Daniel Pipes, Sirhan Sirhan, Obama, and the Avon Lady

Sheila Musaji

Posted Nov 3, 2008      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Daniel Pipes, Sirhan Sirhan, Obama, and the Avon Lady

by Sheila Musaji

Daniel Pipes has posted an article entitled “Obama’s Connection to Sirhan Sirhan” which is a shocking piece of misinformation. 

Pipes makes a number of spurious charges against Obama (and makes even more spurious links between the various individuals) including a statement that:  “Obama’s friendship with Rashid Khalidi, the PLO official now teaching at Columbia University, as well as Obama’s apparently vicious anti-Israel remarks at Khalidi’s Chicago farewell party in 2003.”  For this, Pipes provides a link to an Andrew McCarthy article in the L.A. Times (which has been pretty thoroughly debunked by a number of journalists) as the documentation for Pipes statement.  I read and re-read the McCarthy article and can find not a single quote referring to any remarks by Obama that might be considered “vicious anti-Israel remarks”. 

And then Pipes gets to the gist of his argument saying:  “In this context, yet another connection, documented at zombietime.com, may not come as a great surprise, but it nonetheless remains shocking: William Ayers, Obama’s close associate at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, dedicated the 1974 terrorist manifesto he co-authored, Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, to (among others) Sirhan Sirhan, Robert F. Kennedy’s Jordanian assassin.”

So, because Obama knows William Ayers, and William Ayers dedicated a 1974 book to Sirhan Sirhan, that amounts to a connection between Obama and Sirhan?  And, that is important enough for the director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University who writes a regular column for the Jerusalem Post and other newspapers around the globe to drop everything and write an article exposing this connection. 

Actually, if such ridiculous connections are going to be made, I have a stronger claim to having a connection to Sirhan.  When we lived in Pasadena in the 70’s, I was an Avon lady, and Mary Sirhan (Sirhan Sirhan’s mother) lived two blocks away and was in my area for selling Avon.  She was one of my customers and when stopping by to see if she wanted to order anything from the catalogue I had dropped off, or to deliver an order, I actually spoke with her.  Whenever I stopped, she would invite me in for a cup of tea, and, on at least two occasions I accepted.  Does this deserve an article or even a sensational book “I was Mary Sirhan’s Avon lady”.  (cue scary music at this point).

Give me a break.  This is shameful fearmongering Mr. Pipes and can’t help your image as an impartial world-renowned scholar and expert on the Middle East and Islam.

Oh, and did I mention, the tea was wonderful and served with fresh mint.