Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Than 3,000 Academics Sign Pro-Ayers Petition

Nutty Professors Educators signed a petition praising William Ayers as an education reformer whose ties to the domestic terrorist group Weather Underground are just "history."

More than 3,200 supporters -- most of them educators -- have signed a petition protesting what they say is the "demonization of Professor William Ayers," asserting that his violent actions as the co-founder of the Weather Underground were just "history."

Barack Obama's ties to Ayers have been questioned during the presidential campaign by critics who call the professor a "domestic terrorist."
Among the people who signed the petition are No. 5, Columbia University professor of Arab studies Rashid Khalidi, and No. 814, former University of Colorado at Boulder professor Ward Churchill.

Churchill made headlines when he called the victims of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center "little Eichmanns" and compared them to Nazis in an essay. He was fired from his job in Boulder for plagiarism.
Khalidi, a Palestinian activist, was a director of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's press agency in 1982, according to The New York Times, when the PLO was still designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.
Obama spent time with Khalidi when the two were professors in Chicago, and paid him a special tribute during a farewell dinner for the firebrand professor in 2003, reminiscing about meals prepared by Khalidi's wife, according to the LA Times.

Obama has distanced himself from Khalidi, whom he called an academic acquaintance. "He is not one of my advisers. He's not one of my foreign policy people. He is a respected scholar, although he vehemently disagrees with a lot of Israel's policy," he said during a campaign event.

The petition, circulated online, asserts that Ayers is a well-respected, nationally-known figure in the education world, and critics who call him an "unrepentant terrorist" and "lunatic leftist" are "part of a pattern of 'exposes' and assaults designed to intimidate free thinking and stifle critical dialogue."

"Just a guy in my neighborhood, a harmless weatherman. Maybe I'll invite him for dinner at the White House." B.H.O.

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