you betcha

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.  


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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey Chris, could you elaborate a little on view of Chomsky, imperialism etc.?

  2. Sorry I meant that to say “YOUR view of Chomsky, imperialism etc.?”

  3. Sure.

    Ultimately someone like Chomsky to me is really more like a left-anarchist. At least domestically. I don’t have anything against anarchism per se. I read certain anarchist writers and they have a value in pointing out major structural flaws in our politics. But at the end of the day, we’ve got a system and some system is needed.

    On the international front, the anti-imperialist left move can lead to what are essentially brutal non state actors being lionized by the left. Often they are illiberal forces backed by (supposedly) liberals. Chomsky’s positive take on Hezbollah being a classic example.

    In Wilber language, this is a pre-trans fallacy. It’s to (mis)equate pre-conventional forces with post-conventional. It can also tend towards an over-valuation of the collective over the individual (hence the potential of illiberality). In other words, anarchist/quite left green in the color system.

    But it’s so one-sided and so ideological. And frankly naive–he tends to place all blame on US/Israel. If only they weren’t there, all would be well. But actually that’s not the case.

    And as a left-anarchist I would say he has a mythic belief–strong in the left generally in history–that humans left alone prosper and are basically good. This is Rosseau’s notion of man being born free but everyone is in chains. Or the view of humans as blank slates that the intelligent can engineer and write justice upon from birth.

    I tend more towards a Hobbesian view (which is at the heart of conservatism and classical liberalism) which is without a the rule of law/power structure, then the war of the all against all breaks out. As well as an evolutionary view, which is that we come with pre-designed elements, some of which (e.g. reptilian brain) are prone to violence.

    Someone like Chomsky is worth reading because that point of view, which like any has true/partial elements, is not represented in mainstream media in our culture.

    But if read in conjunction with other works that would critique the pre-conventional forces (other side), then you get a more balanced sense of the whole situation and that everybody has sins to pay for in the world order system. Particularly I’m thinking now of The Middle East.

    Does that answer your question?

  4. I didn’t emphasize this point enough I think. The reading of someone like Chomsky helps disabuse Americans (I have mostly in mind) of this myth of total American goodness. But it’s really absolutist and leads in a sense to the same basic problem (one answer for all situations/we have it) that the American myth possess.

    He’s kinda to me like a liberal fundamentalist. He isn’t a right-wing fundie but he still has the fundie mindset I would say. Just deployed to a different set of values. But same basic function/attitude.

  5. I see your point with the pre-conventional thing. I guess my sense of unease comes from the disregard of the urgency I get from writers like Chomsky, Hedges, Fisk etc. – that real people are suffering and dying on a tremendous scale and the MSM (and culture) won’t even acknowledge this. I tend to bifurcate between thinking that positive change can come from within the system (Obama for example) and saying to hell with it all. (It just occurred to me that I have basically the same issue with the Church as well.) In the end I believe there will be less suffering in the world with Obama at the helm rather than McCain so that’s probably the biggest reason not to withdraw from the process.

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