Khalidi of the PLO

Barack Obama holds himself out as a transnational messianic figure, come to transform the United States and heal the world. Yet he has one thing in common with war. He is protected by a bodyguard of lies. Thus in its editorial “Idiot wind,” the Washington Post indignantly denied that Barack Obama’s friend — “the widely respected Middle East scholar named Rashid Khalidi” — was ever a PLO spokesman. Rather, the Post explained, Khalidi is a proponent of “complex views” and a background that somehow precludes his having worked as a terrorist spokesman:

For the record, Mr. Khalidi is an American born in New York who graduated from Yale a couple of years after George W. Bush. For much of his long academic career, he taught at the University of Chicago, where he and his wife became friends with Barack and Michelle Obama. In the early 1990s, he worked as an adviser to the Palestinian delegation at peace talks in Madrid and Washington sponsored by the first Bush administration. We don’t agree with a lot of what Mr. Khalidi has had to say about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the years, and Mr. Obama has made clear that he doesn’t, either. But to compare the professor to neo-Nazis — or even to Mr. Ayers — is a vile smear.

That’s “the record” according to the Washington Post. But the question is whether Khalidi acted as a PLO spokesman while the PLO was “widely recognized,” to use the Post’s phrase, as a terrorist organization. In “Khalidi of the PLO,” Martin Kramer sets the record straight.

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