Martin Kramer Sandbox: Rashid Khalidi (Obama’s pal/Pal)

Martin Kramer Sandbox

Rashid Khalidi (Obama’s pal/Pal)

Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor at Columbia University, is much in the news these days, for his connection with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. The Los Angeles Times did some digging around the story last spring, and most of the facts are there. I don’t know anything about the connection that I haven’t read elsewhere, so I have nothing original to say about it. 

But this seems like an opportune moment to flag my own writings on Khalidi, going back a number of years. 

• “Dr. Rashid and Mr. Khalidi.” On how Khalidi has varied his pitch according to audience—and, when interviewed on Al Jazeera, turns into a firebrand. 

• “The Day the Rabbi Rescued Rashid.” Khalidi has always taken care to cultivate a few Jewish supporters, and the late Arthur Hertzberg was one of them. Shows how they haven’t a clue about what he really believes—and says. 

• “Rashid Khalidi: Gaza blame-thrower.” Hamas took over Gaza, so who’s fault is that? Guess. 

As I said, I have no inside information on the Obama-Khalidi connection. But I did note this statement by Obama, when pressed on Khalidi:

I do know him [Khalidi] because I taught at the University of Chicago [where Khalidi taught prior to his Columbia appointment—MK]. And he is Palestinian. And I do know him and I have had conversations. He is not one of my advisors; he’s not one of my foreign policy people. His kids went to the Lab School where my kids go as well. He is a respected scholar, although he vehemently disagrees with a lot of Israel’s policy.

To which I would ask the candidate in response: What aspect of his “scholarship” do you respect?


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