“Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, reportedly has signed an appeal for funds to outfit a ship–to be named The Audacity of Hope–that will challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza in September or October. Khalidi and his wife (who also signed the appeal) became friends and occasional dinner companions of Barack Obama when Khalidi was on the faculty of the University of Chicago. Khalidi also contributed to the education of Obama on issues relating to the Middle East. Just before Khalidi moved to Columbia, at a dinner honoring Khalidi, Obama saluted the rabidly anti-Israel professor for “offer[ing] constant reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases.”
Obama and Rashid Khalidi go way back. Obama babysat Khalidi's kids; Khalidi did a fund-raiser for Obama in 2001; and Obama sat on the board of the Woods Foundation with terrorist Bill Ayers and gave Khalidi $40,000 and $30,000 grants respectively.
For those of you unfamiliar with Rashid Khalidi, go here.
- Professor of Middle East Studies at Columbia University
- Former PLO operative
- Has justified as legitimate Palestinian “resistance” that results in death of armed Israelis
- Rejects the possibility of a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (from Atlas, March 2008)
Obama attended a dinner for Khalidi. The LA Times has the tape. Now more than ever, under FOIA, the LA Times must release the tape of Obama speaking and toasting Rashid Khalidi. Here is an account from a journalist who saw the tape:
Saw a clip from the tape. Reason we can't release it is because [of] statements Obama said to rile audience up during toast. He congratulates Khalidi for his work saying "Israel has no God-given right to occupy Palestine" plus there's been "genocide against the Palestinian people by Israelis."
Here is an excerpt on Khalid from my book which launched today. Buy it, there's more.
In 2005, Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi taught a fifteen-week course on Middle Eastern politics at Columbia’s Middle East Institute. The New York Sun reported that the Saudis “funneled tens of thousands of dollars” into the institute’s programs. However, New York City’s schools chancellor, Joel Klein removed Khalidi from the program after it came to light that Khalidi had justified jihad terror attacks against Israeli civilians: “Killing civilians is a war crime, whoever does it. But resistance to occupation is legitimate in international law.” Martin Kramer, a trenchant critic of the anti-Israel and pro-jihad bias that prevails in American academia, explained: “If you’re a Saudi, it’s very convenient for Rashid Khalidi to claim that the source of America’s problems in the region is not their special relationship with Saudi Arabia, but their special relationship with Israel. All he has to do is say it’s Palestine, stupid.”
That wasn’t all. Reports indicate that Khalidi was a director of WAFA, the official press agency of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in Beirut from 1976 to 1982. According to journalist Aaron Klein, “Rashid Khalidi at times has denied working directly for the PLO but Palestinian diplomatic sources in Ramallah told WND he indeed worked on behalf of WAFA. Khalidi also advised the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Conference in 1991.” What’s more, “during documented speeches and public events, Khalidi has called Israel an ‘apartheid system in creation’ and a destructive ‘racist’ state. He has multiple times expressed support for Palestinian terror, calling suicide bombings response to ‘Israeli aggression.’ He dedicated his 1986 book, ‘Under Siege,’ to ‘those who gave their lives ... in defense of the cause of Palestine and independence of Lebanon.’ Critics assailed the book as excusing Palestinian terrorism.”
In 2001 and 2002, the fiercely anti-Israeli Arab American Action Network (AAAN), headed by Khalidi’s wife Mona, received $110,000 in grants from the Woods Fund, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization. One of the members of the Woods Fund board of directors at that time was Barack Obama, Khalidi’s former colleague back in the 1990s, when they both taught at the University of Chicago. Like Ayers, Khalidi also took a financial interest in Obama’s political career: in 2000, he held a fundraiser for Obama’s unsuccessful run for a seat in the House of Representatives. In October 2008, the Los Angeles Times obtained a video of a 2003 AAAN dinner attended by Obama, Ayers, Dohrn, and Khalidi. The Times refused to release the video, leading to angry accusations of journalistic bias from the McCain campaign, since it was widely rumored that the video showed Obama making or at very least assenting to anti-Israel statements.
One thing that the Times did reveal that Obama spoke warmly at the banquet about his numerous conversations with Rashid and Mona Khalidi, saying that they had served for him as “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 on the big stage of “this entire world.”
Times reporter Peter Wallsten noted that “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.” One of those was the 2003 AAAN dinner, at which “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.’” Another speaker compared the “Zionist settlers on the West Bank” – to whom Obama as president has been notoriously hostile – to Osama bin Laden. Obama is not recorded as having contradicted these remarks, although he did, according to Wallsten, adopt “a different tone in his comments and called for finding common ground.”
In any case, whatever was said on this notorious video, no smoking-gun videotape was really necessary to establish Obama’s close ties to haters of Israel. The evidence was already there in abundance.