Middle East studies in the News
The Audacity of Tenure [on Rashid Khalidi]
by Malcolm A. Kline
It turns out that the "change agent" running for president has yet another colorful associate the media seldom ask him about. "You mentioned Rashid Khalidi, who's a professor at Columbia," Barack Obama said in Boca Raton this year. "I do know him because I taught at the University of Chicago."
"And he is Palestinian." Actually, "Between 2001 and 2002, when Obama was director of the board, the Woods Fund gave a total of $75,000 to the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), an anti-Israel outfit run by Mona Khalidi," Brad O'Leary reports in his new book, The Audacity of Deceit. "Mona is the wife of Rashid Khalidi, and both are friends of Obama's from his days at the University of Chicago."
"A University of Chicago professor who was interviewed for this book, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the relationship between Khalidi was so close that the Obamas used to babysit the Khalidi's children." O'Leary is president of ATI-News.com.
"And so I do know him and I have had conversations," Obama had said in that synagogue in Boca Raton of his acquaintance with Khalidi. "He is not one of my advisers; he's not one of my foreign policy people."
"His kids went to the Lab school where my kids go as well." Put Khalidi together with former Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers. Ayers sat on many boards with Obama and used his home to launch the One's political career yet the Democratic presidential candidate characterizes him as "a guy in the neighborhood." Barry is a regular Mr. Rogers.
"When Khalidi departed the University of Chicago in 2003, Obama delivered an in-person testimonial at a farewell ceremony reminiscing about conversations over meals prepared by Mona Khalidi," O'Leary writes. So that's where those "conversations" that Obama remembered in Boca took place.
"He is a respected scholar, although he vehemently disagrees with a lot of Israel's policy," Obama admitted on that Florida trip. As O' Leary recounts, Khalidi has called Israel "racist" and an "apartheid system in creation."
AIA awarded Dr. Khalidi one of its Little Churchills, named after deposed University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, for the former's complaint, among others, that the U. S. media makes too big a deal out of suicide bombers. Additionally, like Obama's running mate, Khalidi's work, in comparison to that of others, brings into question how original his scholarship is.
Most of his reviews on ratemyprofessor.com from his Chicago tenure are favorable but come from students predisposed to agree with him. Two who don't share his viewpoints got very specific in their reviews:
• "Khalidi is articulate," one reviewer conceded. "However, he puts his political affiliations ahead of his professional obligations. He derided undergraduates at a public U of C panel because of their pro-Israel views. Indeed, he approaches the Conflict as an activist rather than as a scholar, and thus fails students." • "Has a political agenda," another reviewer concluded, characterizing Khalidi as "a historian who is careless with his facts" who "claims without any evidence that Israel has used weapons of mass destruction against Palestinians."
Khalidi now holds the Edward Said chair at Columbia, named for the late Middle East scholar, whose scholarship itself was somewhat controversial. "Since the communist (or should we just call them ‘pro-communist') left had already seized the means of intellectual production (i.e., taken over the university faculties by the systematic application of Stalinist methods during the ‘70s and ‘80s), the next step in Middle Eastern Studies was to hire only—or mainly—left-wing ethnic academics from the benighted theocracies of that region," author and activist David Horowitz wrote of Said in 2001. "In other words they imported the second-rate Marxist ideologies of the Third World into the university using their ace card—anti-white racism—to maximum advantage." "Said himself is almost as big a liar as Chomsky, but having served on the PLO Council and thrown rocks at Jews, he trumps the MIT sage easily as an authentic terrorist."
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia. If you would like to comment on this article, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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