No place, no context is above public monitoring and revelation. 

Your “private” thoughts are not your own.  And the public entity explicitly assigned the task, in a free society, of defending you against the potential corruptions of power is now the willing servant of that power, and the eager vessel of those corruptions.

…Unless, of course, your private thoughts express sympathy with Islamic terrorists, and show you, as an elected official, cavorting with avowed enemies of the American system of government.  Then you will be accorded the full protection of the LA Times.


Palestinian so called intellectual: We already have a one-state solution – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

December 5, 2011
Rashid Khalidi - Alex Levac
Palestinian Professor Rashid Khalidi.(Haaretz)

hey… look… it’s Obama’s teacher! …hey… if this were really objective why would the newspaper not inform us who this guy was and what his relationship to the Whitehouse is? here is the actual text… I don’t trust Haaretz to keep this up.

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority should unite, unequivocally renounce violence and jettison the U.S.-led peace process which is “a corpse that has had formaldehyde pumped into its veins for over a decade” – this is the diagnosis and prescription of Professor Rashid Khalidi, one of the leading Palestinian intellectuals in the world.
“Nobody believes that firing rockets and getting 1,400 people killed in response is ‘resistance’ that is going to liberate Palestine, and nobody believes that talking with the U.S., with Dennis Ross putting his thumb on the scales in favor of Israel, which is already overwhelmingly superior, is going to produce an equitable and just and lasting solution of the Palestine question. If you still believe that – you have to have your head examined,” the U.S.-born Khalidi said.
Khalidi, a member of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid peace process in the early 1990s, and one of the first proponents of a two-state solution expressed grave doubts about the chances for its implementation, because of what he describes as the “inexorable work of the bulldozers” and Israel’s “settlement-industrial complex”. In any case, he added, the two-state solution was but a “way station” that would not mean end-of-conflict and would still necessitate agreement on Palestinian refugees and on Israel’s “Palestinian minority” before a comprehensive settlement could be achieved.
A “one-state solution already exists,” he added, because “there is only one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, in which there are two or three levels of citizenship or non-citizenship within the borders of that one state that exerts total control.”
Laying much of the blame for their situation on the Palestinians themselves, he called on them to “re-imagine” the way a Palestinian state would work. “Why not have a Palestinian state in which Jews live? What’s wrong with that?” And in what might sound as an echo of Israeli complaints about the “Tel Aviv state”, Khalidi said that Palestinian leaders need to mobilize their people and “get them out their expensive Audis and Mercedes and out of their bubble in Ramallah where everyone is prosperous and there is no unemployment.”
Khalidi refused to discuss any aspect of his personal relations with U.S. President Obama, which featured so prominently in the 2008 presidential campaign and was used to criticize Obama’s attitude toward Israel. But Khalidi’s criticism of the President’s Middle East policies is withering: “I had low expectations and my low expectations were more than fulfilled. He’s done considerably worse than I would have expected.”
Khalidi said that Obama had squandered his chance of making meaningful changes during his first two years in office, when the Democrats still controlled Congress “and since they lost Congress a year and a half ago, Benjamin Netanyahu has more influence over these issues than the president does. Because he has a House and a Senate that will carry him on their shoulders as far as he wants to go. The President can’t do that.”
In a wide-ranging interview conducted in his office at Columbia University in New York, where he is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, Khalidi also dismissed Israel’s existential fears of Iran as “fantasy” and said that the leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood are “pragmatic” and would not abrogate Egypt’s peace agreement with Israel.
On the other hand, Khalidi expressed grave concern about the extremist Salafi party’s performance in the Egyptian parliamentary elections, which “shocked” him, and suggested that its success may be connected to Saudi funding. “There are several scores of Saudi princes who have personal budgets as large as medium-sized states. So there are 20 or 30 Saudi ‘foreign policies,'” he said.
At the same time, Khalidi believes that Islamist parties will have a hard time maintaining their current popularity in the Arab world, a development that already be seen in what he described as the Gaza public’s growing disenchantment with Hamas. “It’s perfectly fine to come in with a slogan that ‘Islam is the solution’, but try to solve a housing crisis, or infrastructure, or unemployment, with ‘Islam is the solution’, he said.
“This is a process that’s going to fall through – if it’s not short-circuited by hysterical people from the outside,” he added.
On Iran, Khalidi believes that “Ahmadinejad is a technician who has no real role in security or foreign policy or where the military is concerned. You try to convince Americans of that – as far as they are concerned, he’s Hitler’s little brother.”
He said that Israeli leaders are “cynically and irresponsibly” drumming up fears of Iran in order to “maintain Israel’s dominance over the region” and that Jerusalem must change its attitude towards Teheran “which means layers of hysteria, and lies and exaggeration and propaganda are going to have to be peeled back.”
“The idea that Israel is under any existential danger is fantasy. The idea that the Iranians would incinerate a 3,000-4,000 year old civilization for some apocalyptic reason and destroy themselves as a government, as a regime, and as individuals – is irrational,” Khalidi said.
Khalidi, who lived for many years in Beirut, also warned of an outbreak of “civil war and sectarian violence” in Syria, which would be “catastrophic for the whole region”. He accused the Gulf countries of stirring the pot in Syria and of drumming up sectarian animosity.
Full Text
Q. Let’s talk about the Palestinians. Why has the Arab Spring passed them by? And do you think the two-state solution is still possible? Your detractors say that you would not be unhappy about such a development

A. Anyone who is an advocate of the two state solution has to tell me how a forty plus year old process can be reversed. That process, even since Meron Benvenisti starting talking about it in the late eighties, hasn’t changed one bit. No Israeli government has ever stopped it. I mean Rabin did a little bit, but that’s it. It’s inexorable – the bulldozers never stop.
Explain to me how a two state solution is compatible with the continuation of that dynamic. Your newspaper chronicles better than most the rise of that ideology and how it has taken over institutions of the state, one by one, including the army, how the imperatives of this movement, which used to be Harav Kook and a few people in the Revisionist movement who had never been in power – you could count them on the fingers of your hand in 1967 – are now sitting on top of a bulldozer that will never stop, unless somebody stops it. Anyone who’s interested in a two state solution – an Israeli, an American, a Palestinian or an Arab – has to explain to me how that process can be reversed, or how the continuation of that process indefinitely into the future is compatible with what anyone would call a “state” can come about in the occupied territories. This is a value-free assessment.
Q. Well people will tell you that with a five per cent swap, with a ten percent swap – it is still feasible. But obviously they are not going to stop it while…you know there was an attempt by the Obama administration..
A. I’m not talking about a settlement freeze. That’s not what’s at issue. I’m talking about how you uproot what I call “the settlement-industrial complex”, which is not 500 or 600 hundred thousand in the occupied West Bank and in Occupied Arab East Jerusalem, it’s the hundreds of thousands in government and in the private sector whose livelihoods and bureaucratic interests are linked to the maintenance of control over the Palestinians, in the finance ministry, collecting taxes, the people who work for these companies that control these data bases, every Palestinian is on these multiple data bases, four million people, how many entries, how many highly paid software engineers, how many programmers, how many consultants, how many executives – we’re talking hundreds of thousands of people. Most of them live prosperous lives right near the Mediterranean and wouldn’t go near the occupied territories if their lives depended on it. But their lives and their livelihoods are utterly bound up with the people who live on the West Bank and, to the extent possible, with those who live in Gaza. 
I’d love to see an Israeli politician with the courage to deal with those issues. I haven’t seen one. So I’m not saying it can’t happen – the late Tony Judt once said “anything that one politician has done another politician can undo” – I can see it’s conceivable to have a two state solution, but I also see a dynamic…this is not a dynamic that depends on this American president, this is a wider dynamic.
Q. Do you personally support a two state solution?
A. If it was possible? I think it would be real way station towards a just resolution of this conflict.
Q. You say a way station. That is a codeword, you know. So it would not mean the end of conflict.
A. It’s a way station, because a two-state solution will not resolve is the fact that there are not just four million Palestinians in the occupied territories and another million or million and a half inside Israel, there are several million other Palestinians. Now some of those Palestinians are perfectly integrated into where they live, and all they might want is a passport and a vacation home or a burial plot – but they have rights, and they have aspirations and they have weight in Palestinian politics. I don’t see how a two-state solution that is the final and sole resolution according to Israel’s vision, in which nobody comes back to Israel proper – is going to solve all of this.
Another problem is – how do you address the growing problem that is constituted by this large indigenous minority inside Israel. The two-state solution doesn’t address this. That’s part of the Palestine problem. It’s an Israeli problem. Transfer is not the solution. Ethnic cleansing is not the solution.
Q. Our foreign minister has a solution….
A. Why are we talking about this but for the fact that the United Nations gave 55% of a country that was two-thirds occupied by Palestinians? 35% of the population, who owned 7% of the land, and who in the Jewish state laid out by the UN Partition Plan would have had to deal with a 50% Arab minority. This was resolved by “dumping” the Palestinians, so dumping more Palestinians won’t solve the problem.
Q. You know that what you say is playing into the hands of people who oppose a diplomatic solution who will cite this as proof that you’re not going to make do with an independent Palestinian state, but you will continue to demand the right of return as well as a solution to the Israeli Arab minority.
Q. They are not an Israeli Arab minority alone; they are also part of the Palestinian people. So no solution to the Palestine question which is final, which is just, which is agreed – can act as if this was an internal Israeli problem and the Israelis can treat the Palestinians inside Israel exactly as they please. It won’t work.
A. So what – they will be extra-territorial citizens? Extra judicial?
Q. No. Israelis have to figure out a way to reunderstand their own citizenship so that these people can be Israelis and they can be Palestinians at the same time. They are more indigenous than anyone else there, except for a few people whose great-great-great-great grandparents were also there. They have more rights, in a certain way of understanding rights, than anybody else, and they certainly have the right to be citizens of the state they live in, an Israeli state, and that has to be squared with the idea of Jewish nationhood, of Jewish people, of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people and those things could probably be solved – but it’s not an external thing, that’s not “we’ve solved the borders now shut up and let us deal with our Arabs”. The Israelis are free to do it. They have the power to do it. But it won’t work. In fact, one of the things that Palestinians resent is that the PLO leadership ignored this issue in the 1990’s. That won’t be possible in the future.
At the same time, a two-state solution is part of a larger solution and it also requires the Palestinians to reimagine what a Palestinian state can be. I think they have a very impoverished way of thinking. Why not have a Palestinian state in which Jews live? What’s wrong with that? Why shouldn’t a Palestinian state be a binational state, or a state which has two nationalities? It would be the national home of the Palestinian people, just as Israel is the national home….No Israeli thinks of only the 1947 or the 1949 borders as a place to which the national imagination of the Jewish people is restricted – nor should the Palestinians. And that’s not incompatible with a two-state solution. As far as Palestinians are concerned, all of Palestine is Palestine, just as in the eyes of Israelis, all of that country is Eretz Yisrael. And that has to be part of the solution as well. 
So, my problem is not with the two-state solution, because partition is problematic but it may be the least bad solution. My main issue with the two state solution is that I don’t see the current dynamic being reversed. I don’t think we need to talk about how many states can dance on the head of a pin before we deal with that.
Q. So you think we’re headed for a one-state solution?
A. We already have a one-state solution. There is only one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. There are two or three levels of citizenship or non-citizenship within the borders of that one sovereign state that’s in control, or at least the state that decides everything that is important. When I go in, I don’t go into a Palestinian state, I cross Israeli borders, whether it’s at the river or at Ben Gurion airport. So we have a one state solution, and that’s what we’re going to have for the foreseeable future, unless the Israelis or people who have the ability will persuade the Israelis to reverse the dynamic that has made a two-state solution virtually impossible. You have to spend a lot of time in the occupied territories to understand what Amira Hass described as “the matrix of control” – how is that going to be extirpate? It’s not percentages. It’s much more complicated than that. You can control the entire West Bank with three or five or ten per cent – and I don’t think it’s as small that, by the way, because it doesn’t include Jerusalem and it doesn’t include the Jordan River and it doesn’t encompass the issue of jurisdiction. When we were negotiating between 1991 and 1993 with Elyakim Rubinstein we came up against this complex issue of jurisdiction. It’s not just a question of geography. Talking about percentages you sort of fudge it and get away from the situation that has been created during the past forty years.
Q. What is the situation of the Palestinian leadership at this time? The UN recognition appears to have fallen flat.
A. I think both Palestinian leaderships, the Ramallah PA and the Hamas in Gaza, seem to fell impelled to change what they’ve been doing. That’s I think why Abbas went to the UN and that’s why he’s been so stubborn in his dealings with the US and Israel, and that’s why Khaled Mashal seems to be willing to contemplate some form of reconciliation. It’s partly the changes in the Arab world and it’s partly their own unpopularity with their people. Nobody believes that firing rockets and getting 1400 people killed in response is “resistance” that is going to liberate Palestine, and nobody believes that talking with the US with Dennis Ross putting his thumb on the scales in favor of Israel, which is already overwhelmingly superior, is going to produce an equitable and just and lasting solution of the Palestine question. If you still believe that you have to have your head examined. 
So, both leaderships are actually in a state of crisis, internally – there is a succession crisis inside the Fatah, inside the PLO, there’s a legitimacy crisis, there’s a hollowing out of institutions and Hamas, as you may know, is not terribly popular now that it’s controlled the place for five or six years.
But I don’t know if this will eventuate. Israel and the US have interfered in order to prevent any kind of reconciliation. And there is strong resistance to it internally.
Q. You support it.
A. I think that if the Palestinians cannot get their act together, they have no hope of resolving their problems. Palestinian problems are caused, in the first instance, by Palestinians. You can blame Israel, or the United States or the Arabs – and they have their share.
Q. But there is a danger that the end result will be that Hamas will rule both Gaza and the West Bank
A. I’m not as worried about that as other people, because firstly I don’t think that Hamas has the popularity that other people think it has. Secondly because I don’t think either of the two sides is going to give up control of what they already control. And thirdly because I think a continuation of the status quo is disastrous for both of them – but mainly for the Palestinian people.
In addition, what they’re talking about is integrating Hamas into the PLO – which necessitates all kinds of changes in the public positions of Hamas, vis-a-vis Israel and vis-a-vis agreements entered into by the PLO and vis-a-vis resolutions of the Palestinian National Council. I don’t know if they’ll be able to do this. This is what they say they’re going to do. They say they will have elections for the PNC. They say you’ll then have a completely different makeup of the PLO and changes in the makeup of the Palestinian Authority. I wonder whether they will ever fully integrate the Gaza and the West Bank PA, but there’s no particular reason that the police and the fire departments and so on shouldn’t. The real security services probably not but the other services – there’s no reason why not. There’s no reason why a real PA administration of the border with Egypt couldn’t lead to a fundamental change in the status of Gaza. That would be to everybody’s advantage.
I think Palestinian reconciliation as a precondition for the Palestinians to get out of the run they’re in. It doesn’t solve the problem but it allows the Palestinians to address the problem in a unified manner.
Q. And what should be their strategy?
A. One thing they should be doing is renouncing violence. It’s something they’ve renounced in principle – but they have to do it in practice. Violence has brought nothing but catastrophe to them. Secondly, they should understand the impact of violence on Israel – it strengthens the worst forces in Israel. Thirdly they should understand that they have to operate within the framework of the international legal framework, which prohibits violence against civilians. If you demand those standards to be upheld against your opponents, you have to uphold those standards yourself. Not because the Israelis want it or because the United States demand it, but because it’s the right thing, it’s the smart thing, it’s the strategic thing to do.
The second thing they have to figure out is that allowing the United States to dominate the negotiations is worse than dealing with Israel directly. I was in negotiations where the American diplomat offered a bridging proposal that was worse than the Israeli position. America is more Israeli than the Israelis – why do you need them? Of course Israel wants them because its doubles Israel’s power and strength – but from a Palestinian perspective? Anybody or nobody is better.
Finally, the whole structure that was imposed in Madrid, Oslo and Washington is designed to perpetuate the status quo. That is not a peace process, it is a process to manage the conflict in America’s and Israel’s interest. You have to completely jettison that. Negotiations have to be strategic and deal with the real problems – not another interim solution. And you have to be able to put pressure on the other side, and if you can’t use violence, you have to use other forms of pressure. There are ways to do that, but you have to first mobilize your people, you have to get them out their expensive Audis and Mercedes, out of the bubble in Ramallah where everybody is prosperous and there is no unemployment and there are bars and nobody knows what’s happening ten kilometers away, outside the bubble. 
Q. They used to say that about Tel Aviv..
A. Israel is a huge prosperous economy, Israelis can deal with that themselves, that’s something for Israeli protestors to deal with, Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Dizengoff, whatever. That’s their issue. People who are living off the fat of the land in Gaza and off the much more fat in Ramallah – that’s their issue. 
There are strategies – public relations for example. No Israeli delegation comes to New York without spending seventy five per cent of their time talking to Congress, talking to the media. No Palestinian delegation that has come to New York has ever spent serious time doing public diplomacy. 
Q. There’s Hanan Ashrawi, Nabil Sha’ath
A. They still talk perfectly good English, but you don’t see them. But I’m not talking specifically about them, but about a failure that goes back to the twenties and thirties, a failure to understand the international environment, a failure to understand both the Israeli and the American domestic environment. It was never true in Europe and in the rest of the world – the Palestinians are fairly good at making their case there – but they have this huge blind spot when it comes to the US and Israel, which are the most important countries.
U.S. PRESIDENT OBAMA: “He’s done considerably worse than I would have expected”
Q. Finally, on the issue of your relations with President Obama
A. I don’t talk about that
Q. Are you disappointed with him?
A. I had low expectations and my low expectations were more than fulfilled. He’s done considerably worse than I would have expected. But I never assumed that this would be someone who would be able to break the whole mold of American politics. And he didn’t. Quite the contrary. This has been an Administration that on certain key issues has been almost as bad as and sometimes even worse than the Bush Administration. In its first two years, when they still controlled Congress, they frittered away the opportunity to do things when they still could have. And then since they lost Congress, Benjamin Netanyahu has more influence over these issues than the president does. Because he has a House and a Senate that will carry him on their shoulders as far as they want to go. The President can’t do that. 
You actually had two Obama Administrations: in the first two years when they thought they could do certain things and didn’t, and in the last year and a half….
Q. Even peace-loving Israelis will tell you that they were mistaken in demanding a settlement freeze.
A. Yes, well, whatever. I frankly think the whole process was broken. This is a corpse that has had formaldehyde pumped into its veins for over a decade. The problems go back to the nineties. It’s not what Obama did or what Clinton did in 2000 or Bush in 2004. Those are serious failures, but this is basically a failure to understand that a process that is rooted in Menachem Begin’s idea of autonomy is not going to lead to a two-state solution. It will lead to what Begin wanted it to lead to, which is more settlements, Israeli control of Jerusalem Israeli control overall. That’s what “interim self-governing authority” laid out in 1978 was meant to achieve, that what Yitzhak Shamir was insisting on, that’s what Dennis Ross and all those people including American presidents have bought into ever since. That’s the problem, not that Obama didn’t say this or that in 2010.
Q. Still, if you compare Obama to the Republican candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, I would assume that Obama is more agreeable to you. 
A. There are structural issues that are much more important. In any case, it is the economy that will determine who will be elected. If Europe goes down and the economy slows, Obama will lose no matter what, but if there is even a modest revival, he will win, no matter who the Republican candidate will be.

EGYPT AND THE ARAB SPRING: “It’s the Salafis who really worry me”
A. Q. It seemed in your articles from a few months ago that you were optimistic about the forces that would lead the Arab Spring. But the people who organized the Tahrir revolution in Egypt have been outmaneuvered and outvoted by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the West is now concerned about where all of this is going.
B. One thing that’s obvious is that the kind of forces that organized the revolution do not have the skills to run in elections. And so it’s not surprising that the Muslim Brotherhood has done so well in the initial results of the first round. My guess is that the Brotherhood is going to do well, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It’s the Salafis who are doing much better than expected, and that came as a shock to me. That should be a subject of more concern than the Brotherhood.
One of the reasons that the revolution succeeded is that it was not organized hierarchically – it was organized in terms of a network and it didn’t have any real formal structural organization. That enabled them to elude the surveillance of the Mukhabarat (secret services). And it’s why the revolution was so wildly successful. That’s why they eluded the secret police of various Arab countries. 
But elections are not won by enthusiasm or networks – and I lived in Chicago for 16 years – elections are won by pyramid-like structures with money and organizations; elections are won by machines. Anybody who didn’t think that the Muslim Brotherhood would do well in these elections, especially once the National Democratic Party was disqualified, was not looking at reality.
I would say that the thing that’s been quite surprising to me, there and elsewhere, is the different levels of support that the Salafis have had. In Tunisia they got no support at all, and secular parties got 60% of the vote, even though they were far less organized than [the more moderate Muslim party] An-Nahda. The Salafis and the extreme right wing got nothing. That surprised me. 
But in Egypt I am most disturbed by the Salafi vote. Had they not done so well I don’t think people would be saying what they’re saying about the Brotherhood vote. I don’t know why the Salafis did so well, but I’ll be in Egypt soon to find out. Some people point to money, money from abroad. There are forces in the Arab world that are strongly supporting both the Salafis and the Brotherhood.
Q. You mean the Saudis?
A. The Saudis and the Qataris. There are several scores of Saudi princes who have personal budgets as large as medium-sized states. So there are 20 or 30 Saudi “foreign policies”, depending on how many of these leading figures within the royal family choose to have an active profile. Money coming from the Gulf may have had a role in this – where, from what prince, from what emirate, I don’t know.
Q. So what’s your explanation?
Secular parties have had a problem for a long time in the Arab world, because they are associated with the failures of nationalism, socialism, communism and even old secular liberal ideologies, and they clearly have not recovered from that. The people who have not yet had a chance to fail, the way the Baath parties have has failed, are the organized Islamist parties. The Algerian military prevented that from happening, or we would have had a cycle of failures already. 
The only people who have had even a small chance to govern have been Hamas, and if you look at the polls from Gaza you can see that governing doesn’t do good for a lot of these people. It’s perfectly fine to come in with a slogan that “Islam is the solution”, but try to solve a housing crisis, or infrastructure, or unemployment, with “Islam is the solution”. Well, Hamas didn’t do very well with some of those issues and the Algerian Islamists would have long been kicked out of office had they been allowed to take office in 1992. So this is a process that’s going to fall through – if it’s not short-circuited by hysterical people from the outside.
Q. People are very concerned about this and are saying “well, we were better off with Mubarak” and so on. And, indeed, is it not dangerous to the area? At a time when confrontation with Iran is looming?
A. What was really dangerous was the artificial life support that dictatorial and authoritarian regimes were put on, partly by external actors, that provoked, to a certain extent, what we are seeing now. Mubarak’s regime had its own domestic sources of legitimacy and strength, but the extent to which it was held up by American tear gas, 3 billion dollars of American aid, support from the Europeans, support from Israel and so forth – well, every action brings a reaction, and that’s part of the backlash that we are seeing now. The only people who consistently opposed this regime, and thereby gained the support and trust of the Egyptian people, who hated it, were the Islamists.
I’m really sorry about that. And anybody who supported the Mubarak regime is now the object of dislike the Egyptian people. So, if you think that the Mubarak regime was the solution to Israel’s problems or to America’s problems – you have a problem now, partly caused by your own solutions in the past. I don’t see any reason why that should not be as obvious as the sun.
And I don’t think the solution is more authoritarianism or another general. That will cause much worse problems, because the genie has been let out of the bottle. The people know their power in these countries. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be divided, or there can’t be outside intervention – but I’m more concerned now by intervention from within the region, by which I don’t mean Israel or Iran, but the Gulf countries. These are a lot harder to deal with. The United States is easy, Israel is easy, even Iran or Turkey, they’re all outsiders. This is coming from within the Arab system, I find that disturbing.
Q. Do you think Israelis need to be concerned about their peace treaty with Egypt?
A. No. Not as long as the Muslim Brotherhood is the dominant force in Egypt. Not at all. These are very serious, pragmatic characters, who, first and foremost will not endanger a certain modus vivendi with the military. And secondly they understand that they will lose power if they push that red line, and they want to hold on to power. I don’t think that that is a serious concern.
I would argue though that Israel had better get used to having a different relationship with the region. It’s not going to be able to impose itself, as it has in the past, on Egypt for example. Israel cannot determine what happens in Gaza the way it has since 1967, with every major decision being made by Israel, with the exception of certain things like the tunnels that they could never close. Those days are going to end. I would suggest that the whole attitude towards Iran has got to change, which means layers of hysteria, and lies and exaggeration and propaganda and so forth are going to have to be peeled back.
IRAN: “Ahmadinejad is a technician who has no real role in security or foreign policy”
Q. But you know that even the most peace- loving Israeli is certain that Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb and that if it attains it, it will irrevocably change Israel’s strategic position for the worse.
A. Iran has already changed Israel’s position, as has Egypt, as has Turkey. You can hold up your hands and try to stop the sun. Unless Iran is destroyed, which would be a catastrophe for everybody. The likelihood is that Iran is going to be a factor that’s going to have to be dealt with differently.
Q. And you don’t think that the nuclear issue is a sort of red line?
A. Why don’t we make Israel’s enormous nuclear arsenal an issue…
Q. I don’t want to get into an ideological argument, but the reason is that we don’t have a leader who is threatening to annihilate another country, for example. They do.
A. You have a defense minister who spoke in your newspaper about attacking Iran.
Q. There’s a big difference. He’s not threatening to wipe Iran off the map.
A. The difference is that Israel can actually do what it’s threatening to do. Iran has no hope in the foreseeable future of carrying out any threats. I would suggest that a little more careful look be taken into what Iran is up to. A politician makes a speech – who is he talking to? Are they really talking to Israel, or to the Arab world, or are they talking to some domestic political struggle?
People talk about Ahmadinejad – Ahmadinejad is a technician who has no real role in security or foreign policy or where the military is concerned. You try to convince Americans of that – as far as they are concerned he’s Hitler’s little brother. But he’s not important in these decisions. He may talk, he’s an important part of the Iranian political scene, he represents important forces and what he says is entirely a function of his struggles with others in Iran – but it has nothing to do with his understanding of the world or what he can actually do. If Khamenei was saying some of these things, that would have more significance, but even then I would want someone who understands where these people are coming from to translate them and not these rubbish, garbled translations that we often get. 
This is not a parliamentary regime and the elected president has so much less power in the system established under Khomeini. I sometimes wonder: Israel has all these great Iran specialists why don’t they elucidate for Israeli public opinion how unimportant statements by Ahmadinejad are, in terms of actual foreign policy and security and nuclear weapons? 
Q. So you think that Israel is exaggerating the danger from a nuclear Iran?
A. I would only accuse those who actually know well enough, who know what the Iranians are actually saying, who understand the internal Iranian political balance and who understand the very limited capabilities that Iran has to project power. Where they are in terms of missile development, where they are in terms of weapons development, where they are in terms of nuclear development. Anyone who knows these things and is saying some of the things that Israeli leaders are saying – the Americans are much more careful, and I’m not talking about the politicians who get on their hind legs in Congress, and who, to be fair to them, are completely ignorant, they don’t know anything, they are told things by their aides but they don’t know anything, they’re innocent – no I’m talking about people within the intelligence community, within academia, within government, in the US and Israel who know these things, and some of these people who are saying the things they’re saying about Iran are really acting irresponsibly.
Now is the Israeli public scared? Of course it’s scared. It’s being scared. By people who in some cases are acting very cynically, very irresponsibly, and are playing with fire and are using this in order to maintain Israel’s dominance over the region in ways that may no longer be possible. Israel is always going to be stronger than everyone else because of its nuclear arsenal, because of its conventional edge, because of its technological edge, because of its links to the United States and I can go on and on and on. 
The idea that Israel is under any existential danger is fantasy. Is that deeply implanted in many Israelis’ minds because of Jewish history? Yes. Is that an irrational fear? Yes. We can talk psychology, but we’re talking nuclear capabilities, actual intentions, the ideological orientation of this regime, who actually controls things – those are factual matters. Ahmadinejad does not control anything and this regime is not suicidal – I mean there are people who should know better who say that it is. Anybody who says that is to be pitied. The idea that they would incinerate a 3,000-4,000 year old civilization for some apocalyptic reason and destroy themselves as a government, as a regime, and as individuals – is irrational.
Q. Well, perhaps they are irrational…
A. I think the holders of that idea are irrational, because there are tons of evidence of what this regime consists of.
Q. You don’t think they are irrational
A. Well I’m not an Iran specialist, but all these books in my library and anybody who I know that knows anything about Iran agrees that they’re not. Ruthless, maybe, you can say many things about them – but irrational, I don’t think so.
SYRIA – “Sectarian violence would be catastrophic for the whole region”
Q. What is your take on the situation in Syria?
A. I am most concerned about a civil war and sectarian violence, which could be terrible. There are elements that are pushing to that. That would be a catastrophic outcome for the whole region. External intervention is a very bad thing, but sectarian war would be terrible. I lived in Lebanon, and it hasn’t yet recovered from the sectarian conflict twenty years ago.
God help the Syrians if that happened. I blame the regime, first and foremost but I also blame the opposition forces, who are supported, I am sure by the outside, particularly the Gulf countries, which are turning this into a sectarian direction.
This is a regime that has always had a preponderance of minority representation, including Sunnis who were outsiders, Ismailis, Druze, Kurds, Christians, people from the Jazira, people from outside the centre. It was the outsiders and the minorities against the Sunni bourgeoisie in the cities and over time this situation unleashed these sectarian forces, also because of the Syrian involvement in Lebanon. Mistakes were made by this Assad, by Bashar, in terms of not leaving commerce to the Sunni bourgeoisie in Damascus and Aleppo but members of the family horning in instead and taking over huge sections of the economy in the past ten years. Liberalization has basically meant personal appropriation of huge sectors of what used to be public into the private hands of the extended family extended – and all of them are Alawis. 
This has already unleashed a sectarian element even before all of this happened. The Brotherhood was always there, but there are much more extreme elements than the Brotherhood. You know the Brotherhood are not beloved by the Saudis. The Brotherhood have friends in Qatar. It’s the Salafis that the Saudis really favor. I don’t like the Brotherhood, but I don’t worry about the Brotherhood. I don’t just dislike the Salafis – I worry about the Salafis. 
Q. What is the explanation for the Arab League’s surprising vehemence towards Assad?
A. It’s partly sectarian, on the part of the Saudis, for example. It’s partly that like the Turks, they are tired of being lied to by the Assad regime. And it’s partly because they are all driven by public opinion, even the conservative monarchies and the remaining authoritarian regimes. And public opinion is very worked up by the Arab revolution and by Syria in particular.
 


The Economics of Settlement

June 20, 2011

In the mid-19th century, before the arrival of the first groups of Jewish settlers fleeing pogroms in Russia, Arabs living in what became the mandate territory of Palestine — now Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza — numbered between 200,000 and 300,000. Their population density and longevity resembled today’s conditions in parched and depopulated Saharan Chad. Although Worldwatch might prefer to see the Middle East returned to these more earth-friendly, organic, and sustainable demographics, the fact that some 5.5 million Arabs now live in the former British Mandate, with a life expectancy of more than 70 years, is mainly attributable, for better or worse, to the work of those Jewish settlers.

…Jordan. A country almost four times larger than Palestine (including Sinai), Jordan partakes of the same mountain fold of mesozoic limestone, the same rich river plains, the same Rift Valley and highlands, the same mineral resources, the same climate, and a several times larger population in ancient times. But at the time of Lowdermilk’s visit, its agricultural output and per capita consumption of imports was one-fifth that of Palestine and its population density was one-tenth Palestine’s.

…Lowdermilk summed it up: “Rural Palestine is becoming less and less like Trans Jordan, Syria and Iraq and more like Denmark, Holland, and parts of the United States [Southern California].”
…Raja Khalidi’s entire argument itself suffers from a huge gap — namely, the absence of evidence that Arabs anywhere in the world outside of the United States have performed as well economically as have Arabs in Israel. The average Arab annual per capita income in Israel is $600 per month (i.e., an annual household income of $14,400 for a family of four). This compares with an average annual income of $9,400 for a family of four in sparsely populated Jordan, which roughly matches the average across the Arab world. Moreover, while Palestinians in the disputed territories have undergone a catastrophic 40 percent drop in income since the PLO’s resurgence, the income gap between Israel’s Palestinian Arab population and Jewish population has, in fact, been declining.
Any income gap between the Jewish and Arab populations of Israel is clearly attributable to the prowess of Jewish entrepreneurs and other professionals, whose excellence produces similar gaps in every free country on earth with significant numbers of Jews. Jews, for example, outearn other Caucasians in the United States by an even larger margin than they outearn Arabs in Israel. This probably reflects the fact that the United States, until recently, had a freer economy, by most standards, than Israel.

….As George Will acerbically noted in a particularly brilliant column, “Turkey was claiming to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, a land with higher incomes and longevity than Turkey itself.” via spectator.org


Ali Abunimah, Edward Said, Rashid Ismail Khalidi, Bill Ayers and Obama

May 27, 2011
From left to right, Michelle Obama, then Illinois state senator Barack Obama,
Columbia University Professor Edward Said and Mariam Said
at a May 1998 Arab community event in Chicago
at which Edward Said gave the keynote speech.
(Image from archives of Ali Abunimah)

“Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I’m hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.” He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, “Keep up the good work!”

Michelle Obama and Barack Obama listen to Professor Edward Said
give the keynote address at an Arab community event in Chicago, May 1998.
(Photo: Ali Abunimah)
…If disappointing, given his historically close relations to Palestinian-Americans, Obama’s about-face is not surprising. He is merely doing what he thinks is necessary to get elected and he will continue doing it as long as it keeps him in power.  via electronicintifada.net
what Americans Voted for is frightening.  Obama’s hard-Left tilt is real.
It’s time to revisit the issue of President Obama’s Palestinian ties. During his time in the Illinois state senate, Obama forged close alliances with the most prominent Palestinian political leaders in America. Substantial evidence also indicates that during his pre-Washington years, Obama was both supportive of the Palestinian cause and critical of America’s stance toward Israel. Although Obama began to voice undifferentiated support for Israel around 2004 (as he ran for U.S. Senate and his national visibility rose), critics and even some backers have long suspected that his pro-Palestinian inclinations survive.
The continuing influence of Obama’s pro-Palestinian sentiments is the best way to make sense of the president’s recent tilt away from Israel. This is why supporters of Israel should fear Obama’s reelection. In 2013, with his political vulnerability a thing of the past, Obama’s pro-Palestinian sympathies would be released from hibernation, leaving Israel without support from its indispensable American defender.
To see this, we need to reconstruct Obama’s pro-Palestinian past and assess its influence on the present. Taken in context, and followed through the years, the evidence strongly suggests that Obama’s long-held pro-Palestinian sentiments were sincere, while his post-2004 pro-Israel stance has been dictated by political necessity.
Let’s begin at the beginning — with the controversial question of whether Obama’s cultural heritage through his nominally Muslim Kenyan father and his Muslim Indonesian stepfather, along with his having been raised for a time in predominantly Muslim Indonesia, might have had some effect on the president’s mature foreign-policy views. Obama supporters often mock this idea, but we have it on high authority that Obama’s unusual heritage and upbringing have had an effect on his adult views.
Top presidential aide and longtime Obama family friend Valerie Jarrett was born and raised in Iran for the first five years of her life. In explaining how she first grew close to Obama, Jarrett says they traded stories of their youthful travels. As Jarrett told Obama biographer David Remnick: “He and I shared a view of where the United States fit in the world, which is often different from the view people have who have not traveled outside the United States as young children.” Remnick continues: “Through her travels, Jarrett felt that she had come to see the United States with a greater objectivity as one country among many, rather than as the center of all wisdom and experience.” Speaking with the authority of a close personal friend and top political adviser, then, Jarrett affirms that she and Obama reject traditional American exceptionalism. One hallmark of America’s exceptionalist perspective, of course, is our unique alliance with a democratic Israel, even in the face of intense criticism of that alliance from much of the rest of the world.

Edward Said – Orientalism

Center for ‘Palestine’ Studies
at Columbia University
AKA Bir Zeit on the Hudson
and taqiyyah

Obama’s close friend and longtime ally, Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said’s successor as the most prominent American advocate for the Palestinians, goes further. Khalidi told the Los Angeles Times that as president, Obama, “because of his unusual background, with family ties in Kenya and Indonesia, would be more understanding of the Palestinian experience than typical American politicians.” Khalidi’s testimony is important, since he speaks on the basis of years of friendship with Obama.
Those who know Obama best, then, affirm that his foreign-policy views are atypical for an American politician, and are grounded in his unique international heritage and upbringing. That is important, because our core task is to decide whether Obama’s pro-Palestinian past was a stance rooted in sincere sympathy, or nothing but a convenient sop to his leftist Hyde Park supporters. Jarrett and Khalidi give us reason to believe that Obama’s decidedly pro-Palestinian inclinations are rooted in his core conception of who he is.
Obama came to political consciousness at college, and prior to his discovery of community organizing late in his senior year, his focus was on international issues. Obama’s memoir, Dreams from My Father, highlights his anti-apartheid activism during his sophomore year at California’s Occidental College. Obama’s anti-apartheid stance, however, was part of a far broader and more radical rejection of the West’s alleged imperialism. Obama himself tells us, in a famous passage in Dreams, that he was taken with criticism of “neocolonialism” and “Eurocentrism” during these early college years.
What Obama doesn’t tell us, but what I reveal in Radical-in-Chief, my political biography of the president, is that he was a convinced Marxist during his college years. More important, once Obama graduated and entered the world of community organizing, he absorbed the sophisticated and intentionally stealthy socialism of his mentors. Obama’s socialist mentors strongly supported what they saw as the “liberation struggles” carried on by rebels against American “oppression” throughout the world. So Obama’s continuous radical political history strongly suggests that his early support for Palestine’s “liberation struggle” grew out of authentic political conviction, not pandering.
Although Obama has long withheld his college transcripts from the public, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2008 that Obama took a course from Edward Said sometime during his final two undergraduate years at Columbia University. This was just around the time Obama’s ties to organized socialism were deepening, and certainly suggests a sincere interest in Said’s radical views. As Martin Kramer points out, in his superb 2008 review of Obama’s Palestinian ties, Said had just then published his book The Question of Palestine, definitively setting the terms of the academic Left’s stance on the issue for decades to come.
After Obama finished his initial community-organizing stint in Chicago and graduated from Harvard Law School, he settled down to a teaching job at the University of Chicago around 1992, and went about laying the foundations of a political career. Sometime not long after his arrival at the University of Chicago, Obama connected with Rashid Khalidi.
To say the least, Rashid Khalidi is a controversial fellow. To begin with, although Khalidi denies it, Martin Kramer has unearthed powerful evidence suggesting that Khalidi was at one time an official spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization. Also, in the years immediately prior to his friendship with Obama, Khalidi was a leading opponent of the first Gulf War, which successfully reversed Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. According to Kramer, Khalidi condemned that action as an American “colonial war,” insisting that before we could end Saddam’s occupation of Kuwait, we would first have to end Israel’s supposedly equivalent occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. As Kramer puts it, Khalidi’s influence helped turn the University of Chicago of the Nineties into “the hot place to be for . . . trendy postcolonialist, blame-America, trash-Israel” scholarship.

Bill Ayers Admits He Wrote Obama’s
“Dreams From My Father”
— Just “Some Guy From the Neighborhood”??

While we don’t know exactly when their friendship began, Khalidi was reportedly present at the famous 1995 kickoff reception for Obama’s first political campaign, held at the home of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. That is no minor point. We’ll see that as Khalidi’s close friend and political ally, Ayers played an integral role in the story of Obama’s relationship with Khalidi.
In May 1998, Edward Said traveled from Columbia to Chicago to present the keynote address at a dinner organized by the Arab American Action Network, a group founded by Rashid and Mona Khalidi. We’ve known for some time that Barack and Michelle Obama sat next to Edward and Mariam Said at that event. (Pictures are available.) It has not been noticed, however, that a detailed report on Said’s address exists, along with an article by Said published just days before the event (Arab American News, May 22, June 12, 1998). Between those two reports, we can reconstruct at least an approximate picture of what Obama might have heard from his former professor that day.
For the most part, Said focused his article (and likely his talk as well) on harsh criticisms of Israel, which he equated with both South Africa’s apartheid state and Nazi Germany. Said’s criticisms of the Palestinian Authority also were harsh. Why, he wondered, weren’t the 50,000 security people employed by the Palestinian Authority heading up resistance to Israel’s settlement building? In his talk, Said called for large-scale marches and civilian blockades of Israeli settlement building. To prevent Palestinian workers from participating in any Israeli construction, Said also proposed the establishment of a fund that would pay these laborers not to work for Israel. Presciently, Said’s talk also called on Palestinians to orchestrate an international campaign to stigmatize Israel as an illegitimate apartheid state.
So broadly speaking, this is what Obama would have heard from his former teacher at that May 1998 encounter. Yet Obama was clearly comfortable enough with Said’s take on Israel to deepen his relationship with Khalidi and his Arab American Action Network (AAAN). We know this, because Ali Abunimah, longtime vice president of the AAAN, has told us so.
In many ways, Abunimah is the neglected key to reconstructing the story of Obama’s alliance with Khalidi and AAAN. While Abunimah’s accounts of Obama’s alliance with AAAN have long been public, they are not widely known. Nor have Abunimah’s writings been pieced together with Obama’s history of support for AAAN. Doing so creates a disturbing picture of Obama’s political convictions on the Palestinian question.
In late summer 1998, for example, a few months after Obama’s encounter with Edward Said, Abunimah and AAAN were caught up in a national controversy over the alleged blacklisting of respected terrorism expert Steve Emerson by National Public Radio. In August of that year, NPR had interviewed Emerson on air about Osama bin Laden’s terror network. According to columnist Jeff Jacoby, however, Abunimah managed to obtain a promise from NPR to ban Emerson from its airwaves, on the grounds that Emerson was an anti-Arab bigot. It took Jacoby’s research and public objections to lift the ban.
Attempting to bar an expert on Osama bin Laden’s terror network from the airwaves is not exactly a feather in AAAN’s cap. Yet Obama continued his relationship with AAAN. Abunimah himself introduced Obama at a major fundraiser for a West Bank Palestinian community center a short time later in 1999. And that, says Abunimah, was “just one example of how Barack Obama used to be very comfortable speaking up for and being associated with Palestinian rights and opposing the Israeli occupation.”
The year 2000 saw yet another public clash between Ali Abunimah and Jeff Jacoby over terrorism, along with a deepening alliance between Obama, Khalidi, Abunimah, and AAAN. In May 2000, Abunimah published a New York Times op-ed taking issue with a State Department report on the rising threat of terrorism from the Middle East and South Asia. The report focused on al-Qaeda, in particular. This was one of the most timely and accurate warnings we received in the run-up to 9/11. Yet Abunimah trashed the report. In a longer study released around the time of his op-ed, Abunimah went further, questioning Hezbollah’s designation as a terrorist organization, and suggesting that we ought to be, at the very least, “deeply skeptical” of the State Department’s warnings about Osama bin Laden.

As Abunimah continued to downplay the threat from bin Laden, his ties to Obama deepened. In 2000, AAAN founder Rashid Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama’s ultimately unsuccessful congressional campaign. Abunimah remembers that Obama “came with his wife. That’s where I had a chance to really talk to him. It was an intimate setting. He convinced me he was very aware of the issues [and] critical of U.S. bias toward Israel and lack of sensitivity to Arabs. . . . He was very supportive of U.S. pressure on Israel.” Obama’s numerous statements over the years criticizing American policy for leaning too much toward Israel were vivid in Abunimah’s memory, he says, because “these were the kind of statements I’d never heard from a U.S. politician who seemed like he was going somewhere rather than at the end of his career.” Obama’s criticism of America’s Middle East policy was sufficient to inspire Abunimah to pull out his checkbook and, for the first time, contribute to an American political campaign.
Within a year, Obama did Khalidi and Abunimah a good turn as well. From his position on the board of Chicago’s Woods Fund, Obama, along with Ayers and the other five members of the board, began to channel funds to AAAN, totaling $75,000 in grants during 2001 and 2002. Now Obama and Ayers were effectively supporting the pro-Palestinian activism of AAAN’s vice-president, Abunimah, and funding an organization founded by their mutual friends, the Khalidis, in the process.

Rashid Khalidi on CNN
with Fareed Zakaria

The Terror and Crime of the
American Task Force on Palestine

In the first year of the Woods Fund grant, Abunimah was the focus of a critical Chicago Tribune op-ed by Gidon Remba, a former translator in the Israeli prime minister’s office. Pointing to Abunimah, among others, Remba decried attempts by “Yasser Arafat’s Arab-American cheerleaders” to “vindicate the resurgence of attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinian gunmen and Islamic suicide bombers.” Yet Obama and Ayers re-upped AAAN’s money in 2002.
An August 2002 profile of Abunimah in the Chicago Tribune quotes a supporter of Israel noting that, while he has heard Abunimah deplore terrorism, he has never heard Abunimah affirm that he “supports the continued right of Israel to exist alongside a future Palestine.” That is because Abunimah does not appear to recognize such a right. Instead, Abunimah favors a “one-state solution,” in which Israel’s identity as a Jewish state would be drowned out by an influx of Palestinian immigrants seeking the “right of return.” Abunimah’s book, One Country, which spells out his one-state solution, features an extended comparison between Israel and South African apartheid.

MOLOCH, god of the Canaanites

 
…An “alternative history narrative”
has been promoted by Arab propagandists
and their fellow-travellers.

The Palestinian-Jebusite linkage
first appeared in the Arabic literature.
Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian activist and historian,
wrote that in the mid- or late 1960s,
Palestinian nationalism developed a historiography that
“anachronistically read back into the
history of Palestine over the past few centuries,
and even millennia,
a nationalist consciousness and identity
that are in fact relatively modern.”
In an accompanying footnote,
he wrote that this historical “outlook”
created a “predilection for seeing in peoples such as the
Canaanites, Jebusites, Amorites, and Philistines
the lineal ancestors of the modern Palestinians.”…

For Bill Ayers, Abunimah’s claims that Israel is an apartheid state, along with his arguments that international law at times licences violent resistance against Israel, surely resonate. As I show in Radical-in-Chief, Ayers has never abandoned his Weatherman ideology. The reason Ayers refuses to repudiate the Weathermen’s terrorist past is that he sees the group’s violent actions as justified resistance to the “internal colonialism” and apartheid of a racist American society. That likely explains why Ayers happily channeled grant money to AAAN, which makes a Weatherman-style argument against Israel.
In the acknowledgments of Resurrecting Empire, a monograph he worked on toward the end of his time in Chicago, Khalidi credits Ayers with persuading him to write it. A core theme of Resurrecting Empire is that the problems of the Middle East largely turn on America’s failure to force Israel to resolve the Palestinian question. This claim that Israel is the true root of the Middle East’s problems is what Martin Kramer identifies, correctly, I think, as the key lesson imparted to Obama by Khalidi.
Khalidi left Chicago in 2003, after the now-famous farewell dinner at which Obama thanked Khalidi for years of beneficial intellectual exchange. The article in which the Los Angeles Times reports on that dinner adds that many of Obama’s Palestinian allies and associates are convinced that, despite his public statements in support of Israel, Obama remains far more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause then he has publicly let on.
Specifically, Abunimah has said that, in the winter of 2004, Obama commended an op-ed Abunimah had just published in the Chicago Tribune, saying, “Keep up the good work!” (This is likely the op-ed in question.) According to Abunimah, Obama then apologized for not having said more publicly about Palestine, but also said he hoped that after his race for the U.S. Senate was over he could be “more up front” about his actual views.
It didn’t turn out that way. Once Obama’s new-found stardom gave him national political prospects, he swiftly shifted into the pro-Israeli camp, to Abunimah’s great frustration. Would a reelected Obama finally be able to be “more up front” about his pro-Palestinian views, belatedly fulfilling his promise to Abunimah? In short, was Obama’s pro-Palestinian past nothing but a way of placating a hard-Left constituency whose views he never truly shared? Or is Obama’s post-2004 tilt toward Israel the real charade?
The record is clear. Obama’s heritage, his largely hidden history of leftist radicalism, and his close friendship with Rashid Khalidi, all bespeak sincerity, as Obama’s other Palestinian associates agree. This is not to mention Reverend Wright — whose rabidly anti-Israel sentiments, I show in Radical-in-Chief, Obama had to know about — or Obama’s longtime foreign-policy adviser Samantha Power, who once apparently recommended imposing a two-state solution on Israel through American military action. Decades of intimate alliances in a hard-Left world are a great deal harder to fake than a few years of speeches at AIPAC conferences.
The real Obama is the first Obama, and depending on how the next presidential election turns out, we’re going to meet him again in 2013.
— Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and the author of Radical-in-Chief. via nationalreview.com


Yes, The So-Called "Palestinian Arabs" Are Canaanites

March 15, 2011
MOLOCH, god of the Canaanites
An “alternative history narrative” has been promoted by Arab propagandists and their fellow-travellers.

The Arabs who reside in the territory of the former Mandate of Palestine, which dissolved on May 15, 1948 after the UN recommended on November 29, 1947 it be partitioned as a Jewish state, and Arab state and a special regime which was rejected by the Arabs, claim to be the direct descendents of the pagan peoples of the Bible who lived in this region 4000 years ago. The ramifications of this are critical to any peace process.

In August 1996, an official “Culture festival” was held at Sebastya (p. 163) with Arab youth dresses as “Canaanites”. Others appeared as Girgashites, Ammorites and Perizites, et al.
As explained in this article by David Wenkel who holds a master’s degree in Christian thought from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois:
Many Palestinian Arabs, including such prominent figures as Yasir Arafat and Faisal Husseini, claim that Palestinians descended from the Canaanite tribe of the Jebusites. Such declarations should not surprise. History is political. Many Middle Eastern cultures and states retroactively claim roots to the ancient tribes and empires in order to legitimize their modern nationalism…How significant, then, is the Palestinian-Jebusite link? Connections between modern Palestinians and ancient Jebusites would trump the Jewish claim by predating it and legitimize the Palestinian claim to Jerusalem and Israel. The political and diplomatic impact is clear, especially as Palestinian leaders insist that Israel forfeit sovereignty over Jerusalem….

And in further detail:
The claim to Jebusite heritage within the Palestinian community is a recent construct… Andrew S. Buchanan, then a doctoral candidate in international relations from St. Andrews University, Scotland, framed this claim to “uninterrupted continuity” with Jebusites and Canaanites…The Palestinian-Jebusite linkage first appeared in the Arabic literature. Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian activist and historian, wrote that in the mid- or late 1960s, Palestinian nationalism developed a historiography that “anachronistically read back into the history of Palestine over the past few centuries, and even millennia, a nationalist consciousness and identity that are in fact relatively modern.” In an accompanying footnote, he wrote that this historical “outlook” created a “predilection for seeing in peoples such as the Canaanites, Jebusites, Amorites, and Philistines the lineal ancestors of the modern Palestinians.”…
…the 1978 Al-Mawsu’at Al-Filastinniya (Palestinian encyclopedia)…declared, “The Palestinians [to be] the descendants of the Jebusites, who are of Arab origin,” and described Jerusalem as “an Arab city because its first builders were the Canaanite Jebusites, whose descendants are the Palestinians…By 2001, what Khalidi once attributed to anachronistic revisionism, he came to promote when he attached his name to an article published by the American Committee for Jerusalem which declared, without corroborating evidence, that “According to a number of historians and scholars, many of the Arabs of Jerusalem today, indeed the majority of Palestinian Arabs, are descendants of the ancient Jebusites and Canaanites.” Khalidi now argued that Palestinians did not descend from those who arrived with Muhammad’s armies, but rather, “native Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim Arabs, are of a mixed race whose connection with the land reaches back into very early history.”…

PASSIA, an official Arab body, has a rather unique Jerusalem chronology which ‘establishes’ the Jebusite basis the predates the Jews but also links it to the Arabs by a simple trick: it minimizes and ignores Jewish existence in any form.
(And, by the way, read this dispute.)
I have dealt in a series of posts (here; and here; and here and see other references there) on the “In Canaanite Eyes” theory of Nur Masalha.
But perhaps there is something to all this hocus-pocus. Maybe some Arabs are descended from pagan Canaanites, like those that engaged in human sacrifice. Some dispute that practice. Others do not (and here; and also here; as well as here).
The act of ritual murder committed on the Fogel family in Itamar on Shabbat night was “worthy” of Arabs who champion their Canaanite roots. The barbarism, the immorality, the inherent evil in such an act will forever signify the futility of coexistence and peace with such people.
And the only hope is that they will disappear just as the Canaanite and Jebusite and Ammorite civilizations did.
written by My Right Word


Center for ‘Palestine’ Studies at Columbia University AKA Bir Zeit on the Hudson and taqiyyah

October 17, 2010

Martin Kramer notes that when he first coined the phrase Bir Zeit on the Hudson in 2003, Edward Said’s response was that there were only two ‘Palestinians’ among the 8,000 faculty members at Columbia and that Kramer was a McCarthyite. 

 And yet, as Carl reported earlier this week, there is now a Center for ‘Palestine’ Studies at my alma mater. What happened since? Kramer explains. via israelmatzav.blogspot.com

At least the center is in New York.  My college Carnegie Mellon University moved a campus to Qatar.

So how did Columbia go so rapidly from “two Palestinians teaching in a faculty of 8,000 people!” to “a unique concentration of distinguished scholars on Palestine and the Palestinians”? Don’t be shocked, but Edward Said was out to deceive in that 2003 interview. Obviously there were more than two Palestinians back then. But I didn’t invent the nickname Bir Zeit-on-Hudson because of their number. It was meant to evoke precisely the atmosphere of intimidation—anti-Israel intimidation—that would later come to light in the “Columbia Unbecoming” affair.

Now that Columbia boasts of being home to “a unique concentration of distinguished scholars on Palestine” (who “will have a national and global reach”), Bir Zeit-on-Hudson hardly sounds far-fetched. By that, I don’t mean a “terrorist hideout”—those were Said’s words, not mine—but a redoubt of militant Palestinian nationalism in the guise of scholarship. And I mean militant: the affiliates of the new center aren’t only engaged in the positive affirmation of Palestinian identity, but are activists in the campaign to negate Israel. This is obviously the case in regard to Joseph Massad and Nadia Abu al-Haj—their field isn’t Palestine studies, it’s anti-Israel studies—but it’s increasingly true of the new center’s co-director, Rashid Khalidi, Columbia’s Edward Said Professor, an enthusiastic spokesman for the PLO in its terrorist phase and a severe critic of the same leadership in its present phase.
For now, Khalidi is cleverly doing what Said did with his “two Palestinians” shtick. “We have absolutely no money,” Khalidi said at the launch (attended by an overflow crowd). “What our little modest center will be able to do may be some narrow, specific things,” he reassured a journalist from the Jewish Forward. I’m not buying it, and I think that the moniker Bir Zeit-on-Hudson is too modest to convey the scope of the ambition behind this project. So I’m working on an alternative. For a preview, click on the thumbnail or here.

Make sure to follow that last link – especially if you went to Columbia or Barnard. It will give you a new perspective on the campus. Heh. Khalidi has learned the practice of taqqiyah well.

obama_ayers_khalidi.jpg
image of Ayers, Obama and Rashid Ismail Khalidi (Arabic: رشيد خالدي‎) via patdollard.com

via israelmatzav.blogspot.com

Rashid Ismail Khalidi (Arabic: رشيد خالدي‎), born 1948, a Palestinian-American historian of the Middle East, is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University,[1] and director of the Middle East Institute of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.


Rashid Khalidi on CNN with Fareed Zakaria

April 20, 2010

You will recall that during the election campaign, the Los Angeles Times had but did not release a video of Khalidi’s going away party from Chicago, which was attended by Barack Obama, at which some extremely anti-Israel statements were made.

 the segment about Israel with Khalidi and Stephens starts around the 11:00 mark and ends around the 27:15 mark.

Ron Radosh notes the part that is most problematic.

During the discussion, Zakaria asked whether or not it was “a shift for the — the United States to be suggesting that this stalled peace process [between Israel and the Palestinians] hurts America’s ability to pursue its interests.” What the administration is now saying, Khalidi responded, “is that Israel is a drag on the United States. It’s not a strategic asset, and this is a discursive shift of some significance.” (my emphasis) To put it a bit differently, Rashid Khalidi, who in 2008 worried that because of American politics Obama had to appear to be a supporter of Israel, now believes that Obama’s promise to move U.S. policy towards the Palestinian perspective is coming true.
Khalidi again emphasized his main point: “that Israel is not the strategic asset it was touted as during the Cold War” and that the U.S. had returned “…in effect, to the Eisenhower administration’s view of the Middle East as an area where the United States has problems, and Israel is, in some small way, one of those problems.” Clearly, all the boilerplate assurances coming from the Obama camp in the past few weeks — assuring Americans that the U.S. commitment to Israel as a major ally is as firm as ever — have not dissuaded Khalidi from reaching a quite different conclusion.