Obama friend and colleague Rashid Khalidi recently gave a speech at Columbia University in which he derided politicians for not giving Palestinians more land. The speech, captured on video and posted to Mondoweiss, shows Khalidi mocking the idea of a two-state solution as ‘Wizard of Oz stuff’ and saying that the Palestinians live in a ‘gussied-up prison’.
Keep in mind that when someone like Khalidi decries a two-state solution, the implication is that he’s advocating for a one-state solution that does not include Israel.
In light of what the recently negotiated deal with Iran could mean for Israel, it’s important to watch Khalidi in the context of what Obama has said in the past as well as the President’s appearance in a separate video from 2003 that the Los Angeles Times is still withholding. First, here is the video of Khalidi at Columbia earlier this month:
In March of this year, Ali Abunimah, the vice president of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), a group founded by Khalidi, seemed to do Obama no favors when he published a photo of the 2003 dinner that hadn’t been publicly available before (h/t Washington Free Beacon). In the photo, Barack and Michelle Obama can be seen seated at a table with Abuminah, Khalidi, and Edward Said, also a professor at Columbia.
The Free Beacon quoted Abunimah at the time the latter posted the never-before-published photo:
“Back when this photo of me, Obama, Rashid Khalidi and Edward Said was taken, even I didn’t expect him to be THIS bad,” Abunimah wrote along with the photo, implying that he believes the president has been too pro-Israel during his tenure in office.
Khalidi is the Columbia professor who used to be a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under the reign of Yasser Arafat. As Martin Kramer more than aptly demonstrated, this was backed up by multiple newspaper articles, including one from the New York Times in 1991 that identified Khalidi as one of the PLO’s advisors.
Other members of the advisory team are Sari Nusseibeh, also a university professor from East Jerusalem; Kamil Mansour, a writer living in Paris; Anis al-Qassem, a lawyer living in London, and Rashid al-Khalidi, a lecturer at Chicago State University.
That was certainly a Los Angeles Times that differed from its 2008 incarnation. In perhaps one of the most egregious acts of journalistic dereliction and malpractice, the Times withheld a videotape in its possession of Khalidi’s 2003 farewell dinner. The dinner was meant to honor Khalidi who had recently accepted his position at Columbia. Both Barack Obama and unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers were in attendance.
“During a presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, Obama attempted to dismiss Ayers as simply ‘a guy who lives in my neighborhood’ and during a town hall at a Florida synagogue, Obama admitted to knowing Khalidi but seemed to dismiss any notion of a close friendship by suggesting they bacame closer acquaintances than they otherwise would have, as a result of their children going to school together.” – The Case FOR Islamophobia, p. 324
When viewing Khalidi’s comments at Columbia in the video above, the premise for his ‘Wizard of OZ’ reference has to do with Palestinian territories not being contiguous and being broken up (we’ll refrain from getting distracted by Arab states that are Judenrein). As an advocate for the Palestinians, what is one left to conclude that Khalidi wants?
Let’s go back to 2011, one day before a meeting between Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. In a speech, Obama said any deal between Israel and the Palestinians should begin with 1967 borders. Such a proposal would seem to address one of Khalidi’s primary complaints:
That was perhaps the angriest Netanyahu had been at Obama until the recent nuclear deal with Iran that Netanyahu referred to as a ‘historic mistake’. The content and timing of Obama’s 2011 proposal and the November 23rd deal with Iran go to the very heart of Israel’s sovereignty, national security, and very existence.
Earlier this year, on the last day of Obama’s trip to Israel, he managed to persuade Netanyahu to pick up the phone and apologize to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the Gaza flotilla incident. Video of Israeli Defense Forces being attacked and bludgeoned by ‘peaceful’ passengers on a ‘humanitarian’ mission notwithstanding, the Washington Post’s Max Fisher seemed to think the apology was a ‘precursor’ to renewed negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
When victims apologize for having the gall to be on the receiving end of a bully’s fist, it only empowers the bully.
Incidentally, none other than Bill Ayers and his Free Gaza Movement (FGM) were very involved in aiding the efforts of that 2010 Gaza Flotilla.
As Netanyahu’s unwarranted apology to Turkey demonstrates, Obama enjoys having leverage on Israel. If this line of thinking extends to a nuclear-armed Iran, Obama is mistaken.