Middle East studies in the News
McCain Camp: Obama Videotape Hidden [incl. Rashid Khalidi]
The McCain campaign, amassing late-campaign ammunition for its appeal to Jewish voters, is calling on the Los Angeles Times to release a videotape of a 2003 banquet where Barack Obama spoke of his friendship with Rashid Khalidi, a leading Palestinian scholar.
The campaign has accused the newspaper of "intentionally suppressing"' the videotape, but the newspaper, noting that it obtained the tape from a confidential source, also maintains that it "brought the matter to light" with its own report about the banquet in an April 2008 article about Obama's ties with Palestinians and Jews as he navigated the politics of Chicago.
"A major news organization is intentionally suppressing information that could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi," McCain campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb contends. "The election is one week away, and it's unfortunate that the press so obviously favors Barack Obama that this campaign must publicly request that the Los Angeles Times do its job -- make information public."
""The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it," said the newspaper's editor, Russ Stanton. "The Times keeps its promises to sources."
Jamie Gold, the newspaper's readers' representative, said: "More than six months ago the Los Angeles Times published a detailed account of the events shown on the videotape. The Times is not suppressing anything. Just the opposite -- the L.A. Times brought the matter to light."
The McCain campaign is eager to shed light on any relationship between Obama, who was then a state legislator, and Khalidi, now a professor of Arab studies at Columbia University who in the 1970s often spoke on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Khalidi later lived near Obama while teaching at the University of Chicago.
In a bid to break an 80 percent Democratic lock on the Jewish vote, supporters of the McCain campaign have been running ads in Jewish newspapers portraying Obama as a threat to Israeli security. And the McCain campaign is now airing a TV ad in Florida that portrays Obama as not considering Iran as "a serious threat." The ad warns: "Terrorism, destroying Israel, those aren't serious threats?" and calls Obama "dangerously unprepared to be president."
The Obama campaign has countered the attacks with an outreach in the Jewish community underscoring the candidate's commitment to the security of Israel, and also drawing contrasts between Obama and McCain on the central issues of the campaign.
The Times, in a report on the dispute over the videotape, notes: "The original article said that Obama's friendships with Palestinian Americans in Chicago and his presence at Palestinian community events had led some to think he was sympathetic to the Palestinian viewpoint on Middle East politics. Obama publicly expresses a pro-Israel viewpoint that pleases many Jewish leaders.
"In reporting on Obama's presence at the dinner for Khalidi," the Times reported, "the article noted that some speakers expressed anger at Israel and at U.S. foreign policy, but that Obama in his comments called for finding common ground."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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