The tape Obama does not want seen

NY Times:

Alleging media bias in favor of Democrats, Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin seized Wednesday on The Los Angeles Times’s refusal to release a five-year-old videotape of Barack Obama at a dinner honoring a Palestinian rights advocate.

The video shows a gathering in Chicago for Rashid Khalidi, a teacher, writer and Obama friend who is critical of Israel. Mr. Obama spoke at the dinner, where other speakers likened Israel and Israelis to terrorists. The McCain campaign said the tape could show how Mr. Obama reacted to anti-Israel remarks.

Mr. Khalidi, now a professor of Arab studies at Columbia University, opposes Israel’s occupation of territory it seized in the 1967 war and has defended Palestinian resistance to the occupation. He advised a Palestinian delegation at a 1991 peace conference and has written several books on the Middle East.

The Los Angeles Times said it had been given the video on the condition that it not be shown to anyone else. In an article published in April, the paper disclosed the tape’s existence and described the dinner. The article said that in a speech there, Mr. Obama spoke of frequent discussions with Mr. Khalidi and dinners at his home, and also called on the people of the Middle East to find common ground.

That article drew little attention for more than six months, until it was raised by conservative bloggers and then by the McCain campaign. On Tuesday, a campaign spokesman accused the newspaper of shielding Mr. Obama from potentially damaging disclosures. And on Wednesday, Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin took up that message.

“I’m not in the business of talking about media bias, but what if there was a tape with John McCain with a neo-Nazi outfit being held by some media outlet?” Mr. McCain said in an interview with radio station WAQI in Miami. “I think the treatment of the issue would be slightly different.”

Some conservatives question the sincerity of Mr. Obama’s stated support for Israel, a crucial issue to many Jewish voters in swing states like Florida. Mr. Obama’s campaign says that his stance on the matter has not changed and that his public and private positions are identical. Mr. Khalidi has said much the same of the candidate’s stance.

In countering the McCain attacks, the Obama campaign also cited a tangential link between Mr. McCain and Mr. Khalidi. Mr. McCain is chairman of the International Republican Institute, which gave grants in the 1990s to the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, of which Mr. Khalidi was a founder, to conduct surveys of Palestinians. The International Republican Institute’s 1998 tax filing says it gave $448,000 to the Palestine group, money that originated with government grants to the Republican organization.

The Times article about the dinner said that one speaker had read a poem accusing Israel of terrorism and that another had compared West Bank settlers to Osama bin Laden.

“What we don’t know is how Barack Obama responded to these slurs on a country that he professes to support, and the reason we don’t know is the newspaper that has this tape, The Los Angeles Times, refuses to release it,” Ms. Palin said at a rally in Bowling Green, Ohio. “It must be nice for a candidate to have major news organizations looking out for their best interests like that.”

Here is another example of media bias that goes beyond withholding the tape. Where is the question to the Obama campaign asking them if they have any objections to the release of the tape? Where is the question asking whether they support releasing the tape to clear the air about what was said? I think those questions would be asked of McCain or Palin, so why aren't they asked of Obama? It is just another example of the lack of curiosity of some in the media about stories that could have a negative effect on Obama's campaign.

Gabriel Scheonfeld has more on the gathering which also included Ayers and Dohrn. There was a time when Obama did not mind breaking bread with these three, but now does not want to be seen as their friend.


  1. I found this by searching various sources on the internet. This is the poem that was read at this dinner.

    Eye to Eye
    by Gihad Ali

    Look into my eyes
    And tell me what you see.
    You don't see a damn thing,
    'cause you can't possibly relate to me.

    You're blinded by our differences.
    My life makes no sense to you.
    I'm the persecuted Palestinian.
    You're the American red, white and blue.

    Each day you wake in tranquility,
    No fears to cross your eyes.
    Each day I wake in gratitude,
    Thanking God He let me rise.

    You worry about your education
    And the bills you have to pay.
    I worry about my vulnerable life
    And if I'll survive another day.

    Your biggest fear is getting ticketed
    As you cruise your Cadillac.
    My fear is that the tank that just left
    Will turn around and come back.

    American, do you realize,
    That the taxes that you pay
    Feed the forces that traumatize
    My every living day?

    The bulldozers and the tanks,
    The gases and the guns,
    The bombs that fall outside my door,
    All due to American funds.

    Yet do you know the truth
    Of where your money goes?
    Do you let your media deceive your mind?
    Is this a truth that no one knows?

    You blame me for defending myself
    Against the ways of Zionists.
    I'm terrorized in my own land
    And I'm the terrorist?

    You think you know all about terrorism
    But you don't know it the way I do,
    So let me define the term for you,
    And teach you what you thought you knew.

    I've known terrorism for quite some time,
    Fifty-five years and more.
    It's the fruitless garden uprooted in my yard.
    It's the bulldozer in front of my door.

    Terrorism breathes the air I breathe.
    It's the checkpoint on my way to school.
    It's the curfew that jails me in my own home,
    And the penalties of breaking that curfew rule.

    Terrorism is the robbery of my land,
    And the torture of my mother,
    The imprisonment of my innocent father,
    The bullet in my baby brother.

    So American, don't tell me you know about
    The things I feel and see.
    I'm terrorized in my own land
    And the blame is put on me.

    But I will not rest, I shall never settle
    For the injustice my people endure.
    Palestine is our land and there we'll remain
    Until the day our homeland is secure.

    And if that time shall never come,
    Then we will never see a day of peace.
    I will not be thrown from my own home,
    Nor will my fight for justice cease.

    And if I am killed, it will be in Falasteen.
    It's written on my every breath.
    So in your own patriotic words,
    Give me liberty or give me death.


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