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This afternoon McCain's campaign had Drudge post their demand that the LA Times release their video of a banquet Obama attended in honor of Rashid Khalidi. Background provided by Ben Smith here:

In a stunning development, HuffPost's Seth Walls has uncovered that McCain himself has an extensive relationship with Khalidi, including providing his group with hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money. For some strange reason, Drudge pulled his Khalidi story shortly after the HuffPost article appeared. I think McCain's camp is running scared- please either rec this diary or have Kos post the HuffPost article. This is one attempt at race-baiting that will blow up in McCain's face.

During the 1990s, while he served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), McCain distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, including one worth half a million dollars.

A 1998 tax filing for the McCain-led group shows a $448,873 grant to Khalidi's Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank. (See grant number 5180, "West Bank: CPRS" on page 14 of this PDF.)

The relationship extends back as far as 1993, when John McCain joined IRI as chairman in January. Foreign Affairs noted in September of that year that IRI had helped fund several extensive studies in Palestine run by Khalidi's group, including over 30 public opinion polls and a study of "sociopolitical attitudes."

Update 1: Some commenters have suggested that I point out that there is nothing wrong with Khalidi, who appears to be well within the mainstream of Palestinian political thought. I would emphasize that I'm neither criticizing nor vouching for Khalidi- I'm simply pointing out the hypocricy of John McCain. Those who want to learn more about Khalidi may read some of the comments below.

Originally posted to Alhena on Tue Oct 28, 2008 at 04:42 PM PDT.

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