Saw some footage (can’t find it on youtube) of Sarah Palin bringing up the newest Obama hangs out with scary terrorists canard about Rashid Khalidi (here’s Khalidi on Charlie Rose–Charlie Rose is now a terrorist fellow traveler?).
Of course Palin mispronounced his name–wouldn’t want to sound too elitist with proper pronunciation and what not–she said “KA-LA-DI” (Is are usually not pronounced like As Governor) and of course it’s a (oh no) scary Arab name so immediately the crowd starts booing. All that matters is Obama is somehow connected to an Arab–hence it must be some nefarious reality.
And then she says “He was in the PLO”. Jesus Mary and Joseph, God, and the Baby Jesus No!!!
Never mind that as Juan Cole points out:
Khalidi was not, as the schlock rightwing press charges, a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization. He was an adviser at the Madrid peace talks, but would that not have been, like, a good thing?
More importantly someone might want to tell Sarah Palin that the PLO is now called Fatah and they are the US’ main ally among the Palestinians. Memo to the lady running for VP, slamming Fatah will not exactly help them in their struggle against Hamas. Slurring your allies isn’t exactly a smart move. Unless McCain is still secretly angling for Hamas and this is part of a subtle diplomatic outreach to the Palestinian branch of The Muslim Brotherhood. [Let's say I'm doubting that latter theory].
Update I: Since the question will inevitably come up and/or lest I get charged with being anti-Semitic or something, (though a hard charge to make against Khalidi given he is a Semite). Khalidi is anti-Zionist that is true. I think it’s fair to say he thinks the Israeli state should never have come into being. An essay of his here. Obviously Obama does not support that view. Neither do I for that matter. But I can understand from a Palestinian perspective that the invocations of the creation of the state of Israel as purely positive would ring very hollow. But disagreeing with the state of Israel does not mean one hates worldwide Jewry, I mean come on.
I agree with Khalidi that a two state solution is not going to happen so long as the occupation continues and the whole penumbra of repression that goes along with the occupation (psychological, legal, political, economic, etc.) persists and because the Palestinians have been led by corrupt vile morons (as Khalidi freely admits btw) lo these sixty years. And continue to be (mis)lead. I agree with Khalidi that the Palestinians had other options less than ideal though they may have been (like taking the deal on 2 states from the get go). I’m as pessimistic as he is of any chance of real peace with justice after two intifadahs and the failure of the 90s Peace Process.
Update II: Khalidi has done some very good work on the background history of the Palestinians but is otherwise I find a typical sorta anti-imperialist leftist. Like a Noam Chomsky. Not much new or interesting there frankly, but not some evil guy.
I always thought it was so funny that the right-wing bloggers started a meme that Obama would betray his friends/acquaintances and throw them under the bus the second they were a liability and yet he had all these evil guys from his past. But even if you assume those true are both true, then clearly all these guys are electoral liabilities so Obama is going to dump them according to this theory right? So shouldn’t the right-wingers be happy that Obama is (in their minds) a power-hungry narcissist who only is doing what he needs to do to get power?
Update III [Day After]: On the whole Joe Klein Khalidi can’t be an anti-Semite because he’s a Semite semi-defense. Obviously the terminology here gets in the way. There are undoubtedly Arabs (who are Semitic people) who are racistly prejudiced against all Jews (also Semites). And so in the reverse, which would be a Jewish form of anti-Semitism is you catch my meaning. I don’t think Khalidi fits that definition anyway, so the Klein defense may simply muddy. But anti-Semitic in practice means anti-Jewish or problematically anti-Israeli. In the latter case, it can be tough to distinguish between Israelis as citizens and Israel as the state. For people who racist against Arabs, we typically use anti-Arab or more incorrectly Islamophobic. Many Arabs aren’t Muslims and the majority of the world’s Muslims are not Arab.
While I have a theoretical issue (I think) with anti-Semitism meaning only anti-Jewish (since not all Semites are Jewish, linguistically this is a problematic usage), in practice that reality is basically set, and we need a different term (I guess anti-Arab???) for being racist/prejudiced towards Arabs or Arab-Americans.