Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Khalidi appeared recently with Ralph Peters on PBS's NewsHour with Margaret Warner. Transcript and audio are here: President Declares Failed Mideast States Threat to U.S..

Khalidi performed according to script -- repeating the tired rhetoric that passes for analysis in the academy these days...the problems in the Middle East are America's, and particularly the Bush Administration's, fault...things were much better with Saddam in power, etc... As Peters points out, the Middle East's troubles began long before the Bush Administration came along, and demagogic strongmen like Saddam, who invaded his neighbors and murdered his people en masse, were part of what was holding the Middle East in the Dark Ages. In fact, what Saddam's removal has shown is two important things: First, that what's holding the development of the Middle East down is the intra-regional meddling and interference of neighbor on neighbor (in Iraq's case Syria and Iran doing their best to sabotage the reconstruction), and not the hand of the West which is in fact spending billions in treasure and gallons in blood to help people who have never done a thing for us, and second, removal of the murder regime has lain bare the bankruptcy of the Middle Eastern society it overlaid which has quickly devolved (with a bit of prodding from its neighbors) into a frenzy of tribal and religious murder and mayhem from almost the moment the chains were removed.

Oh, and by the way, Khalidi also criticizes Bush's recognition of the rise to power of Hamas and Hizballah as hypocritical, showing he's either disingenuous about what those groups are, or he doesn't understand democracy any better than they do. The terror groups have co-opted the democratic system, not proved it out. So much for the idea of Western-trained academics exporting Western values...they exist merely to excuse and exacerbate the grievance.

But let's leave that aside. A credentialled Orientalist expert wielding explanations long past their post-colonial expiration date is something to be written-off with a little preasure on the clicker...barely worth a blog post. On the other hand, this is Rashid Khalidi, and he does represent Columbia University, and a couple of things he said are worth picking up and holding to the light for a moment.

First, a couple of errors in fact that goes to build to what Khalidi's real motivation is:

No, I'm not saying that. Hezbollah carried out attacks against Americans back in the '80s at a time when the United States had invaded, had landed troops in Lebanon and was trying to do something that was against the will of most Lebanese. But since then whatever danger they've posed has been to Israeli occupation forces inside Lebanon.

The US was part of "peacekeeping" force, not an invasion. Hizballah hasn't only been a danger to "occupation forces," they crossed the border to attack Israel, then launched hundreds of rockets against Israeli civilians in Israel, not Israeli armed forces in Lebanon.


"Hamas, as far as I know, and as far as I've seen, has never attacked America, the United States, or Americans. So I don't think either of them pose a direct threat to the United States."

Well, there's a rather major lawsuit against them for doing just that. Here is an extensive list of Americans killed by Palestinian terror, most by Hamas, and apparently not updated since September, '04. Palestinian terror attacks are always a threat to Americans, as the death of young Daniel Wultz at the hands of the Al Aqsa brigades demonstrates:

...Abu Nasser, a senior leader of the Al Aqsa Brigades in the West Bank, rejoiced in Wultz's death. Abu Nasser is part of the Brigades leadership in the Balata refugee camp suspected of plotting the attack.

"This is a gift from Allah. We wish this young dog will go directly with no transit to hell," Abu Nasser said...

Here, though, is Khalidi revealing himself, and demonstrating the ulterior motive behind all this rotten analysis:

...I'm suggesting that, if you try and talk about Palestine, which is a country, a people, a nation that's never had sovereignty, never had statehood, that has been under occupation by Israel ever since 1948, then you are -- and you ignore that -- you are trying to blame the victim, in essence...

There are two unwitting confessions here from Khalidi. First is that he admits there never has been a country called Palestine. Second, and this is Khalidi's true agenda, is his most straightforward admission that he believes Israel has no right to exist -- "occupation by Israel ever since 1948." So a country that never existed is under occupation by a country that shouldn't. This is very revealing stuff, and explains why Khalidi is trying to push so hard to an American audience that genocidal groups dedicated to the destruction of Israel and opposition to the West and things Western ought not concern Americans. This is an argument that has sold well in Europe but has so far gained no traction with Americans who aren't buying it.

This is the sales job and agenda that Columbia's endowment is subsidizing and its name is legitimizing -- the Middle East's screams of Death to Israel and Death to America behind the soft, measured tones of a PhD.


Khalidi is a liar.

The Hamas bombing of the Frank Sinatra cafeteria targeted and slaughtered the young Americans in the adjacent Rothberg School.

I don't think much of Khalidi, but I have to quibble with you on one point. He doesn't seem to be saying that there has never been a country called Palestine. He seems to say that the country called Palestine never got to rule itself. Let's face it, before 1948, there had never been a country called "Israel" either.

Of course there was a country called Israel. It was a few years ago, so you may have forgotten, but it was a large, independent kingdom and the literature and ethical and religious thought that it produced is still admired today.

What has never existed is an Islamic state in the ancient land of Israel. Since the Arab conquest nd occupation of the seventh century, the land of Israel has been a mere province.

Khalidi is a propagandist for the PLO, and when he says that Palestine is "a country, a people, a nation" he's spinning hard.

some Palestinians claim to want to be a nation, but when offered statehood they refused it, twice. They then voted in a political party, Hamas, tht does not want to be a nation state, but declares its intention of bringing a "universal" Islamic government.

Certainly, it never occurred to anyone in "Palestine" to wish for Palestinian nationhood until the Jews arrived. If Palestine is a nation, it is a very new one, formed in reaction to Zionism.

A reasonable scholar of nationalism, which Khalidid pretends to be, would notice the ambiguity of the Palestinian position, conceiving of themselves sometimes as part of the Palestinian nation, and sometimes as part of the Arab nation. It is not apparent that they have made up their minds.

Khalidi, however, is a committed propagandist for the secular, national movement for a Palestinian nation. Which he is as determined to create as he is to destroy the Jewish nation.

Why columbia hired him is a separate question.

Oh Joanne, I'm giving him the business on that point just a bit, though I bet he wishes he could take that sentence back. The real point is the second one.

To Solomon,

OK. :-)

Israel, in the diaspora, has existed as a nation since antiquity, variously and roughly for three millennia. Israel existed twice as a state in antiquity, though has not existed as a formal state in post-Westphalian modernity until 1948.

By contrast Palestine has been a geographic area of land, but has never been a nation or a state. It exists, in the Arafat and post-Arafat era, in the minds of some prominent players, as a nation, but its existence as such is predicated upon the eradication of Israel and the annihilation of Israelis and Jews, i.e. "Palestine" exists in the minds of many Arab and Persian Muslims, among other players, far more as a negation and tactical ploy, contra Israel, than as a state per se; it's far more of a pawn, than a nation.

The argument formed against Israel as a state, primarily within Arab and Persian and other Muslim minds, is that its existence is invalid within their conceptions of Dar al Islam and the Umma. The argument against Israel as a state, in the minds of late modern and post-modern thinkers, often or typically pertains to the ethnic and religious or quasi-religious basis of the state.

(One need only observe the lack of positive development, in terms of infrastructure and general culture, in Arafatistan (i.e. "Palestine"), to observe empirical evidence of this overall theme of negation and even nihilistic influences.)

All of that, if only in roughly outlined and broadly suggestive terms, reflects most of the most fundamental underpinnings of the debate. Also, this (pdf)serves as a supplemental reference in terms of many 20th century developments.

I realize the above is a rather blunt and pedantic statement. I did so purposely and for emphasis since so much of this debate ends up taking place upon terms (e.g., as suggested by U.N., E.U. and general Eurabian and tranzi interests, as suggested from various quarters in academe) which run counter to or more simply neglect and carefully elide a more rigorously rational, empirical, historical, cultural, etc. basis.


You're very good at this, would you be willing to let solomon give me your mail address?

Also - can you define tranzi?

Well, I can be a bit unkind and ungenerous at times; by contrast, you're far too kind, though for some impenetrable reason I just can't bring myself to disagree with you. And yes, that would be fine, just don't send the address to the latest Nigerian, get-rich-quick scheme, some fake Rolex watch site, the latest stock market site, a life insurance site, the latest Vegas or blackjack site, and also not to Sara, Jessica and Candy, who have each recently informed me, anonymously and via email, that they're looking for a fling, among other frivolities.

And tranzi as in trans-nationalist ideologue and, typically, prig; E.U., U.N. and sundry similar types. Most of them posture in a manner similar to those society type characters in 3-Stooges flicks who harrumph and preen and are in dire need of a pie in the face. Though perhaps I'm being too kind and giving them the benefit of the doubt.

The real point about "Palestine as a nation that never got sovereignty" is that Israel was voted on by the United Nations and its sovereignty internationally recognized. The Arabs, by contrast, rejected partition and the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Now Khalidi wants to deny the legitimacy of a UN-certified international decision. Palestine could have been an internationally recognized state more than once, if they had not consistently rejected it in favor of war.

Mr. Solomon, are there any jew watch organizations on campus? Also do you think it is bad for peopel to pray and talk about their freedom and/or liberation?

I don't know about the campus, but there are many JewWatch-type organizations. You might seek them out, I have a feeling you may feel yourself amongst friends.

Praying? No problem. Freedom and liberation? Hmmm...the devil is in the details isn't it? By liberation, SOME people actually mean less about building their own freedom and more about destroying someone else's -- they support things like hijacking airliners, murdering diplomats, blowing up buses, and strapping suicide bombs on school children. They shame the terms freedom and liberation. That's a problem.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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