Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, has been caught in a lie. Khalidi concluded a January 8, 2009, op-ed that appeared in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune with the following quote ascribed to former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon:
The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.
The problem is Ya'alon never made this statement and both publications have since had to excise it from the op-ed and issue corrections. Here's the New York Times:
An Op-Ed article on Jan. 8, on misperceptions of Gaza, included an unverified quotation. A former Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff, Moshe Yaalon, was quoted as saying in 2002 that "the Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people." This quotation, while cited widely, does not appear in the Israeli newspaper interview to which it is usually attributed. Its original source has not been found, and thus it should not have appeared in the article.
The bogus quote originated with a 2002 Haaretz interview in which Ya'alon, when asked to define victory, responded:
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.
The distorted version of Ya'alon's words has since become a staple of anti-Israel rhetoric, leading Khalidi to employ it on more than one occasion. Before the current op-ed, Khalidi used the quote in a May 22, 2003, column in The Nation, as well as in his 2005 book Resurrecting Empire.
Khalidi spouted propaganda as a PLO spokesman in the 1980s. It's inexcusable that, as a Columbia professor, he hasn't changed his tactics.
(See the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and Jewish Press senior editor Jason Maoz, writing at Contentions, for more details.)