The latest whitewash of members of the ring of rogues around Barack Obama is delivered by the New York Times this morning.
Barack Obama has had a long-time friendship with Rashid Khalidi, who taught at the University of Chicago from 1987 until 2003. They both lived in the small enclave of Hyde Park and socialized. They both taught at the University of Chicago. The topic of their friendship has risen, in part, because Khalidi is a fierce critic of Israel and US support of that nation. Also, Barack Obama, when he served on the small seven person Board of Directors of the Woods Fund, gave 2 grants totaling over $100,000 to an anti-Israel activist group headed by Khalidi's wife.
The Khalidi's also held a fundraiser for Obama at their home.
The ties between the Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi generated some attention when a Los Angeles Times article ("Allies of Palestinians See a Friend in Barack Obama") was published earlier in the year that portrayed the extent of their friendship as deep and enduring. There is a video (that the Los Angeles Times refuses to make public) of Obama delivering an encomium to his friend during a going away party for the Khalidi's (Khalidi was moving to Columbia University, where he now holds the Edward Said chair of Arab Studies and is director of the Middle East Institute of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs"):
From the Los Angeles Times article:
It was a celebration of Palestinian culture -- a night of music, dancing and a dash of politics. Local Arab Americans were bidding farewell to Rashid Khalidi, an internationally known scholar, critic of Israel and advocate for Palestinian rights, who was leaving town for a job in New York.
A special tribute came from Khalidi's friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals prepared by Khalidi's wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking.
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 warm embrace Obama gave to Khalidi, and words like those at the professor's going-away party, have left some Palestinian American leaders believing that Obama is more receptive to their viewpoint than he is willing to say.
Their belief is not drawn from Obama's speeches or campaign literature, but from comments that some say Obama made in private and from his association with the Palestinian American community in his hometown of Chicago, including his presence at events where anger at Israeli and U.S. Middle East policy was freely expressed.
At Khalidi's 2003 farewell party, for example, a young Palestinian American recited a poem accusing the Israeli government of terrorism in its treatment of Palestinians and sharply criticizing U.S. support of Israel. If Palestinians cannot secure their own land, she said, "then you will never see a day of peace."
One speaker likened "Zionist settlers on the West Bank" to Osama bin Laden, saying both had been "blinded by ideology."
Obama adopted a different tone in his comments and called for finding common ground. But his presence at such events, as he worked to build a political base in Chicago, has led some Palestinian leaders to believe that he might deal differently with the Middle East than either of his opponents for the White House.
"I am confident that Barack Obama is more sympathetic to the position of ending the occupation than either of the other candidates," said Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow for the American Task Force on Palestine, referring to the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that began after the 1967 war. More than his rivals for the White House, Ibish said, Obama sees a "moral imperative" in resolving the conflict and is most likely to apply pressure to both sides to make concessions.
"That's my personal opinion," Ibish said, "and I think it for a very large number of circumstantial reasons, and what he's said."
This is the history that the Times tries to whitewash today.
The New York Times has front-run for the Obama campaign for two years - downplaying his close ties to ACORN, to Pastor Jeremaih Wright, to William Ayers. Now the paper is back for a repeat performance. The article in today's paper describes Khalidi as a "passionate defender of Palestinian rights" , quoted him as saying "I didn't endorse killing Israeli solders" and "I am a ferocious critic of Yasser Arafat". The New York Times also derides the view that he had close ties to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).
Taking the last point, first. He did have close ties to the PLO. According to CampusWatch:
As with Said before him, Khalidi's involvement with the Palestinian cause goes beyond mere support. News reports -- including a 1982 dispatch from Thomas Friedman of the New York Times -- suggest that he once served as Director of the Palestinian press agency, Wikalat al-Anba al-Filastinija. Khalidi's wife, Mona, was reportedly the agency's main English-language editor between 1976 and 1982. Khalidi so strongly identified with the aims of the PLO, which was designated as a terrorist group by the State Department during Khalidi's affiliation with it in the 1980s, that he repeatedly referred to himself as "we" when expounding on the PLO's agenda. Additional evidence of Khalidi's intimacy with the PLO can be seen in his involvement with the organization's so-called "guidance committee" in the early 1990s.
Khalidi's 1986 book, Under Siege: P.L.O. Decision-Making During the 1982 War, was dedicated to Yasser Arafat. Opening with a glowing tribute to anti-Israel fighters ("to those who gave their lives during the summer of 1982 … in defense of the cause of Palestine and the independence of Lebanon"), the book offered an airbrushed account of PLO-instigated violence against Israelis and Lebanese. By contrast, Syria's brutal occupation of Lebanon elicited no criticism from the author.
The Times portrays Rashid Kahildi as just a passionate defender of Palestinian rights who did not endorse the killing of Israeli soldiers.
That is not true.
In a speech given to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Khalidi said that "[k]illing civilians is a war crime. It's a violation of international law. They are not soldiers. They're civilians, they're unarmed. The ones who are armed, the ones who are soldiers, the ones who are in occupation, that's different. That's resistance." This certainly strongly implies that he does endorse the killing of Israeli soldiers, no? The New York Sun argued that was precisely the meaning in this editorial
Khalidi also beleives that all of Israel - even pre-1967 Israel - is occupied Palestinian territory which would seem to deny the Israelis all rights to a nation with any kind of realistic, defensible borders (that goes beyond defending "Palestinian rights").
He has called Israel an "apartheid system" and is fiercely critical of the so-called Israel Lobby and any think-tanks that he considers too pro-Israel (even if they employ Arab and Arab-American scholars).
Actually, he considers Israel as acting in a such a away that is worse than apartheid (Jennifer Rubin continues her superb reporting on Obama and found a 2007 video of a Khalidi lecture where that statement is made.) In that same lecture, Khalidi castigates American Jews and their influence in America that, in Rubin's words:
"[H]is description of American Jews who control the money and votes to manipulate Congress sounds an awful lot like Mearsheimer and Walt's "The Israeli Lobby." Or General Tony McPeak for that matter".
I would add to Rubin's comments that Obama's foreign policy gurus Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samantha Power, and Daniel Kurtzer have also expressed sentiments against American Jews who engage in their constitutionally protected right to have a voice in foreign policy discussions.
One can also add prominent Barack Obama supporter George Soros and on again, off again foreign policy "pal" Robert Malley who share disparaging and unpleasant views about the putative Israel Lobby.
Finally - and just to be brief because the infamies heaped upon Israel by Rashid Khalidi are too numerous to list - is Khalidi's claim that he was a "fierce critic of Yasser Arafat" which the Times uncritically accepts. Most readers would consider a fierce critic of a vicious and unrepetant terrorist as admirable. However, the devil (literally) is in the details. Was Khalidfi critical of Arafat's terrorism? His serial lying? His authority being used to indoctrinate young children to hate Jews? No.
Khalidi was a critic of Arafat in one area and one area only: his governing style when he was in control of the West Bank and Gaza. No condemnation of Arafat's support for terrorism and the teaching of hate, or his serial lies and breaking of commitments. None.
The Times - in the tank for both Barack Obama and apologists of terror.
See also this outline of the ties between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi.