Middle East studies in the News
Khalidi Flap: Obama Doesn't Hate Jews [on Rashid Khalidi]
by Yael T. Abouhalkah
With Sarah Palin leading the way, the latest GOP conspiracy theory has Barack Obama consorting with a Palestinian radical. But Obama isn't a Jew hater, and conservatives know it.
Palin claimed Wednesday that Obama's "associate, Rashid Khalidi ... in addition to being a political ally of Barack Obama, he's a former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization."
Khalidi has denied that.
However, here's the rub: The Los Angeles Times has a videotape of a 2003 gathering attended by both Obama and Khalidi, who knew each other from their days in Chicago. The newspaper wrote a lengthy story on the gathering in April 2008. The GOP right-wing forces want to see the videotape; the paper says it promised its sources not to release the tape.
So the GOP is going to continue to attack Obama.
Here's the flip side: The paper's story from earlier this year makes it clear that Obama is no Palestinian-loving politician.
-- "Today, five years later, Obama is a U.S. senator from Illinois who expresses a firmly pro-Israel view of Middle East politics, pleasing many of the Jewish leaders and advocates for Israel whom he is courting in his presidential campaign. The dinner conversations he had envisioned with his Palestinian American friend have ended. He and Khalidi have seen each other only fleetingly in recent years."
-- "Obama also calls for the U.S. to talk to such declared enemies as Iran, Syria and Cuba. But he argues that the Palestinian militant organization Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, is an exception, calling it a terrorist group that should renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist before dialogue begins. That viewpoint, which also matches current U.S. policy, clashes with that of many Palestinian advocates who urge the United States and Israel to treat Hamas as a partner in negotiations."
-- "Khalidi added that he strongly disagrees with Obama's current views on Israel, and often disagreed with him during their talks over the years. But he added that Obama, because of his unusual background, with family ties to Kenya and Indonesia, would be more understanding of the Palestinian experience than typical American politicians."
His strategist David Axelrod put the whole matter in context in early 2008, telling The Times:
"Barack's belief is that it's important to understand other points of view, even if you can't agree with them." Obama "can disagree without shunning or demonizing those with other views."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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