Earlier this month, hosting Benjamin Netanyahu — the Israeli prime minister he had humiliated back in March — President Obama was at pains to prove he is not hostile to the Jewish state. In fact, he took umbrage at a reporter’s suggestion that his administration is not committed to what he called the “special bond,” America’s relationship with Israel.
Well, here’s his chance to prove that he was serious, that he wasn’t engaged in Alinskyite misdirection.
Obama’s close friend, the rabidly anti-Israel professor Rashid Khalidi, is back in the news. The former PLO spokesman has signed an appeal for funds to outfit a ship that would join yet another attempt to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. In the last such attempt several weeks back — a contingent of Islamists and radical leftists, perversely identifying themselves as the “peace flotilla” and armed for hand-to-hand combat — carried out a premeditated attack on the Israeli defense force that denied them passage.
Evacuated by Israel in 2005, the Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas, the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas is pledged, by charter, to the violent destruction of Israel. The jihadist organization has been formally designated as an international terrorist under U.S. law since the mid-nineties. Several people have been convicted and imprisoned for coming to its aid, because providing material support to terrorist organizations is a serious crime.
Hamas remains at war with Israel and has continued firing rockets at Israeli civilians. The blockade is thus a legitimate national-defense measure. Still, Israel does not bar humanitarian assistance, which is permitted entry into Gaza after inspection. The blockade prevents material aid to Hamas. It is necessary because Hamas will not renounce terrorism and is incorrigible in its refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist.
In this regard, Hamas merely echoes Khalidi, a consummate propagandist who frames Israel as an illegitimate, racist, apartheid state. Khalidi has long contended that Israel’s blockade of Gaza is illegal. He has a right to be wrong about that, of course. But the Columbia academic has no right to violate American law in the service of his political agenda.
With his insider’s understanding of Obama’s views, Khalidi is betting that he will be immune from any legal consequences for his actions. Indeed, if that weren’t clear enough already, Khalidi and other architects of the Gaza gambit plan to call their vessel The Audacity of Hope. That is the title of Barack Obama’s second autobiographical book — a title inspired by Obama’s former pastor of 20 years, the radical black-liberation theologian Jeremiah Wright (whose vitriol, like Khalidi’s, is copiously spewed at Israel).