Friday, October 31, 2008

Israeli Government Rejected Khalidi as PLO Negotiator

There's a big controversy running currently over the significance of Professor Rashid Khalidi and his relationship to Barack Obama. As I noted Wednesday, Obama supporters will work desperately to distort and downplay his political liabilities (more of that here), but Khalidi's relationship to Obama is of a piece with the Democratic nominee's long and comfortable relationship with America's enemies.

As Martin Kramer reports, Yitzhak Shamir, the prime minister of Israel at the time of the Madrid peace process in the early-1990s, refused to speak to a delegation of PLO representatives that included Rashid Khalidi. Kramer links to the New York Times' piece, "Israelis Deplore Advisory Panel Of Palestinians":
What troubles the Israelis now is a second Palestinian team, a six-person advisory panel that will also be in Madrid and will serve as a conduit between the official delegation and the P.L.O. It is this group that presumably will be calling the shots, and one way or another all its members violate Israel's guidelines for the sort of Palestinians with whom it is prepared to negotiate. In particular, they speak openly for the P.L.O....

As expected, the Palestinian delegation will be led by Haidar Abdel-Shafi, a 72-year-old physician from Gaza City, who said this week that he and his fellow members were prepared, if necessary, to pronounce themselves P.L.O. members.

Other members of the advisory team [include] ... Rashid al-Khalidi, a lecturer at Chicago State University.
The Palestine Liberation Organization was the main resistance group dedicated to the destruction of Israel through armed struggle.

The PLO, under Yassir Arafat's leadership beginning in 1969, launched a campaign of guerilla warfare led by the Fatah's militant fedayeen faction. The PLO launched artillery attacks on Israel and mounted terrorist ground incursions against Israeli citizens from strongholds in the West Bank, Lebanon and Jordan.

The PLO's "Black September" terrorists undertook what would become known as the
very first attacks in the age of modern terrorism with the murders of 11 Israelis at the Olympic Village in Munich, Germany, September 1972.

Munich 1972

This background is key to the current controversy surrounding Barack Obama.

Rashid Khalidi is a key proponent of the Palestinian jihad against the Jewish states. As Mona Charen wrote this week:

Khalidi is not distancing himself from his past. Consistent with what you’d expect from someone who justified PLO attacks on civilians in Israel and Lebanon from 1976 to 1982, Khalidi routinely refers to Israel as a “racist” and “apartheid” state, and professes to believe in a “one-state” solution to the conflict. Guess which country would have to disappear for that “one” state to come into existence?
Khalidi's controversial background has been conveniently swept under the rug amid all the talk of Barack Obama's radical associations.

But if Barack Obama's claim to be a "friend of Israel" is to have any merit, the American public deserves to know the full extent of his relationship to a pro-Palestinian professor of Middle East studies at Columbia University,
the academic home of the largest anti-Israel movement in the United States.