Rashid Khalidi’s New History of the Israel-Palestinian Conflict Opts for Lies and Distortions over Dispassionate Examination

April 8 2020

After several years as an adviser and spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Rashid Khalidi took up a professorship of history at the University of Chicago, and later moved to Columbia, where he succeeded Edward Said. In some of his earlier works, writes Benny Morris, Khalidi showed an ability to express “glimmerings” of criticism of the Palestinian national movement. But no sign of reflection or scholarly detachment can be found in his newest book, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance:

[T]he book turns out to be yet another somewhat turgid recitation of the traditional Palestinian narrative, its mantras being Western and Zionist guilt for everything that has befallen the Palestinians and a passionate, personal assertion of Palestinian innocence. . . . Khalidi’s bottom line is that Zionism is a “colonialist” enterprise, a doctrine enunciated in the Palestine National Charter of 1964. From this original sin stem all the evils of Zionism and all Palestinian suffering.

Colonialism is commonly defined as the policy and practice of an imperial power acquiring political control over another country, settling it with its sons, and exploiting it economically. By any objective standard, Zionism fails to fit this definition.

To fit the facts to his narrative, Khalidi employs “a number of misinterpretations and distortions.” For instance:

Khalidi stresses that “over 12,000” Palestine Arabs served in the British army in World War II—a figure that is probably double the true figure, with most serving as service personnel, not combatants, in bases inside Palestine. Khalidi produces this number to obfuscate the much larger truth—that, to judge by impressionistic evidence (in the absence of opinion polls), most Arabs, including most of Palestine’s Arabs, supported Germany and an Axis victory in World War II, if only because they hated the British, who had just crushed their revolt, and hated the Jews, who were their antagonists in Palestine.

Apart from misinterpretations and distortions, the book contains a series of whoppers, almost all of them politically tendentious. For instance, . . . Khalidi tells us that by running a slate of candidates in the parliamentary elections of 2006 Hamas implicitly “accepted . . . the two-state solution,” which is to say Israel’s existence. In fact, Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim fundamentalist party and terrorist organization that governs the Gaza Strip, has never gone back on its 1988 founding charter’s espousal of the destruction of Israel as its primary goal.

Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Edward Said, Israeli history, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, PLO, 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