Israel

Columbia Professor: Pro-Israel People “Are Going to Infest Our Government”

A Columbia University professor who has campaigned for boycotts of Israel said in a radio interview on Tuesday that supporters of Israel are going to “infest” the United States government after Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration.

Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Arab studies at Columbia University, was interviewed on the Chicago public radio station WBEZ about Israeli-American relations and the negative reaction to last month’s United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli activities in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank.

“There are a group of people, a lot of them in Israel and some of them in the United States, who live in a world of their own,” Khalidi claimed (beginning at the 7:20 mark).

That is to say, they think that whatever they want, and whatever cockamamie schemes they can cook up, can be substituted for reality. So they have a vision whereby the occupied territories aren’t occupied, they have a vision whereby there is no such thing as the Palestinians, they have a vision whereby international law doesn’t exist, they have a vision whereby the United States can unilaterally cancel a decision in the United Nations. And unfortunately, these people infest the Trump transition team, these people are going to infest our government as of January 20. And they are hand in glove with a similar group of people in the Israeli government and Israeli political life who think that whatever they think can be imposed on reality.

Last year, Khalidi led a group of 40 Columbia professors in signing a petition calling on the university to divest from Israel as part of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Though the BDS campaign is often presented as an effort to pressure Israel, its leaders are more explicit and extreme in their goals. Many leaders of the campaign, which was launched by Palestinian groups in 2005, have publicly affirmed that they seek Israel’s destruction. BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti, an opponent of the two-state solution, said in 2014 that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance,” while leading activist As’ad Abu Khalil acknowledged in 2012 that “the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel.”

Khalidi’s anti-Israel activism goes back much further. As Martin Kramer observed three years ago, Khalidi served as a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization in Beirut in the 1970s and 1980s, back when Israel considered it to be a terrorist organization. When designating the PLO as a terrorist organization in 1987 following the Achille Lauro hijacking, the U.S. Congress noted that “the PLO and its constituent groups have taken credit for, and been implicated in, the murders of dozens of American citizens abroad.”

[Photo: SOAS University of London / YouTube ]