In a piece yesterday on National Public Radio, legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, who ought to know better, suggested that the Palestine Liberation Organization should be considered a terrorist organization.
NINA TOTENBERG: Federal law makes it a crime to provide material support to any organization designated a terrorist group by the secretary of state….The nonprofit Humanitarian Law Project has a long history of engaging in such activity, mediating international conflicts and promoting human rights. But it has stopped doing some of its work for fear of being prosecuted under the material support provision…
David Cole, representing the Humanitarian Law Project, notes, however, that the State Department designates organizations as terrorist groups without review. Thus, for example, the PKK [the Kurdistan Workers Party] is designated a terrorist organization, but the PLO is not.
I hate to break it to you, but the US recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in 1991. The PLO has a seat at the U.N.
Why do I land on this little boo-boo? Because Nina Totenberg is a smart, generally well-informed, empowered Jewish liberal who surely epitomizes the well-meaning D.C. elite. And my theme these days is from Cicero (via Nader): freedom is the participation in power. Nina Totenberg has considerable freedom. I have freedom. Jews in this society have tremendous freedom.
Palestinians have very little freedom, and have had little for decades. Totenberg’s ignorance on this score, and reflexive prejudice, reveals what Palestinians are up against in Washington.