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Political tidbits: Khalidi speaks, Wexler on Bibi and Barack

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  • Palestinian-American academic Rashid Khalidi breaks his silence by speaking with Haaretz’s Akiva Eldar. "It proved once again that to be of Palestinian origin and to be publicly opposed to the occupation and critical of U.S. policy is grounds for public defamation as a ‘terrorist,’ "Khalidi says in response to the attacks on him by John McCain and Sarah Palin in the final days of the campaign. As for the prospects for peace under a Obama administration: "Much will depend on who is chosen for the key positions relating to the Middle East. If some of the unimaginative, close-minded and biased advocates of conventional thinking who bear a major share of the responsibility for the mess we have been in for over 20 years — from the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations to that of Clinton, even before George W. Bush made things even worse — are appointed to important posts, my expectations will be low.‘"
  • Prominent Obama Jewish supporter Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) tells the Jerusalem Post’s Herb Keinon he has no doubt that the president-elect could work with a potential Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "I am confident that should he become the prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu would get along very well with Barack Obama, and the two of them would work in concert toward the achievement of mutual interests. I have no doubt about that."
  • Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies lecturer Alex Sinclair writes in Haaretz that Israel is addicted to territories and that it needs to Obama to break that addiction: "Our friend — President Obama — needs to make the intervention for us, with the support by our family, the American Jewish community. If Obama wants to be a true friend, he must put his hand on our shoulder and tell us to stop. He must take the bottle out of our hand."
  • Queen Noor of Jordan, at the Huffington Post, says Hillary Clinton will be a "strong, effective" secretary of state: "I observed first hand her commitment to peace and justice during the presidency of Bill Clinton, when Jordan’s King Hussein, my late husband, and I worked closely with the Clintons in an attempt to achieve a Middle East peace. When they take office next year, I know that President-elect Obama and she quickly will begin looking for ways to bring security to Israel and justice to Palestinians, including four to six million Palestinian refugees."
  • Jimmy Carter’s already got another book on the Middle East ready to go. "Carter said Wednesday night that ‘We Can Bring Peace to the Holy Land’ will be published in January, just after the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama," reports the Associated Press.
  • Adam Kredo in the Washington Jewish Week has some scuttlebutt and speculation on what D.C.-area Jews might end up in the Obama administration:"There’s also buzz that Obama might tap D.C. businessman Julius Genachowski, who’s already been named to Obama’s transition team, as chief technology adviser in what would be a new Cabinet-level position. Insiders also say that Genachowski, whose children attend Gan HaYeled, the preschool at Adas Israel Congregation in the District, could be in line to chair the Federal Communications Committee, as he was a former legal counsel to ex-FCC chair Reed Hundt.
  • Politico reports that Sen. Chuck Schumer could become "an instrumental figure in the Minnesota Senate recount: "Schumer is poised to become chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which has primary jurisdiction in settling unresolved elections. The Minnesota recount will be done on Dec. 16, but with all the legal wrangling and quirks in ballot counting, there’s an increasing chance that the race would get kicked to the full Senate for resolution." Meanwhile, Politico also reports that Al Franken’s campaign claims they’re 22 votes ahead as of last night, a figure hotly disputed by Coleman’s campaign.
  • The son of a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard has been e lected to the Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee, reports the Palm Beach Post. County GOP chairman Sid Dinerstein says he won’t seat Derek Black, son of Don Black, because he’s a white supremaciste. Derek Black’s response: "I’ve told (Dinerstein) I’m not a white supremacist; that’s an insult. I would describe myself as a white person who is concerned about discrimination against white people." Black also has David Duke in town to defend him.
  • JSpot.org has "Jew Don’t Know ‘Bama", the "ultimate quiz for Jews who think they know our next president," with questions like: "In Chicago, the Obama’s live across the street from KAM Isaiah Israel, the oldest synagogue in the city. What is the closest synagogue to the Obama’s new home in Washington, DC? Sixth and I Synagogue; Kesher Israel, The Georgetown Synagogue; Temple Micah or the National Synagogue."
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) hangs up on Barack Obama, then hangs up on Rahm Emaunel, thinking they’re prank callers from a Florida radio station, reports the Washington Post. Finally, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) has to step in: "Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs CommitteeJi and someone Ros-Lehtinen knows well, called and told her he ‘needed to speak with her urgently.’ She got on the line — but demanded that Berman recount a story ‘only both of them would know,’ which the congressman did. He then told her what had just happened — ‘that she had, indeed, hung up on the president-elect,’ according to her office statement."
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