Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rashid Khalidi talks to...Gizelle Khuri

My readers know how much I detest Gizell Khuri. Rashid today was a guest on her program. He was way too nice to this woman who does not miss an opportunity to 1) promote Saudi policies in the region; 2) insult the Palestinians and their cause. Rashid spoke about Obama: said that he was ambitious from early on and thus would not commit himself to controversial positions even in private, but that he would listen. He said that Obama is very knowledgeable about the world. He said something that I don't read in the press here: that the biggest influence on him is Michele Obama, whose influence is underestimated here in the US. He said that he would not want to discuss whether he heard from Obama (regarding the campaign of villification against Rashid) but that he "heard" that he was upset with the negative campaign against Rashid. (My interpretation: Obama never called him to apologize and never communicated with him, but would do so not one day before he leaves office). Rashid at one point slipped--perhaps--and refferred to Bill Ayers as "mutual friend" with Obama. He said that he opposed Oslo and that the Israelis wanted an Antoine Lahd in the PA: but he was invited to attack Hamas and he did so with relish. I never miss an opportunity to miss Hamas but Rashid should have added, in my opinion, a larger criticque of the current Antoine Lahds in the PA. He said that he now believes that "armed struggle" should cease for the time being because it is counter productive. He went out of his way to not offend his host and her Saudi political orientation--I felt. He only responded firmly to her suggestion that Iran can be confronted in...Lebanon. Rashid told her that this would destroy Lebanon. He put too much blame on the disunity of the Palstinians for the plight of the Palestinians, and put way too much emphasis on the need for an "Arab lobby" in the US. But he said that he is only "very very" slightly optimistic about Obama but invited viewers to be more cautious. Most surprising in the interview was Rashid's asseration that Arab professors in the US (and at Columbia in particular) don't face much pressure or offenses from Zionists. I don't have to wonder whether my dear friend Joseph Massad would agree with that.