Rashid Khalidi
 

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 "The tragedy of September 11 was a godsend"

Rashid Khalidi

 



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Barack Obama's Buddy, Rashid Khalidi

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 Americans.

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 Chomsky:

"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.

In 1995 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 solution."

Khalidi deceptively 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.

"Second, this 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."

In 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 "idiots' consensus."

Khalidi is 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.

In a 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 campaign.

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.

From DiscoverTheNetworks.org
L.A. Times Still Conceals Obama-Khalidi Terror Video
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 release it."

"The Times keeps its promises to sources," Stanton said.

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.

According 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 anti-Israel speakers.

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 The Times."
Another Terrorist In Obama-Land

    

  
 Rashid Khalidi -- Anti-Israel Agenda?  (06:03)

     

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.

    

It was keynote speaker Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University's Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, who turned the conference's tone on its head.  Khalidi, who served as a spokesman for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) when he lived in Lebanon in the late 1970s and early 1980s, produces work that Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes described as "propaganda parading as scholarship."

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."

It's a good bet that Khalidi was taking a shot at Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them.  As one of the more prominent academics known for mixing politics with scholarship, Khalidi has been a regular target of Campus Watch's critiques.

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 Palestinian studies.

In reality, Campus Watch and other organizations have been trying to persuade the professorate to look at the Palestinian movement with a critical eye, rather than a politicized perspective.

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."

Given Khalidi's leanings, it comes as no surprise that he would be a proponent of Jimmy Carter's screeds.

While Khalidi undoubtedly has the right to express his opinion, the American public has as a right to know that they paid for it.  PARC receives controversial Title VI 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
Paul Mirengoff says Rashid 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, including Khalidi, 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?

    
I don't have enough audacity to hope for that.
 

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