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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Obama buddy wants to bust Gaza blockade

Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi, a close friend of President Obama, is trying to raise money for a ship to run the Gaza blockade (Hat Tip: Will).
Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, has signed an appeal for funds to outfit a ship--to be named The Audacity of Hope after Barack Obama's second book--that will challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza in September or October, according to a report by Robert Mackey at The Lede, a blog of the New York Times. His wife Mona is also a signatory.

The appeal is posted at the site USTOGAZA.ORG, which says the ship will sail from the US to the Eastern Mediterranean, where it will join ships from "Europe, Canada, India, South Africa and parts of the Middle East." The appeal employs the word "we" when speaking of the upcoming trip, which gives the impression that the signatories intend to be aboard.

The site's opening paragraph is laden with falsehoods of commission and omission:
This is an important moment in history. In the aftermath of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre and increased world-wide scrutiny of Israel's blockade of Gaza, the Israeli government has mounted a huge public relations campaign spreading the lie that by letting a few more items into Gaza the blockade has been lifted. This is not the reality. Gaza is still under siege, vital building materials and other supplies are banned, exports of goods from Gaza are denied and neither ships nor people can travel without permission from Israel, permission which Israel will not give. Gaza is essentially an open-air prison under a U.S.-backed Israeli blockade.
Somehow, USTOGAZA omitted reference to this video, which shows Israeli commandos being brutally attacked by those on board.

It notes the amount of money needed and the size of the ship:
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. 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.
Mackey's brief report notes the Khalidi-Obama connection....
Perhaps even more outrageous is this report from Glenn Kessler in the Washington Post.
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. I support the idea because it may cause the media to pay attention to the effective imprisonment and collective punishment of 1.5 million people who by the admission of Israeli officials, are being subjected to this ordeal in order to bring down their government. As the Goldstone Report suggested, this may rise to the level of a war crime, in which our country is complicit. That is truly embarrassing."
In a way, it would almost be a good thing to force Obama to show just how pro-'Palestinian' he is.

Maybe Khalidi has a copy of that video that he can release.



At 10:48 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Good luck with launching another wave of flotillas by the fall. Its not exactly like Gaza is now being denied anything.

That's a point you don't hear Israel's critics raise now because they know all that is prohibited to import into Gaza is military and dual use technology that could help Hamas to rebuild its arsenal.

The old blockade no longer exists.

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Hatfield said...

The best thing Israel can do (besides of course capturing the ship) is to announce it will be confiscated.


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