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Michael Rubin says Obama/Khalidi will support Palestinian statehood so as to wreak ‘Israel’s demise’


I kept one eye on former Pentagon adviser Michael Rubin during the Iraq War drumming because he was young and red-cheeked and not as smooth as the grownup monsters (Abrams/Perle/Feith) and I thought he was trying to sound halfway-reasonable. But it turns out that under the gloss of International Relations he’s… gosh, a pro-Israel zealot like so many of the rest.  This piece at Commentary is nutty in a very entertaining way, and lends further latter-day support to the Walt and Mearsheimer thesis that the Iraq war couldn’t have happened without the Israel lobby.

In Rubin’s view, Samantha Power is an anti-Israel intellectual (a thoughtful, careful woman who praised Marty Peretz and Leon Wieseltier, the “wisest man in Washington,” in her breakout book). The Palestinian statehood initiative would spell “Israel’s demise.” And Rashid Khalidi is still a close adviser of Barack Obama. On what evidence?

Though I like Rubin’s Truman analogy: Truman defied the establishment to recognize Israel; Obama would have to defy it to OK a Palestinian state. True. And why did the establishment change? Because the nature of American leadership culture changed, because Jews were at last permitted into the power structure. Robert Kaplan, ushering out the Arabists, could state that the recognition of Israel was a great “liberal” advance, and Michael Beschloss and Walter Russell Mead and everyone else agreed, for the time being anyway…  Rubin (thanks to Jim Lobe):

Rashid Khalidi, a current adviser to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, remains a close Obama confidante. While The Los Angeles Times continues to withhold the tape of Obama’s toast to Khalidi prior to the professor’s departure for a post at Columbia University, Obama’s speech perhaps gave an inkling of his sympathy toward the Palestine Liberation Organization and his antipathy toward Israel.

Obama entered office with strong opinions. His understanding of the real reasons for the lack of peace in the Middle East was shoddy, shaped as it was by a former PLO activist and an Ivy League bubble. He reportedly still remains enthralled by anti-Israel intellectual Samantha Power.  Intellectual arrogance, however, appears to prevent Obama from reconsidering his assumptions. Rather, he digs in his heels.

That the State Department has come out against unilateral recognition is irrelevant. After all, Secretary of State Clinton also came out against any demands that Syrian President Bashar Assad step aside just days before Obama demanded that Assad step aside. In his speech about the Middle East last May, Obama appears to have left himself too much wiggle room for comfort. Certainly, a US vote in favor of unilateral Palestinian statehood would unleash chaos. The question is whether when the smoke cleared, President Obama thought he might be remembered positively for the fait accompli.

Harry Truman defied the establishment to recognize Israel. We should not discount the possibility that Obama might defy the establishment to advance Israel’s demise. Beware the September surprise.

Actually, I think this piece is hysterical. Israel exists; no one is going to destroy it. The Palestinians are powerless. Before too long, the society will likely be transformed– and if you take Omar Barghouti’s Algerian analogy, which is an outcome I don’t pray for, many Israelis will leave the place. But what everyone on this site actually seeks is a transformation that honors equal rights…

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