A couple of days ago I stumbled on a presentation by a Rashid Khalid entitled, “Palestine: 40 years of occupation, 60 years of dispossession.”(1) One thing is all too obvious and that is that this man is a serious academic and one who is doing very serious research (2). Now if that research had been less serious and if it had been into a less serious topic, Mr Khalid would not be a topic of conversation for quite as many people today as he is. He is, however, an American with Palestinian antecedents and he does actually say that the Palestinians were dispossessed, that they are being occupied and that they also have what we call human rights. Funny, and are they not three points that, broadly speaking, reflect the position of the United Nations? It is not though how the United States and Israel want us to see it and for McCain it could be a little lifeline in the election.
Now, just a couple of days after I listened to this articulate, sensible man speak, the Barack bashers are having a field day and having not been able to pin Obama on his association with the “terrorist” Bill Ayers, they have him this time for his association with a man, who they accuse of being a radical Muslim, a terrorist and even a radical Anti-Semite; forgetting, of course, that Rashid Khalid is, in fact, a semite unlike the majority of Jews and Israelis. However, let’s not digress and Obama will, I believe, survive this but what is more worrying is what is actually happening. Rashid Khalid, a serious academic, is being systematically discredited although no concrete accusations have actually been made, except that he was once a spokesman for the PLO. The Edward Said Professor for Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University and Director of the Middle East Institute of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs has been thrown to the wolves but this should come as no surprise; “McCarthyism” has long since reappeared and the neocons and Zionists in the United States are already making sure that the only opinions we will hear on the Middle East are those that they want us to hear. Something that has already been evidenced by the way Ilan Pappe, who was thrown out of Haifa University,(3) and Norman Finkelstein, who was refused tenure at the DePaul University,(4) have been treated. Yes, I know that Hafia is not in the United States. Parallels and the connection are obvious though as “Uncle Sam” moves step by step towards that type of “Christian Democracy” that will see its saviour in Zion.
Might there be some hope with Obama as president? Well, we can always hope. However, while we do know that he has had a number of pleasant exchanges with Khalid, especially, during the time when they both worked at Chicago University, we also know that he has exchanged a few words and smiles with Bush and Blair and probably also with Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and the rest of the gang. In other words, Obama has, indeed, associated with terrorists. There is a saying in German, “Die Hoffnung stirbt zuletzt”(hope is the last thing that dies), the next four years will be, at least, interesting for all of us. However, if it is real change we are looking for, expect to be disappointed. Or might he begin his term in office by appointing Rashid Khalid as his adviser on the Middle East? You, don’t want me to answer that, do you?
The video shows part of Rashid Khalid speech in the Palestinian struggle for statehood
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