Campus Watch Research
Beware the September Surprise [incl. Rashid Khalidi]
by Michael Rubin
Jonathan, while I agree that Democrats should be worried about Obama's Israel policies, I wish I were as confident that President Obama's analysis of U.S. interests would be enough to ensure against a vote for unilateral Palestinian statehood at the United Nations.
Like Jimmy Carter, Obama stands on principles, however misguided they may be, and is often willing to put his beliefs above politics. That his principles are wrong in the eyes of most of the electorate is beside the point.
It's against this backdrop that I believe that nagging concerns are justified about what Obama might do with regard to next month's United Nations vote to impose an independent Palestinian state absent any negotiated peace. Rashid Khalidi, a current adviser to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, remains a close Obama confidante. While The Los Angeles Times continues to withhold the tape of Obama's toast to Khalidi prior to the professor's departure for a post at Columbia University, Obama's speech perhaps gave an inkling of his sympathy toward the Palestine Liberation Organization and his antipathy toward Israel.
Obama entered office with strong opinions. His understanding of the real reasons for the lack of peace in the Middle East was shoddy, shaped as it was by a former PLO activist and an Ivy League bubble. He reportedly still remains enthralled by anti-Israel intellectual Samantha Power. Intellectual arrogance, however, appears to prevent Obama from reconsidering his assumptions. Rather, he digs in his heels.
That the State Department has come out against unilateral recognition is irrelevant. After all, Secretary of State Clinton also came out against any demands that Syrian President Bashar Assad step aside just days before Obama demanded that Assad step aside. In his speech about the Middle East last May, Obama appears to have left himself too much wiggle room for comfort. Certainly, a US vote in favor of unilateral Palestinian statehood would unleash chaos. The question is whether when the smoke cleared, President Obama thought he might be remembered positively for the fait accompli.
Harry Truman defied the establishment to recognize Israel. We should not discount the possibility that Obama might defy the establishment to advance Israel's demise. Beware the September surprise.
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