The various bozos of the wingnut circus have had their little chortle about the rumor of Yasser Arafat's having died of AIDS (much like their sporadic concern for women's rights, wingers care deeply about homophobia if and when it can be used as a weapon against their political enemies), but leave it to Marty Peretz's Mini Me to go the extra mile and try to spin the story into a slander of the Palestinians in general. I give you James Kirchick:
Of course, no amount of evidence will convince the Palestinians that Arafat was a homosexual, or that his death was caused by anything other than Israel's machinations. I found this out a few weeks ago in the West Bank, where everyone I spoke to told me that Israel killed Arafat. The denials that will inevitably spill forth about the causes of Arafat's death will mirror the rejection of a two state solution: both are part and parcel of the Palestinians' self-delusion.
Yes, those silly, delusional Palestinians. It's amazing how people whose leaders have been assassinated by Israeli bullets, missiles, bombs in telephones, poisoning, and secret lethal injection ambush will believe any damn thing. Sure, Ariel Sharon had openly declared Israel's right to kill Arafat if Israel so desired, but to actually suspect Israel of having gone through with it? That's just another example of the conspiratorial anti-Semitism which infects Palestinian society. As for the Palestinian's "rejection of a two state solution," given the fact that a substantial majority of Palestinians have for over a decade been in favor of just that, I suggest that the thing that's actually mirrored here is James Kirchick's bigotry.
Rumours about Arafat's homosexuality have been around for a long time. A number of Israeli scholars I've spoken to over the years, as well as a few Palestinians, simply acknowledged it as fact. Obviously, if true, it would be very interesting to consider how this was kept secret, or at least mostly secret, for so long. I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that quite a few people knew about it, but said nothing or ignored it because they considered Arafat's leadership indispensible.
To be sure, this particular story has a suspicious provenance. To say that I was initially wary of something that I first saw posted on the Corner after it had been picked up from Little Green Footballs is like saying I would be wary of eating a ring-ding that I first saw on the floor of the Newark bus station men's room after it had been transported through customs between Bill O'Reilly's ass cheeks. Ahmad Jibril, who apparently floated the rumor in an al-Manar TV interview translated by the hatefully anti-Palestinian MEMRI, and linked by LGF, is the head of the rejectionist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command, a longtime rival of Fatah's, currently based in Damascus. It's easy to see why he might want to slander and discredit Arafat, and by extension the current Fatah leadership, by outing Arafat as having been "infected." That's not to say that the story isn't true, just that not one of the links in the chain is a source that I consider particularly, or even nearly, credible.