Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi. (photo credit:YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)
A pro-Palestinian professor created controversy on Thursday after
that under the incoming Trump administration, advocates for Israel would
come to "infest" the United States government.
During an interview with Chicago public radio station WBEZ, Columbia
University Professor of Modern Arab Studies Rashid Khalidi surmised that
supporters of Israel would have greater influence on incoming US President
Donald Trump, which would impose a new "vision" of the Middle East
disproportionately favoring the Israeli government.
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"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,"
he added.For some in the Jewish community, "infest" possesses an antisemitic connotation that hearkens back to the Nazi era, when Jews were described as "rats" or "vermin."
Khalidi, who has previously campaigned on behalf of the Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), has been credited as a
for the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Beirut in the 1970's and
1980's, when Israel and the US considered the group a terrorist organization.
Khalidi, however, has denied ever working for the PLO, stating that he
"often spoke to journalists in Beirut, who usually cited me without
attribution as a well-informed Palestinian source," according to The Washington Times.
Last year, the Ivy league educator circled a petition demanding that
Columbia University immediately divest from Israel, garnering the
signatures of at least 40 colleagues, according to online publication
Columbia University said in response for comment that “Faculty have
freedom to speak out on public issues. No one, however, represents the
university when doing so.”
Professor Khalidi was not available for comment at the time of publication
of this article.