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...]

Khalidi, like Ayers, held a fundraiser for Obama at his home. The Ayers event was in 1995 as Obama was making his first bid for the Illinois state senate. Khalidi held his event for Obama in 2000 when Obama made his failed bid for the U.S. House. From the LA Times article linked above:

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 following is taken from a column about a debate on Mideast policy that took place at Columbia University in 2005, at which Khalidi was a panelist [Mideast Parley Takes Ugly Turn At Columbia U., The New York Sun, February 4, 2005, available on Lexis.com.]

How did a great institution of higher learning allow itself to be transformed into a platform for vicious political propaganda and hate speech directed against one country, Israel? Surely one crucial moment in this transformation was Columbia's decision to raise $4 million - including a contribution from the United Arab Emirates - to create the Edward Said endowed chair in Arab studies, and then to give the prize to professor Khalidi.

We don't doubt that Mr. Khalidi has academic credentials. Compared to professors Massad and Pappe, he is a model of decorum and moderation. But when Columbia academic officials made this choice they knew they were getting a Palestinian political activist. From 1976 to 1982, Mr. Khalidi was a director in Beirut of the official Palestinian press agency, WAFA. Later he served on the PLO "guidance committee" at the Madrid peace conference.

In bringing professor Khalidi to Morningside Heights from the University of Chicago, Columbia also got itself a twofer of Palestinian activism and advocacy. Mr. Khalidi's wife, Mona, who also served in Beirut as chief editor of the English section of the WAFA press agency, was hired as dean of foreign students at Columbia's SIPA, working under Dean Anderson.

In Chicago, the Khalidis founded the Arab American Action Network, and Mona Khalidi served as its president. A big farewell dinner was held in their honor by AAAN with a commemorative book filled with testimonials from their friends and political allies. These included the left wing anti-war group Not In My Name, the Electronic Intifada, and the ex-Weatherman domestic terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers. (There were also testimonials from then-state Senator Barack Obama and the mayor of Chicago.)

The message sent by Columbia University officials by this choice was that they were determined to honor the memory of Edward Said by continuing to have radical Palestinian activism on campus.

I don't know whether this column is right-wing propaganda or has some kernels of truth. But Obama has placed Khalidi in issue by his outreach to Jewish voters in the presidential campaign and his statements at a campaign event such as "Nobody has spoken out more fiercely on the issue of anti- Semitism than I have."

It would be one thing if he acknowledged, if true, that he wasn't always such a strong supporter of Israel -- particularly while he was a state legislator in Illinois -- and explain his evolving positions. Or, if he thinks he has been consistent in his support for Israel, explain this. I'd like to hear him distance himself from the expressed beliefs of Rashid Khalidi, just as he has distanced himself from objectionable remarks of Louis Farrakhan and Rev. Wright.

Larry and Susan at No Quarter have been all over Khalidi and Obama and Ayers. I have far fewer problems with Ayers than Larry and his co-bloggers, and certainly none based on his work on behalf of juvenile offenders.

But I would like an explanation from Obama on his expressed support for Israel and his past support for Khalidi, which was shared by Ayers. In view of Obama's extensive reachout to Jewish voters, I think that's a reasonable request.

Again, my prior post on this is here.

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    If Ayers Isn't A Problem (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by flashman on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:11:49 PM EST
    Then Obama should just come clean about their association, and not try to cover it up as just, "some guy who lived in my neighborhood."  I'm getting tired of the way OBH lets information about his associates drip, drip, drip....  I though that was old style politics.

    Obamas contempt (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by phillhrrll on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:42:42 PM EST
    and utter disdain directed towards anyone who dare question his veracity is growing markedly pronounced.  He stumbled yet again over Wright and his explanation   regarding Ayers as just some guy, insults everyones intelligence. Having a fund raiser requires a lot of prep by the homeowner and isn't something you do for a distant, nodding acquaintance.

    I'm beginning to think Obama's hubris is indicative of narcissism at best, and after a bit of research, I found narcissism is linked with anti-socialistic paranoia, which would explain the vibe a lot of people feel emanating from obama.


    Barack "To know me is to love me" (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by MarkL on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:14:53 PM EST
    Obama a narcissist?
    No way.

    There really is a big difference (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by BernieO on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:57:29 PM EST
    between someone who has a large ego (which all politicians do) and someone who has trye narcissistic personality disorder. George Bush is a textbook example of this disorder. Charming (I don't see this but a lot of people do), but vindictive when crossed, manipulative, lacking in empathy, needing to be the center of attention and admired. (Think OJ)
    Obama seems more like a smart, talented, charming guy who needs to have his ego deflated. If he can learn and grow from defeats, criticism, etc. he is not a true narcissist. I would just prefer to know for sure before giving him a chance to be the most powerful person in the world.

    He uses all that money and marketing... (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by citizen53 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:34:38 PM EST
    to create an illusion that he is different and an agent of change, but he is just like Clinton and very status quo.

    Americans eat up slogans and marketing, and this shows that Democrats can be just as dumb and subject to manipulation as the Republicans we love to ridicule.


    He comes across to me as... (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by rghojai on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:33:15 PM EST
    ..."Won't you like me? I like you. Many other people like me. And they'll like you, too. Won't you like me? Please? No? That's too bad. It's sad and unfortunate that you're a bigoted, low-information voter who's determined to destroy the Democratic party and get McCain elected."

    Lucky me, I live in a blue state, can vote third-party for Pres. (If my state, Calif., is in play, Obama would have more to worry about than my vote.)


    narcissism is linked with anti-socialistic paranoi (none / 0) (#36)
    by flashman on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:09:20 PM EST
    Like Nixon.

    Only 5 hours with Ayers in all these years (none / 0) (#104)
    by Cream City on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:13:16 PM EST
    as Obama claimed about Rezko in another debate?

    Uh huh.  I count so many lies in last night's debate -- Clinton's "former pastor" (he wasn't), the I-never-said-no-flag-pin (he did), the Dohrn-Ayers connection (she, Ayers wife, did plead guilty; Ayers got off on a technicality), and there were more, but I lose count.

    Add to that the backpedaling on reproductive rights and so much more, and I simply do not believe anything Obama says anymore.  Not a thing.  If he's the nominee, how can I vote for him?  The argument that he'd be better than McCain cannot work, if I don't know what Obama stands for -- as he doesn't stand for Dems, either.  So how does that make him or his non-stands better than McCain?

    Not that I could vote for McCain -- but could I vote for anyone, then, if Obama is the nominee?  What would I be voting not against but for?


    You forgot the handwriting (5.00 / 0) (#120)
    by angie on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:57:05 PM EST
    on the 1996 survey -- the one he said he never saw and his staff filled out without his knowledge -- even though it now shows his own handwriting on it.  This, by far, is the dumbest of all of Obama's lies because when the question first came up all he had to say was "That survey was 12 years ago when I was first elected. My views on some of these issues have evolved as I have actually been a part of the legislative process, learned more about these issues and listened to my constituents."  That would have been a perfectly acceptable and reasonable answer for anyone. Why didn't he just say that -- even if that was true either, it is a much better lie then "it wasn't me."

    Just I was enjoying the chatter (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Florida Resident on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:23:29 PM EST
    I don't know what Obama's real position is on the Middle East, but then, I have that problem with a lot of other issues.  He can talk about the same subject differently according to who the audience is.  He is the best example I have seen of politics as usual that I have seen in a long time.  But I have seen this pattern before from I really not aware to well I maybe erred in judgement, next we might see the blaming of the subordinate.

    That's so true (5.00 / 5) (#18)
    by Kathy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:40:03 PM EST
    we have no idea where he really stands on anything.  Is this political cunning or is he really that mercurial?  People keep warning me that, should Obama win the nom (which I do not think is a lock), I have to support him so we can preserve reproductive rights, but then Obama says people like me don't accept that abortion is a wrenching moral issue, and that one of his good friends thinks doctors performing medical procedures to end pregnancies should be put on death row.

    I suppose it would be one thing if I thought Obama had the strength of character to associate with disparate groups, yet keep his own firm opinion in place, but as with the Ayers case Jeralyn describes above, Obama has never really taken a stand on anything.  We have no idea how he will govern should he get the power to act on these unknown beliefs.  Will he appease whichever person or group is in front of him?  Will he appease whoever throws enough money at him?  He wasn't meeting with Jewish groups before someone pointed out that he was losing their vote.  And we all know "No one" has championed Israel like Obama...now.

    Obama has already said he's not wasting political capital on gay rights and it's quite clear to me that he feels women's rights are somewhat of a luxury that he'll fight for if there's nothing else left on the table--and we all know that just about everything from school vouchers to anti-choice judgeships to the kitchen sink is already cluttering up that table big time, so...what exactly will he stand for?  Will he be the pro-Palestine Obama who voted to give that grant or will he be the pro-Israel Obama who will protect the Homeland?

    At least with McCain, the enemy will be clear.  With Obama, who knows what he'll get away with?  I certainly don't trust the dems who are currently in power--the ones who are letting Bush walk over them, who are foisting Obama on the party at all costs--to stand up to Obama.  They are still too in awe.

    Chaos.  We need Clinton.  I am still fighting for her so long as she keeps fighting for me.  I know where she stands because I can look at her consistent history.  That's character.  That's trustworthyness.  With Obama--who knows?


    So many of his answers... (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by OrangeFur on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:23:05 PM EST
    ... are on the one hand, blah blah blah, and on the other, blah blah blah, bringing people together, unity, hope, new politics.

    Next thing you know it's ten minutes later and you haven't learned anything.


    But if it's not hopefulness, (none / 0) (#102)
    by abfabdem on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:07:47 PM EST
    it's bitterness.  He covers the whole range of emotions.

    Kathy, great post! (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by derridog on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:55:24 PM EST
    simple, if he gives you know opinion (none / 0) (#25)
    by DandyTIger on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:45:15 PM EST
    you have no choice but to guess by the company he keeps.

    "no" opinion I meant. Jeeeez. (none / 0) (#26)
    by DandyTIger on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:45:45 PM EST
    his associates all goes to his (none / 0) (#53)
    by english teacher on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:43:13 PM EST
    claim of superior "judgment", does they not?  and quite unfavorably, i might add.  

    Wow, sorry to be so repetitive upthread (none / 0) (#105)
    by Cream City on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:14:46 PM EST
    before I got to this, but -- exactly my conundrum, Kathy.  Of course, as usual, you said it better. :-)

    Sorry I disagree (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by kenosharick on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:24:13 PM EST
    If Hillary had been friends with and had a fundraiser hosted in the home of a "former" domestic terrorist the media would be screaming even louder for her to drop out.

    No they wouldn't (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by dianem on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:57:32 PM EST
    They'd be screaming for her to be tried as a terrorist.

    No. No. Burned at the stake. (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by derridog on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:06:37 PM EST
    Ayers If Standing Alone - No Big Deal (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:29:30 PM EST
    Ayers, Wright and Khalidi together begin to look like a pattern. It will be easier for the Republicans to plant the seeds of doubt because they can show a pattern. Whether there is any there there are not it will create more opportunity for doubts to take hold.

    Dont forget (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by cmugirl on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:31:43 PM EST
    Donnie McClurkin.  Not that the Repubs will be able to use him, since he is supposedly a "transformed homosexual" - Obama has already had to "distance himself" from McClurkin, but this just seems to add to the narrative that he has some questionable people that play prominent roles in his life and campaign.

    or (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by swiss473 on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 01:57:51 AM EST
    Rev James Meeks, Obama's Chicago buddy who called other black leaders "House Ni**ers" and blamed "Hollywood Jews for bringing us Brokeback Mountain" and is a leader in the anti-gay movement where he's partners with James Dobson.

    Meeks was one of Obama's spiritual advisors and listed on his "influential black leaders" list until he was mysteriously scrubbed.

    The Repubs are just holding Meeks in reserve.  It's like Wright, then a few weeks go by and Ayers, another few weeks and we'll see Khalidi, another few weeks and Meeks.

    By November, NY and NJ will go red for the 1st time since 1988 and FL will be a lost cause.


    I have to disagree with your charactorization... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Exeter on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:32:49 PM EST
    ...of Ayers.  Yes, he hasn't blown up buildings in a long time, but come on, anyone-- especially in a post 9/11 world-- that has blown up buildings does not deserve to be part of the public dialogue... unless the point of there being in the public dialogue is to express remorse about their previous actions. I don't want him holding fundraisers for people and I don't want politicians going to his fundraisers. I don't want him being appointed to boards of nonprofits and I don't want politicians serving with him on those boards.  

    We are now resorting to this? (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by SpinDoctor on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:42:32 PM EST
    With each passing day, I am becoming more ashamed of my Party.  This race has brought out the very worst in the Democratic Party, to the point that I can no longer see any difference between the tactics used by Rove and the Republicans and those we are using on each other.  Liberal sites on the blogosphere that I have respected and visited for years are now indistinguishable from places like RedState.  It is unfathomable to me that a liberal site dedicated to free speech can so cavalierly delete content and suspend contributors for deigning to disagree. Are we so insecure in our positions that we have to "blam" commenters rather than thoughtfully engaging them in debate?

    For more than a decade I believed we were better than this.  That we, as Democrats, sought the moral high road.  That when we condemned specious, baseless, agenda-driven attacks on our candidates, we did so based upon principle.   How naive of me.

    We are now eating our own.  We are perpetuating the same kind of drive-by smear attacks that the Republicans have done on our candidates since the early 1990s.  I really hope some of you take a step back and try to regain some perspective about what our Party is about, what ideals we stand for and how our lust for power is turning us into the very thing we have appropriately condemned for more than a decade.

    Feel free to go ahead and suspend my account as I really do not care.  I just hope a few of you can regain some perspective and try to unite behind our  likely nominee so that we do not have 8 more years of the same.  More importantly, I hope some of you can reflect upon the kind of tactics being employed  by Democrats against Democrats and question whether  this is the face we want to put forward.  I really do not care "who started it" as that kind of puerile excuse only ensures that it will never end.

    I love folks who say (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by Kathy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:45:52 PM EST
    that we should unite behind our "likely nominee."  Very democratic!

    This ain't over till it's over.  We already had a "winner" declared in 2000 without all the votes being counted.  I didn't accept it then and I sure as heck do not accept it now.


    he is after all... (none / 0) (#92)
    by white n az on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:44:43 PM EST
    the Spin Doctor

    We need to unite (none / 0) (#128)
    by onemanrules on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 02:15:40 AM EST
    behind whomever our nominee turns out to be. Clinton and Obama are practically identical on policies (which don't seem to matter anymore). Either of them would be a huge step above McCain. We can't let the character assasination of either of them by the right get us off focus as to the issues that are important in this election. As far as Obama goes, it's good to get this out now so by time fall comes people will be sick of it and the republicans use of it in their playbook will be much less meaningful. If Hillary gets the nomination, she will have her issues answered for also. Go Dems in '08.

    Hmmmmm (none / 0) (#115)
    by wasabi on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:57:07 PM EST
    I can't believe all the misogynist crap that is in full view in the blogs and on the airwaves and I wonder what happened to my party.  I can't be a "progressive" any longer...

    But, you make an assumption I don't share (none / 0) (#118)
    by cymro on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:33:03 PM EST
    Your opinion and your stated concerns are based on the assumption that Obama is "the likely nominee". About half of all Democrats, and the majority of those posting here, do not agree with that assumption.

    In fact, some of us fear the consequences for Democrats if that assumption turns out to be true. Namely, either a McCain presidency (the most likely outcome) or an ineffective Obama presidency that sets the party back another 12 years, as happened after 4 years of Jimmy Carter. I'm not sure which would be worse. (btw, I admire Carter enormously, but he was out of his depth in the WH, at that time).

    That's why we are fighting so hard to prevent either of those disasters from becoming a reality -- by making Hillary the Party's nominee, and then President. Because we'd really like to look forward to 8 successful years of Democratic government, and that's the only way we're going to get it. Mark my words.


    Commute not Pardon (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by BigB on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:02:00 PM EST

    Pres. Clinton commuted their sentences did not pardon them.

    one of each n/t (none / 0) (#50)
    by 1jpb on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:35:06 PM EST
    So Obama got that wrong (none / 0) (#106)
    by Cream City on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:15:54 PM EST

    I think Obama got that one (none / 0) (#122)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:01:35 PM EST
    right. I got it wrong and fixed it.

    the thing we need to realize (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by TheRefugee on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:24:50 PM EST
    is what Obama has tried to realize...that the GOP plays by a set of rules we need to be willing to acknowledge.  Obama goes after the religious voting block, he tries to massage pro-choice and guns to appease both sides of the fence.  His supporters have adopted the smear campaign ala Rove, Gingrich.  

    What we, all Dems, need to acknowledge is that things WE don't find THAT offensive, Wright and Ayers, the GOP will find offensive and they will spare no expense in making sure that a connection to an America bashing black conspiracy theorist like Wright and a person tied to "terrorist" acts will be front and center in the minds of moderate and independent voters.  Anything else that is found out about Ayers, Wright is icing on the cake as far as the GOP is concerned.  They don't care about Inmate x or child y, they won't care about a lifetime of helping the poor.  As easy as Obama/campaign fell into painting the Clintons as racist so too will the GOP fall into painting Obama as consorting with anti-patriots and pseudo-terrorists.

    in addition (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by TheRefugee on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:33:59 PM EST
    joe scarborough is becoming my favorite media guy.  He is biased, he isn't a journalist...but on the general questions he is spot on (he falls into his GOP bias on the fine pts.)

    First, "what people in Manhattan or LA think are slimy...connect (in other areas)".  That is the fact.  Obama doesn't think that he was being condescending--and neither do his DEM supporters...but he needs to realize that those comments do register with voters:  just not the one's he can rely on but the ones he is pandering to by waffling on his abortion stance etc.

    Second, despite what the Obama campaign and supporters are saying about ABC etc the fact is he got asked the questions and he looked bad.  There is no spinning that fact..a nominee for president has to be able to answer any and all questions and still come off looking presidential as opposed to looking defensive or angry.


    On electability (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by talkingpoint on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:25:38 PM EST
      The radical group "Hamas" endorsed Obama today. I can see the republican 527's and mcCain using this against him big time, if he gets the nomination.

    Right Wing Commenter (none / 0) (#56)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:57:06 PM EST
    Conservative Radio host talking to Hamas????  Oh my god.

    BTW- This was not an endorsement, it was an interview.

    Yousef likes Democrats over Republicans and seems to like Obama over Clinton, but the the interviewer did not pursue Yousef what he thinks of Clinton.


    This is probably just me (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by stillife on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:30:10 PM EST
    but I'm not particularly offended by the Ayers connection.  I can understand how most people would be and I certainly believe it will cause Obama problems in the GE if he's the nom.

    This is probably due to my own background, growing up in Chicago.  I was in high school in the late 60's/early 70's and my friends and I were little hippies and wannabe revolutionaries.  I can't remember exactly how it happened, but some of my friends were hanging out with the WU.  I remember meeting Kathy Boudin and Cathlyn Wilkerson (who died in that townhouse blast in NYC), among others.  Those were different times.  If I had been a little more interested in revolutionary politics and a little less interested in smoking pot, I could have been caught up in it.

    I can't condone the fact that Ayers remains unrepentant and made those remarks after 9/11.  I can understand Obama associating with Ayers and Dohrn and not necessarily sharing their views.  However, I do think that for an ambitious politician, it's a boneheaded mistake and once again, it makes me question his judgment.

    NOT after 9/11. (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:59:43 PM EST
    Interview a week or so before, published in the 9/11 2001 edition of the Times, which went to bed 9 hours before the planers hit the WTC.

    True. But Ayers' followup letter to the NYT (none / 0) (#109)
    by Cream City on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:28:59 PM EST
    includes too many artful phrases that could be used against Obama by the Repubs.  Jeesh, Ayers, just say you're sorry -- but he did not do so.  Same problem with so many of his letters, talks, writings since on Ayers' website . . . as the guy does go on and on and wants everyone to read everything he ever wrote.

    And reading even some of it just gives me that glazed look in the eye.  He sure could use an editor.  But I bet the Repubs do not weary so easily as I and will parse and pounce every one of the thousands upon thousands of words in Ayers' collected works on that website.  And even a few minutes' worth gave me worries about the "just words" there.


    Oh yes, they seem so rational (none / 0) (#110)
    by ineedalife on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:30:25 PM EST
    with only the Oklahoma City and first World Trade Center bombings as context.

    Obama just slammed Carter (5.00 / 0) (#52)
    by Salo on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:43:11 PM EST
    tiw flah

    I am not taking a position on (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:59:15 PM EST
    Israel and Palestine. I want to know whether Obama's current position is genuine or has been tailored to his senate and presidential aspirations.

    I think it's not genuine (none / 0) (#63)
    by stillife on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:15:58 PM EST
    as a voter who wants peace in the Middle East and has sympathy for both sides, my concern would be that if elected, he might tend to be more hawkishly pro-Israel to compensate for his lack of cred with the Jewish community.  

    That's a big issue for me in general - I think he's pretty malleable and doesn't really have an inner moral guide.  Hillary spoke of this in the faith & values forum - the necessity of making tough decisions.  I just don't see that in Obama, and I fear it could lead to disaster if he's elected.


    I don't understand the point about Israel (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by fuzzyone on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:30:54 PM EST
    You suggest that Obama's association with someone who is a Palestinian activist, who as far as i can see is not connected to terrorism, somehow calls Obama's commitment to Israel into question.  How?  Am I supposed to be horrified that Obama associated with a man who was part of a peace delegation?

    Is it so hard to understand that it is possible to be committed to Israel and still talk to the Palestinians.  Every Israeli Prime Minister has managed to do that.  I'm a Jew, a child of holocaust survivors and deeply committed to the survival of the State of Israel, i survival I believe can occur only if a two-state solution is achieved.  To see supposed progressives talk as if any association with Palestinians is somehow beyond the pale is just deeply disappointing.

    And to answer you question, yes, the Sun is a right-wing rag.  The fact that the article includes a smear of Edward Said, I respected academic and intellectual, should tell you that.

    Right on fuzzyone (none / 0) (#108)
    by desert dawg on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:21:04 PM EST
    This comment is exactly correct.

    On slight problem I have with ascertaining (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by Florida Resident on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:50:17 PM EST
    Obama's position lies in something I have noticed.  Most people's myself included positions evolve and sometimes change, but with Obama he does not seem to want to admit or say he has had a change of heart, or that he has realized he may have been mistaken,  Another problem lies that when you read transcripts or hear speeches made by him his position on the same subject seems to vary in accordance with his audience.

    I would have great respect for Obama if (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Prabhata on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:47:47 PM EST
    he stated that he supports the right of Palestinian people to have a country free from occupation.  I would respect him and I would consider voting for him if he said that Israel must stop building settlements in the occupied territories to advance peace and allow for the two states to emerge.  That would take great courage because it would go against the narrative that Israel is this little country that is being abused by the Palestinian.  But Obama knows very well that if he said that, he would not have a prayer of a chance of being elected.  So we are left with a candidate that I think is more pro-Palestinian than he says he is, but without the courage to stand for what he believes.  So with his lack of experience and his lack of courage, I prefer Clinton.  The Palestinian question is of great importance, but the economy and other issues are more important at this time.

    Hahahahah (none / 0) (#117)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:20:10 PM EST
    I would have great respect for Obama if he stated that he supports the right of Palestinian people to have a country free from occupation.

    Why don't you try to get Hillary to say something close to that. You are being dishonest here as a Hillary supporter.


    I suspect you are missing Prabhata's (none / 0) (#136)
    by tree on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 01:19:41 PM EST
    point. She/he wasn't urging either candidate to say such a thing because to say such a thing is, sadly, to deal a death blow to a politician's Presidential  electability. I too would respect Obama and/or Clinton if they said such a thing but I don't expect it of either of them. Personally, if Obama said such a thing I could well overcome my hesitancy to vote for him due to what I consider his many other failings, but I readily admit that he would have NO chance to win if he did.

    As for Khalidi, I think he is a great scholar and deserving of his position. "Resurrecting Empire" was an impressive book. And the NY Sun was part of the chorus that promoted the McCarthyite attacks on Middle East academics lead by Daniel Pipes,so yes they are a rightwing smear paper.

    Obama's casually thrown Khalidi under the bus along with Abunimah and all the rest. Obama's been issuing statements worthy of the Likud party on Israel these days. I think he will do whatever he thinks he needs to win the election. And I think he is less likely to pressure Israel in any meaningful way(and pressure is what is truly needed) than any other politician, because he's going to have to constantly prove that he's "pro-Israel".  


    BS (none / 0) (#139)
    by squeaky on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 05:31:39 PM EST
    So with his lack of experience and his lack of courage, I prefer Clinton.

    My point is that for Clinton's lack of courage there is nary a mention.


    Jeralyn, your request is reasonable, (none / 0) (#1)
    by madamab on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:01:56 PM EST
    but it will not be granted.

    Obama will just throw Ayers and Khalidi under the bus, then tell you to "move on." And so will his supporters.

    Personally (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by TalkRight on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:34:43 PM EST
    looking into his good relationships with people maintaining extremist views raises my level of comfort about his sincerity in expressing his TRUE views.. I just feel there is something I don't know about his man.

    He says, don't judge me by my friends. (He initially tells all those friends like Rezko, Ayer) were mere acquaintances, but slowly we came to know that it was MUCH more than that. They were kind of in his trusted friends circle. All his friends (including his Pastor and Wife) have spoken comments that kind of make me cringe.

    He takes benefit of his less than short track in senate. Gives speeches to justify his short resume... but then tells us not to judge him by his words because we you just don't understand what he really meant.

    He calls him self to be deriding politics of hate, but looks to me that he is the ONE that has actually MASTERED that art.

    He takes safety behind his supporters by saying that it is THEY are do the nasty stuff..

    He says he may not have experience but he has good plans and good advisers... and then he says don't take the words of his advisers when they say He will NOT re-evaluate NAFTA, or he will NOT stick to his plans of withdrawal.

    Is there any thing that he will take responsibility of? What can we account HIM for? Is there any standards that we can judge him? Not based on his friends, his supporters, his words, his plans, his advisers,.. then what?


    Ayers wasn't a truster advisor (none / 0) (#17)
    by IndiDemGirl on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:38:29 PM EST
    and I think Jeralyn would agree with that.  Ayers was also involved in many areas of Chicago politics.  Press release from Mayor Daley today (sorry I am new to the board am and not sure how to post the link - will be happy to try if you doubt my word)

    The mayor released the following statement:

    There are a lot of reasons that Americans are angry about Washington politics. And one more example is the way Senator Obama's opponents are playing guilt-by-association, tarring him because he happens to know Bill Ayers.

    I also know Bill Ayers. He worked with me in shaping our now nationally-renowned school reform program. He is a nationally-recognized distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois/Chicago and a valued member of the Chicago community.

    I don't condone what he did 40 years ago but I remember that period well. It was a difficult time, but those days are long over. I believe we have too many challenges in Chicago and our country to keep re-fighting 40 year old battles.


    If Obama's associates don't matter (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by Kathy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:43:34 PM EST
    then why do Clinton's?  You (and I mean a general "you," not specifically you) can't have it both ways.  Lookit, gang, we need to talk in terms of the ge.  Rezko?  Look at what Whitewater did to the Clintons, and they lost money on the deal.  The ties to Ayers and Wright are not going to go away.

    If folks would start applying Clinton standards to Obama, and looking at his past and his associations, they would see how his candidacy would implode in the ge.  It is gobsmacking how blind the elite arm of the party is being.


    Thank you (none / 0) (#39)
    by IndiDemGirl on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:15:02 PM EST
    for clarifying the "you" isn't personal. I appreciate that.   It is often difficult to discuss issues without something some other supporter said being thrown out.  I certainly don't answer for all Obama supporters or everything they have said, nor do I agree with everything Obama has done or said.  I support him, but will support her if she is the nominee.  I guess regarding the associates it depends the the level of association as to whether they "matter" or not.  Wright -- of course he had to deal with it, and will continue to do so.  Ayers, not so much, I just think that the "association" is one that really only Sean Hannity would be outraged over it.  

    Hillary is (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by TalkRight on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:45:08 PM EST
    criticized for serving on the Board of Walmart.. why? And if not long ago it was Obama who in a debate criticized her for that role.
    NOW contrast this to:
    Obama was a director of the Woods Fund board from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund's website. Obama served on the Wood's Fund board alongside William C. Ayers and he also got compensated.
    Why is he upset now?

    And his wife sat on the board of a (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by nycstray on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:57:24 PM EST
    WalMart supplier.

    Do you have a problem with Walmart (none / 0) (#33)
    by IndiDemGirl on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:01:18 PM EST
    and its policies?  If you do, you may criticize her place on that board.  I do have a problem with Walmart's policies but I don't have a problem with Hillary being on the board. I disagree with Obama on that.   Perhaps she was the voice of reason.  Perhaps she was trying to change some of their policies.  I give her the benefit of doubt.  I don't have a problem with the Woods Fund board and William Wyers was another person serving on that board, not the owner of the fund.  He also was very involved in other charities in the Chicago area.  In fact most Chicago politicans have most likely come in contact with him.  

    So she served on a board of Walmart which is known for some anti-democratic policies and is called out on that. (Though again, I myself don't have a problem with it.)  He served on the Woods Fund board -- which does good work in the community -- and another member of the board is someone who has some contoversial views.  There is a difference.  And certainly Ayers isn't a "trusted" friend or advisor.


    I was just looking at it from the angle (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by nycstray on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:19:21 PM EST
    of, don't trash Clinton over WalMart years if his wife is also in the loop. I think Clinton did try to change what she could there. She has since cut ties with them and returned donation money, as they moved too far away from what she can get behind. Michelle has also left her position, although I don't know why. It's the past for both, but I don't think Obama should be using it as a negative.

    I think we need to school them both in the art of 6 degrees of separation, lol!~


    OMG! I write papers all the time (none / 0) (#35)
    by IndiDemGirl on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:05:50 PM EST
    and proofread them over and over again.  I am a stickler for correcting typos.  Yet I cannot seem to post here without making at least one.  AAARRRGH!

    this is gettting bad... (none / 0) (#2)
    by AgreeToDisagree on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:06:12 PM EST
    I don't know whether this column is right-wing propaganda or has some kernels of truth.

    Why don't you do research on the column before pushing the story????

    we are really digging for something, anything.  

    I did research it (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:14:39 PM EST
    for several hours on Lexis -- on more than one occasion.

    By the way (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:17:49 PM EST
    You (Agree to Disagree) have become an intolerable chatterer on this site spamming it with comments. You are suspended. See the comment rules for a definition of chatterer.

    thanks (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by DandyTIger on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:36:01 PM EST
    I would sometimes respond to ATD so as to not let the comments go unchallenged. But in the end they would usually be things that had been discussed and resolved long ago. One less thing to draw us into a pointless argument. Thanks.

    As a NY'er I vaguely remember (none / 0) (#6)
    by vicndabx on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:22:15 PM EST
    hearing that the NY Sun was a conservative publication when if first came out some time ago; but I've never read it.  I just checked a couple of editorials (by no means an indication of the publication's slant I know) and it may be true.  Back on topic, forget it Jeralyn, the nuanced policy position stuff won't happen.  If anything, you'll hear uncommitted support for Israel.  The problem w/that is we all know how that will play come fall.  What's the name of those shoes you wear to the beach?

    Im curious (none / 0) (#7)
    by jondee on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:22:46 PM EST
    why sharp criticism of Israeli policy and any expressed scepticism about the motivations underlying Zionism have to be automatically characterized as "hate" and "hate speech".

    How do web have "fully functioning Democracies"  when debate is subject to rhetorical sabotage anytime the debate framers get out of their comfort zone?

    it's the inconsistency (none / 0) (#19)
    by DandyTIger on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:42:18 PM EST
    and faux support that's the problem. If Obama has views that are more pro palastinian than pro israel, that's legitimate in my opinion. He can come forward with those issues and open up a discussion. That could be very valuable. Obviously the palestinian people have suffered greatly as an occupied people and deserve help. And of course israel has had some problems and deserves some assistance. It all makes iraq look like a walk in the party really. Quite a challenge to be sure.

    But we want to know where he really stands. Just like on choice vs. life. We'd really like to know. He says he's pro choice. Then he says he hasn't decided if life starts at conception or not. Wow, thats big. If he decides it does start at conception, then he's pro life. We'd like to know. And frankly, I don't believe for a second he doesn't have an opinion there. So why the silence. It all becomes a pattern of.... politics as usual. But still we need to know, or we need to vote him off the stage.


    I Know That We Are Used To Bush (none / 0) (#37)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:13:05 PM EST
    Whose 'your either with us or agin' us' is the model, but why are being pro palestinian and pro Israeli mutually exclusive terms.

    It does seem true that any pro palestinian utterance at this point in time, lessens electability for POTUS, but is that fair?


    It's not fair (none / 0) (#54)
    by stillife on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:45:53 PM EST
    but many American Jews view it that way.  I work for a Jewish T&E law firm with many Jewish clients. UJA and the State of Israel get a lot of money from the estates we handle.  Many of these people are Holocaust survivors, or children of Holocaust survivors.  

    I have a Jewish, pro-Israel friend who cheerfully admits that Israelis were the first terrorists.  Granted, it's an anecdotal example and my friend is given to making outrageous statements.

    I know not all Jews are Zionists - my father wasn't (his father taught him that you have one country, and that's America), but many Jewish people equate pro-Palestinian sentiment with anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Israel sentiment with anti-Semitism.

    One of the lawyers at work is an Orthodox Jew who reads all the Jewish papers and he tells me they've been all over the HAMAS and Rev. Wright/Farrakhan stuff for months.  Not saying it'll make a huge difference in the GE if Obama's the nominee, but I do think he has a Jewish problem and this latest endorsement is not going to help.


    Jewish Problem (none / 0) (#61)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:02:07 PM EST
    Yes according to the weakly standard. But among Democratic Jews:

    They show a slight preference for Clinton over Obama, 48% to 43%.



    I know (none / 0) (#62)
    by stillife on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:10:33 PM EST
    you posted that link yesterday.  It's one poll, and we all know how polls go.  Listen, I'm not saying that no Jews will vote for Obama.  Of course, some will (and have).  However, from what I see here in Brooklyn, he is unlikely to get the majority of the Jewish vote and many won't hesitate to vote for McCain if he's the nominee.  Will this be a problem for him?  Probably not, b/c Jews comprise a small percentage of the total population.  However, they do tend to vote.

    All My Jewish Friends (none / 0) (#68)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:44:59 PM EST
    Are Obama supporters. I am the only one that voted Clinton, and it had nothing to do with her mid-east policy, which I find horrendous.

    Saying That He Has A Jewish Problem (none / 0) (#71)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:54:37 PM EST
    Is extremely offensive to me. It suggests that there is a jewish position regarding palestine and Israel which is in favor of the right wing Likud position, and that anyone who strays from that is anti-semitic. Yes Obama may have a problem with right wing jews.

    I live in an Island off the coast of america so what do I know, but all of my jewish friends are horrified about how unfairly the Palestinians are being treated. IMO this is in keeping with traditional leftish jewish american mainstream thinking.


    Well we all (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by jondee on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:01:56 PM EST
    remember when those who didnt stump for Shrub (pun intended), were America-haters and the blame-America-first crowd.

    At least some of us remember.


    It's cool (none / 0) (#75)
    by stillife on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:06:12 PM EST
    that your friends are so liberal on Middle Eastern issues.  I did not say that anyone who supports anti-right wing Israel views is anti-Semitic.  However, I have observed that a fair preponderance of American Jews do equate anti-Zionism or criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.  I'm aware that there is a left-wing, dovish element in Israel, but from what I see, most American Jews tend to be more hawkish.  I've often lamented the fact, but it's a reality here.

    I'm not trying to offend you, but are you even
    Jewish?  If not, I don't know how you get off being "offended".  I also find it kind of hard to believe that you voted for Hillary.  I thought you were an Obama supporter.  


    Yes I Am Jewish (none / 0) (#76)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:19:25 PM EST
    Although not remotely religious. I grew up strict conservative and was able to speak hebrew fluently as a teen.
    However, I have observed that a fair preponderance of American Jews do equate anti-Zionism or criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.
    How have you observed that? It is clearly a right wing talking point, I will give you that. My understanding is that the largest American group who support Israel these days is right wing evangelical, not American jews.

    And as Walt and Meerschaum and pointed out there is no possible discussion that criticizes right wing Israeli policies in America, because the right wing cries anti semitism. Ironic that the discussion in Israel is much freer and critical.


    Edit (none / 0) (#78)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:21:19 PM EST
    Who support current Israeli policies regarding palestinians, Not Israel.

    Amen, actually you will find more people (none / 0) (#80)
    by Florida Resident on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:25:23 PM EST
    in public life taking a pro Palestinian position in Israel than in American politics.  Mainly because of what you just stated.  It is ridiculous but it is so.  So I generally have found difficult to find serious sincere discussion of the Israel/Palestine situation among the American politicians.

    I've observed it over the years (none / 0) (#84)
    by stillife on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:33:01 PM EST
    through people that I know (anecdotal, I'll grant you that) - I see a lot of folks making foreign policy judgments based on "but is it good for Israel?"  Most of these people are otherwise liberal, but not so much when it comes to Middle East issues.  Of course, living in NYC after 9/11 may have exacerbated that trend.

    Also, the MSM news coverage, most recently of the 2006 Hezbollah attacks, was extremely pro-Israel.  Back then I was watching CNN and I thought their coverage was quite biased.

    You are absolutely correct, IMO, re the difficulty of honest debate about Middle Eastern policies in America.  


    well in my circle... (none / 0) (#87)
    by white n az on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:38:48 PM EST
    I don't know a soul who will vote for Obama (and yes, I'm Jewish). I'm sure there's some who like me, will vote for the Democrat regardless (Nader clearly not being an option), but from my meager circle in Phoenix, there are no Obama Jewish votes.

    This is what I've seen too (none / 0) (#91)
    by stillife on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:44:05 PM EST
    in NYC.  Same with Catholics.  Getting away from the Jewish issue, Obama has trouble with the ethnic white vote.

    Squeaky (none / 0) (#77)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:20:43 PM EST
    did vote for Hillary in his state's primary. Whether he would again, I don't know. He has been more of an Obama supporter here lately, and that's fine.

    As to his religion, I'm uncomfortable asking people to declare their religion online to strangers.


    I Am Equal (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:27:58 PM EST
    At this point. If I were to vote again it would be a coin toss. When I voted for Hillary it was because I thought she would be better against the GOP.  Admittedly I have found BTD's electability arguments pretty convincing. Mostly I support Obama here because it irks me that Democrats would be so mean to him and willfully distort him in the same way as if they were GOPers.

    Squeaky... (none / 0) (#89)
    by white n az on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:41:53 PM EST
    Mostly I support Obama here because it irks me that Democrats would be so mean to him and willfully distort him in the same way as if they were GOPers.

    go hang out at dailykos.com for a few days...and it will cure you, I promise.


    NO Thanks (none / 0) (#95)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:47:48 PM EST
    I would be banned from there in the first 10 minutes of commenting, no doubt. Because I do not like fanclub Dem bashing be it Hillary or Obama.  I do have some invective for right wing ones. dems though, you know who.

    Sorry (none / 0) (#86)
    by stillife on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:35:18 PM EST
    I didn't mean to offend. I'm half-Jewish myself and I was just curious.  

    OK (none / 0) (#90)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:42:57 PM EST
    I hope that you realize that jews are not in lockstep over this, despite what the media suggests. And I do hope that American jews et al will be able to discuss this as freely as it is discussed in Israel without meritless charges of anti-semitism being thrown around the minute any valid criticism is leveled.

    I think that would be great (none / 0) (#94)
    by stillife on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:47:35 PM EST
    but again, I hope you realize that I am not throwing around accusations of anti-Semitism.  I'm just saying that, from my observation based on personal experience and watching the news, many American Jews feel that way.  It's not so much a right or wrong issue as it is a political issue.  Perception vs. reality.

    Yes I Understood You (none / 0) (#96)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:49:40 PM EST
    I did not think you were making accusations of anti-semitism.

    Thank you (none / 0) (#98)
    by stillife on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:52:40 PM EST
    I feel like I understand you better, too.  :)

    My Jewish friend in Buffalo says the same thing; (none / 0) (#103)
    by derridog on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:10:50 PM EST
    My problem with Ayers is (none / 0) (#28)
    by frankly0 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:47:48 PM EST
    very simple.

    He openly admits to having done some things, such as bombing a number of sites, which I consider to be truly and unquestionably evil.

    And yet

    1. He has never been, and never will be punished for those crimes (because of a technicality)

    2. He is completely unrepentant, and indeed only wishes he had done more.

    How do you make an admirable person out of that?

    Yes, he may have done some good despite the evil has perpetrated and his utter lack of remorse.

    But so what? Even Hitler treated his dog well, supposedly.

    Just to add one point (none / 0) (#30)
    by frankly0 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:50:16 PM EST
    I certainly believe in forgiveness, and in rehabilitation.

    But you can't have rehabilitation and don't deserve forgiveness in the complete absence of any remorse.


    Would that the pigs (none / 0) (#67)
    by jondee on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:44:34 PM EST
    (sorry for the sixties word) who've taken us down a blood smeared, trillion dollar rabbit hole drew that kind of ire.

    Btw, Where do you get the "complete absence of any remorse" prosecutorial hyperbole? You know that for a fact, do you?


    I don't think (none / 0) (#88)
    by frankly0 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:39:22 PM EST
    it takes any great genius or leap of intuition to see that if someone says that they don't regret doing something, such as setting bombs, and indeed only wish they had done more, then they utterly lack any remorse for those acts.

    And that is exactly what Ayers is quoted as saying in the NY Times.


    prosecutorial misconduct (none / 0) (#51)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:35:58 PM EST
    is not a technicality. And for a case to be dismissed over it, it has to be really bad.

    Technicality is probably not (none / 0) (#93)
    by frankly0 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:45:30 PM EST
    a good word -- I wasn't sure what word to use.

    But what I'm getting at is that Ayers got off, not in any way due to anything that might suggest that he was actually innocent of the charges, but due to legal issues that ultimately rendered conviction impossible.

    I think that if he is quoted, as he was in the Times, to the effect that he was indeed involved in setting bombs, and only wished he had done more, then it's pretty impossible to maintain the idea that he was actually innocent of that involvement.


    I find the dismissal of the case against him (none / 0) (#81)
    by Foxx on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:26:52 PM EST
    highly suspicious. Could there be some kind of deal lurking behind it?

    "I have done more than (none / 0) (#29)
    by bjorn on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:49:22 PM EST
    anyone else!"  From now on, when I hear that from Obama I am going to be somewhat distrustful of what else he says right after that...it is such a outrageously over the top statement that he uses to deflect criticism.

    exaggeration (none / 0) (#32)
    by DandyTIger on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:00:21 PM EST
    is a big issue with Obama. He's very consistent about this sort of way over the top exaggeration. Funny how he hasn't been called on the carpet about it or how it hasn't spilled over into is truthfulness and believability ratings.

    Actually it's not funny at all. It makes perfect sense. Clinton has some issues with this herself, so she's not going to bring it up. And obviously the MSM isn't going to in the primaries since he's there guy. But you better believe McCain will bring it up, over and over again. I can see quite humorous adds not unlike what they did to Gore on how Obama has <fill in the blank> more than anyone else.

    Just saying.


    It's simple really... (none / 0) (#64)
    by Radix on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:16:03 PM EST
    Obama is a politician, period. He will use whatever and whoever is necessary to further his goals.

    Because there are no facts, there is no truth, Just data to be manipulated

    Don Henley-The Garden of Allah

    I don't trust Obama on Israel (none / 0) (#66)
    by daryl herbert on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:41:42 PM EST
    First, the advisers Sen. Obama has surrounded himself with are almost all anti-Israel: Samantha Power, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Robert Malley, Susan Rice, Anthony Lake, Daniel Kurtzer, Merrill McPeak, and pretty much all of the religious leaders his campaign has brought on (including Rev. Wright).

    Second, I think he sees the conflict in economic terms rather than religious terms.  Instead of blaming the middle class death cult of suicide bombers on the radical Islam, anti-Semitism, and one-sided history that they are brainwashed with from birth, I think he blames it on the poor economic conditions in Gaza and the West Bank.  In other words, if Israel gave the poor Arabs a little more money and a little more land, they wouldn't cling so much to religion, guns, and hatred of people who are different.

    I'm not restating ClingGate in order to be cute; I think it really sheds light on a part of his worldview that is relevant to the Israel/Palestine situation.

    The first Pres. Clinton showed that you could be a friend of Israel and support the peace process.  I think Sen. Clinton would follow her husband's example.

    Publicly critical of anything (none / 0) (#69)
    by jondee on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:48:41 PM EST
    now means "anti-Israel".

    I thought My Country Right or Wrong was the provance of the talk radio educated ight.


    Right (none / 0) (#70)
    by jondee on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:49:08 PM EST
    Distinguishing Criticism from Anti-Israel Views (none / 0) (#79)
    by daryl herbert on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:22:06 PM EST
    Israel is cast as an "apartheid state."  Jeremiah Wright says it is a "dirty word."  It is criticized for defending itself from rocket attacks.  It is criticized for killing Lebanese civilians when Hezbollah forced them to act as human shields at the launcher sites.  It is criticized for putting up checkpoints to stop suicide bombers from getting in.  It is criticized for making Israeli-only roads so that Palestinian snipers, bombers, and rock throwers can't murder Jews traveling to the settlements (when thrown at fast-moving cars, big rocks can be fatal).  It was accused of mass murder in Jenin, when after the fact, everyone could see that it was a legitimate military operation carried out extremely carefully against enemy gunmen.  It is criticized as teaching its children racism when the opposite is true.  It is condemned as an historical aberration, built solely on stolen land, doomed to fail and be destroyed.

    These are not legitimate critiques, and they can only be seen as anti-Israel.  They challenge Israel's right to exist and Israelis' right not to be victimized by terror attacks.

    Other criticism, like that regarding specific, controversial policies (such as house demolition of suicide bombers or settlement expansion) does not mark someone as "anti-Israel."  If you can't see the difference, that's too bad.

    P.S.: Israel is not "my country." I resent that you're impugning my patriotism and loyalty to America, if that was your intent.


    the politics of Israel/Palestine (none / 0) (#83)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:29:45 PM EST
    is not the topic of this post. It is whether Obama, in light of his extensive outreach to Jewish voters, should explain his positions and how his support for Israel has evolved over time (or not, if he believes they were the same positions he held when he was a state senator)

    I don't get the point (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by desert dawg on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:18:14 PM EST
    of this post. I'm a giant Hillary fan and think Obama is incompetent and a whiner--but I fail to see  how supporting a professor who worked at a Palestinian press agency needs explaining.  This is not Ayers, not Wright, and dangerously close to McCarthyism. What's he guilty of? Knowing (and funding) Palestinians? Since when is that a crime?

    I agree - but it's the old narrative (none / 0) (#113)
    by Prabhata on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:55:00 PM EST
    that Israel is somehow a victim of the Palestinian, and therefore anyone who works to help the Palestinian people are somehow terrorists.  It's nonsense.  Ayers is not a convicted criminal, and if he has not been convicted, why the wringing of hands.  This kind of stuff should have been cleared by Obama a long time ago, but because he's been treated with kids gloves, he's not been pushed to do so.  Too bad for him because instead of being up front with the story, it will build as if there is something to hide.

    kid gloves (none / 0) (#114)
    by Prabhata on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:55:57 PM EST
    McCarthyism is exactly right (none / 0) (#116)
    by fuzzyone on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:03:56 PM EST
    The post suggests that any association with a Palestinian active in Palestinian nationalism raises a question about commitment to Israel.

    Guilt by Association: when it's not McCarthyite (none / 0) (#124)
    by daryl herbert on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 12:57:49 AM EST
    Are you talking about my post or about Jeralyn's?

    I pointed out a great number of advisers, including foreign policy advisers, with those views.  I think that's very telling, and it's not McCarthyite to look at who a candidate chooses to advise their campaign.

    I actually don't think it's a big deal to have a friend like Khalidi who is pro-Palestinian.  That's not the same thing as having a friend who was a mad bomber who wishes he did more back in the day.

    The money to Khalidi's foundation was probably earmarked for specific charitable purposes.  Unless you can show that it was put to some nefarious purpose, there's no scandal.

    Having a couple friends who are pro-Palestinian is not a big deal and I don't think Jewish voters react much to that.  Having a half-dozen foreign policy advisers who are perceived as anti-Israel--that's a big deal.  Presidential candidates are expected to show a lot more discretion in choosing their advisers than in choosing their friends.  (For example: nobody minds that Sen. Coburn is (was?) Sen. Obama's friend.  But people would rightly flip out if Coburn was advising Obama's campaign on reproductive rights issues.)

    To directly address Jeralyn's question: I think KhalidiGate is going nowhere.  As far as scandals are concerned, it isn't one.


    I don't care what Obama would say (none / 0) (#85)
    by Foxx on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:33:59 PM EST
    about Khalidi or Israel. He would just lie, like he did last night about Wright and Ayers. Why give him the opportunity?

    I would like to see a really good investigative reporter delve into Rezko-Auchi-Khalidi-Ayers-Wright-Farrakhan and give us the real story.

    I'm not an Obama supporter, but I do (none / 0) (#125)
    by Joelarama on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 01:35:45 AM EST
    not see where Obama out-and-out lied as to the issues you are talking about.

    I do not want to be preachy or offensive, but these statements about Hillary, a Democrat, are the kind of thing that drove me from D.Kos.  Can we give this kind of allegation a second look, and back it up, before we say it?


    I didn't make an allegation (none / 0) (#129)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 02:57:56 AM EST
    I presented reported facts and said in light of his outreach to Jewish voters, I'd like to hear him explain his relationship to Rashid Khalidi.

    If Feingold had run for President (none / 0) (#111)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:32:05 PM EST
    the neo-McCarthyites would be baiting him for my contributions to his Senate campaigns.

    If you want to see what a Progressive has to say (none / 0) (#121)
    by fuzzyone on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:59:53 PM EST
    about Israel check out Ezra Klein talking about J Street the new pro Isreal pro Peace PAC.  They even have a video.

    Jeralyn -- I just ran accross this... (none / 0) (#123)
    by Exeter on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:58:10 PM EST

    Ayers will be joined by Sen. Barack Obama, Senior Lecturer in the Law School, who is working to combat legislation that would put more juvenile offenders into the adult system; Randolph Stone, Director of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic; Alex Correa, a reformed juvenile offender who spent seven years in Cook County Temporary Detention Center; Frank Tobin, a former priest and teacher at the Detention Center who helped Correa; and Willy Baldwin, who grew up in public housing and is currently a teacher at the Detention Center.

    The juvenile justice system was founded by Chicago reformer Jane Addams, who advocated the establishment of a separate court system for children which would act like a "kind and just parent" for children in crisis.

    One hundred years later, the system is "overcrowded, under-funded, over-centralized and racist," Ayers said.

    Michelle Obama, Associate Dean of Student Services and Director of the University Community Service Center, hopes bringing issues like this to campus will open a dialogue between members of the University community and the broader community.
    "Students and faculty explore these issues in the classroom, but it is an internal conversation," Obama said. "We know that issues like juvenile justice impact the city of Chicago, this nation and -- directly or indirectly -- this campus. This panel gives students a chance to hear about the juvenile justice system not only on a theoretical level, but from the people who have experienced it."

    It appears, based on this, that Michelle Obama, in her capacity as associate Dean, invited Ayers and her husband to the University to be part of the panel.  

    yes, and it's a panel I applaud (none / 0) (#130)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 02:59:20 AM EST
    all of them for being on it. I said that in my original post, that the work Ayers, Dorn and Obama did for the plight of juvenile offenders is admirable.

    Right, I definitely agree... (none / 0) (#131)
    by Exeter on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 08:10:45 AM EST
    ...with those sentiments. But, I thought this somewhat contradicted Obama's charactorization that they are at most, tangentially related if Michelle Obama put together the panel.

    I don't get it (none / 0) (#135)
    by landshark on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 12:40:52 PM EST
    Are you serious? I don't see the story here.  Obama knew a guy, that knew a guy, that said some things that some people find offensive.  Do I have to interrogate all of my current associates, neighbors, fellow board members, collegues and friends about every aspect of their political, religious, racial beliefs in fear that if I ever run for office someone will come along and write some 7 degrees of separation tripe like this to smear me?  This is a sad post from a respectable site.  I have seen the same on red state and the like.  just sad.

    that's a misstatement (none / 0) (#137)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 01:30:33 PM EST
    Obama was friends with Khalidi, they both say so. Obama and Ayers served on a board that awarded money to Khalidi's wife's organization, the Arab American Network. Khalidi is a controversial scholar who has made anti-Israel remarks and been described as a Palestinian activist. Both Ayers and Obama gave testimonials to Khalidi at his going away dinner in Chicago.

    Obama is heavily courting the Jewish vote. I'd like to hear him explain why as a state legislator, he aligned himself with Khalidi, but since running for the Senate and Presidency, he has distanced himself and become very pro-Israel.

    The issue is the genuineness of Obama's current stance on Israel -- is it real or is it just an attempt to get the Jewish vote. I'd like to know.


    I am disturbed by your apparent premise (none / 0) (#138)
    by AF on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 01:34:13 PM EST
    That being friendly with non-violent Palestinian activists is inconsistent with being pro-Israel.