McCain & Palin & Obama & Khalidi

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A fair number of you politically inclined tipsters have sent us the CNN story about Palin’s mention of Rashid Khalidi’s relationship with Obama. (Good to know you aren’t harboring a grudge against CNN!)

Anyway, Palin characterized MEALAC Professor Khalidi — whom she noted was a “political ally” of Obama’s — as a “former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization” — a claim refuted by both Barack Obama and Khalidi himself. 

Palin denies that this is negative campaigning, claiming that it “is not negative campaigning to call someone out on their record.”

McCain and Co. have also recently demanded that the Los Angeles Times release a videotape of Khalidi’s going-away party at the University of Chicago, a party Obama attended and allegedly featured a woman reading a poem that was critical of the Israel-US relationship.

The paper has refused to release the tape (their source asked that it be withheld), which prompted Palin to suggest that the Times be awared a Pulitzer for “kowtowing.”

For his part, Khalidi has denied to speak on the record about McCain campaign’s assertions until “this idiot wind passes.” 

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  1. hmm  

    Hey, Republican friends, I think Conservative government has serious merits and is a respectable ideology.

    But can you honestly look yourself in the eye after voting for these two fuckheads? Do you have to be liberal to see the ghastly transformation McCain has undergone over the past year? Can you seriously support their anti-intellectual message and their slander-by-association message? Are you really okay with them trying to create the fear in people's minds that Obama is linked to - and therefore by extension is - a terrorist, when you know he would do nothing treasonous? And do you honestly believe that Sarah Palin has demonstrated a record of small government and a crusade against excessive spending?

    • well

      considering that Hillary Clinton had no problem bringing up questions about Obama's associations, then no, I'm not too concerned. Plus, if Obama wants to bring up things like Keating Five, which he has even though its a silly attack, and if he wants to run ads linking McCain to racist remarks by Rush Limbaugh, then I have no hesitation voting for someone who is adopting similarly ridiculous tactics.

  2. EAL  

    Seriously? Even though I don't support Obama, the very insinuation that Khalidi is some sort of anti-American radical (or, if you want to really go off the rocker with the PLO connection, a terrorist), is bogus and disgustingly exaggerated.

    Maybe some time in the political wilderness (which looks more and more inevitable by the day) will be good for conservatives. Perhaps it may finally convince the thick-headed RNC operatives that such scare tactics ultimately don't pay. Rather, these malicious attack ads and morally questionable insinuations have tarnished the reputation of a national party and have obscured any value of conservative ideals. Not that the more meaningful small-government and fiscally conservative ideas haven't already been skewered, thanks to the hard emphasis placed on divisive social issues and the Republicans' own abandonment of any pretense of limited spending and effective budget management. But that's another story.

    Perhaps after America tires of one-party government (and if history is any indication, it will tire out pretty quickly), then the Republicans will have an opening again. But they need to return to small-government fundamentals first, and marginalize the Palins, George Allens, and other small-minded and anti-intellectual types within the party.

  3. Alum

    Palin can get away with stuff like this because she knows no one will ever accuse her of having ties to any professors.

  4. hmmmm

    Could Khalidi sue Palin for slander? I wish he could/would. This bitch needs to be taught a lesson. Isn't he a tenured professor? If she knew anything about Columbia she should know that no PLO spokesperson would be granted tenure without a lot of ape shit being thrown.

  5. gems from

    cnn article http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/29/campaign.wrap/index.html

    Khalidi said Wednesday, "I am not speaking to the media at this time, and certainly not until this idiot wind passes."

    By the end of the week, he'll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich," Obama said.

  6. wait  

    idiot wind? does khalidi also believe in "smart rainstorms?"

  7. ...

    i hate alaska and want it out of the union... can i sign up for Mr. Palin's seccesionist society?

  8. Armin Rosen

    The Khalidi-as-WAFA-spokesperson claim originated in a New York Times article in the early 80s, and has been echoed in the New York Sun and a couple other places. I know the Washington Times is kinda biased, but here goes:

    "According to Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times, writing on June 9, 1982, Mr. Khalidi was at that time "a director of the Palestinian press agency." That would be Wikalat al-Anba al-Filastinija, or WAFA, the PLO press agency, where Mr. Khalidi's wife, Mona, was chief English-language editor in 1976-82. Mr. Friedman quotes Mr. Khalidi in his official capacity saying that the Israelis are out to "crush the P.L.O."

    There is other evidence that Mr. Khalidi worked for the PLO. In a Jan. 6, 1981, article in the Christian Science Monitor, Mr. Khalidi used the word "we" referring to the PLO. In 1991, he served on the PLO "guidance committee" at the Madrid conference, along with such figures as Faisal Husseini, Hanan Ashrawi and Sari Nusseibeh. Mr. Khalidi stated, "We had political decisions to make and diplomatic strategy to decide." On another occasion at Madrid, he told the press "We want this process to succeed and if doesn't we don't want it to be our fault."(Emphases added.)"


    And here's the applicable excerpt from what litte is available on the Times website:

    "Israelis are out to ''crush the P.L.O.,'' said Rashid Khalidi, a director of the Palestinian press agency, Wafa."


    So there's evidence to suggest that Khalidi was in the employ of the PLO, and I don't find a flat denial to be all that convincing.

    Having said that, it's idiotic to blame someone for working for WAFA in PLO-dominated late-70s, early-80s Beirut. My guess is that there were a ton of worse places to find employment than the PLO newsroom--this is akin to saying that someone's a communist sympathizer just becausethey happened to work for Pravda during the wane of the Soviet Union.

    Still means he worked for the PLO, though.

    • can't help it...

      "I know the Washington Times is kind of biased..." Help me here. The NYT and Washington Post aren't? Or does "biased" simply equate to being biased in favor of the right? Now, when it comes to the issue in question, regardless of whether Khalidi was or was not employed by the PLO (and I'm inclined to believe that he was), is there any doubt that he supported the objectives and tactics of the PLO during all of those years? And isn't this, more than the question of his employment status, the issue of prime relevance here?

      • well  

        so what if he did? Does that imply that Obama does?

        And so what if not everybody thinks Israel is the most peace-loving, kindly nation out there? Is it right that Israel's interests come before America's in the determination of our foreign policy?

        • then again

          I'm sympathetic to the gist of your argument, but there's a flaw worth pointing out. I'm happy to throw the PLO under the bus, because a lot of the stuff they've done is pretty reprehensible. And I think it's possible to think ill of the PLO *and* disagree with Israeli tactics.

        • #14 again

          Oh, and you're right that it's ridiculous to connect any of this to Obama.

  9. Class anecdote

    The day after Hamas won the Palestinian elections in 2006, Khalidi noted how the US's approach had failed in this instance and wrapped his point up by saying "Wake up and smell the hummus."

    And I fell instantly and forever in love.

  10. anyone  

    who has had Khalidi in class knows this vitriol is a bunch of bullshit. Clearly, Sarah Palin will forsake her own running mate in order to improve her political chances in the next four years. At least in a week she'll have to pack her ass back up to the North Pole and leave the rest of us in peace.

  11. also

    The relevant question here is whether there is a gap between what Obama says and does. There has been very little conversation about policy towards Israel and the Palestinians, unfortunately, but it is fair to ask whether Obama is more sympathetic to Khalidi's views than he lets on. This doesn't make him a bad guy, but it would make his views far out to of step from those of the Jewish community as he seeks their vote.

    I've taken Khalidi's class. I like him a lot. But there's no doubt that his views are very far-left, not just based on the class itself (which wasn't so bad in terms of indoctrination) but also based on speaking with him outside of class. As for all these connections and associations being made, it's a fct that the man advised the Palestinians at the Madrid Conference. Regardless of what anyone says about it, it matters whether Obama was influenced by Khalidi or not. I appreciate that it makes Obama's views more balanced, which I think is needed in politics; my only point is that we need a better understanding of Obama's thinking on the issue because his record is so thin.

    Finally, here's a review of Khalidi's work that I found interesting and agree with in part:


    • fyi  

      In an international context, Khalidi's views would be dead center. In fact, even in Israel, Khalidi's views would not be considered as left as they are depicted here, because of Jewish influence on the reporting of Israeli-Palestinian issues.

      • uhhh  

        Ok well blame the Jewish media, right? Come on man. And yes, those views would be in the center internationally - but who cares? This is a US race. If Obama agrees with Khalidi, he should announce that. Then maybe he can run for UN Sec General.

  12. Bob Dylan

    Idiooooot wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind, blowin' every time you move your teeth.

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