Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said
Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, and Director of the
Middle East Institute (MEI) at Columbia's School of International and
Public Affairs. In his role as MEI Director, Khalidi presides over
a $300,000 annual grant from the federal government. He ranks
among the most prominent members of the Middle Eastern studies community
in the United States. His books are among the most frequently
assigned works on the Middle East in American college syllabi. Arab and
American media outlets alike seek him out regularly as a leading
authority on the Middle East.
Khalidi is also a Board of Trustees member of the non-governmental
organization MIFTAH; a notable fellow Board member is Khalil Jahshan,
President of the Washington, DC-based National Association of the Arab
Khalidi was born in New
York in 1950, the son of a Palestinian father and a Lebanese mother.
He earned a B.A. from Yale University in 1970 and a Ph.D. from Oxford in
1974. During the Seventies, Khalidi taught for a brief time at a
university in Beirut, where he often spoke to reporters on behalf of
Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Prior to
joining the Columbia faculty, Khalidi was a professor at the University
of Chicago, where he served as Director of both the Center for Middle
Eastern Studies and the Center for International Studies.
Khalidi has long cited the late Edward
Said as his major academic influence. Following the latter's death in
2003, Khalidi penned an obituary that valorized Said for "giving a voice
to the voiceless" via his "eloquent espousal of the cause of Palestine." In this context, Khalidi likened Said to another of his idols, Noam
"Like Noam Chomsky and
very few others, he [Said] managed not only to reshape his own field of
scholarly endeavor, but to transcend it, influencing other fields and
disciplines, and going well beyond the narrow boundaries of the American
academy to become a true public intellectual, and a passionate voice for
humanistic values and justice in an imperfect world."
As with Said before him, Khalidi's
involvement with the Palestinian cause goes beyond mere support. News
reports -- including a 1982 dispatch from Thomas Friedman of the New
York Times -- suggest that he once served as Director of the Palestinian
press agency, Wikalat al-Anba al-Filastinija. Khalidi's wife, Mona, was
reportedly the agency's main English-language editor between 1976 and
1982. Khalidi so strongly identified with the aims of the PLO, which was
designated as a terrorist group by the State Department during Khalidi's
affiliation with it in the 1980s, that he repeatedly referred to himself
as "we" when expounding on the PLO's agenda. Additional evidence of Khalidi's intimacy with the PLO can be seen in his involvement with the
organization's so-called "guidance committee" in the early 1990s.
Khalidi's 1986 book, Under Siege:
P.L.O. Decision-Making During the 1982 War, was dedicated to Yasser
Arafat. Opening with a glowing tribute to anti-Israel fighters ("to
those who gave their lives during the summer of 1982 … in defense of the
cause of Palestine and the independence of Lebanon"), the book offered
an airbrushed account of PLO-instigated violence against Israelis and
Lebanese. By contrast, Syria's brutal occupation of Lebanon elicited no
criticism from the author.
Khalidi and his wife founded the Arab American Action Network (AAAN),
noted for its view that Israel's creation in 1948 was a "catastrophe"
for Arab people.
In 1998 Khalidi
published Palestinian Identity, a book in which he details what he
believes are the major trials and indignities endured by Palestinians:
"The quintessential Palestinian
experience, which illustrates some of the most basic issues raised by
Palestinian identity, takes place at a border, an airport, a
checkpoint…. For it is at these borders and barriers that six million
Palestinians are singled out for 'special treatment,' and [are]
forcefully reminded of their identity … [E]very Palestinian is exposed
to the possibility of harassment, exclusion, and sometimes worse, simply
because of his or her identity."
Other books penned by Khalidi include: The Iron Cage: The Story of the
Palestinian Struggle for Statehood (2007); Resurrecting Empire: Western
Footprints and Americ's Perilous Path in the Middle East (2004); and The
Origins of Arab Nationalism (1993).
Characterizing Israel as a "racist" state that is "basically an
apartheid system in creation," Khalidi claims that the Israeli army is
in possession of "awful weapons of mass destruction (many supplied by
the U.S.) that it has used in cities, villages and refugee camps."
Khalidi formerly expressed some tepid support for the notion
of an Israeli state alongside a Palestinian one. In more recent years,
however, he has taken to dismissing such a solution as hopelessly
unrealizable. At a February 2005 conference at Columbia, titled "One
State or Two? Alternative Proposals for the Middle East," Khalidi agreed
with his Columbia colleague, Joseph Massad, in declaring that the
two-state solution was an impractical "utopian vision." Khalidi further
assailed Israel's very legitimacy, proclaiming it to be "a state that
exists today at the expense of the Palestinians," an existence that
"fails to meet the most important requirement: justice."
The February 2005 conference was not the first time that
Khalidi had dismissed the possibility of a two-state solution. In March
2004, when Israeli forces assassinated Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin,
Khalidi told Newsweek: "I really think that the killing of this
individual may well be the last nail in the coffin of the two-state
styles himself as a "severe critic of Hamas." But mere days after the
terrorist attacks of 9/11, he rebuked the news media for what he termed
their exaggerated "hysteria about suicide bombers."
During a June 2002 speech before a conference of the
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Khalidi offered a
justification for the murder of armed Israelis:
"Killing civilians is a war crime. It's a violation of
international law. They are not soldiers. They're civilians, they're
unarmed. The ones who are armed, the ones who are soldiers, the ones who
are in occupation, that's different. That's resistance."
Scholarly institutions that do not
promote anti-Israel propaganda have incurred Khalidi's wrath. Appearing
on Al-Jazeera TV in 2004, Khalidi took aim at the prominent Middle
Eastern Studies think-tank, the Washington Institute for Near East
Policy (WINEP). That the non-partisan center is headed by Dennis Ross (a
respected diplomat and a former Middle East envoy in the Bill Clinton
and George H.W. Bush administrations), and that it regularly hosts
speakers from the Middle East who are critical of Israel, did not
prevent Khalidi from execrating WINEP as "the most important Zionist
propaganda tool in the United States."
Khalidi strongly opposed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In
an illuminating polemic which he penned for the January 2003 issue of
the far-left journal "In These Times," Khalidi, even as he conceded that
"international terrorism has been sponsored by Iraq," dismissed the
notion that such an invasion could have any legitimate justification.
Instead, he put forward a farrago of theories that he described as the
"real reasons" for the impending war:
"First, it will be fought because of an aggressive, ideological
vision of America's place in the world, propagated by the
neo-conservatives who dominate the commanding heights of the American
bureaucracy. Their vision proposes unfettered world hegemony for the
United States, to be consecrated by the demonstration of U.S. power
crushing a weak Iraq.
war will be fought because of an obsession with control of the strategic
resources (read: oil) and geography offered by the Middle East, with the
view of neutralizing potential challengers to American hegemony in the
21st century [meaning primarily China]."
As Khalidi saw it, the looming war against Iraq was the
brainchild of "racist" neo-conservatives who were: (a) doing the bidding
of the Israeli Likud party to which they paid an undeclared allegiance;
(b) aiming "to make the Middle East safe not for democracy, but for
Israeli hegemony"; and (c) acting upon their "racist view that Middle
Easterners understand only force." "For these American Likudniks and
their Israeli counterparts," wrote Khalidi, "sad to say, the tragedy of
September 11 was a godsend: It enabled them to draft the United States
to help fight Israel's enemies."
March 2008 Khalidi called for the recompense of the Iraqi people for the
suffering they had endured at the hands of the U.S. "We owe reparations
to the Iraqi people," he told an audience at Columbia University. Also
speaking at that event was the socialist writer Anthony Arnove. Both Khalidi and Arnove called for mass anti-war activism and demanded
America's unilateral withdrawal from Iraq.
Khalidi similarly had opposed the first Gulf War in 1991, when he
characterized public support for the U.S.-led defense of Kuwait as an
longtime a friend of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. In the 1990s,
Obama and his wife were regular dinner guests at Khalidi's Chicago home.
During the 2000 election cycle, Mr. and Mrs. Khalidi organized a
fundraiser for Barack Obama's unsuccessful congressional bid. In 2001
and again in 2002, the Woods Fund of Chicago, while Mr. Obama served on
its board, made grants totaling $75,000 to Khalidi's Arab American
Action Network. In 2003 Obama would attend a farewell party in Khalidi's
honor when the latter was leaving the University of Chicago to embark on
his new position at Columbia.
2008 interview, Khalidi praised Obama effusively, stating that, if
elected President, Obama would be more understanding of the Palestinian
experience than other politicians. "He has family literally all over the
world," Khalidi noted. "I feel a kindred spirit from that." Obama is not the only political figure
whom Khalidi has supported. In 2003, for instance, the professor
contributed $1,000 to Democrat Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s congressional
Among the donors to
Khalidi's endowed chair at Columbia are: (a) the United Arab Emirates;
(b) the Hauser Foundation, a New York charity headed by Rita Hauser, a
controversial philanthropist whose onetime law firm -- Stroock, Stroock
& Lavan -- was registered with the Department of Justice as an agent for
the Palestinian Authority until 2001; and (c) the Olayan Charitable
Trust, a New York-based charity with ties to the Olayan America
Corporation, an arm of the Saudi organization the Olayan Group.
L.A. Times Still Conceals Obama-Khalidi
The Los Angeles Times has no plan to ever release a
video it stated it obtained of Obama attending an anti-Israel event in
which he delivered a glowing testimonial for Rashid Khalidi, a
pro-Palestinian professor who excuses terrorism.
At the 2003
event, poetry reportedly was read comparing Israelis to Osama bin Laden
and accusing the Jewish state of terrorism.
"The story ran in
2008 and we pretty much said everything we are going to say about that
event," Peter Wallsten, the Times reporter who claimed to have obtained
the video, told WND yesterday.
Asked for details of the footage
captured in the video, Wallsten replied, "I wrote an extensive article
that described the event."
Wallsten referred to a previous
statement from the newspaper's editor, Russ Stanton, explaining, "The
Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided
to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not
"The Times keeps its promises to sources," Stanton
The video the Times said it obtained reportedly captures
Obama delivering an in-person testimonial for Khalidi, who at the time
was departing the University of Chicago for a new teaching position at
Columbia University in New York.
In a piece in April 2008,
Wallsten reported that while praising Khalidi, Obama reminisced about
conversations over meals prepared by the professor's wife, Mona Khalidi.
Unreported by Wallsten was that the event was sponsored by Mona
Khalidi's anti-Israel Arab American Action Network, which, as WND first
reported, received large sums of money from the Woods Fund, an
ultra-liberal Chicago nonprofit for which Obama served as a board member
alongside Weather Underground radical William Ayers.
to Wallsten's account of the farewell dinner, Obama said his talks with
the Khalidis served as "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots
and my own biases. … It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many
years to come, we continue that conversation – a conversation that is
necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table," but around
"this entire world."
Khalidi's farewell dinner was replete with
One, a young Palestinian American, recited
a poem in Obama's presence that accused the Israeli government of
terrorism in its treatment of Palestinians and sharply criticized U.S.
support of Israel, the Times reported.
Another speaker, who
reportedly talked while Obama was present, compared "Zionist settlers on
the West Bank" to Osama bin Laden.
In the kicker, Wallsten
wrote, "The event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by
Another Terrorist In Obama-Land
Rashid Khalidi -- Anti-Israel Agenda?
Khalidi blasts Israel
The Palestinian American Research Center (PARC),
a U.S. taxpayer-funded organization
noted for the virulent anti-Israeli attitudes of its academic members,
held a conference in October, 2009, at George Washington University's
Elliott School of International Affairs. Most of the conference
was apolitical, but two lectures in particular raise (again) the
question of whether PARC should be the recipient of taxpayer monies.
Indeed, this is not the first time
the public has been warned about PARC's questionable scholar-activism.
Khalidi lived up to his
reputation by blasting Israel and its supporters in vitriolic and
paranoid terms. He accused a mysterious "movement" of
attempting to de-legitimize scholarly work on "Palestine."
He decried the "movement,"
and claimed that its source of funding is almost entirely
off-campus. He wrongly stated that the "movement" is trying to
pressure students, faculty, and scholars to abandon their
Khalidi further alleged that
there was a "systematic campaign to falsify the past" on the part of
"the Israeli state." He accused Israel of working to define
the ancient past of Palestine in "exclusive, Zionist terms."
Khalidi allowed that,
notwithstanding the grim picture he presented, there were several
"positive factors." Books by former President Jimmy Carter
"were savagely attacked by the usual suspects," he said, but
nevertheless "made tons of money."
leanings, it comes as no surprise that he would be a proponent of
Jimmy Carter's screeds.
undoubtedly has the right to express his opinion, the American
public has as a right to know that they paid for it. PARC
funding from the U.S. State Department and the Department of
Education for "Palestinian studies." By inviting Khalidi, PARC
spent fungible taxpayer money to bring a notorious former spokesman
for a terrorist organization to Washington to rail against Israel
and complain about a group that critiques him.
Obama Mentor To Challenge Gaza Blockade
saysRashid Khalidi, Edward
Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, reportedly has
signed an appeal for funds to outfit a ship -- to be named
The Audacity of
Hope -- that will challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza in September or
October. Khalidi and his wife (who also signed the appeal) became
friends and occasional dinner companions of Barack Obama when Khalidi
was on the faculty of the University of Chicago. Khalidi also
contributed to the education of Obama on issues relating to the Middle
East. Just before Khalidi moved to Columbia, at a dinner honoring
Khalidi, Obama saluted the rabidly anti-Israel professor for "offer[ing]
constant reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases."
Khalidi's biases run in favor of terrorism against the State of
Israel. Thus, as Scott has written, Khalidi is
an admirer of Salal
Khalaf who, among other terrorist connections, was the commander in
chief of the Black September organization, a PLO front group best known
for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. When Khalaf
died, Khalidi wrote that he would be "sorely missed by the Palestinian
people to whom he devoted his life."
Moreover, Khalidi himself
was a mouthpiece for the greatest PLO terrorist of them all, Yasser
Arafat. Although Khalidi apparently disputes the point, Martin Kramer
has the goods.
As to the appeal to fund the voyage of the
Audacity of Hope, it states that the ship will sail from the U.S. to the
Eastern Mediterranean, where it will join ships from "Europe, Canada,
India, South Africa and parts of the Middle East." As Campus Watch
points out, the appeal employs the word "we" when speaking of the
upcoming trip, which gives the impression that the signatories,
intend to be aboard.
We can always have the
audacity to hope he is.
Finally, what about the legality of
Khalidi's latest efforts to injure Israel? Andy McCarthy writes:
The United States has neutrality laws
against things like fitting, furnishing or arming vessels with the
intent of committing hostile acts against a country with which the
U.S. is at peace. (Challenging a blockade is a hostile act.) We also
have laws against providing material support to terrorist
organizations like Hamas. Will the Obama Justice Department pursue
an investigation of Khalidi?