Tag: Rashid Khalidi

Obama Courts Jewish Vote in Florida

Obama sought to reassure Florida's Jewish community he is pro-Israel today. Here's what he had to say in response to a question about Rashid Khalidi.

“You mentioned Rashid Khalidi, who’s a professor at Columbia," Obama said. "I do know him because I taught at the University of Chicago. And he is Palestinian. And I do know him and I have had conversations. He is not one of my advisors; he’s not one of my foreign policy people. His kids went to the Lab school where my kids go as well. He is a respected scholar, although he vehemently disagrees with a lot of Israel’s policy.”

....“To pluck out one person who I know and who I’ve had a conversation with who has very different views than 900 of my friends and then to suggest that somehow that shows that maybe I’m not sufficiently pro-Israel, I think, is a very problematic stand to take," he said. "So we gotta be careful about guilt by association.”

He apparently didn't mention Khalidi hosted a fundraiser for him when he ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2000, or or that he attended a testimonial dinner for Khalidi and praised him when Khalidi left Chicago to chair Columbia's Middle Eastern Studies Department, or that while he served on the board of the Woods Fund, it voted to grant $40,000.00 to the Arab American Network, an organization headed by Khalidi's wife. From the LA Times: [More...]

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Obama and Ayers: The Khalidi Question

The Swamp has a long profile on University of Chicago Professor William Ayers. I don't think that Obama's association with Ayers is a problem because of Ayers' Weatherground past. And I support President Clinton's pardon and clemency for the two members of the group because it was based upon valid considerations and because we need Presidents who give more, not fewer grants of clemency.

In addition, I have admired Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, for taking in and raising Chesa Boudin from the age of 14 months, when his parents, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, were arrested for their misdeeds with the Weather Underground. Chesa went on to graduate from Yale and become a Rhodes Scholar and an advocate for children of the imprisoned. A few years ago he wrote a very moving article, I am the son of Inmate 83A6158, about a jail visit with his parents. Kathy Boudin finally was released on parole in 2003.

I also applaud the work that Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn and Obama have done on behalf of juvenile offenders.

For the past few weeks, however, I have been concerned about a totally different issue with respect to Prof. Ayers: his political views concerning Palestine and Israel. The LA Times recently explored Obama's connection to those politics through his and Ayers' service on the board of the Woods Fund, during which time he and Ayers voted to award a grant of $70,000 to an organization created by Rashid Khalidi. The article raises questions about the depth and sincerity of Obama's expressed support for Israel. [More...]

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