Militant Islam Monitor > Weblog > Barack Obama's Islamist ties to Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said and Ali Abunimah
Barack Obama's Islamist ties to Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said and Ali Abunimah
September 10, 2008
Barack Obama's connection to radical Islamists such as Rashid Khalidi and Ali Abunimah have received scant media attention. Ali Abunimah, who runs the Electronic Intifada website said that he met Obama at many pro-Palestinian events in Chicago. In 1998 Obama and his wife attended a banquet at which the virulently anti Israel professor Edward Said was the keynote speaker.
See: Barack Obama ,Stealth Candidate
See: Obama Would Fail Security Clearance
See: Obama Office Operates in Philly's Islamist Corridor - owned by Kenny Gamble aka Luqman Abdul Haqq
Arab-American Activist Says Obama Hiding Anti-Israel Stance16 Adar Bet 5768, 23 March 08 10:03by Gil Ronen
(IsraelNN.com) Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama is currently hiding his anti-Israel views in order to get elected, according to a well-known anti-Israel activist. The activist, Ali Abunimah, claimed to know Obama well and to have met him on numerous occasions at pro-Palestinian events in Chicago.
In an article he penned for the anti-Israeli website Electronic Intifada, Abunimah wrote:
"The last time I spoke to Obama was in the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing.
"As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, 'Hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.' He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy [and said:] 'Keep up the good work!'"
Barack, Michelle, Edward and Mariam
In an interview earlier this year for the leftist radio show "Democracy Now!," a daily TV and radio news program hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Abunimah said he knew Obama for many years as his state senator "when he used to attend events in the Palestinian community in Chicago all the time."
"I remember personally introducing him onstage in 1999, when we had a major community fundraiser for the community center in Deheisha refugee camp in the occupied West Bank," he recounted. "And that's just one example of how Barack Obama used to be very comfortable speaking up for and being associated with Palestinian rights and opposing the Israeli occupation."
About face 'to get elected'
"Obama's about-face is not surprising," Abunimah wrote. "He is merely doing what he thinks is necessary to get elected and he will continue doing it as long as it keeps him in power."
When Obama first ran for the Senate in 2004, the Chicago Jewish News interviewed him on his stance regarding Israel's security fence. He accused the Bush administration of neglecting the "Israeli-Palestinian" situation and criticized the security fence built by Israel to prevent terror attacks: "The creation of a wall dividing the two nations is yet another example of the neglect of this Administration in brokering peace," Obama was quoted as saying. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/125656
MIM: Discover the Networks information on Ali Abunimah
Born in Washington, DC on December 29, 1971, Ali Abunimah is a Palestinian American who serves as the Board of Directors Member for the Chicago-based Arab American Action Network. He is also a co-founder of the Electronic Intifada website, which was created by activists affiliated with the International Solidarity Movement. His personal website, abunimah.org, acts as a clearinghouse for his writings, which are fiercely hostile toward Israel and the United States.
Abunimah authored the 2006 book One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, which rejects a two-state solution for the Mideast conflict and proposes instead the creation of a single, united, democratic state for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
In Abunimah's calculus, Palestinian violence and terrorism is caused entirely by Israel's "land confiscation," its "ongoing orgy of violence," and its "routine human-rights abuses" that have "made life under a seemingly endless occupation so intolerable." In February 2002 he characterized "Israel's humiliation and virtual imprisonment of [Yasser] Arafat" (after the Palestinian leader had failed to prevent or discourage a recent wave of suicide bombings) as confirmation that then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his supporters had "never given up the dream of a Greater Israel stretching from the Mediterrannean to the Jordan River and perhaps beyond."
According to Abunimah, "Zionist leaders, academics, and propagandists are actually professional, malicious liars as much as they are violent, merciless murderers." From that premise, Abunimah reasons: "[I]f lying is Israel's best policy, … shouldn't the world … doubt the Zionists' official stories about … the holocaust, for example? … Indeed, if Zionists could lie about their present and ongoing torment of my [Palestinian] people, usurpation of my homeland and arrogation of my rights, and they do it rather obscenely, couldn't they likewise lie, equally obscenely, about the holocaust, an event that took place over half a century ago?"
Abunimah is strongly opposed to America's military operations in Iraq, whose 2003 invasion he called a "massive assault on a small, defenseless country by an uncontrollable superpower." "We should also remember," he added, "that America's armed forces are disproportionately composed of the economically and socially disenfranchised, people who, denied a slice of the ‘American dream' at home by failing schools, racism, the prison industry, and growing economic inequality, must seek to escape by joining the military. Empires have always sent their poorest, least educated and most marginalized to fight in the distant provinces." http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1426
MIM: YouTube video of Ali Abunimah talking about his connection to Barack Obama.
MIM: The 'neocon.expressblogspot' asks the question why Obama was seated next to keynote speaker Edward Said at an Arab community dinner in Chicago.
This photo from 1998 has been circulating on the Internet for a while now, but nobody seems to ask a very basic question: Why was a relatively obscure State Senator seated next to the high and mightily Keynote speaker, Edward Said, at this May 1998 Arab community dinner in Chicago? These types of events ordinarily do not have random seating. Someone obviously thought it important to seat Obama next to the Palestinian radical and guest of honor. Why?neoconexpress.blogspot.com/
MIM: Edward Said throwing rocks at the Israel Defense Forces
MIM: Discover The Networks biography of Edward Said.
The Palestine Monitor Website's official biography of Edward Said declares that he "was born in 1935 in Jerusalem, Palestine. In the 1947 partition of Palestine, he and his family became refugees and moved to Cairo where they lived with relatives." In truth, however, Said was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. He received a master's degree from Princeton University, and a doctoral degree from Harvard. He thereafter took a position as a professor of comparative literature at Columbia University.
One of academia's most influential radical theorists, Said is best known for his extremely influential 1978 book Orientalism, which holds that it is impossible for Westerners to write valid accounts of Middle Eastern affairs because their ideas are tainted by cultural biases -- and a sense of cultural and intellectual superiority. In The Weekly Standard, Stanley Kurtz writes: "The founding text of postcolonial studies, Orientalism effectively de-legitimated all previous scholarship on the Middle East by branding it as racist. Said drew no distinction between the most ignorant and bigoted remarks of nineteenth-century colonialists and the most accomplished pronouncements of contemporary Western scholars: All Western knowledge of the East was intrinsically tainted with imperialism."
Said was once a member of the Palestinian National Council. He severed his ties with the Council in 1991 - in protest to the Oslo accords, and to what he deemed Yasser Arafat's unduly moderate stance. In July 2000, Said was photographed throwing rocks over the Lebanese border into Israel, trying to hit Israelis on the other side. In March 2002 he wrote, "Palestinian hospitals, schools, refugee camps and civilian residences have been at the receiving end of a merciless, criminal assault by Israeli troops . . . and still the poorly armed resistance fighters take on this preposterously more powerful force undaunted and unyielding." He described the conflict as a case of "one state turning all its great power against a stateless, repeatedly refugeed, and dispossessed people, bereft of arms and real leadership." "Israel," he said, "is now waging a war against civilians, pure and simple, although you will never hear it put that way in the US. This is a racist war, and in its strategy and tactics, a colonial one as well. People are being killed and made to suffer disproportionately because they are not Jews. What an irony!"
Condemning the U.S. for what he called the "Israelization" of its policy, he characterized the post-9/11 American war on terror not as a just cause, but as unwarranted aggression "against something unilaterally labeled as terrorism by Bush and his advisors." In Said's view, the major problem facing the world was not how to respond to acts of the sort that had struck on 9/11, but rather "how to deal with the unparalleled and unprecedented power of the United States," which he said had "decided to unleash an unjust war against the entire Muslim world." He depicted the Bush administration as an "American Taliban" intent on branding as guilty anyone it suspects of engaging in anti-American behavior.
"Most people in the Arab world," he wrote in November 2001, "are convinced - because it is patently true - that America has simply allowed Israel to kill Palestinians at will with U.S. weapons and unconditional political support in the UN and elsewhere." "I would go so far as saying," he added, "that today almost the least likely argument to be listened to in the United States in the public domain is one that suggests that there are historical reasons why America, as a major world actor, has drawn such animosity to itself by virtue of what it has done; this is considered simply to be an attempt to justify the existence and actions of Bin Laden, who has become a vast, over-determined symbol of everything America hates and fears."
Said was a member of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's Advisory Committee. He was also a member of MIFTAH's Board of Trustees.
Professor Said died on September 25, 2003.
Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Barack ObamaThey consider him receptive despite his clear support of Israel.
By Peter Wallsten
April 10, 2008
CHICAGO — It was a celebration of Palestinian culture -- a night of music, dancing and a dash of politics. Local Arab Americans were bidding farewell to Rashid Khalidi, an internationally known scholar, critic of Israel and advocate for Palestinian rights, who was leaving town for a job in New York.
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."
Today, five years later, Obama is a U.S. senator from Illinois who expresses a firmly pro-Israel view of Middle East politics, pleasing many of the Jewish leaders and advocates for Israel whom he is courting in his presidential campaign. The dinner conversations he had envisioned with his Palestinian American friend have ended. He and Khalidi have seen each other only fleetingly in recent years.
And yet the 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.
At Khalidi's 2003 farewell party, for example, a young Palestinian American recited a poem accusing the Israeli government of terrorism in its treatment of Palestinians and sharply criticizing U.S. support of Israel. If Palestinians cannot secure their own land, she said, "then you will never see a day of peace."
One speaker likened "Zionist settlers on the West Bank" to Osama bin Laden, saying both had been "blinded by ideology."
Obama adopted a different tone in his comments and called for finding common ground. But his presence at such events, as he worked to build a political base in Chicago, has led some Palestinian leaders to believe that he might deal differently with the Middle East than either of his opponents for the White House.
"I am confident that Barack Obama is more sympathetic to the position of ending the occupation than either of the other candidates," said Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow for the American Task Force on Palestine, referring to the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that began after the 1967 war. More than his rivals for the White House, Ibish said, Obama sees a "moral imperative" in resolving the conflict and is most likely to apply pressure to both sides to make concessions.
"That's my personal opinion," Ibish said, "and I think it for a very large number of circumstantial reasons, and what he's said."
Aides say that Obama's friendships with Palestinian Americans reflect only his ability to interact with a wide diversity of people, and that his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been consistent. Obama has called himself a "stalwart" supporter of the Jewish state and its security needs. He believes in an eventual two-state solution in which Jewish and Palestinian nations exist in peace, which is consistent with current U.S. policy.
Obama also calls for the U.S. to talk to such declared enemies as Iran, Syria and Cuba. But he argues that the Palestinian militant organization Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, is an exception, calling it a terrorist group that should renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist before dialogue begins. That viewpoint, which also matches current U.S. policy, clashes with that of many Palestinian advocates who urge the United States and Israel to treat Hamas as a partner in negotiations.
"Barack's belief is that it's important to understand other points of view, even if you can't agree with them," said his longtime political strategist, David Axelrod.
Obama "can disagree without shunning or demonizing those with other views," he said. "That's far different than the suggestion that he somehow tailors his view."
Looking for clues
But because Obama is relatively new on the national political scene, and new to foreign policy questions such as the long-simmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both sides have been looking closely for clues to what role he would play in that dispute.
And both sides, on certain issues, have interpreted Obama's remarks as supporting their point of view.
Last year, for example, Obama was quoted saying that "nobody's suffering more than the Palestinian people." The candidate later said the remark had been taken out of context, and that he meant that the Palestinians were suffering "from the failure of the Palestinian leadership [in Gaza] to recognize Israel" and to renounce violence.
Jewish leaders were satisfied with Obama's explanation, but some Palestinian leaders, including Ibish, took the original quotation as a sign of the candidate's empathy for their plight.
Obama's willingness to befriend Palestinian Americans and to hear their views also impressed, and even excited, a community that says it does not often have the ear of the political establishment.
Among other community events, Obama in 1998 attended a speech by Edward Said, the late Columbia University professor and a leading intellectual in the Palestinian movement. According to a news account of the speech, Said called that day for a nonviolent campaign "against settlements, against Israeli apartheid."
The use of such language to describe Israel's policies has drawn vehement objection from Israel's defenders in the United States. A photo on the pro-Palestinian website the Electronic Intifada shows Obama and his wife, Michelle, engaged in conversation at the dinner table with Said, and later listening to Said's keynote address. Obama had taken an English class from Said as an undergraduate at Columbia University.
Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian rights activist in Chicago who helps run Electronic Intifada, said that he met Obama several times at Palestinian and Arab American community events. At one, a 2000 fundraiser at a private home, Obama called for the U.S. to take an "even-handed" approach toward Israel, Abunimah wrote in an article on the website last year. He did not cite Obama's specific criticisms.
Abunimah, in a Times interview and on his website, said Obama seemed sympathetic to the Palestinian cause but more circumspect as he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004. At a dinner gathering that year, Abunimah said, Obama greeted him warmly and said privately that he needed to speak cautiously about the Middle East.
Abunimah quoted Obama as saying that he was sorry he wasn't talking more about the Palestinian cause, but that his primary campaign had constrained what he could say.
Obama, through his aide Axelrod, denied he ever said those words, and Abunimah's account could not be independently verified.
"In no way did he take a position privately that he hasn't taken publicly and consistently," Axelrod said of Obama. "He always had expressed solicitude for the Palestinian people, who have been ill-served and have suffered greatly from the refusal of their leaders to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist."
In Chicago, one of Obama's friends was Khalidi, a highly visible figure in the Arab American community.
In the 1970s, when Khalidi taught at a university in Beirut, he often spoke to reporters on behalf of Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization. In the early 1990s, he advised the Palestinian delegation during peace negotiations. Khalidi now occupies a prestigious professorship of Arab studies at Columbia.
He is seen as a moderate in Palestinian circles, having decried suicide bombings against civilians as a "war crime" and criticized the conduct of Hamas and other Palestinian leaders. Still, many of Khalidi's opinions are troubling to pro-Israel activists, such as his defense of Palestinians' right to resist Israeli occupation and his critique of U.S. policy as biased toward Israel.
While teaching at the University of Chicago, Khalidi and his wife lived in the Hyde Park neighborhood near the Obamas. The families became friends and dinner companions.
In 2000, the Khalidis held a fundraiser for Obama's unsuccessful congressional bid. The next year, a social service group whose board was headed by Mona Khalidi received a $40,000 grant from a local charity, the Woods Fund of Chicago, when Obama served on the fund's board of directors.
At Khalidi's going-away party in 2003, the scholar lavished praise on Obama, telling the mostly Palestinian American crowd that the state senator deserved their help in winning a U.S. Senate seat. "You will not have a better senator under any circumstances," Khalidi said.
The event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times.
Though Khalidi has seen little of Sen. Obama in recent years, Michelle Obama attended a party several months ago celebrating the marriage of the Khalidis' daughter.
In interviews with The Times, Khalidi declined to discuss specifics of private talks over the years with Obama. He did not begrudge his friend for being out of touch, or for focusing more these days on his support for Israel -- a stance that Khalidi calls a requirement to win a national election in the U.S., just as wooing Chicago's large Arab American community was important for winning local elections.
Khalidi added that he strongly disagrees with Obama's current views on Israel, and often disagreed with him during their talks over the years. But he added that Obama, because of his unusual background, with family ties to Kenya and Indonesia, would be more understanding of the Palestinian experience than typical American politicians.
"He has family literally all over the world," Khalidi said. "I feel a kindred spirit from that."
Ties with Israel
Even as he won support in Chicago's Palestinian community, Obama tried to forge ties with advocates for Israel.
In 2000, he submitted a policy paper to CityPAC, a pro-Israel political action committee, that among other things supported a unified Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a position far out of step from that of his Palestinian friends. The PAC concluded that Obama's position paper "suggests he is strongly pro-Israel on all of the major issues."
In 2002, as a rash of suicide bombings struck Israel, Obama sought out a Jewish colleague in the state Senate and asked whether he could sign onto a measure calling on Palestinian leaders to denounce violence. "He came to me and said, 'I want to have my name next to yours,' " said his former state Senate colleague Ira Silverstein, an observant Jew.
As a presidential candidate, Obama has won support from such prominent Chicago Jewish leaders as Penny Pritzker, a member of the family that owns the Hyatt hotel chain, and who is now his campaign finance chair, and from Lee Rosenberg, a board member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Nationally, Obama continues to face skepticism from some Jewish leaders who are wary of his long association with his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., who had made racially incendiary comments during several sermons that recently became widely known. Questions have persisted about Wright in part because of the recent revelation that his church bulletin reprinted a Times op-ed written by a leader of Hamas.
One Jewish leader said he viewed Obama's outreach to Palestinian activists, such as Said, in the light of his relationship to Wright.
"In the context of spending 20 years in a church where now it is clear the anti-Israel rhetoric was there, was repeated, . . . that's what makes his presence at an Arab American event with a Said a greater concern," said Abraham H. Foxman, national director for the Anti-Defamation League. http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-obamamideast10apr10,0,1780231,full.story
Obama worked with terrorist
Posted: February 24, 2008
By Aaron Klein
JERUSALEM – The board of a nonprofit organization on which Sen. Barack Obama served as a paid director alongside a confessed domestic terrorist granted funding to a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a "catastrophe" and supports intense immigration reform, including providing drivers licenses and education to illegal aliens.
The co-founder of the Arab group in question, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, also has held a fundraiser for Obama. Khalidi is a harsh critic of Israel, has made statements supportive of Palestinian terror and reportedly has worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization while it was involved in anti-Western terrorism and was labeled by the State Department as a terror group.
In 2001, the Woods Fund, a Chicago-based nonprofit that describes itself as a group helping the disadvantaged, provided a $40,000 grant to the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN, for which Khalidi's wife, Mona, serves as president. The Fund provided a second grant to the AAAN for $35,000 in 2002.
Obama was a director of the Woods Fund board from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund's website. According to tax filings, Obama received compensation of $6,000 per year for his service in 1999 and 2000.
Obama served on the Wood's Fund board alongside William C. Ayers, a member of the Weathermen terrorist group which sought to overthrow of the U.S. government and took responsibility for bombing the U.S. Capitol in 1971.
Ayers, who still serves on the Woods Fund board, contributed $200 to Obama's senatorial campaign fund and has served on panels with Obama at numerous public speaking engagements. Ayers admitted to involvement in the bombings of U.S. governmental buildings in the 1970s. He is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The $40,000 grant from Obama's Woods Fund to the AAAN constituted about a fifth of the Arab group's reported grants for 2001, according to tax filings obtained by WND. The $35,000 Woods Fund grant in 2002 also constituted about one-fifth of AAAN's reported grants for that year.
The AAAN, headquartered in the heart of Chicago's Palestinian immigrant community, describes itself as working to "empower Chicago-area Arab immigrants and Arab Americans through the combined strategies of community organizing, advocacy, education and social services, leadership development, and forging productive relationships with other communities."
It reportedly has worked on projects with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, which supports open boarders and education for illegal aliens.
The AAAN in 2005 sent a letter to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson in which it called a billboard opposing a North Carolina-New Mexico joint initiative to deny driver's licenses to illegal aliens a "bigoted attack on Arabs and Muslims."
Speakers at AAAN dinners and events routinely have taken an anti-Israel line.
The group co-sponsored a Palestinian art exhibit, titled, "The Subject of Palestine," that featured works related to what some Palestinians call the "Nakba" or "catastrophe" of Israel's founding in 1948.
According to the widely discredited Nakba narrative, Jews in 1948 forcibly expelled hundreds of thousands - some Palestinians claim over one million - Arabs from their homes and then took over the territory.
Historically, about 600,000 Arabs fled Israel after surrounding Arab countries warned they would destroy the Jewish state in 1948. Some Arabs also were driven out by Jewish forces while they were trying to push back invading Arab armies. At the same time, over 800,000 Jews were expelled or left Arab countries under threat after Israel was founded.
The theme of AAAN's Nakba art exhibit, held at DePaul University in 2005, was "the compelling and continuing tragedy of Palestinian life ... under [Israeli] occupation ... home demolition ... statelessness ... bereavement ... martyrdom, and ... the heroic struggle for life, for safety, and for freedom."
Another AAAN initiative, titled, "Al Nakba 1948 as experienced by Chicago Palestinians," seeks documents related to the "catastrophe" of Israel's founding.
A post on the AAAN site asked users: "Do you have photos, letters or other memories you could share about Al-Nakba-1948?"
That posting was recently removed. The AAAN website currently states the entire site is under construction.
Pro-PLO advocate held Obama fundraiser, describes Obama as 'sympathetic'
AAAN co-founder Rashid Khalidi was reportedly a director of the official PLO press agency WAFA in Beirut from 1976 to 1982, while the PLO committed scores of anti-Western attacks and was labeled by the U.S. as a terror group. Khalidi's wife, AAAN President Mona Khalidi, was reportedly WAFA's English translator during that period.
Rashid Khalidi at times has denied working directly for the PLO but Palestinian diplomatic sources in Ramallah told WND he indeed worked on behalf of WAFA. Khalidi also advised the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Conference in 1991.
During documented speeches and public events, Khalidi has called Israel an "apartheid system in creation" and a destructive "racist" state.
He has multiple times expressed support for Palestinian terror, calling suicide bombings response to "Israeli aggression." He dedicated his 1986 book, "Under Siege," to "those who gave their lives ... in defense of the cause of Palestine and independence of Lebanon." Critics assailed the book as excusing Palestinian terrorism.
While the Woods Fund's contribution to Khalidi's AAAN might be perceived as a one-time run in with Obama, the presidential hopeful and Khalidi evidence a deeper relationship.
According to a professor at the University of Chicago who said he has known Obama for 12 years, the Democratic presidential hopeful first befriended Khalidi when the two worked together at the university. The professor spoke on condition of anonymity. Khalidi lectured at the University of Chicago until 2003 while Obama taught law there from 1993 until his election to the Senate in 2004.
Khalidi in 2000 held what was described as a successful fundraiser for Obama's failed bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, a fact not denied by Khalidi.
Speaking in a joint interview with WND and the John Batchelor Show of New York's WABC Radio and Los Angeles' KFI Radio, Khalidi was asked about his 2000 fundraiser for Obama.
"I was just doing my duties as a Chicago resident to help my local politician," Khalidi stated.
Khalidi said he supports Obama for president "because he is the only candidate who has expressed sympathy for the Palestinian cause."
Khalidi also lauded Obama for "saying he supports talks with Iran. If the U.S. can talk with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, there is no reason it can't talk with the Iranians."
Asked about Obama's role funding the AAAN, Khalidi claimed he had "never heard of the Woods Fund until it popped up on a bunch of blogs a few months ago."
He terminated the call when petitioned further about his links with Obama.
Contacted by phone, Mona Khalidi refused to answer WND's questions about the AAAN's involvement with Obama.
Obama's campaign headquarters did not reply to a list of WND questions sent by e-mail to the senator's press office.
Obama, American terrorist in same circles
Obama served on the board with Ayers, who was a Weathermen leader and has written about his involvement with the group's bombings of the New York City Police headquarters in 1970, the Capitol in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972.
"I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough," Ayers told the New York Times in an interview released on Sept. 11, 2001
"Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon," Ayers wrote in his memoirs, titled "Fugitive Days." He continued with a disclaimer that he didn't personally set the bombs, but his group set the explosives and planned the attack.
A $200 campaign contribution is listed on April 2, 2001 by the "Friends of Barack Obama" campaign fund. The two taught appeared speaking together at several public events, including a 1997 University of Chicago panel entitled, "Should a child ever be called a 'super predator?'" and another panel for the University of Illinois in April 2002, entitled, "Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?"
The charges against Ayers were dropped in 1974 because of prosecutorial misconduct, including illegal surveillance.
Ayers is married to another notorious Weathermen terrorist, Bernadine Dohrn, who has also served on panels with Obama. Dohrn was once on the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted List and was described by J. Edgar Hoover as the "most dangerous woman in America." Ayers and Dohrn raised the son of Weathermen terrorist Kathy Boudin, who was serving a sentence for participating in a 1981 murder and robbery that left 4 people dead.
The revelations about Obama's relationship with Khalidi follows a recent WND article quoting Israeli security officials who expressed "concern" about Robert Malley, an adviser to Obama who has advocated negotiations with Hamas and providing international assistance to the terrorist group.
Malley, a principal Obama foreign policy adviser, has penned numerous opinion articles, many of them co-written with a former adviser to the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, petitioning for dialogue with Hamas and blasting Israel for numerous policies he says harm the Palestinian cause.
Malley also previously penned a well-circulated New York Review of Books piece largely blaming Israel for the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David in 2000 when Arafat turned down a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern sections of Jerusalem and instead returned to the Middle East to launch an intifada, or terrorist campaign, against the Jewish state.
Malley's contentions have been strongly refuted by key participants at Camp David, including President Bill Clinton, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and primary U.S. envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross, all of whom squarely blamed Arafat's refusal to make peace for the talks' failure.
To interview Aaron Klein, contact M. Sliwa Public Relations by e-mail, or call 973-272-2861 or 212-202-4453.
MIM: For more on the connection between Obama and Rashid Khalidi see: "The Real Barack Obama- Another Terrorist In Obamaland | Rashid Khalidi - Anti-Israel Agenda?"with Sean Hannity and Daniel Pipes.
MIM: Arabs in the Hamas stronghold of Gaza are phoning Americans urging them to vote for Obama.JPOST.COM VIDEO Gaza squad champions ObamaGroup phones random numbers in US, urging vote for Obama (The Media Line).
Gazan phone squad champions ObamaAug. 31, 2008
Felice Friedson/The Media Line News Agency , THE JERUSALEM POST
"Hello, I'm calling from Gaza. I want some of your time. We are supporting Barack Obama..."
For the past seven months, a group of 24 students and young professionals have gathered in the Gaza Strip nightly to phone random telephone numbers in the United States, urging the voices at the other end to "vote for Barack Obama."
Although only American citizens can actually cast a ballot in the election, this Gaza-based effort is a forceful demonstration of how Internet technology opens the door for anyone, anywhere to take an active role in US politics. Even if they have never even been to the USA.
Far from utilizing a state-ofthe art call-center of the sort that have become a mainstay of American political marketing, the Gaza callers are amateur volunteers who meet in a local Internet café or in a stark room at a local youth center equipped with little more than desks, chairs and outlets for the personal computers through which they will make their calls. That - and the desire to see Barack Obama become president of the United States.
The bare-bones décor belies the fervor with which the callers go about their task. Organized and led by Ibrahim Abu Jayyeb, a 23-year old student of media at Al Aqsa University, the group's effort has taken on the flavor of a wellorganized campaign - complete with title: "All This for Peace."
Ibrahim is a self-described political junkie who says he has been following events closely and hopes that Obama will win the presidency. He says he finds the Illinois senator "the kind of person who, when he says 'I will change America,' will do what he says."
Ibrahim relies on his colleagues and friends to make the actual phone calls because he feels his own command of English is not up to the task. His knowledge of technology, however, very much is. Utilizing Voip (voice over internet protocol) and Skype, Ibrahim has crafted a system of politicking that runs at almost no cost in dollars (or shekels), but requires a great deal of patience and persistence. According to Ibrahim, 19 out every 20 calls his group makes ends with an unceremonious "hang-up."
Ibrahim told The Media Line that during the past seven months his group had reached between 5,000 and 6,000 Americans.
If his assertion of 1-out-of-20 completed calls is accurate, 120,000 calls have been placed. Asked how he could weather such mass rejection, he replied, "It's worth it."
When pressed about how a politician five thousand miles away who was relatively unknown to his own constituency before the campaign began is able to evoke such monumental dedication among people who can't even vote in the election, Ibrahim replies simply that, "I believe that Barack Obama will achieve peace in the area, in the Middle East and Palestine, between us, the Palestinian people, and the Jewish people."
Without exception, the Gaza phone-callers insisted that their efforts were "independent, without ties to any organization or government."
Ibrahim insists that "Barack Obama is definitely not a Muslim. It had never even crossed my mind to support him because of his Muslim background - which I doubt even exists."
The callers said the Obama campaign has never contacted them, and they have not contacted the Obama organization. Sources in the Obama campaign confirmed to The Media Line that the group is unknown to them and that "no such group has been authorized to solicit on behalf of the campaign."
Adv. Sheldon Schorer, who is counsel to Democrats Abroad, Israel, said, "The fact that Obama is acceptable to people on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides should be seen as a positive sign to vote for him. I think that's good."
Schorer stressed that he was speaking as an individual Democrat because he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the Obama campaign.
Moatz Twael, a Gaza pharmacist who makes phone calls with Ibrahim's group says that although he had never visited America, he had "visited Israel many times before 2001," and harbors no optimism on reconciliation between the two sides in the conflict.
"Some people don't believe in peace," Twael contends. "But these are the same people who are preventing it."
He says that listening to Obama persuaded him to encourage Americans to vote for the Senator. "He's a good man to achieve the goal [of bringing peace between Israelis and Palestinians]."
Like all of Ibrahim's telephone volunteers, Moatz claims no affiliation with any Palestinian faction in Gaza. "We don't want to live in war, in siege. Many want peace," he said. "I think people in the world don't understand Gaza very well. They think that all the people here are terrorists; not educated. We want to persuade them that we can live like any other people in the world."
Twael claims that listening to English channels and watching American films is the basis of his love of the English language. It's also the reason that he is involved in Ibrahim's campaign to enlist voter support for Senator Obama. "From television and film, I learned to love democratic life," he said
Despite Twael's own involvement with American culture and democracy, he doubts there are many others like him who are able or inclined to become involved in the American campaign on either side. When asked whether there are Gazans who would do the same for Republican John McCain, Twael was quick to reply that, "If Gazans don't know about Barack Obama - and most Gazans don't know - how would they know about McCain?"
Asked whether he believed race was an issue in the American campaign, Twael was upfront about what attracted him to Obama. "He's black. And he's better than [President George W.] Bush."
Ibrahim also sees a historic imperative inherent in American politics. He said, "Historically, it was the Democrats who achieved peace between [Palestinians] and the Israelis," citing the Oslo Accords as his proof.
Despite the group's exercise in democracy, the specter of Hamas - which the US considers to be a terrorist organization and which rules the Gaza Strip with an iron fist - hangs over the callers' activities.
Asked whether he worries that Hamas might put a stop to his efforts on behalf of Obama, Ibrahim replied, "Personally, I fear some about this."
From www.danielpipes.org |
Barack Obama through Muslim Eyes
by Daniel Pipes
How do Muslims see Barack Hussein Obama? They have three choices: either as he presents himself – someone who has "never been a Muslim" and has "always been a Christian"; or as a fellow Muslim; or as an apostate from Islam.
Reports suggests that while Americans generally view the Democratic candidate having had no religion before converting at Reverend Jeremiah Wrights's hands at age 27, Muslims the world over rarely see him as Christian but usually as either Muslim or ex-Muslim.
Lee Smith of the Hudson Institute explains why: "Barack Obama's father was Muslim and therefore, according to Islamic law, so is the candidate. In spite of the Quranic verses explaining that there is no compulsion in religion, a Muslim child takes the religion of his or her father. … for Muslims around the world, non-American Muslims at any rate, they can only ever see Barack Hussein Obama as a Muslim." In addition, his school record from Indonesia lists him as a Muslim
Thus, an Egyptian newspaper, Al-Masri al-Youm, refers to his "Muslim origins." Libyan ruler Mu‘ammar al-Qaddafi referred to Obama as "a Muslim" and a person with an "African and Islamic identity." One Al-Jazeera analysis calls him a "non-Christian man," a second refers to his "Muslim Kenyan" father, and a third, by Naseem Jamali, notes that "Obama may not want to be counted as a Muslim but Muslims are eager to count him as one of their own."
A conversation in Beirut, quoted in the Christian Science Monitor, captures the puzzlement. "He has to be good for Arabs because he is a Muslim," observed a grocer. "He's not a Muslim, he's a Christian," replied a customer. Retorted the grocer: "He can't be a Christian. His middle name is Hussein." Arabic discussions of Obama sometimes mention his middle name as a code, with no further comment needed.
"The symbolism of a major American presidential candidate with the middle name of Hussein, who went to elementary school in Indonesia," reports Tamara Cofman Wittes of the Brookings Institution from a U.S.-Muslim conference in Qatar, "that certainly speaks to Muslims abroad." Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times found that Egyptians "don't really understand Obama's family tree, but what they do know is that if America — despite being attacked by Muslim militants on 9/11 — were to elect as its president some guy with the middle name ‘Hussein,' it would mark a sea change in America-Muslim world relations."
Some American Muslim leaders also perceive Obama as Muslim. The president of the Islamic Society of North America, Sayyid M. Syeed, told Muslims at a conference in Houston that whether Obama wins or loses, his candidacy will reinforce that Muslim children can "become the presidents of this country." The Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan called Obama "the hope of the entire world" and compared him to his religion's founder, Fard Muhammad.
But this excitement also has a dark side – suspicions that Obama is a traitor to his birth religion, an apostate (murtadd) from Islam. Al-Qaeda has prominently featured Obama's stating "I am not a Muslim" and one analyst, Shireen K. Burki of the University of Mary Washington, sees Obama as "bin Laden's dream candidate." Should he become U.S. commander in chief, she believes, Al-Qaeda would likely "exploit his background to argue that an apostate is leading the global war on terror … to galvanize sympathizers into action."
Mainstream Muslims tend to tiptoe around this topic. An Egyptian supporter of Obama, Yasser Khalil, reports that many Muslims react "with bewilderment and curiosity" when Obama is described as a Muslim apostate; Josie Delap and Robert Lane Greene of the Economist even claim that the Obama-as-apostate theme "has been notably absent" among Arabic-language columnists and editorialists.
That latter claim is inaccurate, for the topic is indeed discussed. At least one Arabic-language newspaper published Burki's article. Kuwait's Al-Watan referred to Obama as "a born Muslim, an apostate, a convert to Christianity." Writing in the Arab Times, Syrian liberal Nidal Na‘isa repeatedly called Obama an "apostate Muslim."
In sum, Muslims puzzle over Obama's present religious status. They resist his self-identification as a Christian while they assume a baby born to a Muslim father and named "Hussein" began life a Muslim. Should Obama become president, differences in Muslim and American views of religious affiliation will create problems.
Aug. 25, 2008 update: This is the fourth in a series of articles I have published on Barack Obama's ties to Islam. The prior three:
"Was Barack Obama a Muslim?" FrontPageMag.com, December 24, 2007. Raises questions about Obama's childhood religion and considers some implications.
"Confirmed: Barack Obama Practiced Islam." FrontPageMag.com, January 7, 2008. Replies to a critique of the prevous article by "Media Matters for America."
"Barack Obama's Muslim Childhood." Jerusalem Post, May 1, 2008. Pulls together existing information on Obama's childhood religion.