What’s all this about Rashid Khalidi?

The Wall Street Journal published a press release from the Republican National Committee, providing a run-down and bio information about Khalidi. The intent is clearly to make Obama look anti-Israel by his association with Khalidi.

However, to quote Rachel Maddow, this is the old ‘I’m rubber and you’re glue . . .’ dilemma. Turns out McCain himself has been very supportive of Khalidi in the past. With large sums of money and a relationship going back to 1993.

From Huffington Post:

During the 1990s, while he served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), McCain distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, including one worth half a million dollars.

A 1998 tax filing for the McCain-led group shows a $448,873 grant to Khalidi’s Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank.

So what does it mean? Absolutely nothing.

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  1. #1 by jdberger on October 30, 2008 - 10:12 am

    Keep reading, Becky.

    IRI Statement Regarding Work with Palestinians

    For Immediate Release
    October 29, 2008

    Washington, DC – “Questions have arisen regarding the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) work with Palestinians in the 1990s.

    “In the 1990s, IRI gave grants to the Center for Palestinian Research and Studies (CPRS) for polling in the West Bank/Gaza. The polls measured support for the peace process, for various Palestinian political groups, and for efforts to enhance governance in the West Bank/Gaza. At that time no other organization could credibly conduct polling in the West Bank/Gaza.

    “We understand that Rashid Khalidi was one of the many founders of CPRS, and we understand that he was for some (unclear) amount of time a board member. IRI did not in the 1990s conduct background checks of grantees’ founders or board members. IRI did on a number of occasions vet CPRS as an organization, including, as was our custom, with the Israeli government, and we were given no cause for concern.

    “We do not recall any contact between Mr. Khalidi and IRI, and there is no evidence that Mr. Khalidi benefited in any way from IRI’s grants.

    “Other organizations that reportedly gave funding to CPRS include the National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for International Private Enterprise, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, the Japanese Embassy, and Germany’s Friedrich Naumann Stiftung.

    “IRI’s relationship with CPRS ended in 2000, and we understand that it no longer exists.”

    I’m pretty familiar with IRI (and also NDI). They both do some great work in fostering free and fair elections in the developing world. They find the players and the stakeholders and try to foster a trust in the system. They provide assistance in setting up elections and monitor them for fairness and quality.

    The folks working for IRI aren’t just Republicans and they aren’t just Americans. There’s a real diversity of politics and life experience among the staff.

    Don’t let the name fool you.

  2. #2 by Becky Stauffer on October 30, 2008 - 11:24 am

    Hey JD,

    My point is, it’s all about that old “guilt by association” thing. You see how IRI is trying desparately to distance themselves from Khalidi even though he was one of their founders? The suggestion is that an association proves something. It doesn’t. JD, you and I could associate and that wouldn’t make you a liberal sympathizer nor me a closet conservative.

  3. #3 by jdberger on October 30, 2008 - 12:16 pm

    Khalidi was not a founder of IRI.

    IRI isn’t “desperately” trying to do anything. Just clear the air.

    IRI continues to fund political and election related research in “Palestine”.

  4. #4 by Becky Stauffer on October 30, 2008 - 1:14 pm

    My error, JD, Khalidi was a co-founder of Center for Palestine Research and Studies (CPRS) the received money from IRI, chaired by John McCain. My point remains, are you suggesting guilt by association? I.e., McCain should be judged because he gave money to an organization co-founded by Khalidi who is said to be anti-Israel? Therefore, McCain is anti-Israel?

  5. #5 by jdberger on October 30, 2008 - 1:17 pm

    Nope. Just defending IRI, which I perceive to be getting a bad rap because of the “R”.

  6. #6 by jdberger on October 30, 2008 - 1:29 pm

    But…now that I’ve looked at your links, are you suggesting that the ephemeral relationship that McCain had with CPRS as a Chairman who approved some funding is equivalent to, let’s say, having dinner at the residence of Mr. Khalidi? Speaking at his going away party? Attending a wedding reception?

    Sen. Obama can talk with who he likes. But you can’t compare the level of association. It’s apples and oranges.

  7. #7 by Becky Stauffer on October 30, 2008 - 4:23 pm

    And again, JD, if you and I had dinner at one another’s houses went to a wedding reception of a mutual friend, would I convert you to be a liberal, or you me to a conservative? Or would we just remain friends and agree to disagree. Some of the people I love most in this world (or simply respect, know professionally, know casually) disagree with my politics. I live in Utah, after all. But it doesn’t stop us from being together.

    This whole argument of guilt by association is such a stretch, it has no credibility. Unless you just have nothing else and are desperate for something.

  8. #8 by Richard Warnick on October 30, 2008 - 6:50 pm

    The McCain “guilt by association” crowd are shooting blanks. Lucky for them nobody is shooting back with AHMED CHALABI and G. GORDON LIDDY. How about CHARLES KEATING? All unrepentant convicted felons. All close friends of… Senator John McCain.

    Rashid Khalidi is an entirely respectable, highly respected scholar. William Ayers was a 60s radical– i.e. 40 years ago. Neither has ever been convicted of a crime.

  9. #9 by Bob S. on October 30, 2008 - 7:10 pm

    Richard,

    For me, it’s not about “guilt by association” but more about finding out about Obama’s associations.

    Learning who he spends times with can help understand his politics, philosophy and approaches to issues.

    The pattern that has emerged is a far left wing, socialist/marxist. If it wasn’t for the “guilt by association” crowd, the main stream media wouldn’t have covered most of those associations.

    I think people have a right to know that information. If they then decide to vote for him, so be it.

    Bring up McCain’s associations, the media already has.

  10. #10 by Becky Stauffer on October 31, 2008 - 5:21 am

    Bob, If I were to agree with your “pattern” theory (and I don’t, but for argument’s sake), don’t you have to consider ALL types of associations he has and not just a select two or three? How about if I chose three people you have EVER associated with in your life — I get to say which ones — and then we’ll all agree a pattern has emerged that you think just like those three.

  11. #11 by Bob S. on October 31, 2008 - 5:37 am

    Becky,

    Good question but not complete

    How about if I chose three people you have EVER associated with in your life — I get to say which ones — and then we’ll all agree a pattern has emerged that you think just like those three.

    It is not just who his associations are, but how long, how often, right?

    Pick the three people and see if someone has a long standing, continuing association with them. Doesn’t Ayers, Wright, Khalidi, etc fit that pattern for Obama?

    Again, it is not just who he associates with but the pattern of marxist belief running through those associations. There is a pattern of Marxism, right?

    There is also a pattern of his behavior after those associations become a liability. What was it Obama said 2 weeks before he threw Wright under the bus? Something about not being able to repudiate that man any more then he could repudiate his white grandmother.

  12. #12 by Bob S. on October 31, 2008 - 6:07 am

    ‘You have to pinch yourself – a Marxist radical who all his life has been mentored by, sat at the feet of, worshiped with, befriended, endorsed the philosophy of, funded and been in turn funded, politically promoted and supported by a nexus comprising black power anti-white racists, Jew-haters, revolutionary Marxists, unrepentant former terrorists and Chicago mobsters, is on the verge of becoming President of the United States.

    …………….. And apparently it’s considered impolite to say so.

    – Melanie Philips, The Spectator ( UK ) 10/14/08

  13. #13 by Becky Stauffer on October 31, 2008 - 6:11 am

    Bob, I think you’re just trying to have a little fun. You realize no ‘pattern’ has been established by the few things you list. And as for associations, I’ll refer you to Richard’s comment, a couple of clicks above. We’re starting to repeat ourselves.

  14. #14 by Richard Warnick on October 31, 2008 - 6:17 am

    Bob S. — In all the interviews of Senator McCain this year, only David Letterman ever asked him about G. Gordon Liddy– and McCain refused to answer. To my knowledge, nobody has recently asked McCain about his close associations with Charles Keating and Ahmed Chalabi.

    Obama has been constantly bombarded with hostile questions about people he once sat in the same room with. Never mind that these supposed bad guys aren’t convicted criminals and that Republicans, including McCain himself, share the very same “associations”!

    McCain vacationed with Keating at Keating’s private Caribbean resort, on Keating’s private plane, nine times. McCain played a lead role in steering U.S. policy and taxpayer money to Chalabi’s benefit. Liddy hosted a fundraiser for McCain, and the two of them had a friendly chat on Liddy’s radio show less than a year ago. Keating and Liddy both served time in prison. Chalabi was convicted of bank fraud and the U.S. government has accused him of spying for Iran.

  15. #15 by Bob S. on October 31, 2008 - 6:32 am

    Richard,

    If no one has raised the questions, how do you know about it?

    Perhaps it’s been in the news?

  16. #16 by Richard Warnick on October 31, 2008 - 7:54 am

    Bob S.– It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I read the blogs ;-)

  17. #17 by Cliff Lyon on October 31, 2008 - 8:34 am

    Bob S,

    By now you should be getting a feeling that the American people have learned to detect the propaganda and lies put forth by Republicans.

    YOU my good man are not even a very clever parrot of this propaganda.

    Richard just hammered you on G. Gordon Liddy, Chalabi, Keating.

    All you have is subjective, hyperbolic nonsense about some guy Obama doesn’t even know.

  18. #18 by Bob S. on October 31, 2008 - 8:50 am

    Cliff,

    What lies and propaganda?

    Was Obama associated with William Ayers?

    Was Obama a member of Trinity UCC where Rev. Wright preached for 20 years?

    Did he attend a dinner for Khalidi?

    Did his books mention that he chose his friends and associates carefully?

    “To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully,” Obama wrote in his memoir, “Dreams From My Father.” “The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists.”

    Are those the lies you are talking about?

  19. #19 by Cliff Lyon on October 31, 2008 - 8:52 am

    Richard just hammered you on G. Gordon Liddy, Chalabi, Keating.

    All you have is subjective, hyperbolic nonsense about some guy Obama doesn’t even know.

    Bob S. — In all the interviews of Senator McCain this year, only David Letterman ever asked him about G. Gordon Liddy– and McCain refused to answer. To my knowledge, nobody has recently asked McCain about his close associations with Charles Keating and Ahmed Chalabi.

    Obama has been constantly bombarded with hostile questions about people he once sat in the same room with. Never mind that these supposed bad guys aren’t convicted criminals and that Republicans, including McCain himself, share the very same “associations”!

    McCain vacationed with Keating at Keating’s private Caribbean resort, on Keating’s private plane, nine times. McCain played a lead role in steering U.S. policy and taxpayer money to Chalabi’s benefit. Liddy hosted a fundraiser for McCain, and the two of them had a friendly chat on Liddy’s radio show less than a year ago. Keating and Liddy both served time in prison. Chalabi was convicted of bank fraud and the U.S. government has accused him of spying for Iran.

    h/t Richard

  20. #20 by JFarmer on October 31, 2008 - 10:06 am

    Bob:

    You ask the following:

    Was Obama associated with William Ayers?

    Was Obama a member of Trinity UCC where Rev. Wright preached for 20 years?

    Did he attend a dinner for Khalidi?

    Did his books mention that he chose his friends and associates carefully?

    Let’s assume the following answers:

    yes
    yes
    yes
    yes

    Now here is a question for you: So what if the answers are “yes”?

  21. #21 by Bob S. on October 31, 2008 - 10:14 am

    I enjoy how the argument changes as it is needed.

    Richard starts out by arguing that “guilt by association” shouldn’t be/ isn’t valid — what was the phrase, shooting blanks, then pulls out McCain’s associations to accuse him of being guilty by association.

    I talk about the types of people Obama associates with, what it says about his philosophy but that isn’t good enough for Becky we have to look at all his associations?

    People like Frank Marshall Davis:

    However, through Frank Marshall Davis, Obama had an admitted relationship with someone who was publicly identified as a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). The record shows that Obama was in Hawaii from 1971-1979, where, at some point in time, he developed a close relationship, almost like a son, with Davis, listening to his “poetry” and getting advice on his career path. But Obama, in his book, Dreams From My Father, refers to him repeatedly as just “Frank.”

    So we have
    Reverend Wright
    William Ayers
    Frank Marshall Davis
    Khalidi – tenuous but someone Obama supposed praised
    Marxist professors in college

    What does it take for a pattern to form for the rest of you?

    Edit – JFarmer, It means that Obama professes to and accepts a socialist world view that I don’t want to see in the White House. My opinion, my vote; your mileage may vary.

  22. #22 by JFarmer on October 31, 2008 - 10:17 am

    Bob:

    Notwithstanding the positions of other commenters, my question still remains. So what if Obama were associated with those you suggest in the manner you suggest? So what?

  23. #23 by Cliff Lyon on October 31, 2008 - 10:22 am

    Bob S,

    Was X associated with Y? The answer to that question cannot be construed by fiat to mean anything.

    I’m sure YOU could be associated with child molesters, crooks and adulterers. Does that mean you condone their activities?

  24. #24 by Richard Warnick on October 31, 2008 - 10:25 am

    And my point is Senator McCain associates closely with convicted criminals, in two cases with major adverse policy consequences for this nation. Yet somehow the media focus solely on the trivial assertions made by right-wing smear merchants desperate to say something negative about Senator Obama. The shame of the McCain campaign is that McCain himself has repeated some of these smears.

    As for Bob’s allegation that Obama has a “socialist world view,” where is the evidence of that? Look what he said to Rachel Maddow (emphasis added):

    MADDOW: Now, they do that to you the same way. When they talk — when John McCain calls you a socialist —

    OBAMA: Right.

    MADDOW: This redistribute the wealth idea. He goe — he calls you soft on national security.

    OBAMA: Yes.

    MADDOW: That’s not just an anti-Barack Obama script.

    OBAMA: No.

    MADDOW: That is — he’s reading from an anti-Democrat, and specifically an anti-liberal stance.

    OBAMA: Absolutely.

    MADDOW: And so, you have the opportunity to say John McCain, George Bush, you’re wrong. You also have the opportunity to say, conservatism has been bad for America. But, you haven’t gone there either.

    OBAMA: I tell you what though, Rachel. You notice, I think we’re winning right now so —

    (LAUGHTER)

    OBAMA: Maybe I’m doing something right. I know you’ve been cruising for a bruising for a while here, looking for a fight out there. But, I just think people are tired of that kind of back and forth, tit for tat, ideological approach to the problems.

    Now, there is no doubt that there is a set of premises in the reigning Republican ideology that I just think are wrong. This whole notion, and then it’s been captured by this back and forth about whether I’m a redistributor, I think is a great example. The notion that the progressive income tax, which was instituted by Teddy Roosevelt, supposedly John McCain’s hero, is somehow un-American, I think is an example of how people have gone way off track.

    The Republican Party has gone so right when it comes to how we think about our obligations to each other, how we pay for things. And as a consequence, because most people think it’s pretty important to pay for roads and bridges, schools. What we’ve ended up doing is tax cuts, no spending cuts, huge national debt. There’s a core hypocrisy to how they have governed over the last several years, that I think has to be reversed.

    And so we’re going to challenge those things. The important thing though is, I just want to make sure that I’m leaving the door open to people who say to themselves, well, you know, I’m a member of the Republican Party and I remember people like Chuck Percy in Illinois, or Abraham Lincoln, a pretty good Republican. That there’s some core values that historically have been important to the Republican Party, but just have not been observed over the last several years.

  25. #25 by James Farmer on October 31, 2008 - 10:33 am

    Edit – JFarmer, It means that Obama professes to and accepts a socialist world view that I don’t want to see in the White House.

    Wow! Just wow, Bob! Under your logic, each of the 99 current US senators also maintains a socialist world view because they necessarily “associate” with Obama by virtue of their being members of the same organization – the US Senate – that he is.

    PS I hope this finally sheds light on the paucity in substance of your argument in this regard. Nevertheless, it is your vote and you have the right to do with it as you please.

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