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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rashid Khalidi (you know, Obama's best friend, the second terrorist professor?)

Remember that professor McCain/Palin was trying (really hard and without success on both counts) to paint as another terrorist and political ally of Obama’s?
"It seems that there is yet another radical professor from the neighborhood who spent a lot of time with Barack Obama going back several years," Palin said at an event in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Radical?? I guess that’s the new substitute for calling someone anti-Semitic for criticizing Israel.

Anyway, he was on the Diane Rehm Show March 5 at 11am.

On the page for the link I’m giving, you can listen to the segment and see just how radical he is? Or perhaps Palin fits the radical label better and so from her perspective, Khalidi is radical? Or perhaps anyone is radical who expresses a minority opinion, no matter how commonsense- the US shouldn’t torture, the US should have gathered more info before flattening Iraq, the US should oppose war crimes on both sides of the Israeli Palestinian conflict?

Radical is “marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional”, so perhaps that characterization is correct, but when used in combination with the Ayers allusion (or delusion??) and the PLO, which was named a terrorist organization in 2004, she was giving it a bad connotation. Or trying really, really hard to do so.

I’ve got to say that the Ayres and Khalidi digs were a pretty far stretch. She introduced the Khalidi thing in the last week of the campaign when the Ayres thing had all but fizzled out. It looked pretty sad then, but take a listen to Khalidi speaking for himself and it looks even worse. You will see someone who has an understanding of world affairs that far supercedes hers. Obama has his flaws and limitations, but I think we averted disaster in that last election. Speaking of flaws—what about that Limbaugh garbage? Obama needs to stop taking Emanuel’s advice! Giving Limbaugh that much attention was a big mistake (it just boosted his already supersized ego); he’s got a big mouth, but he’s no spokesman.

Anyway, Khalidi’s got a new book, Sowing Crisis in the Middle East, and it touches on things I’ve thought about before as well as some other interesting ideas.

He apparently addresses my thoughts about terrorism being the new communism, as in it being an exaggerated fear, boogeyman, and something that is thrown about without much care in tough political contests or discussions.

He also talks about Cold War remnants and how that carries over to the current situation in the Middle East (and how Bush picked a lot of Cold War “experts”). The US and Israel were on one side and Arabs sided with the Soviet Union on the other. He thinks that this is how Arab nationalism got (wrongly) associated with communism and hence was opposed by the US and its allies on principle.

I don’t know if he talks about this in his book, but his interview led me to think that this could very well be a major reason for our unconditional support for Israel, despite its failure to uphold our values, and reluctance to support Palestinians gaining statehood and rights in general. I mean, think about how much and how carelessly in recent times the communism accusation is still thrown about- a good example would be the recent presidential campaign in 2008. It was used when people disagreed, to describe the run of the mill progressive tax, used to describe Obama, etc. The Cold War is very much alive in American minds, though it has been over for some time in reality.

The reasons I have usually given for our unconditional support for Israel despite the evidence for its human rights violations, war crimes, lack of respect for human life in general, apartheid tendencies, etc are:

*Christian Zionism/religious beliefs/ misunderstanding of Bible prophecy and the Old Testament in general

*Jewish Zionism

*Israel lobby (buying politicians, politicians loving power and money more than justice and freedom)

*Islamophobia and fear of a culture we aren’t familiar with

The Cold War should definitely join the ranks, here. None of these are justifiable for depriving Palestinians the right to freedom, statehood, self-defense, human rights, food, shelter and the like, but I definitely see it as a reason for our position.

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