I expected Columbia’s “Understanding the War on Gaza” conference on January 29 to be similar to UCLA’s recent “Gaza and Human Rights” symposium: a one-sided lesson on how to spread anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism. However, it was surprisingly balanced, perhaps because it was sponsored by Columbia’s Law School. Most of the panelists focused on the legal aspects of the recent conflict and acknowledged that we should not make any judgments until evidence was accumulated.
Khalidi is a study in contrasts. He blurted out his belief that “the law is an ass” during a discussion with students, yet he condemned Israel’s lack of respect for the law and presented a sympathetic view of (illegal) terrorism as a tactic. He used facts and numbers that, in his own words, “may or may not be correct” to convince his audience that everything we thought we knew about the situation in Gaza is wrong. He published known fabrications in the New York Times Op-Ed, lied about the terms of the June cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, and made the hand-waving claim in front of a crowd of legal experts that according to some laws, somewhere, “there is a right of resistance to occupation.” (He later admitted that no legal system recognized that right.)
He’s a historian who does not learn from his own history, who repeats the same oft-disproven tales at every opportunity.
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