What is Obama’s relationship with Rashid Khalidi?

Dr. Rashid Khalidi is a professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, and if you guessed from that one piece of information that his scholarship is of the “Arabs good, Jews and Europeans bad” tradition, you wouldn’t be wrong.  Dr. Khalidi isn’t just any ordinary professor in academia, however — he’s the former spokesman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, having spent 1976 to 1982 as the one of the directors of the PLO’s news agency, WAFA.

That Senator Obama and Dr. Khalidi do have a relationship is undebatable.  At a farewell dinner given for Dr. Khalidi before he was to take up his post at Columbia, then State Senator Obama talked about sharing meals with the Khalidis:

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.”

So that sounds like a pretty well-established friendship.  Many talks, meals shared around the dinner table, a testimonial at a farewell dinner — wouldn’t you say that sounds like a good friend?

Barack Obama seems at pains to say exactly the opposite.  From his own campaign’s site, Obama is quoted as saying:

To pluck out one person who I know and who I’ve had a conversation with (nb: emphasis added)… is a very problematic stand to take.

So how many conversations was it?

Google Ratio: 1,010,000 to 61,100 — 16.5 to 1.


2 responses to “What is Obama’s relationship with Rashid Khalidi?

  1. again not sure what this has to do with the Presidency? Seems like many people he has a variety of contacts, business friends and friends. Seems to me to be more of a case of paranoia and perhaps seeing all ‘arabs’ to be the enemy and potentially dangerous. Maybe you are more afraid of differing opinions. MacCarthy was too.

  2. Well, you tell me.

    Is it interesting or important that the next President of the United Stats has a long standing relationship with a former executive in the Palestinian Liberation Organization? A man who has endorsed suicide bombing and terrorism? Could that possibly affect his policies in Middle Eastern affairs? That seems like an important legitimate question.

    And more to the point of this blog, why hasn’t this been reported on? Why has the Obama camp distorted the candidate’s history on the relationship? Why is our national media giving him a pass on the issue?

    As to all “arabs” being dangerous: that’s a fairly silly comment. You’re brighter than that. There’s a rather sharp distinction between “Palestinian Liberation Organization” and “all arabs.”

    As to McCarthyism: I was brought up with what is now the common wisdom: Joseph McCarthy was slandering people based on associations and ruining careers for his own political gain. However, if you do even a little bit of digging a much different picture emerges.

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