Tag Archives: Rashid Khalidi

1st mention of Palestinians in the U.S. presidential race (as an attack!!)

*** Update: The Washington Post has an excellent editorial article about this here ***

Chances are that you have heard, read, or watched something about the current American presidential campaign. Of course, the candidates are pandering to the public and promising to work on many of America’s pressing issues. The current economic and health crises are focusing most of the talking points on domestic issues –such as taxes, health plans, economy, energy, reform ..etc– with the occasional mention of foreign policy.

Yet, unsurprisingly, Israel was mentioned in every single presidential debate, in the vice presidential debate, in most of the rally speeches, and in most of the interviews. It is almost a domestic issue.The candidates agree on this one: Israel is America’s closest ally in the Middle East; America will always have unwavering support of Israel; America will ensure Israel’s security ..etc. Sarah Palin repeated three times in one of her interviews that “[the USA] should never second guess Israel” [video here]. Heck, even Joe the Plumber is stumping for Israel expressing his worries if Obama becomes the president. Really ? It made its way to the speech of Joe the Plumber ?!!

But don’t be discouraged my friends. Today the Palestinians got their first mention in this campaign since the AIPAC speeches in the democratic primaries. Nonetheless, it came as a form of an attack from the Good Ol’ Party. Woooo, Obama has ties to the “radical Palestinian” Rashid Khalidi.

I haven’t heard of Khalidi before today. But from what i could gather online about him, he is an American born in New York of Palestinian decent. He studied at Yale and Oxford universities, and he is a professor and the current director of the Middle East Institute at the prestigious Columbia University. He is a member of the Board of Sponsors of The Palestine-Israel Journal, and frequently publishes scholarly articles about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The “controversy” about him in the American medium stems from him sometimes criticizing the actions of Israel and expressing differing views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the difficulties in realizing the two-state solution. Now he is being (apparently falsely) tied to the PLO and then to Obama! This thing came to light because of an LA Times newspaper article saying that there exists a tape of Obama in a dinner which Khalidi attended, but the paper refuses to release that tape because it would violate source confidentiality or whatever. What grabbed my attention is this response quote from McCain:

“I Guarantee you, if there was a tape with me and Sarah Palin and some Neo-Nazi or one of those you think that tape would be made public ?”

So let me get this straight, criticizing some of Israel’s actions or having differing views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than the acceptable American-Israeli view is now equatable with neo-Nazism !!!

Cheer up American-Palestinians and Palestinians around the world, here is your first mention in the American presidential campaign. You have become an attack piece that Palin will probably go touting around. And remember please, don’t you ever dare to criticize any action of Israel or show anything but complete support of Israel’s view of the conflict, or else, you will be a neo-Nazi!

Anyway, to show you how information technology is being used in this campaign, I did some Googling to learn about this Khalidi character, and i saw this ad:

(try this yourself)

To know why this ad is important, check out the trend of people searching for Khalidi and notice the recent spike:

So … yeah … we finally got a mention in this race .. yaay!! 🙁