Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, has signed an appeal for funds to outfit a ship -- to be named The Audacity of Hope after Barack Obama's second book -- that will challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza in September or October, according to a report by Robert Mackey at the New York Times.
The appeal is posted at the site UStoGaza.ORG, which says the ship will sail from the US to the Eastern Mediterranean, where it will join ships from "Europe, Canada, India, South Africa and parts of the Middle East." The appeal employs the word "we" when speaking of the upcoming trip, which gives the impression that the signatories intend to be aboard.
The site's opening paragraph is laden with falsehoods of commission and omission:
"This is an important moment in history. In the aftermath of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre and increased world-wide scrutiny of Israel's blockade of Gaza, the Israeli government has mounted a huge public relations campaign spreading the lie that by letting a few more items into Gaza the blockade has been lifted. This is not the reality. Gaza is still under siege, vital building materials and other supplies are banned, exports of goods from Gaza are denied and neither ships nor people can travel without permission from Israel, permission which Israel will not give. Gaza is essentially an open-air prison under a U.S.-backed Israeli blockade."
Somehow, UStoGaza omitted reference to well publicized video, which shows Israeli commandos being brutally attacked by those on board.
Mackey's brief report notes the Khalidi-Obama connection, about which CW examined closely during the 2008 presidential campaign:
"One of the activists whose name appears beneath the appeal for funds is Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American professor at Columbia whose friendship with Mr. Obama was briefly made into a campaign issue in October 2008 by Senator John McCain."...
Khalidi served as a spokesman for the Palestinian Liberation Organization while it was listed as a terrorist organization by the US State Department.