Another Arctic Sport?

This is a long lead-in to a short punch line, but what the hell. It’s late and night, and I don’t feel tired enough to sleep. Read on.

The McPalins have been complaining about the Los Angeles Times, and not simply because the paper has endorsed Obama for President. It’s because — in the tendentious prose of Fox News — the paper is “refusing to release a videotape that the newspaper’s editors say shows Barack Obama praising a Chicago professor who served as a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization when it was a U.S.-designated terror group.”

The professor is Rashid Khalidi, an American, who’s the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University. The GOP wants to brand him as a terrorist sympathizer, because he has Palestinian friends and collaborators, and because he’s been quoted in commentary on the PLO.

Is Khalidi a menace? I doubt it, if only because of the people who oppose him. Still, he was at a dinner, and Obama did praise him; that much is undisputed. And the Los Angeles Times does claim to have a tape of Obama at that dinner, a tape which the Times says it promised not to make public.

That was the wind-up. Here’s the pitch. As reported on its web site by Fox News,

Palin … lambasted the newspaper for its inaction.

“If there’s a Pulitzer Prize category for excelling in cow-towing, then the LA Times, you’re winning,” she said.

Okay, it wasn’t that funny. Still, cow towing does seem to be the sort of thing that her Golden Archness would talk about. And, in relative terms, intelligently.


I did say it was late at night — early in the morning, really — when I posted the above. And if not sleepy, I was surely dopey, neglecting to follow-up with information I already had on hand about Khalidi. Here are answers to Fox and the other slander mongers.

Scott Horton at Harper’s

Rashid Khalidi is an American academic of extraordinary ability and sharp insights. He is also deeply committed to stemming violence in the Middle East, promoting a culture that embraces human rights as a fundamental notion, and building democratic societies…. Khalidi has also been one of the most articulate critics of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority—calling them repeatedly on their anti-democratic tendencies and their betrayals of their own principles. Khalidi is also a Palestinian American. There is no doubt in my mind that it is solely that last fact that informs … ignorant and malicious rants.

Juan Cole at Informed Comment

McCain’s and Palin’s attacks on Khalidi are frankly racist. He is a distinguished scholar, and the only objectionable thing about him from a rightwing point of view is that he is a Palestinian…. 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?

Much of the assault on Khalidi comes from the American loony Zionist Right, which quietly supports illegal Zionist colonies in the West Bank and the ethnic cleansing of the remaining Palestinians. They have been tireless advocates of miring the US in wars in Iraq and Iran to ensure that their dreams of ethnic cleansing are unopposed.


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