REPORT: NY TIMES, CNN, & CBS TO RIDE ALONG WITH ANTI-ISRAEL GAZA FLOTILLA
A correspondent for the liberal magazine The Nation is reporting that CNN and CBS have sent camera crews to join the new Gaza flotilla preparing to set sail from Greece in order to break an Israeli navy blockade. He also says he’s heard the New York Times has sent a reporter.
The messages came from Joseph Dana, who is in Greece and will be riding along with the flotilla, and his Twitter account:
At first glance, it might not seem odd that major news outlets are supposedly sending crews to cover the flotilla considering the debacle that ensued when the previous one tried to break the blockade last year. But Commentary points out why this might be concerning:
While it’s hard to blame reporters for seeking out a colorful story, they should realize by joining the activists on the boat they are actually making themselves a part of the story. They will be with the flotilla when it attempts to violate international law by trying to break Israel’s legally-established naval blockade. And they could potentially interfere with the Israeli military’s ability to do its job if IDF soldiers are forced to board the ships.
But the unfortunate downside is these reporters are giving the flotilla activists exactly what they’re aiming for – media attention. Seeing as there’s no humanitarian reason for the flotilla (which is even more obvious now that the Egyptian border with Gaza has been opened), its only point is to generate publicity. The activists are sure to receive a lot of media coverage this time around – and they won’t even have to resort to stabbing soldiers to get it.
As an interesting side note, one of the boats in the flotilla group is called the “Audacity of Hope.”
(H/T: Gateway Pundit)
Do YOU think the NY Times, CNN and CBS will give unbiased reporting if they do ride on the Gaza Flotilla Two?
By Glenn Kessler | July 20, 2010
Gaza boat to be named ‘audacity of hope’
Rashid Khalidi, a friend of President Obama’s active in Palestinian causes, has signed an appeal for funds to send to Gaza an aid ship that would be named after the president’s best-selling book, “The Audacity of Hope.”
A group calling itself U.S. Boat to Gaza is seeking $370,000 in the next month to send the ship in an effort to thwart the Israeli blockade on the Palestinian enclave controlled by the militant group Hamas.
A number of other prominent individuals are listed as support the appeal, including Angela Y. Davis and Alice Walker.
“We turn to you to help make the U.S. boat, The Audacity of Hope, a reality. We must raise at least $370,000 in the next month,” the appeal says. “These funds will be used to purchase a boat large enough for 40-60 people, secure a crew, and cover the licensing and registering of the boat. In addition, the funds will subsidize some other costs of sending a U.S. delegation. … From the deck of The Audacity of Hope, we will be in a powerful and unique position to challenge U.S. foreign policy and affirm the universal obligation to uphold human rights and international law.”
The group claims it has already received individual donations for as much as $10,000.
Khalidi, a Columbia University professor, briefly became the subject of controversy during the 2008 presidential campaign when the McCain camp tried to make an issue of what it asserted were Obama’s suspect friendships. The news of Khalidi’s involvement in the boat has already led the National Review to call for a Justice Department probe of the academic for providing material support of a terror group.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment. In response to an e-mail asking whether the appeal is embarrassing to the president, Khalidi said that he was not aware the boat would be named after Obama’s book when he agreed to add his name to the list of sponsors.
“But if the name is a problem for the administration, it can simply insist publicly that Israel lift the siege: end of problem, end of embarrassment,” he wrote, “That of course would require it to respond to the systematic mendacity of those in Congress and elsewhere who support the siege, and indeed whatever else the Israeli government does.”
Khalidi added: “I signed because the siege/blockade of Gaza, which is effectively supported by the United States, is a disgrace.
From The Post Chronicle:
Rashid Khalidi Photo: Another Questionable Barack Obama Friendship
by Jim Brogan
Rashid Khalidi is a friend of Barack Obama. In fact, Khalidi and his wife used to babysit for Barack and Michelle Obama. Why is that significant?
The National Review Online’s Andrew McCarthy has a great piece breaking it down. There is no doubt that it would be making headlines in the mainstream media if it were about a Republican.
Apparently, in 2003, the then llinois state senator, attended a party for Rashid Khalidi. Nothing too harmless right? Wait, it gets better.
Khalidi’s friends were seeing him off as he left his post as a professor at the University of Chicago to go on to Columbia University.
As luck would have it, Khalidi was the spokesman for Yasser Arafat when he headed up the PLO, and surprise, surprise, He is also an outspoken vocal critic of Israel.
At this event a Palestinian American reportedly read a poem which accused the Israelis of terrorism in their treatment of Palestinians, and criticized U.S. support of Israel.
But it wasn’t just that Obama attended the gathering, its the glowing testimonial he poured on Khalidi, as did Bill Ayers. Did we mention he was also in attendence?
“A special tribute came from Khalidi’s friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals prepared by Khalidi’s wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking.
“His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been ‘consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases…It’s for that reason that I’m hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation – a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid’s dinner table,’ but around ‘this entire world…’
And then there is the little issue about a “tape”
“The event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times.”
An indignant McCarthy asks why this videotape hasn’t been released.
Bio: Khalidi was born in New York to a Palestinian father and a Lebanese mother, according to his Wikipedia page. He received a B.A. from Yale University, where he was a member of Wolf’s Head Society, in 1970, and a D. Phil. from Oxford University in 1974 and spent many years as a professor and director of both the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago before joining the Columbia faculty. He has also taught at Georgetown University, Lebanese University, and the American University of Beirut.
Khalidi is married to Mona Khalidi, former President of the Arab American Action Network.
The Khalidis and Obamas are good friends. In his capacity as a director of the Woods Fund, Barack Obama in 2001 and 2002 steered $75,000 to the Arab American Action Network, reports Town Hall.
According to an Times account of the dinner, Obama speaks of the fact that he and Michelle had been frequent dinner guests at the Khalidi home and that the Khalidis had even baby-sat for the Obama girls.
Rashid Khalidi on Hamas-Fatah Agreement
***Do YOU get the sense that Khalidi despises American support of Israel in the video? IF SO why doesn’t Khalidi move to Gaza or the West Bank?***
Obama’s ties to Rashid Khalidi
Obama Served On Board That Funded Pro-Palestinian Group
By Aaron Klein
Speakers at AAAN dinners and events routinely have taken an anti-Israel line. The group co-sponsored a Palestinian art exhibit, titled “The Subject of Palestine,” that featured works related to what Palestinians call the “nakba” or “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding in 1948.
The theme of AAAN’s Nakba art exhibit, held at DePaul University in 2005, was “the compelling and continuing tragedy of Palestinian life … under [Israeli] occupation … home demolition … statelessness … bereavement … martyrdom, and … the heroic struggle for life, for safety, and for freedom.”
Another AAAN initiative, “Al Nakba 1948 As Experienced by Chicago Palestinians,” seeks documents related to the “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding.
Although AAAN co-founder Rashid Khalidi has at times denied working directly for the PLO, he reportedly served as director of the official PLO press agency WAFA in Beirut from 1976 to 1982, a period during which the PLO committed scores of anti-Western attacks and was labeled by the U.S. as a terror group. Khalidi’s wife, Mona Khalidi, reportedly was WAFA’s English translator during that period.
Khalidi also advised the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Conference in 1991. During documented speeches and public events, Khalidi has called Israel an “apartheid system in creation” and a “racist” state. Critics have accused him of excusing Palestinian terrorism, a charge he denies.
He dedicated his 1986 book, Under Siege, to “those who gave their lives … in defense of the cause of Palestine and independence of Lebanon.”
While the Woods Fund’s contribution to Khalidi’s AAAN might be perceived as a one-time contact with Obama, there is evidence of a deeper relationship between the presidential hopeful and Khalidi.
According to a professor at the University of Chicago who said he has known Obama for 12 years, the senator first befriended Khalidi when the two worked together at the university. The professor spoke on condition of anonymity. Khalidi lectured at the University of Chicago until 2003; Obama taught law there from 1993 until his election to the Senate in 2004.
Asked during a radio interview with this reporter on WABC’s John Batchelor program about his 2000 fundraiser for Obama, Khalidi said he “was just doing my duties as a Chicago resident to help my local politician.”
Khalidi said he supports Obama for president “because he is the only candidate who has expressed sympathy for the Palestinian cause.”
Khalidi also lauded Obama for “saying he supports talks with Iran. If the U.S. can talk with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, there is no reason it can’t talk with the Iranians.”
Concerning Obama’s role in funding AAAN, Khalidi claimed he “never heard of the Woods Fund until it popped up on a bunch of blogs a few months ago.” He terminated the interview when pressed further about his links with Obama.
Contacted by phone, Mona Khalidi refused to answer questions about AAAN’s involvement with Obama.