The McCain campaign, hoping to foment doubts about Barack Obama in the Jewish community, has complained that a newspaper has "suppressed" a videotape of Obama attending a dinner with Rashid Khalidi, an Arab studies scholar and advocate of Palestinian rights, back in 2003.
But "the latest guilt-by-association target that the McCain campaign is using to hit Barack Obama could carry some collateral damage for its own candidate," the Huffington Post notes.
During the 1990s, while McCain served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), the group distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi.
A 1998 tax filing for the McCain-led group shows a $448,873 grant to Khalidi's Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank, the Post notes. The relationship extends back as far as 1993, when McCain joined IRI as chairman.. 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."
"Of course," the Post writes, "there's seemingly nothing objectionable with McCain's organization helping a Palestinian group conduct research in the West Bank or Gaza. But it does suggest that McCain could have some of his own explaining to do as he tries to make hay out of Khalidi's ties to Obama."
Khalidi helped found the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, self-described as "an independent academic research and policy analysis institution" created to meet "the need for active Palestinian scholarship on issues related to Palestine," ABC News notes. He served on the board of trustees through 1999, and McCain's IRI continued to give money to the CPRS after Khalidi left the group as well.
The Swamp this morning noted the flap over the Obama-Khalidi videotape which the McCain campaign wants the Los Angeles Times to relaase. The paper says it got the tape in confidence, and reported on its contents in April.
In reporting on Obama's presence at the dinner for Khalidi," the Times reported, "the article noted that some speakers expressed anger at Israel and at U.S. foreign policy, but that Obama in his comments called for finding common ground."