Professor Rashid Khalidi Had Access to What General Yaalon Really Said

Further on Professor Khalidi’s piece in the New York Times (see my previous posting).

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has shown just how Professor Khalidi obtained his (false) quotation from General Moshe Yaalon. It would seem from this that Professor Khalidi had access to what General Yaalon really said, but chose, apparently deliberately, to turn the General’s words into their very opposite. Here is part of CAMERA’s article (click here for the whole piece):

Perhaps most egregious is Khalidi’s conclusion of his column with a fabricated quote. He writes:

“Far more revealing are the words of Moshe Yaalon, then the Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff, in 2002: ‘The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.'”

Khalidi uses the same fabricated quote in his book Resurrecting Empire, citing in the footnote an interview with Ari Shavit in Haaretz Magazine, August 30, 2002, as quoted in Arnaud de Borchegrave, “Road Map or Road Rage?” Washington Times, May 28, 2003.

But, in fact, Ya’alon said no such thing in the Shavit interview. On the contrary. He said that Palestinian Arabs must understand that terrorism would not make Israelis into a defeated people. Khalidi, in other words, reverses the meaning of Ya’alon’s words with a fabricated quote.

Below is Shavit’s question and Ya’alon’s answer:

Shavit: “Do you have a definition of victory? Is it clear to you what Israel’s goal in this war is?”

Ya’alon: “I defined it from the beginning of the confrontation: the very deep internalization by the Palestinians that terrorism and violence will not defeat us, will not make us fold. If that deep internalization does not exist at the end of the confrontation, we will have a strategic problem with an existential threat to Israel. If that [lesson] is not burned into the Palestinian and Arab consciousness, there will be no end to their demands of us.”

Ya’alon repeated in the same interview:

“The facts that are being determined in this confrontation — in terms of what will be burned into the Palestinian consciousness — are fateful. If we end the confrontation in a way that makes it clear to every Palestinian that terrorism does not lead to agreements, that will improve our strategic position.”

The story of how Khalidi first came to use this alleged Yaalon quotation, in his book “Resurrecting Empire,” is described in more detail by Alex Safian in his contribution to the pamphlet “Israel’s Jewish Defamers,” Boston, CAMERA, 2008, pp. 42-44. For all those of us who had regard for Khalidi over the years, these disclosures of his sleight of hand will be profoundly disquieting.

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