Khalidi interview in Ha’aretz


Barry Obama’s old Chicago chum Rashid Khalidi was interviewed in Ha’aretz a few days ago. On the “future of the Palestinian territories,” he said:

“Both the occupation regime and the settlement enterprise have gotten constantly stronger since the negotiating process began in 1991 – after being weakened by the first intifada. These twin processes went on steroids after the second intifada started in 2000. If these two bulldozer-like endeavors are not rapidly reversed – not halted, reversed – then there is no possibility whatsoever of a two-state solution. These processes – the consecration of the occupation regime and the expansion of settlements – have been ongoing for 41 years. I suspect that because of them, combined with the blindness of Israeli leaders and the weakness of Palestinian leadership, there is little chance for a two-state solution to be implemented. And anyone who wants to implement a real, equitable two-state solution would have to explain in detail how they would uproot all or most of the settlements. Equally difficult will be overcoming the powerful interlocking complex of forces in Israeli society that have extensive material, bureaucratic, political and ideological interests in the Israeli state’s continued control over the lives of 3.5 million Palestinians, a control that is exercised under the pretext of security.” 

Then when asked about the vacuous fever storm around his associations with Obama and his critical scholarship of Israel, Palestine and the US, he said this:

“It proved once again that to be of Palestinian origin and to be publicly opposed to the occupation and critical of U.S. policy is grounds for public defamation as a ‘terrorist.’ It attests to the survival of McCarthyite tendencies in the U.S. media and politics. It also reaffirmed that Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians specifically are still the ‘other’ in American society. A higher percentage of Arab-Americans voted for Obama than any other ethnic group besides African-Americans, and they voted in record numbers too, I believe, and yet they are still pushed aside, almost literally. For instance, two Arab-American women in hijab were removed from the camera’s gaze at one of Obama’s rallies during the election. Obama did not visit one mosque or Arab community center throughout the entire two-year campaign, and he never mentioned Arab- or Muslim-Americans in his speeches. Whatever may have been the ‘strategic’ political reasons for these actions, they show the kind of atmosphere we in the U.S. live in. 

“This situation is linked to the problematic notion that it is acceptable to create a U.S. Middle East policy which caters to Israel – and specifically to the Israeli right – and to the concerns of powerful forces like the Israel lobby that are allied to the Israeli right, but hardly at all to Arab- and Muslim-Americans. Such a policy is based on the opinions, ‘expertise’ and allegiances of Washington insiders who are not knowledgeable about all the complex realities of the region, and are mainly sensitive to Israeli concerns. Just as an Obama administration aspires to reflect the entire country in all its diversity, so should its Middle East policy-making reflect a comprehensive set of interests and concerns, and not just one narrow range of them.” 

Above, the innocuous picture revealing the shocking details of Obama’s association with Edward Said, which lay the media groundwork for publicizing the story that Obama and Khalidi may have hung out in the professors’ lounge.


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