Rubin Tries Punching Above His Weight

rubin5.JPGMichael Rubin snipes at Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi from the Corner:

Since Rashid Khalidi has, by his close friendship to Senator Obama, returned to prominence, it may be worth revisiting the quality of Khalidi’s scholarship and how he subordinates scholarly integrity to polemic.[…]

Khalidi’s influence upon Obama might subordinate basic human rights to the virulent form of Arab nationalism that led to the Anfal.

First, Khalidi hasn’t “returned to prominence,” he is prominent by virtue of being one of the leading Middle East scholars in the United States.

Second, the idea that Rubin would accuse anyone of “subordinat[ing] scholarly integrity to polemic” is pretty funny, given that Rubin himself formerly worked in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans, helping Doug Feith shape dubiously-sourced intelligence into dishonest arguments for a disastrous war, and now edits the Middle East Quarterly, helping right-wing polemicist Daniel Pipes warn Americans about the Islamic terrorists lurking underneath their beds.

Third, Rubin’s lazy and baseless slander of Khalidi — suggesting that Khalidi somehow espouses an ideology sympathetic to Saddam Hussein’s 1986-89 genocide against the Kurds — is really contemptible, degenerate stuff. (Those kinds of unsubstantiated insinuations might have flown in Feith’s shop, pal, but not out here in the world.) In reality, Khalidi is a big supporter of human rights. The real problem, at least as Rubin and assorted Corner nuts are concerned, is that Khalidi is also a supporter of human rights for Palestinians.

I understand Rubin’s hostility toward Khalidi, though. Rashid Khalidi is a highly regarded academic whose work is taken seriously, whereas Michael Rubin is a second-tier neocon hack known for having served as one of Doug Feith’s oompa-loompas. That’s got to sting a little.