The Corner

Obama Pal Rashid Khalidi Back in the News for Aiding Hamas

President Obama’s good friend, former PLO mouthpiece Rashid Khalidi, is back in the news. He has signed an appeal for funds to outfit another ship that, like the “peace flotilla,” would try to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the territory controlled by Hamas — the foreign terrorist organization that is the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian arm.

The ship would be called — wait for it — The Audacity of Hope. Campus Watch has the story, here.

As I detailed in NRO on the eve of the 2008 presidential election, the Los Angeles Times has had in its possession, but has suppressed from the public, a videotape of Khalidi’s 2003 going-away bash, when he left the University of Chicago to become the Edward Said Professor of Arabic Studies at Columbia. Then state Sen. Barack Obama gave a glowing tribute. Here is some of what the LA Times reported:

A special tribute came from Khalidi’s friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals prepared by Khalidi’s wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking.

His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been “consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases. . . . It’s for that reason that I’m hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation — a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid’s dinner table,” but around “this entire world.”…

[T]he warm embrace Obama gave to Khalidi, and words like those at the professor’s going-away party, have left some Palestinian American leaders believing that Obama is more receptive to their viewpoint than he is willing to say. Their belief is not drawn from Obama’s speeches or campaign literature, but from comments that some say Obama made in private and from his association with the Palestinian American community in his hometown of Chicago, including his presence at events where anger at Israeli and U.S. Middle East policy was freely expressed.

As the report gingerly relates, the Khalidi bash was one such event. As the report does not relate, Obama and Khalidi’s mutual friends, the former Weather Underground terrorists turned professors Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, were also reportedly in attendance. (When Obama and Ayers teamed up to dole out money at the Leftist Woods Fund, a $75,000 grant was given to the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) founded by Khalidi and his wife, Mona. Mona Khalidi has also signed the appeal for money to support The Audacity of Hope voyage. The AAAN regards Israel as illegitimate and has sought to justify Palestinian terrorism.) As I mentioned in the 2008 column, the Weathermen’s 1974 manifesto, Prairie Fire, is rabidly anti-Israel and demands that the U.S. get out of the Middle East, etc.

The United States has neutrality laws against things like fitting, furnishing or arming vessels with the intent of committing hostile acts against a country with which the U.S. is at peace. (Challenging a blockade is a hostile act.) We also have laws against providing material support to terrorist organizations like Hamas. Will the Obama Justice Department pursue an investigation of Khalidi?

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