Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Obama's Friend And Mentor Planning #Flotilla To Break Gaza Blockade (Illegally)

Posted: 21 Jul 2010 09:13 AM PDT

No, I'm not talking about William Ayers (who helped organize the Gaza Flotilla along with his wife)--I'm talking about the other friend and mentor that Obama denied being friendly with: Rashid Khalidi:

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.

Whatever else you may think of the idea, the fact remains that the way Khalidi is planning this is illegal. Andy McCarthy, former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, points out:

The United States has neutrality laws against things like fitting, furnishing or arming vessels with the intent of committing hostile acts against a country with which the U.S. is at peace. (Challenging a blockade is a hostile act.) We also have laws against providing material support to terrorist organizations like Hamas.

The only question is whether the US will take any action against Obama's friend.

You may recall that during his campaign, Obama claimed that he and Khalidi (who has terrorist ties) had only a slight relationship:

You mentioned Rashid Khalidi, who is a professor at Columbia. I do know him because he talked at the University of Chicago and he is Palestinian, and I do know him and I have had conversations.

He is not one of my advisers, he is not one of my foreign policy people, his kids went to the lab school where my kids go as well.

He is a respected scholar although he vehemently disagrees with a lot of Israel policy.

The LA Times at the time showed that the truth was that relationship was much more than that:

It was a celebration of Palestinian culture -- a night of music, dancing and a dash of politics. Local Arab Americans were bidding farewell to Rashid Khalidi, an internationally known scholar, critic of Israel and advocate for Palestinian rights, who was leaving town for a job in New York.

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."

But they did more than talk--Obama and Khalidi raised money for each other:

When Obama served as a director of the Woods Fund in 2001 and 2002, the foundation donated $75,000 to the AAAN [Arab American Action Network, founded by Khalidi], for projects like an "oral history" project on the "Nakbah," which translates as "catastrophe," and is the name Palestinians use for the birth of Israel. Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama when the latter ran for Congress in 2000...

This video ties it all together:

So 2 friends of Obama--both with ties to terrorism--support flotillas to Gaza.

Nothing was done to stop Ayers.

Will anything be done to stop Khalidi?

Hat tip: Powerline

by Daled Amos

Why is the new york times working against sanctions?

Posted: 21 Jul 2010 04:25 AM PDT

Recently the UN agreed on new stricter sanctions on Iran. And the New York Times has now responded with a report Standardized English Tests Are Halted in Iran:

The Educational Testing Service has announced that it is temporarily suspending registration for its tests in Iran, including the popular Test of English as a Foreign Language, in what may be one of the first tangible effects of the new sanctions levied against the country by the international community. Experts and Iranian expatriates were appalled, saying that if the sanctions prohibited Iranians from studying abroad, they would hurt precisely the kind of outward-looking young Iranians the West would like to help.

So the gist of the article is: sanctions are going to be counterproductive. This isn't reporting it's advocacy. Worse, it's advocacy for one of the most brutal regimes in the world.

Compare that with today's Washington Post: New sanctions crimp Iran's shipping business as insurers withhold coverage:

The new measures pose a serious test for Iran. In particular, the U.S. sanctions, which threaten to penalize foreign companies that sell fuel and other refined petroleum products to Iran, have forced ports and freighting companies across the globe to reevaluate their Iranian business. Dozens of Iranian vessels that transport crude oil, industrial equipment and other goods and supplies in and out of the Islamic Republic have been denied insurance coverage for weeks, insurance company representatives said.

"Iranian-flagged ships are facing problems all over the world as they currently have no insurance coverage because of the new sanctions," said Mohammad Rounaghi, deputy manager of Sea Pars, an Iranian company that provides services for international ship owners and maritime insurance companies. "Basically, most ports will refuse them entry if they are not covered for possible damages."

In a blow to Tehran, maritime insurer Lloyd's announced this month that it would stop underwriting gasoline imports to Iran, a move that analysts say will probably prompt other insurers to follow. "Lloyd's will always comply with applicable sanctions," Sean McGovern, its general counsel, said in a statement. "The U.S. is an important market for Lloyd's and, in recognition of this, the market will not insure or reinsure refined petroleum going into Iran."

The New York Times seized on an incidental effect of the sanctions and missed the bigger picture. True, the Times has been reporting on the growing unrest in the bazaar, so it's not been totally useless. But why isn't the Times sticking to reporting instead of apologetics?

An "idiot wind" blows back

Posted: 21 Jul 2010 03:32 AM PDT

Prior to the presidential election in 2008 the editors of the Washington Post objected to charges that there was something wrong with candidate Obama's relationship with Rashid Khalidi.

It's fair to question why Mr. Obama felt as comfortable as he apparently did during his Chicago days in the company of men whose views diverge sharply from what the presidential candidate espouses. Our sense is that Mr. Obama is a man of considerable intellectual curiosity who can hear out a smart, if militant, advocate for the Palestinians without compromising his own position. To suggest, as Mr. McCain has, that there is something reprehensible about associating with Mr. Khalidi is itself condemnable -- especially during a campaign in which Arab ancestry has been the subject of insults. To further argue that the Times, which obtained the tape from a source in exchange for a promise not to publicly release it, is trying to hide something is simply ludicrous, as Mr. McCain surely knows.

The Post allowed one of the subjects of the editorial a last word:

Which reminds us: We did ask Mr. Khalidi whether he wanted to respond to the campaign charges against him. He answered, via e-mail, that "I will stick to my policy of letting this idiot wind blow over." That's good advice for anyone still listening to the McCain campaign's increasingly reckless ad hominem attacks. Sadly, that wind is likely to keep blowing for four more days.

I wrote about the Post's editorial here.

Now both Professor Khalidi and President Obama are back in the news (A longer version appears here.).

A group calling itself U.S. Boat to Gaza is seeking $370,000 in the next month to send an aid ship to the Gaza Strip that would be named after President Obama's best-selling book "The Audacity of Hope."

Rashid Khalidi, a friend of Obama who is active in Palestinian causes, has signed the appeal, part of a broader effort to thwart the Israeli blockade of the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave.

Khalid doesn't think that naming the boat after the President should be a problem:

The White House declined to comment. Khalidi said 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 in an e-mail.

There's a certain clarity in Khalidi's position: he intends to help Hamas. The consequence of this writes Barry Rubin:

Helping Hamas is helping to plunge the Middle East, and perhaps the world, into a nightmare of bloodshed and horror.

So Khalidi isn't now (and probably never was) a simple academic, but an activist with a radical anti-Israel agenda.

Robert Mackey of the New York Times, of course, perpetuates a number of falsehoods. He quotes from a woman who was on board the Mavi Marmara uncritically. (via memeorandum)

On Friday, Ms. Lee argued in the Huffington Post that the nine activists who were killed on board one of the ships as they resisted Israeli commandos were not, as Israel has claimed, "terrorists." Ms. Lee used some of the video she shot on board the flotilla's main ship, the Mavi Marmara, to produce a video report (embedded above) on the aid organization that helped sponsor it, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, often called the I.H.H.

Except this ignores the video of the soldiers being beaten by the "activists." (h/t Israel Matzav)

And it ignores that Germany and even Turkey tied IHH to terrorist groups. And Barry Rubin even provided a full accounting here.

Finally it's clear that the IHH were not on a humanitarian mission, much like Prof. Khalidi, their goal was to help Hamas. (h/t Rubin Reports)

So here a few questions.
1) Now that the extent of Prof. Khalidi's extremism is known - he supports Hamas - maybe those talks with candidate Obama deserve the scrutiny the Washington Post thinks we didn't need. Maybe Obama was demonstrating more than simple "intellectual curiosity."

2) A little while back while arguing against a recent Supreme Court ruling the editors of the Washington Post acknowledged that providing material support to terrorists should be illegal. Will they now criticize that the fellow they defended two years ago is boasting about providing such support to Hamas?

3) The other day, Thomas Friedman wrote:

A journalist should lose his or her job for misreporting, for misquoting, for fabricating, for plagiarizing, for systemic bias -- but not for a message like this one.

Given that Robert Mackey ignored every bit of evidence that the IHH is a terror organization and effectively shilled for one of its defenders, would Friedman agree that Mackey should be fired? (This isn't the first time that Mackey's done this.)

Crossposted on Yourish.

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