What is not as important as Rashid Khalidi’s restrained, but nonetheless perceptive critique of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s trip to Israel, courtesy of AIPAC, is the fact that the Chicago Tribune elected to run it. Jackson Jr. has been one of the most unabashed supporters of Israel within the Congressional Black Caucus, at one point even disassociating himself from his father’s criticism of Israeli policies. Given the mood of the times and the serious economic problems facing the voters in his district, however, he may now begin to have second thoughts about where his priorities should be. Khalidi:
Jackson also approvingly quoted Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has called for the forcible transfer of Israel’s Palestinian citizens and whose stances have regularly been criticized internationally for their thinly veiled bigotry. The day that a prominent African-American and the son of a civil rights icon embraces a man like Lieberman for the sole purpose of greasing wheels in Washington is a sad one for anyone who cares about equality and justice.
Jackson’s submission to the lobby of a foreign state is a tragic illustration of the abdication of progressives and others in the United States over the rights of Palestinians. Such behavior is one of the reasons Israel has been able to dominate Palestinians for decades with little protest from the United States.
It is no wonder then, that peace and security for all in the region is still so elusive.