what moderate looks like

Anyone who wonders about the influence of the Israel lobby on American media or on U.S. foreign policy needs to watch the documentary Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land. It’s an older film, but unfortunately still applies. I’m posting it here for people who want to watch it to see what happens in the world of U.S. media and mis-information:

I’ve been thinking about this film again, partially because of the continued, incessant attacks on Rashid Khalidi. Fox News’ Sean Hannity has led the pace, but there are others, too. One particularly offensive article by Mona Charen in the Washington Times is not only offensive, it’s a terrific example of an American journalist who gets away with publishing false information under the guise of facts:

“Twenty-three-year old Ibrahim Abu Jayyab sits by the computer in the Nusairat refugee camp (in the Gaza Strip) trying to call American citizens in order to convince them to vote for the Democratic candidate for president, Barack Obama.”

Like many Palestinians, Abu Jayyab is excited about the prospect of an Obama presidency. (By the way, the Gaza Strip is completely under the control of Hamas. Why then do they persist in speaking of “refugee camps”? But of course, we know why.) If Abu Jayyab and many others in the Palestinian areas are delighted, why are so many American Jewish voters feeling the same way? One side or the other has the wrong man. Which is it?…

Many politicians have distanced themselves from positions and associations of their youths. But in Mr. Obama’s case, he is distancing himself from positions staked out as recently as 2003. As National Review Online has reported, the Los Angeles Times is apparently sitting on a videotape showing Mr. Obama’s remarks at a farewell dinner that year for Rashid Khalidi, the one-time Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman who now heads the Middle East Studies Department at Columbia. (Columbia University’s shame is a subject for another column.) Mr. Khalidi is not distancing himself from his past.

Consistent with what you would expect from someone who justified PLO attacks on civilians in Israel and Lebanon from 1976 to 1982, Mr. Khalidi routinely refers to Israel as a “racist” and “apartheid” state, and professes to believe in a “one-state” solution to the conflict. Guess which country would have to disappear for that “one” state to come into existence?

I don’t even know where to begin. Gaza is controlled by the Zionist state of Israel. It controls its land, air, and sea borders. It controls what and who is allowed to leave and when. It assassinates leaders and civilians alike. It destroys homes, murders Palestinians with impunity. Yes, Hamas is the political party attempting to rule Gaza: but how exactly does one rule an area that is not a state, that is besieged by a state? The most offensive part of this article comes when she puts refugee camps in scare quotes to challenge their very existence. Of course, she can’t explain why she does this because it’s just plain factually inaccurate and deeply offensive as to deny the existence of Palestinian refugees is to deny the history and present Zionist project of ethnic cleansing. This is all a lead in to her attack on Obama vis-a-vis Rashid Khalidi. As with her claims about Gaza and Palestinian refugees, her claims about Khalidi are also erroneous. It usually follows that when you are deceitful about one claim you cannot be trusted with any other claims that you make.

Vijay Prashad, however, had an excellent piece in Counterpunch on the smear campaign of Khalidi as he shows how Sarah Palin’s team confused Khalidi with Edward Said in the claims she leveled against Khalidi and Obama:

Palin’s staff seem to be sloppy readers. Obama, we are told, did toast Khalidi at his going-away party in 2003. So far so good. Having seen the name Khalidi and Edward Said in the same sentence, the Palin team assumed they were the same person. But, it was Said, and not Khalidi, who played an active organizational role in the Palestinian struggle. Between 1977 and 1991, Said was a member of the Palestinian National Council, but not of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (the slippage is made all too often). The PNC was a general, all-party council of a people in the middle of a struggle, not like the PLO, which was an umbrella of various political parties headed by al-Fatah (whose leader in those years was Yasser Arafat, later a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace). Said broke with the PNC in 1991, just about when he was in Chicago for his talk. He would point out that the PLO, which had usurped the reins of the Palestinian struggle, lost ground during the Oslo discussions because of which it “lacked credibility and moral authority” (his voluminous writings that detail this break are collected in The Politics of Dispossession, 1994, Peace and Its Discontents, 1996, and The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After, 2000). Said also received his diagnosis about leukemia in 1991. It was a fateful year.

Khalidi, whose name Palin could not pronounce, was born in New York. He is an intellectual with a moral commitment to peace and justice in the Middle East. His main organizational commitments don’t include the PLO, which, in the period of Khalidi’s ascent into the higher altitudes of the academy, was already in impervious decline. Nothing the New Yorker could say or do would help the festering Palestinian Authority, and neither would Khalidi give his voice to being the puppet of al-Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas or Farouk Kaddoumi (if anything, the politics of Khalidi might line up with those of Marwan Barghouti of al-Mustaqbal, but Khalidi’s intellectualism might not be the disposition for the jailed leader).

Where might this disinformation be emanating from? Well if you watched the above video you will begin to have some idea. Or if you read an earlier post where I talked about Hannity’s libelous program about Obama’s “radical friends” you may know the answer given that Daniel Pipes is featured so prominently in it. Pipes’ McCarthyite, witch hunting website, Campus Watch, currently features Khalidi on its front page. And one of its racist writers and activists, Cinnamon Stillwell has an article regurgitating these false claims about Khalidi in American Thinker (also posted on the Campus Watch website).

This is the same distorted, offensive and libelous material we hear on Hannity’s program. Here is an example of it:

Apparently my fellow Los Angelenos are upset about one of the core issues in this story: McCain and Hannity and other neocon, racist people in the public eye want the Los Angeles Times to release some video footage of a dinner where Obama was with Khalidi and Bill Ayers. There is also a video of this which interviews some American Jewish terrorists at the newspaper protest:

Notice the Jewish terrorist woman in this clip; she is from the organization with the oxymoronic name (a pattern with various Zionist militant organizations), the Jewish Defense League (JDL). The JDL has been on the U.S. terrorist watch list for quite some time. Here are some of its terrorist activities right in the U.S. of A. (Note to Palin: these are actual terrorists if you’re looking for the home grown variety.) Here is one example of their work:

The two terrorist plots prevented by law enforcement in 2001 were being planned by domestic extremists. Ronald Mike Denton was planning to attack his former place of employment, the Chevron Oil Refinery at El Segundo, California, when he was arrested in March 2001. In December 2001 Irving David Rubin and Earl Leslie Krugel, members of the extremist Jewish Defense League, were arrested as they were in the final stages of planning attacks against the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, California, and the local office of U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa.

Did I mention that the above quote comes from the FBI’s own website? A second incident is also from my home town (I don’t know what it is about Jewish terrorism in Los Angeles…) from my youth. Allison Weir’s If Americans Knew website has a detailed article about Jewish terrorism and here is just one example cited in it:

The other high-profile murder came in 1985, on Oct. 11, when Alex Odeh, 37, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) in Santa Ana, California, was killed by a bomb planted at his office. Odeh had appeared the previous night on a television show and called Yasser Arafat a “man of peace.” The Jewish Defense League praised the bombing but denied involvement, its usual practice in such incidents.

One of the suspects was Robert Manning, 36, of Los Angeles, a JDL member. He and his wife, Rochelle, moved to Israel, where he joined the Israel Defense Forces. FBI agents said Manning and others were also suspected of being involved in a year-long series of violent incidents in 1985 including the August house-bomb slaying of Tscherim Soobzokov, of Paterson, N.J., a suspected Nazi war criminal; the Aug. 16 attempted bombing of the Boston ADC office in which two policemen were severely wounded; the September bombing at the Brentwood, Long Island home of alleged Nazi Elmars Sprogis, in which a 23-year-old passerby lost a leg, and the Oct. 29 fire at the ADC office in Washington, DC, which was called arson.

By December 1985, FBI Director William H. Webster warned that Arab Americans had entered a “zone of danger” and were targets of an unnamed group seeking to harm the “enemies of Israel.”

Manning and his wife lived in the radical Kiryat Arba settlement in Israel’s occupied West Bank until March 25, 1991 when, after two years of pressure, Israel acceded to U.S. extradition demands.

Notice where these terrorists–the Mannings–moved to after their crime: to the most aggressively violent illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank. This settlement in Khalil is the site where the most active ethnic cleansing takes place on the part of the illegal settlers by way of murder, intimidation, and theft. This is also where New York Jew Baruch Goldstein lived when he carried out the terrorist massacre of the mosque in Khalil in 1994.

Of course you would never hear about this on Fox News. Nor would you hear a presidential candidate talking about Jewish terrorists. Only Muslims and Arabs are characterized that way. This is one reason why the republicans have worked so hard to try to get Americans to think that Obama is a closeted Muslim. Apparently, 1/4 of Texans believe this story. And for all the complaining of the “gotcha journalism” or “liberal media” in the U.S. another report released today shows that when it came time to discussing Obama and McCain’s relationships with religious leaders, the Washington Post and New York Times published more than 12 times as many articles mentioning Obama and Reverend Jeremiah Wright as they did mentioning McCain and John Hagee.

All of this got me thinking about censorship again. What stories are allowed to be told? What stories are reported in a truthful way? What stories are silenced? It reminds me of the way in which censorship always works: those doing the censoring are rarely familiar with the text or the person they wish to silence. I would bet my life that Hannity and Charen have never read a single one of Khalidi’s books. Or watched him interviewed. Or listened to him give a lecture. If they had they would see that Khalidi is the epitome of moderation. I’m actually re-reading his book The Iron Cage right now for my own research. While I like the book and find it useful it could hardly be considered radical, anti-Semitic, or anything of the sort. But it’s hard to convey this to people like Hannity who are offended by the very fact that the Arabic word for Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine is an nakba, which literally means catastrophe. This is something he objects to. But I get what is threatening about Khalidi: he’s an historian. He’s an historian who is dedicated to revealing the long silenced history of Palestine and Palestinians in various contexts. That very fact disrupts the Zionist mythology that has been allowed to reign supreme in the U.S. for far too long. But this is not the only time Khalidi has found himself under attack for these reasons, in spite of his moderate point of view. I actually published an academic article about this new McCarthyism and the way it has affected scholars like Khalidi and Joseph Massad among others. My article is here for those who would like to read it.

For those who are too lazy or busy to read Khalidi’s writing themselves I’m posting a couple of videos here that you may watch to hear him in his own words. Both are from 2007. The first one is and interview from Charlie Rose and the second one is a lecture from Portland State University. Watch and judge for yourself: does this sound like the terrorist? Personally, I think that the way Hannity is behaving is far more like a terrorist than Khalidi could ever be.

And if after all this my Zionist readers out there still think that Obama might be secretly pro-Palestinian, I’d like to remind readers he sold his sole to the Zionist devil a long time ago. See these three articles on Electronic Intifada by Ali Abu Nimah:

How Barack Obama learned to love Israel

What Obama missed in the Middle East

The senator, his pastor and the Israel lobby

And the Israeli press today reported on who just might be Obama’s adviser on the Zionist state:

Israel may earn more White House representation than it bargained for, in the event that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama emerges victorious from the November 4 elections.

Congressman Rahm Emanuel, who has served in the Israel Defense Forces and even speaks a little Hebrew, could be appointed the White House’s next chief of staff.

2 thoughts on “what moderate looks like

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