Khalidi, Rashid I. 1948- (Rashid Ismail Khalidi)

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Khalidi, Rashid I. 1948- (Rashid Ismail Khalidi)

PERSONAL:

Born November 18, 1948, in New York, NY; son of Ismail Raghib (a diplomat) and Selwa Khalidi; married Mona Tadros (a university administrator), December 14, 1972; children: Lamya, Dima, Ismail. Ethnicity: Middle Eastern. Education: Yale University, B.A., 1970; Oxford University, D.Phil., 1974. Politics: Democrat.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY. Office—Columbia University, Middle East Institute, 1116 International Affairs Bldg., 420 W. 118th St., New York, NY 10027. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon, assistant professor of history, 1974-77; American University in Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, assistant professor, 1976-83, associate professor, 1983-85; Columbia University, New York, NY, associate professor, 1985-87; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, associate professor, 1987-95, professor of modern Middle Eastern history, 1995-2002, associate director of Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 1988-91, director of Center for International Studies, 1991-95; Columbia University, director of Middle East Institute and Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, 2003—. Georgetown University, Washington, DC, adjunct professor of Arab politics, 1983-84. Guest on radio and television programs, including All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Nightline, and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Center for Palestine Research and Studies, trustee, 1995; American Committee on Jerusalem, member, 1997; American Foundation for Jerusalem University, secretary, 1998; Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East, member of advisory board.

MEMBER:

Middle East Studies Association (member of board of directors, 1988-91; president, 1993-94), American Historical Association, Arab American University Graduates.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Ford Foundation grant, 1983-84; Woodrow Wilson International Center fellowship, 1984-85; American Research Center in Egypt fellowship, 1987; Fulbright scholar, 1991-93; Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio fellowship, 1995; Albert Hourani Book Award, Middle East Studies Association, 1997, for Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness.

WRITINGS:

Soviet Middle East Policy in the Wake of Camp David, Institute for Palestine Studies (Beirut, Lebanon), 1979.

British Policy towards Syria and Palestine, 1906-1914, Ithaca Press (London, England), 1980.

The Soviet Union and the Middle East in the 1980s, Institute for Palestine Studies (Beirut, Lebanon), 1980.

(Editor, with Camille Mansour) Palestine and the Gulf, Institute for Palestine Studies (Beirut, Lebanon), 1982.

Under Siege: P.L.O. Decision-making during the 1982 War, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1986.

(With Itamar Rabinovich) The Palestinian Right of Return: Two Views, International Security Studies Program, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Cambridge, MA), 1990.

(With Naomi Chazan and Fouad Moughrabi) Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Jerusalem in the Framework of an Israeli-Palestinian Settlement, International Security Studies Program, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Cambridge, MA), 1991.

(Editor, with others) The Origins of Arab Nationalism, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1991.

Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 2004.

The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times, Boston Globe, and Nation.

SIDELIGHTS:

Rashid I. Khalidi is a noted Middle East scholar who has attracted considerable attention because of his criticism of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Khalidi was born in New York City, where his father, a Palestinian, worked at the United Nations. His mother was Lebanese, and he grew up hearing ongoing discussion of world events over the daily meals. "My father worked in the political and Security Council affairs division of the Secretariat," he was quoted as saying in a New York Times profile by Chris Hedges. "We would often begin by talking about what happened in the Security Council that day. I learned to see the difference between what we knew to be true and what was reported to be true." Khalidi later spent a few years living in Libya with his family and then returned to the United States to study at Yale University. Moving on to Oxford University for his doctorate, Khalidi wrote his thesis on British policy in Syria before World War I. He lived in Lebanon for some time, but eventually left because of the ongoing civil war. He returned to the United States to teach Middle East history at the University of Chicago and at Columbia University.

Khalidi's in-depth knowledge of Middle Eastern history affords him special insight into modern tensions in the region. He spoke out against a U.S. invasion of Iraq, believing that U.S. troops there would not be welcomed as liberators any more than were the British troops who came with a similarly stated purpose in the early twentieth century. Khalidi has also spoken out about unfair treatment of the Palestinian people who were driven from their ancestral lands in 1948 so that the state of Israel might be established. World War II and the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust were fresh in the public consciousness, and the sufferings of the Palestinians were frequently ignored in an attempt to establish a sanctuary for the many European Jews who fled to Palestine in the aftermath of the war. Khalidi details the history and development of Palestinian nationalism in his book Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness.

Geoffrey D. Schad, a reviewer for Middle East Policy, noted in his review of Palestinian Identity that discussing Palestinian nationalism is "a project fraught with perils both political and analytical." Despite this, Schad credited Khalidi with providing "a substantial understanding of the roots of this nationalism and of why its claims must be considered in any solution of this conflict." Benny Morris, writing in Israel Studies, found some flaws in the book, but he also noted that it "is chockfull of interesting facts and quotations, and is refreshing because of the kernel of intellectual honesty at its core. One senses a real effort to avoid propaganda, and the book contains a measure of criticism of the successive Palestinian national leaderships."

In Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East, Khalidi offers readers a better understanding of how historical forces, many of them influenced by the United States and other Western nations, have combined to create the modern Middle East. The policies of the United States were impacted by the events of September 11, 2001, resulting in increased emphasis on militarism and unilateralism. Longer-term policies, including U.S. support of regional dictatorships, have compounded the increasingly volatile American presence in the Middle East. In Resurrecting Empire, Khalidi compares American foreign policy in the region with European imperial policies of the past and lays out his own plan for an American approach to Middle East policy. Tikkun reviewer J.C. Myers wrote: "This history and Khalidi's extensive notes section provide a useful introduction for those seeking to deepen their understanding of the historical and modern Middle East."

Most of the historical trends are unknown to average Americans, Khalidi notes. "There are all sorts of accepted wisdoms about the Middle East that are not true," he was quoted as saying in the New York Times. "There is little awareness of the long liberal and democratic movements, especially in the 20's and 30's, the way the Western powers sabotaged these movements in places like Egypt and Iran. We assume Iraqis do not have a national identity or that they are uncivilized, forgetting that they established a legal code 3,800 years ago, when most Europeans were illiterate. We need to learn a little humility and a little history."

Reviewing Resurrecting Empire in Reason, Michael Young faulted the author for being "unimaginative when it comes to seeing the possible advantages of American power in the Middle East." Library Journal contributor Nader Entessar found it to be "highly readable, robustly argued, and timely," while Warren I. Cohen, a contributor to the Los Angeles Times Book Review, commented in his review: "Confronting the question of why the United States is so unpopular in the Middle East, Khalidi insists it is not because of who we are. Many of the region's people admire American freedom and democracy and yearn to have it for themselves. Their hostility derives from misguided American policies and these can be changed."

The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood is Khalidi's history of the Palestinian struggle for independence. He traces the region's history from the period of the British Mandate (1920-1948), which was founded after World War I by the League of Nations, to the Hamas victory in the Palestinian Authority elections of 2006. The book argues that the Jewish minority benefited from the restrictions placed on Palestinians. The title is a metaphor for these restrictions that Khalidi argues favored Zionism and continue to thwart the Palestinian goal of statehood. Khalidi notes failures of the Palestinian leaders, including how the Palestinian movement was led primarily by upper-class individuals and families who, although they protested loudly in public, negotiated with the British much less aggressively.

In reviewing The Iron Cage for the Middle East Journal, Neil Caplan wrote: "Engaging in an honest critique that extends beyond the obvious targets (Israel, Zionism, America, and Britain) to include his own people, the author holds all leaders to the same exacting standards, and subjects their decisions and ‘missed opportunities’ to equally tough-minded scrutiny and lines of inquiry." Philip C. Wilcox, Jr., reviewed the book in Middle East Policy, writing: "Khalidi believes the Palestinians' worst mistake was accepting the Oslo framework. He thinks Arafat's team was out-negotiated in a lopsided deal that, far from advancing statehood, had the opposite effect. By agreeing to terms that did not halt Israeli settlements, whose population in the West Bank subsequently doubled, and allowing growing Israeli controls over Palestinian life, Arafat acquiesced in an even more onerous occupation. Also, he and his colleagues proved unprepared for negotiations that followed and seemed to have no clear approach to governance and statehood." Wilcox continued: "Khalidi blames Israel and the United States for trying to impose an unfair ‘take it or leave it’ deal at the Camp David Summit in 2000, although he thinks Arafat handled it ineptly. But he regards the second intifada as a disaster for the Palestinians, like the failed revolt of the late 1930s. He condemns Arafat for weak, incoherent leadership and a failure to grasp the devastating impact of Palestinian terrorism on Israelis, reinforcing their own narrative of exclusive victimization, and on American and world opinion. The intifada also enabled Israel to tighten its ‘matrix of control’ over the Palestinians."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Arab Studies Quarterly, summer, 1994, Salwa Ismail, review of The Origins of Arab Nationalism, p. 86.

Foreign Affairs, May-June, 1997, William B. Quandt, review of Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, p. 141; January-February, 2007, L. Carl Brown, review of The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood, p. 173.

International Migration Review, winter, 1998, Joseph Chamie, review of Palestinian Identity, p. 1090.

Israel Studies, spring, 1998, Benny Morris, review of Palestinian Identity, p. 266; summer, 2007, Yoav Gelber, review of The Iron Cage, p. 164.

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, October, 1999, Ann M. Lesch, review of Palestinian Identity, p. 747.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 1997, Sanford R. Silverburg, review of Palestinian Identity, p. 76; March 1, 2004, review of Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East, p. 211.

Library Journal, May 15, 2004, Nader Entessar, review of Resurrecting Empire, p. 101.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, September 5, 2004, Warren I. Cohen, review of Resurrecting Empire, p. R4.

Middle Eastern Studies, July, 2000, Baruch Kimmerling, review of Palestinian Identity, p. 250.

Middle East Journal, winter, 2007, Neil Caplan, review of The Iron Cage, p. 172.

Middle East Policy, February, 1999, Geoffrey D. Schad, review of Palestinian Identity, p. 196; spring, 2007, Philip C. Wilcox, Jr., review of The Iron Cage, p. 159.

National Catholic Reporter, September 2, 2005, Steven P. Millies, review of Resurrecting Empire, p. 16.

New York Times, April 20, 2004, Chris Hedges, "Casting Mideast Violence in Another Light," p. B2; July 14, 2004, Ivo H. Daalder, review of Resurrecting Empire, interview, p. E8.

Publishers Weekly, September 4, 2006, review of The Iron Cage, p. 54.

Reason, January, 2005, Michael Young, review of Resurrecting Empire, p. 50.

Tikkun, November-December, 2004, J.C. Meters, review of Resurrecting Empire, p. 75; November-December, 2006, review of The Iron Cage, p. 97.

Washington Post, May 13, 2004, Philip Kennicott, review of Resurrecting Empire, p. C1.

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December, 2006, Will Youmans, review of The Iron Cage, p. 68.