Middle East studies in the News
John McCain's Ties to Rashid Khalidi
by Michael Merritt
November 1, 2008
The controversy surrounding the tape that's in the LA Times' possession (which they should release), where Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama toasts Khalidi at a going away party before Khalidi left to become a professor at Colombia University, has been reported here at Poligazette.
However, Republican presidential candidate has his own connection to the pro-Palestinian Khalidi. Namely: McCain is the chair of an institution that gave money to an organization set up by Khalidi.
ABC's Jake Tapper reported the story on October 29th:
In 1993, McCain became chairman of the International Republican Institute. He still chairs that respected organization.
That same year, Khalidi helped found the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, self-described as "an independent academic research and policy analysis institution" created to meet "the need for active Palestinian scholarship on issues related to Palestine." (Its archived Web site is HERE.)
Khalidi was on the board of trustees through 1999.
According to tax returns, the McCain-chaired IRI funded the organization Khalidi founded and served on to the tune of $448,873 in 1998 (click HERE to see the tax return)* as first reported by Seth Couter Walls at HuffPo.
Tapper went on to say that the IRI still funded the CPRS after Khalidi left. He later issued an update:
This post has been updated after the IRI said a grant made to the CPRS in 1999 was later "de-obligated." A spokeswoman for the IRI says the organization is going over its books to get further clarification of the funds it gave the organization. The 1998 payment of $448,873 is NOT in dispute. When IRI gets back to us, we will share the information with you.
McCain's campaign responded largely by shifting the focus back to Obama.
It's long been clear that Obama and Khalidi have a close relationship — that they were frequent dinner companions. It is another in a series of questionable associations, but it is not the focus of our request that the LA Times release this tape. It's clear from the Times story that the evening featured speeches that were anti-Semitic in tone and anti-Israel in nature.
(Goldfarb is referring to two speakers at Khalidi's 2003 farewell party: "a young Palestinian American (who) 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,'" and another who "likened ‘Zionist settlers on the West Bank' to Osama bin Laden, saying both had been ‘blinded by ideology.'")
Does this mean that McCain now holds anti-Israeli views? Hardly. Couldn't be further from the truth. Yet, like Obama, McCain's campaign seems eager to sweep aside this past association, even though it is pretty flimsy. They want to pretend it doesn't exist.
The same charges have rightfully been brought up against Obama by McCain. But, it's not a one-way street.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.
receive the latest by email: subscribe to campus watch's free mailing list