Does some ideological predisposition exist at the top of our executive branch that makes it easier to accede to the reactionary wishes of religio-fascist cultures where separation of church and state is anathema and the oppression of women endemic?
For some years, I and others have sought the answer to this riddle through the release of a tape held in the vault of the Los Angeles Times. This tape, known as the Khalidi Tape, records a going-away party held in Chicago in 2003. Here’s what I wrote back in April 2010:
Rashid Khalidi — a Palestinian-American historian known for his strong pro-Palestinian opinions — is currently the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia and director of that university’s Middle East Institute. After Khalidi received this Columbia appointment in 2003, a farewell dinner party was held in his honor in Chicago. A videotape was made of that party where many good things were said about the Palestinian cause and many bad things about Israel. Then Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama was in attendance, as were, some say, William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.
That tape, as Leon DeWinter reminded us, was given at some point by an unknown person to Peter Wallsten of the Los Angeles Times. Wallsten then reported on some of its contents in a brief LAT article of April 10, 2008 titled “Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Obama.”
Perhaps because it was so attenuated, that article engendered a cry for the release of the full tape. What really happened at the party? What was said? How did Obama react? People wanted to know more details of the Middle East views of the presidential candidate. But the LAT was effectively mum and sequestered the tape in its safe.