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John McCain and Sarah Palin criticized Barack Obama’s relationship with a Palestinian-American professor and activist.

At a campaign rally Wednesday in Ohio, Palin called Khalidi a “radical professor” and said that in “addition to being a political ally of Barack Obama, he’s a former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization.”

And in a Florida radio interview, McCain called on the Los Angeles Times to release a videotape of a 2003 farewell party for Khalidi that Obama attended. McCain asked, “What if there was a tape with John McCain with a neo-Nazi outfit being held by some media outlet?” The Times has said it promised its source it would not publicly release the video.

Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of Middle East studies at Columbia University and director of the school’s Middle East Institute, has denied being a spokesperson for the PLO and is considered a moderate by Palestinians and many in the pro-Israel community. Khalidi has called killing civilians a “war crime,” although he’s also long been critical of Israel and U.S. policy in the Middle East.

The attacks from McCain and Palin came as a relationship between Khalidi and the Republican presidential nominee was revealed. The International Republican Institute, an organization McCain has chaired since 1993, provided funds to the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, an organziation co-founded by Khalidi, during the 1990s — including $448,873 in 1998 for the organization to conduct surveys of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

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