Middle East studies in the News
Rashid Khalidi Photo: Another Questionable Barack Obama Friendship
by Jim Brogan
Rashid Khalidi is a friend of Barack Obama. In fact, Khalidi and his wife used to babysit for Barack and Michelle Obama. Why is that significant?
The National Review Online's Andrew McCarthy has a great piece breaking it down. There is no doubt that it would be making headlines in the mainstream media if it were about a Republican.
Apparently, in 2003, the then llinois state senator, attended a party for Rashid Khalidi. Nothing too harmless right? Wait, it gets better.
Khalidi's friends were seeing him off as he left his post as a professor at the University of Chicago to go on to Columbia University.
As luck would have it, Khalidi was the spokesman for Yasser Arafat when he headed up the PLO, and surprise, surprise, He is also an outspoken vocal critic of Israel.
At this event a Palestinian American reportedly read a poem which accused the Israelis of terrorism in their treatment of Palestinians, and criticized U.S. support of Israel.
But it wasn't just that Obama attended the gathering, its the glowing testimonial he poured on Khalidi, as did Bill Ayers. Did we mention he was also in attendence?
"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…'
And then there is the little issue about a "tape"
"The event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times."
An indignant McCarthy asks why this videotape hasn't been released.
Bio: Khalidi was born in New York to a Palestinian father and a Lebanese mother, according to his Wikipedia page. He received a B.A. from Yale University, where he was a member of Wolf's Head Society, in 1970, and a D. Phil. from Oxford University in 1974 and spent many years as a professor and director of both the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago before joining the Columbia faculty. He has also taught at Georgetown University, Lebanese University, and the American University of Beirut.
Khalidi is married to Mona Khalidi, former President of the Arab American Action Network.
The Khalidis and Obamas are good friends. In his capacity as a director of the Woods Fund, Barack Obama in 2001 and 2002 steered $75,000 to the Arab American Action Network, reports Town Hall.
According to an Times account of the dinner, Obama speaks of the fact that he and Michelle had been frequent dinner guests at the Khalidi home and that the Khalidis had even baby-sat for the Obama girls.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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