For Bill Ayers, Abunimah’s claims that Israel is an apartheid state, along with his arguments that international law at times licences violent resistance against Israel, surely resonate. As I show in Radical-in-Chief, Ayers has never abandoned his Weatherman ideology. The reason Ayers refuses to repudiate the Weathermen’s terrorist past is that he sees the group’s violent actions as justified resistance to the “internal colonialism” and apartheid of a racist American society. That likely explains why Ayers happily channeled grant money to AAAN, which makes a Weatherman-style argument against Israel.
In the acknowledgments of Resurrecting Empire, a monograph he worked on toward the end of his time in Chicago, Khalidi credits Ayers with persuading him to write it. A core theme of Resurrecting Empire is that the problems of the Middle East largely turn on America’s failure to force Israel to resolve the Palestinian question. This claim that Israel is the true root of the Middle East’s problems is what Martin Kramer identifies, correctly, I think, as the key lesson imparted to Obama by Khalidi.
Khalidi left Chicago in 2003, after the now-famous farewell dinner at which Obama thanked Khalidi for years of beneficial intellectual exchange. The article
in which the Los Angeles Times
reports on that dinner adds that many of Obama’s Palestinian allies and associates are convinced that, despite his public statements in support of Israel, Obama remains far more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause then he has publicly let on.
Specifically, Abunimah has said that, in the winter of 2004, Obama commended an op-ed Abunimah had just published in the Chicago Tribune, saying, “Keep up the good work!” (This is likely the op-ed in question.) According to Abunimah, Obama then apologized for not having said more publicly about Palestine, but also said he hoped that after his race for the U.S. Senate was over he could be “more up front” about his actual views.
It didn’t turn out that way. Once Obama’s new-found stardom gave him national political prospects, he swiftly shifted into the pro-Israeli camp, to Abunimah’s great frustration. Would a reelected Obama finally be able to be “more up front” about his pro-Palestinian views, belatedly fulfilling his promise to Abunimah? In short, was Obama’s pro-Palestinian past nothing but a way of placating a hard-Left constituency whose views he never truly shared? Or is Obama’s post-2004 tilt toward Israel the real charade?
The record is clear. Obama’s heritage, his largely hidden history of leftist radicalism, and his close friendship with Rashid Khalidi, all bespeak sincerity, as Obama’s other Palestinian associates agree. This is not to mention Reverend Wright — whose rabidly anti-Israel sentiments, I show in Radical-in-Chief, Obama had to know about — or Obama’s longtime foreign-policy adviser Samantha Power, who once apparently recommended imposing a two-state solution on Israel through American military action. Decades of intimate alliances in a hard-Left world are a great deal harder to fake than a few years of speeches at AIPAC conferences.
The real Obama is the first Obama, and depending on how the next presidential election turns out, we’re going to meet him again in 2013.
— Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and the author of Radical-in-Chief.