Rashid Khalidi
Rashid Ismail Khalidi (Arabic: رشيد خالدي‎‎; born 1948) is a Palestinian American historian of the Middle East, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University,[1] and director of the Middle East Institute of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. He also is known for serving as editor of the scholarly journal Journal of Palestine Studies.
Rashid Khalidi
رشيد إسماعيل خالدي

Khalidi speaking at the Brooklyn Law School in 2009
BornRashid Ismail Khalidi
1948 (age 72–73)
New York, NY, U.S.
Alma materYale University
Oxford University
Known forHistories of nationalism and colonialism in Palestine and the Middle East
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Chicago
Columbia University
Georgetown University
American University of Beirut
Family, education and career
Khalidi was born in New York City, New York. Khalidi is the son of Ismail Khalidi and the nephew of Husayin al-Khalidi.[2] He is the father of playwright Ismail Khalidi and activist/attorney, Dima Khalidi. He grew up in New York City, where his father, a Saudi citizen[2] of Palestinian origins who was born in Jerusalem,[3] worked for the United Nations.[2][4] Khalidi's mother, a Lebanese-American born in the United States, was an interior decorator. Khalidi attended the United Nations International School.[3]
In 1970, Khalidi received a B.A. from Yale University,[5] where he was a member of the Wolf's Head Society.[6] He then received a D. Phil. from Oxford University in 1974.[1] Between 1976 and 1983, Khalidi "was teaching full time as an Assistant Professor in the Political Studies and Public Administration Dept. at the American University of Beirut, published two books and several articles, and also was a research fellow at the independent Institute for Palestine Studies".[7] He has also taught at the Lebanese University.[5]
Khalidi became politically active in Beirut, where he resided through the 1982 Lebanon War. "I was deeply involved in politics in Beirut" in the 1970s, he said in an interview.[8] Khalidi was cited in the media during this period, sometimes as an official with the Palestinian News Service, Wafa, or directly with the Palestinian Liberation Organization.[9] However, Khalidi has denied that he was a PLO spokesman,[10] stating that he "often spoke to journalists in Beirut, who usually cited me without attribution as a well-informed Palestinian source. If some misidentified me at the time, I am not aware of it."[7] Subsequently, sources disagreed as to the nature or existence of Khalidi's official relationship with the organization.[11]
Returning to America, Khalidi spent two years teaching at Columbia University before joining the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1987, where he spent eight years as a professor and director of both the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago.[12] During the Gulf War, while teaching at Chicago, Khalidi emerged "as one of the most influential commentators from within Middle Eastern Studies".[13] In 2003 he joined the faculty of Columbia University, where he currently serves as the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies. He has also taught at Georgetown University.[5]
Khalidi is married to Mona Khalidi, who is the assistant dean of student affairs and the assistant director of graduate studies of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.[14] He is a member of the National Advisory Committee of the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East, which describes itself as "a national organization of Jews, Christians and Muslims dedicated to dialogue, education and advocacy for peace based on the deepest teachings of the three religious traditions".
He is member of the Board of Sponsors of The Palestine–Israel Journal, a publication founded by Ziad Abuzayyad and Victor Cygielman, prominent Palestinian and Israeli journalists.[15] He is founding trustee of The Center for Palestine Research and Studies.[16] He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
In October 2010, Khalidi delivered the annual Edward Said memorial lecture at the Palestine Center in Washington.[17]
Academic work
Khalidi's research covers primarily the history of the modern Middle East. He focuses on the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean, with an eye to the emergence of various national identities and the role played by external powers in their development. He also researches the impact of the press on forming new senses of community, the role of education in the construction of political identity, and in the way narratives have developed over the past centuries in the region.[1][failed verification] Michael C. Hudson, director of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown, describes Khalidi as "preeminent in his field".[18] He served as president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America in 1994 and is currently the editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies.[19]
Much of Khalidi's scholarly work in the 1990s focused on the historical construction of nationalism in the Arab world. Drawing on the work of theorist Benedict Anderson who described nations as "imagined communities", he does not posit primordial national identities, but argues that these nations have legitimacy and rights. In Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness (1997), he places the emergence of Palestinian national identity in the context of Ottoman and British colonialism as well as the early Zionist effort in the Levant. Palestinian Identity won the Middle East Studies Association's top honor, the Albert Hourani Book Award as best book of 1997.[20]
His dating of the emergence of Palestinian nationalism to the early 20th century and his tracing of its contours provide a rejoinder to Israeli nationalist claims that Palestinians had no collective claims prior to the 1948 creation of Israel. His signature work, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness (Columbia University Press, 1997), argues that Arabs living in Palestine began to regard themselves as a distinct people decades before 1948, "and that the struggle against Zionism does not by itself sufficiently explain Palestinian nationalism".[21]
In it, Khalidi also describes the late development, failings and internal divisions within the various elements of the Palestinian nationalist movement.
In Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East (2004), Khalidi takes readers on a historical tour of Western involvement in the Middle East, and argues that these interactions continue to have a colonialist nature that is both morally unacceptable and likely to backfire. Khalidi's book, Sowing Crisis, places the United States approach to the Middle East in historical context. He is sharply critical of U.S. policies during the Cold War, writing that Cold War policies "formulated to oppose the Soviets, consistently undermined democracy and exacerbated tensions in the Middle East".[22]
Khalidi has written, "It may seem hard to believe today, but for decades the United States was in fact a major patron, indeed in some respects the major patron, of earlier incarnations" of radical, militant Islam, in order to use all possible resources in waging the Cold War. He adds, "The Cold War was over, but its tragic sequels, its toxic debris, and its unexploded mines continued to cause great harm, in ways largely unrecognized in American discourse."[23]
Historian and Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren has stated that "Khalidi is mainstream" because "the stream itself has changed. The criteria for scholarship have become very political."[24]
Palestinian Identity
Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness (1997), is Khalidi's most influential and most widely cited book. In Palestinian Identity, Khalidi demonstrates that a Palestinian national consciousness had it origins near the beginning of the twentieth century. Khalidi describes the Arab population of British Mandatory Palestine as having "overlapping identities", with some or many expressing loyalties to villages, regions, a projected nation of Palestine, an alternative of inclusion in a Greater Syria, an Arab national project, as well as to Islam.[25] Nevertheless, Palestinian Identity was the first to demonstrate substantive Palestinian nationalism in the early Mandatory period. Khalidi writes, "Local patriotism could not yet be described as nation-state nationalism."[26]
Khalidi emphasized in his work that the Palestinian identity had been fundamentally fluid and changing, woven from multiple "narratives" due to individual and family experiences. He described the identity as organically developed due to the challenges of peasants forced from their homes due to Zionist immigrant pressure, but with Palestinian nationalism also being far more complex than merely an anti-Zionist reaction. Praise for his book appeared in the journal Foreign Affairs, with reviewer William B. Quandt viewing the work as "a major contribution to historical understanding of Palestinian nationalism."[27]
Khalidi also documents active opposition by the Arab press to Zionism in the 1880s.[28]
Response to The Iron Cage
In a review of Khalidi's The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood, for Middle East Policy, Philip Wilcox praised "Khalidi's brilliant inquiry into why Palestinians have failed to win a state of their own" calling the book "a welcome antidote to the propaganda and mythology that still dominate American discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."[29] Writing in The Guardian, Ian Black said the book "brilliantly analyses the structural handicap which hobbled the Palestinians throughout 30 years of British rule".[30] In a review for Salon, Jonathan Shainin wrote that "The Iron Cage is a patient and eloquent work, ranging over the whole of modern Palestinian history from World War I to the death of Yasser Arafat."[31] In Foreign Affairs, L. Carl Brown wrote that "Khalidi's book is no exercise in victimology. He is tough on the British, the Israelis, and the Americans, but he is scarcely less hard-hitting in appraising the Palestinians". He went on to praise the final chapter's "excellent critique" of the development of the PLO's positions towards Israel and the Two-state solution.[32]
New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman said of Khalidi's book The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood: "But he makes this more than an exercise in self-pity by refusing to let the Palestinians themselves off the hook. If they indeed live in an iron cage, well, Khalidi says, they helped mold the bars themselves" and asks "When he talks about repressive Israeli measures having been 'sometimes imposed on the pretext of security,' critics are bound to ask: What pretext? How many suicide bombings of cafes and pizza shops does it take before a country has a right to end them by any method that seems to work?"[33]
Efraim Karsh said about the same book "One would have hoped that after 80 years of stubborn adherence to the 'one-state solution' and an equally adamant rejection of the 'two-state solution,' which have resulted in Palestinian statelessness, all but the most fanatically self-deluded would grasp the root causes of the Palestinian debacle – not least a historian purporting to redress the 'continuing refusal to look honestly at what has happened in this small land over the past century or so.'"[34]
Public life
Khalidi has written dozens of scholarly articles on Middle East history and politics, as well as op-ed pieces in many U.S. newspapers.[35] He has also been a guest on radio and TV shows including All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, Morning Edition, Worldview, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Charlie Rose, and Nightline, and has appeared on the BBC, the CBC, France Inter and the Voice of America. He served as president of the American Committee on Jerusalem, now known as the American Task Force on Palestine, and advised the Palestinian delegation at the Madrid Conference of 1991.[36]
Views on Israeli–Palestinian conflict
Khalidi has written that the establishment of the state of Israel resulted in "the uprooting of the world's oldest and most secure Jewish communities, which had found in the Arab lands a tolerance that, albeit imperfect, was nonexistent in the often genocidal, Jew-hating Christian West." Regarding the proposed two-state solution to the Israel–Palestinian conflict, Khalidi has written that "the now universally applauded two-state solution faces the juggernaut of Israel's actions in the occupied territories over more than forty years, actions that have been expressly designed to make its realization in any meaningful form impossible." However, Khalidi also noted that "there are also flaws in the alternatives, grouped under the rubric of the one-state solution".[37]
He supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.[38]
Regarding American support for Israel, Khalidi stated in an interview, "every other single place on the face of the earth is in support of the Palestinians, yet all of them together aren't a hill of beans compared to the United States and Israel, because the United States and Israel can basically do anything they please. They are the world superpower, they are the regional superpower."[39]
A New York Sun editorial criticized Khalidi for stating that there is a legal right under international law for Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation.[40] For example, in a speech given to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Khalidi said, "[k]illing 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."[40][41] The Sun editorial argued that by failing to distinguish between Palestinian combatants and noncombatants, Khalidi implies that all Palestinians have this right to resist, which it claimed was incorrect under international law.[40] In an interview discussing this editorial, Khalidi objected to this characterization as incorrect and taken out of the context of his statements on international law.[42]
Khalidi has described discussions of Arab restitution for property confiscated from the Jewish refugees from Middle Eastern and North African countries after the creation of Israel as "insidious", "because the advocates of Jewish refugees are not working to get those legitimate assets back but are in fact trying to cancel out the debt of Israel toward Palestinian refugees".[43]
NYC teacher training program
In 2005 Khalidi's participation in a New York City teacher training program was ended by the city's Schools Chancellor.[44] Chancellor Joel I. Klein issued a statement that "Considering his past statements, Rashid Khalidi should not have been included in a program that provided professional development for [Department of Education] teachers and he won't be participating in the future."[45] Following the decision, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger spoke out on Khalidi's behalf, writing: "The department's decision to dismiss Professor Khalidi from the program was wrong and violates First Amendment principles... The decision was based solely on his purported political views and was made without any consultation and apparently without any review of the facts."[44]
2008 U.S. presidential campaign
Consequent to publication by the Los Angeles Times of an article about Obama's attendance at a 2003 farewell dinner for Khalidi, their relationship became an issue in the campaign.[46] Some opponents of Barack Obama claimed that the relationship between Obama and Khalidi was evidence that Obama would not maintain a pro-Israel foreign policy if elected.[46] When asked, Obama called his own commitment to Israel "unshakeable" and said he does not consult with Khalidi on foreign policy.[47] Opponents of Republican candidate John McCain pointed out that he had served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI) during the 1990s which provided grants worth $500,000 to the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, which was co-founded by Khalidi, for the purpose of polling the views of the Palestinian people.[48]
WBEZ interview
In a January 2017 interview with public broadcaster WBEZ,[49] Khalidi said pro-Israel people would ‘infest’ the incoming Trump Administration.[50][51] Khalidi later referred to it as "infelicitous phrasing."[52]
Published works
  1. ^ a b c "Department of History: Rashid Khalidi". Columbia University. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  2. ^ a b c "Ismail Khalidi, 52, U.N. Official, Dies". The New York Times. September 6, 1968.
  3. ^ a b Santora, Marc; Elissa Gootman (October 30, 2008). "Political Storm Finds a Columbia Professor". The New York Times. pp. A28. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  4. ^ McCarthy, Andrew C.; Claudia Rosett (November 3, 2008). "In Obama's Hyde Park, It's All in the Family". National Review. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
  5. ^ a b c "Rashid Khalidi". University of Chicago. Archived from the original on 2006-09-10. Retrieved 2006-09-20.
  6. ^ 2006 Phelps Association Directory
  7. ^ a b Romirowsky, Asaf; Jonathan Calt Harris (July 8, 2004). "Arafat minion as professor". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2008-11-23. In reply to our questions, he wrote that between 1976 and 1983, "I was teaching full time as an Assistant Professor in the Political Studies and Public Administration Dept. at the American University of Beirut, published two books and several articles, and also was a research fellow at the independent Institute for Palestine Studies," and says he had no time for anything else. Mr. Khalidi dismisses the allegation that he served as a PLO spokesman, saying, "I often spoke to journalists in Beirut, who usually cited me without attribution as a well-informed Palestinian source. If some misidentified me at the time, I am not aware of it."
  8. ^ Rashid Khalidi on the Middle East: A Conversation, Logos, Fall 2005
  9. ^
    • "Palestinians, People in Crisis, Are Scattered and Divided; The Palestinians First-of a Series", The New York Times, February 19, 1978, Sunday, Page 1, James M. Markham, [1]
    • "Ultimate Goals of the Attack are Assessed Differently from the Two Sides", News Analysis, Thomas Friedman, The New York Times, June 9, 1982
    • "Account of PLO Talks Questioned; Reagan Unaware of Such Contacts, His National Security Aide Declares" by Doyle McManus. Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, Calif.: Feb 20, 1984. p. A10
    • "Lebanon War Hurts Palestinian Cause", Joe Alex Morris Jr., Los Angeles Times September 5, 1976
    • "The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Palestine Liberation Organization", produced in 1979 for Pacifica Radio [2]
  10. ^ Michael D. Shear (2008-10-30). "McCain Again Points to Obama's Associates". The Washington Post.;Dana Bash and Peter Hamby (2008-10-29). "Palin accuses Obama of ties to second 'radical professor'". CNN.
  11. ^
    James Rainey (2008-10-30). "McCain, Palin demand L.A. Times release Obama video". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 12, 2009.
  12. ^ Wolf, Isaac (January 31, 2003). "Khalidi accepts chair offer from Columbia". The Chicago Maroon. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  13. ^ Kramer, Martin, Ivory Towers on Sand, Washington, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2001, p. 65
  14. ^ "Mona Khalidi". SIPA Staff. Columbia University. 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-12.
  15. ^ "Palestine – Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture".
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 9, 2000. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
  17. ^ Khalidi, Rashid. "The Palestine Question and the U.S. Public Sphere". Palestine Center. Archived from the original on 11 October 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  18. ^ "The Knowledge That Doesn't Equal Power", By Philip Kennicott. The Washington Post, 5/13/2004.
  19. ^ University of California Archived 2007-10-11 at the Wayback Machine Journal of Palestine Studies current editorial staff. (retrieved January 25, 2009
  20. ^ Albert Hourani Book Award Recipients, 1991-2005 Archived 2007-08-15 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ or http://lists.econ.utah.edu/pipermail/marxism/2009-March/045483.html Chronicle of Higher Education "Rashid Khalidi's Balancing Act: The Middle-East scholar courts controversy with his Palestinian advocacy" by Evan R. Goldstein March 6, 2009
  22. ^ [6] and [7] Chronicle of Higher Education "Rashid Khalidi's Balancing Act: The Middle-East scholar courts controversy with his Palestinian advocacy" by Evan R. Goldstein March 6, 2009
  23. ^ Khalidi, Rashid. Sowing crisis: the Cold War and American dominance in the Middle East. 2009, page 34
  24. ^ Rashid Khalidi's Balancing Act: The Middle-East scholar courts controversy with his Palestinian advocacy, Evan Goldstein, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 6, 2009 [8]
  25. ^ The Great Syrian Revolt and the Rise of Arab Nationalism, Michael Provence, University of Texas Press, 2005, p. 158
  26. ^ Khalidi, Palestinian Identity. p. 32
  27. ^ "Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness". Foreign Affairs (May/June 1997). 2009-01-28.
  28. ^ Army of Shadows, Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917–1948, Hillel Cohen University of California Press, 2008, p. 275, n.2
  29. ^ Wilcox, Philip C. (5 April 2007). "Spring 2007". Middle East Policy. 14 (1): 142–176. doi​:​10.1111/j.1475-4967.2007.00291.x​.
  30. ^ Black, Ian (2007-02-17). "Divided loyalties: Ian Black wades into the troubled history of the Middle East with four books on Palestine". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  31. ^ Shainin, Jonathan (2006-12-18). "Nation Building". Salon. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  32. ^ Brown, L. Carl (January–February 2007). "Palestinian Struggle for Statehood". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  33. ^ Haberman, Clyde (January 7, 2007). "Stateless". The New York Times Book Review.
  34. ^ "The Iron Illusions of Rashid Khalidi".
  35. ^ "Rashid Khalidi | MESAAS". Columbia University. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  36. ^ Toensing, Chris (2013-04-20). "A Dishonest Umpire". Jacobin. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  37. ^ Palestine: Liberation Deferred by Rashid Khalidi, The Nation, May 8, 2008 (retrieved October 21, 2008
  38. ^ "40 Columbia University professors sign BDS petition". JTA. 1 March 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  39. ^ "The Crisis of our Times – Nationalism, Identity, and the Future of Israel-Palestine" at the Wayback Machine (archived April 29, 2008), Interview with Rashid Khalidi, North Coast Xpress, Spring 2001. Retrieved on October 21, 2008. Archived from the original
  40. ^ a b c "Right of Resistance?". The New York Sun. March 14, 2005. Retrieved 2006-09-04.
  41. ^ Note: The ADC transcript of Khalidi's speech has been edited, and has sections missing. Thus, it cannot be used for verification.
  42. ^ "Interview with Joe Scarborough". Scarborough Country. MSNBC. August 8, 2003. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
  43. ^ Perelman, Marc (April 10, 2008). "Study Estimates Assets of Arab Lands' Jews". The Forward. Retrieved 2008-04-13.
  44. ^ a b Purnick, Joyce (February 28, 2005). "Some Limits on Speech in Classrooms". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-12.
  45. ^ "The Klein Example". The New York Sun. February 18, 2005. Retrieved 2008-03-12.
  46. ^ a b Wallsten, Peter (April 10, 2008). "Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Barack Obama". Los Angeles Times; Politics. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  47. ^ Obama on the Defensive Before Fla. Jewish Voters, ABC news, May 22, 2008. (retrieved on October 26, 2008.
  48. ^
  49. ^ "Scholars On Israel And The United Nations". WEBZ. Archived from the original on 25 January 2017. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  50. ^ "Columbia Professor Accuses Right-Wing Jews of 'Infesting' American Politics".
  51. ^ Roth, Daniel (19 January 2017). "Columbia prof. says Israel advocates will 'infest' Trump administration". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  52. ^ "Columbia's Rashid Khalidi Hits Back at Charges of Anti-Semitism".
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