Meet The New Bill Ayers
In a last, desperate attempt to pull out a victory on November 4, the McCain campaign and their conservative surrogates are highlighting the relationship between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi. And they’re accusing the Los Angeles Times of “intentionally suppressing” videotape in its possession of a 2003 event where Obama praises Khalidi.
The Times first wrote of this in April, 2008, in a piece called “Allies of Palestinians See a Friend in Barack Obama”. Obama spoke of being a regular dinner companion of Khalidi and his wife.
His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been “consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases. . . . It’s for that reason that I’m hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation — a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid’s dinner table,” but around “this entire world.”
The thrust of the article was that Obama was more sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians than many other American politicians. But Obama also showed great empathy for Israel, a part of all this that is being ignored by his detractors.
In 2002, as a rash of suicide bombings struck Israel, Obama sought out a Jewish colleague in the state Senate and asked whether he could sign onto a measure calling on Palestinian leaders to denounce violence. “He came to me and said, ‘I want to have my name next to yours,’ ” said his former state Senate colleague Ira Silverstein, an observant Jew.
The LA Times has issued a statement about why it won’t release the videotape:
“The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it,” said the newspaper’s editor, Russ Stanton. “The Times keeps its promises to sources.”
For his part Khalidi is an American-born Yale-educated scholar who is now a professor of Arab Study at New York’s Columbia University. He has, in the past, acted as a spokesman for the PLO, and he is a moderate who has spoken out against suicide bombings against civilians, calling them “war crimes.” He has also been critical of Hamas and other, more extreme, Palestinian leaders.
Oh, yeah, one more thing. When the right wing goes after Obama for his association with Khalidi, it’s important to note that in 1998, Khalidi’s group, the Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank, received $448,873 from a group called the International Republican Institute. And guess who was chairman of that group and who agreed to the grant? John McCain.
The relationship extends back as far as 1993, when John McCain joined IRI as chairman in January. Foreign Affairs noted in September of that year that IRI had helped fund several extensive studies in Palestine run by Khalidi’s group, including over 30 public opinion polls and a study of “sociopolitical attitudes.”
So is it time to question some of John McCain’s questionable “radical” associations?Click here for reuse options!
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