Middle East studies in the News
Are Obama's View on Israel Informed by Radical Palestinian Activist? [on Rashid Khalidi]
by Richard Baehr
Before becoming a US Senator, Barack Obama spent a fair amount of time with Palestinian advocate and fellow University of Chicago professor Rashid Khalidi. The relationship still seems close judging by almost identical language that Obama and Khalidi used to describe the Israeli Palestinian conflict last week : as a "sore."
Khalidi's comments appeared in the far left journal the Nation, whose politics are similar to the Guardian, Britiain's most feverish Israel-hating newspaper. Obama used the term in a speech during the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary as a modern nation. Did Obama plagiarize? Or did he just absorb and assent to Khalidi's views?
The Khalidi argument is that the world would be much happier with America if only the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were resolved in a way favorable to the Palestinians. Of course Khalidi places almost all the blame for the creation of the conflict and its continuation on Israel. These are articles of faith on the hard left, where Obama's support is strongest. The view to say the least is naive. Radical Islamics have plenty of grievances against the US and the West that have nothing whatever to do with resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Equally naive is the idea that peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians would be achievable if only America engaged more in resolving the conflict. Those who argue for more US engagement tend to also believe that it is Israeli settlements in the West Bank that are the root cause for the conflict. In fact, the conflict existed before any West Bank settlements existed, and has little to do with them today. The basis for this conflict and the reason it is not resolvable is simpler -- one side, the Israelis, believe they have a right to remain a nation. The other side, the Palestinians, sees its future not in creating a Palestinian nation alongside Israel, but in destroying Israel.
The Palestinians have had many opportunities to form a state starting with with the UN partition resolution in 1947. They have never chosen to take this route, so long as it means Israel also remained a state. The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza,and removal of all settlements did not lead to quiet on the Israeli-Gazan frontier. The Palestinian theme is not war until the settlements are gone, but war until Israel is gone.
Rick Moran adds:
It should also be noted that Barack Obama sat on the Board of the far left Woods Foundation which gave grants totalling $75,000 to a radical Palestinian "social services" group based in Chicago. He also attended a dinner in the company of Mr.Khalidi honoring Professor Edward Said, a man well known for his anti-Israeli views.
All of this, coupled with the questionable foriegn policy ideas of his staff of advisors, one can legitimately ask just what Obama's views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict truly are?Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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