Middle East studies in the News
Open Letter to President Roth [incl. Rashid Khalidi]
by Martin Benjamin
In keeping with your intrepid custom of preaching to the converted, you recently wrote a blog for The Huffington Post ("In Praise of Poise," Oct. 20, 2009) in which you gave Barack Obama high praise for "poise." The highest praise would have to go to JFK, the man who gave us the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Cuban Missile Crisis, then led us into Vietnam. Michael, don't look down; the hand of your trimly tailored black messiah, a flim-flam artist whose paper trail reads like a rap sheet, is halfway up your thigh.
Your Great Black Hope is promising change. To date, the only change he's effected is the redefining of the term blackmail: "Vote for me, or be labeled a racist."
In this letter all paragraphs lead to Obama.
In "Shoah as Shiva," an essay about the Holocaust, you root that poisoned hemlock in the soil of "racist fascism," not anti-Semitism. But the Holocaust was The Final Solution of The Jewish Problem, not The Inferior Races Problem and/or the The Anti-Fascist Problem; no Jews, no Holocaust. If its author, Adolf Hitler, wasn't an anti-Semite, who was, or is, or ever will be?
Another essay in which you address the Holocaust while failing to remember the anti-Semitic connection is, "You Must Remember This." Too bad you forgot to include that irony in "The Ironist's Cage" (your cudgeling conceit uncaged).
And if your Holocaust picture leaves the anti-Semitic reel on the cutting room floor, the reel depicting the State of Israel, established as a homeland for Holocaust survivors, must join it. By nullifying Israel's raison d'etre, you've added your voice to the many-throated, cacophonous chorus of Israel's enemies. I guess you never got the word (you'll find it in the Bible) that Archangel Michael was Israel's guardian angel.
Michael, this isn't a game for amateurs who tip their hand "their left hand" by giving greater prominence to the racist fascist label than to the anti-Semitic. The former can't be pinned on the Left, the latter sometimes can. There's Soviet anti-Semitism, Islamist anti-Semitism, and that of Obama's notoriously anti-Semitic long-time pastor Jeremiah Wright. But never let it be said that the P-word can't overcome a host of un-kosher associations: Obama is a pro', a fellow progressive.
So he says, but so much of what he says isn't so. He says that student loans had paid for his law school, and the paper of record takes him at his unverified word. A stronger surmise would be Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi prince who offered Mayor Giuliani $10 million to help rebuild after 9/11, then suggested that Uncle Sam was partly to blame; Hizzoner the Mayor returned the check. I'm given to musing that Barry O consoled his rich uncle from Riyadh (his Wahhabi rabbi, so to speak) with, "Win one, lose one."
During undergrad Obama's years at Columbia, the Lion's Edward Said was king of the academic jungle, hugely on the strength of "Orientalism," a study in myopia" his. (Read Ibn Wariq's "Defending Western Civilization, a Criticism of Edward Said's Orientalism." Michael, you won't forget to put Wariq on your do-not-invite-to-speak-at-Wes list, will you?) A child of wealth and privilege, Said wrote a memoir that reads like "Oliver Twist." Copycat Obama wrote a memoir; it reads like "Random Harvest," the saga of an insomniac.
Columbia's ill-famed Institute of Middle East Studies, now headed by Obama's tutor Rashid Khalidi, is the brainchild of fabulist Said. And you would have a clone of such a program at Wes. Yes, and be sure to seek Obama's help in weaning Khalidi, a former PLO spokesman, away from Columbia to head it. Michael, get real: Keeping up with the Joneses is one thing; keeping up with the monstrous brainchild of an Islamist Dr. Frankenstein is another.
The paper of record papers over community organizer Obama's singular service as motivator of Acorn's shock-and-awe brigades: They broke into private offices, chased customers out of bank lobbies ("Get in their faces!"), and intimidated bankers' families until improbably qualified applicants for home mortgages got them. When they defaulted, Wall Street buckled and Wes's investment portfolio fell out of bed. Now students denied financial aid can thank the man who promises change "small change, if any, is what they can count on.
And small change is what the school's endowment can count on, once Obama's "major redistributive change" kicks in: "The rich," the ones whose taxes he's going to raise, will be enriching his welfare state's coffers instead of Wes's. Michael, good luck with meeting your fundraising goals.
But you will believe what you will believe, and I'll not trouble a fool in his folly.Benjamin is a member of the class of 1957.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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