Middle East studies in the News
From Gary Sick [on Rashid Khalidi]
by Gary Sick
Email from Gary Sick, Columbia University
November 2, 2008
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Rashid Khalidi
Date: Sun, 02 Nov 2008 16:08:29 -0500 (EST)
From: Gary G Sick <email@example.com>
Reply-To: rashid khalidi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Gary G Sick <email@example.com>
>From Gary Sick
As many of you know, some elements of the McCain campaign have charged, as
part of the "palling around with terrorists" theme, that Obama once
attended a farewell dinner for Rashid Khalidi. The farewell was for Rashid
as he left the U. of Chicago to come here to Columbia, where he is, among
other things, a member of our seminar and a speaker at the seminar last
year. (He and Obama were both professors at Chicago and had known each as
Chicago neighbors for years.) The charge is related to Khalidi's
Palestinian lineage and his role as an adviser to the PLO during the
Madrid peace talks, and it is intended to imply that he is a terrorist or
at least a "pal" of terrorists.
The charges are so patently absurd that they boggle the mind, and many
academics and commentators have risen to Khalidi's defense. I thought the
comment by Martin Peretz, editor of The New Republic, was particularly
apposite. He remarked: "I assume that my Zionist credentials are not in
dispute. And I have written more appreciative words about Khalidi than
Obama ever uttered...the Israelis are trying to live cooperatively and in
peace with Palestinians whose unrelenting positions make Khalidi almost
appear like a Zionist."
If you have not heard about this kerfuffle, I thought at a minimum you
should know that you, as a member of the seminar, are now subject to
accusation of terrorist associations because of your affiliation with
Rashid. This is not the first attack on Rashid, and I supppose it will not
be the last.
I have my own views on the subject. I resigned in protest from a NYC
program when they dismissed Rashid at the height of the attacks on
Columbia by the David Project and others a couple of years ago. I detest
guilt by association in all its forms, and this latest example seems to me
as despicable as it is deliberately false and misleading.
If you want to learn more about Rashid and the current flap, you can find
a calm and accurate summation at:
In the meantime, if you want to drop a line of support to Rashid, I have
put his email address in the "reply-to" line at the top of this note.
Incidentally, Rashid will be a speaker at the Nov. 12 memorial service for
J.C. Hurewitz. Jay taught Rashid's father, welcomed Rashid to Columbia as
one of his successors as director of the ME Institute, shared the podium
with him on the night he spoke to the seminar, and shared my respect and
admiration for Rashid.
garyNote: 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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