A Columbia Professor Worries that Jews Will “Infest” the Government

In a recent radio interview, Rashid Khalidi—a distinguished professor of Arab studies at Columbia University—voiced his fear that Jewish supporters of Israel would “infest” the Trump administration, using that verb not once but three times. Dore Feith, a former student of Khalid’s, responds:

[Khalidi’s] remarks may not be the ugliest comments along these lines that ever emerged from the Middle East-studies faculty at Columbia. . . . But the “infestation” theme is nasty enough to warrant special notice. What makes it nasty is its historical resonance. To be sure, not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism and not all anti-Semitism is Nazism. But there’s no getting around the fact that in his memoir Mein Kampf, Hitler over and over again described the Jews as an infestation of vermin. That was one of the book’s main metaphors. And that’s why Nazi officials made a point of saying their Jewish policy aimed not to “kill” but to “exterminate” (vernichten), a word more appropriate for bugs or lice than human beings. . . .

In [a statement given to the Forward in response to criticism of his words, Khalidi] acknowledged “infelicitous phrasing,” but that’s even less of an apology than the classic non-apology “I’m sorry if anyone took offense.” In an e-mail to me, he then renewed his attack on “these people” as having “a racialist disregard for Palestinians” and using “anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian, and anti-international-law rhetoric.” In other words, Khalidi doubled down on his insult when he should have simply said “sorry.” Rather than granting that both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have points worth hearing, Khalidi painted Israel’s supporters as crazy extremists who lack rational arguments and who don’t deserve serious consideration.

Many good people are puzzled at how the Arab-Israeli conflict can fester and rage for more than 100 years. A key reason is that Israel’s enemies are so passionate in their hatred that they pass it down through the generations. Rashid Khalidi’s uncivil words demonstrate the problem. They damage the very people he favors. After all, the Palestinian people would benefit from mutual accommodation and peace with Israel. And his words also harm the interests of Columbia students who hope to have mutually respectful exchanges of ideas about controversial subjects.

Read more at National Review

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Arab anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Rashid Khalidi


The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship