Khalidi, Rashid (1948–)
A Palestinian-American academic and political commentator, Rashid Ismail Khalidi has made a significant contribution to the debate on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. He is the author of several scholarly books, papers, articles, and chapters in edited books. He was an adviser to the late Palestinian leader yasir arafat. His major area of research focuses on debunking the mythology bandied around by Western Orientalist scholars following in the steps of the late Palestinian-American scholar Professor edward said. Khalidi's latest works assess how narratives impacted on the formation and development of Palestinian national identity and community.
Khalidi was born in 1948 in New York City to a father who hailed from a distinguished Palestinian Muslim family from Jerusalem (the noted scholar walid khalidi is his first-cousin), and a Lebanese-American mother. His father was on the United Nations (UN) staff for several years. Rashid received his B.A. in history from Yale University (1970) and his Ph.D. in modern history from Oxford University (1974). Currently, he is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, and director of the Middle East Institute. Before joining Columbia in 2003 Khalidi taught in the department of history and Near-Eastern languages and civilization at the University of Chicago, and was director of the Middle East Center and Center for International Studies. His teaching career includes eight years on the faculty at the American University of Beirut (AUB) from 1976 to 1985. His professional and public service activities include his role as adviser for the Palestinian Delegation to the Madrid and Washington peace negotiations in 1991 to 1993. Khalidi is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (New York) since 1999. Between 1995 and 2004, he was also president of the American Committee on Palestine/ American Task Force on Palestine. Khalidi has been the recipient of many awards, including grants from the Ford, Fulbright, Rockefeller, and MacArthur Foundations. In 1993 and 1994 he was elected president of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA).
INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS
Khalidi is the author of several books and coedited volumes. These books include British Policy towards Syria and Palestine 1906–1914: The Antecedents of the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence, the Sykes-Picot Agreements and the Balfour Declaration; Palestine and the Gulf: Proceedings of an International Seminar, coedited with Camille Mansour; Under Siege: PLO. Decision-Making during the 1982 War; The Origins of Arab Nationalism, coedited with Lisa Anderson, Muhammad Muslih, and Reeva Simon; Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, which has been translated into several languages; Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East (received honorable mention for the Middle East Studies Association 2004 Albert Hourani Book Award), was also translated into several languages. Khalidi's latest book is titled The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood.
His curriculum vitae lists more than eighty articles on a wide variety of topics regarding Middle Eastern history and Arab studies, and an equally lengthy list of invited lectures and scholarly presentations at conferences.
THE WORLD'S PERSPECTIVE
Khalidi is a highly regarded scholar of modern Palestinian history and of modern Middle Eastern history generally. In tribute to this, in 1993 he was elected president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America, the major professional organization of scholars from various disciplines who specialize in the Middle East and North Africa. Particularly with the death of Said in 2003, Khalidi increasingly has become the leading Palestinian voice sought out by the media for comment and analysis on the current state of Israeli-Palestinian relations.
Name: Rashid Khalidi
Birth: 1948, New York City
Family: Married (wife: Mona) with children
Nationality: Palestinian (American citizenship)
Education: B.A. (history), Yale University, 1970; Ph.D. (modern history), University of Oxford, 1974
- 1976: Begins teaching at the American University of Beirut
- 1985: Begins teaching at the University of Chicago
- 1991: Adviser for the Palestinian Delegation to the Madrid and Washington peace negotiations with Israel
- 1993: President, Middle East Studies Association of North America
- 1995: President, American Committee on Palestine/American Task Force on Palestine
- 2003: Begins teaching at Columbia University, New York
Shibley Telhami (1951–) was born to a Palestinian Christian family in the village of Usifiyya, near Haifa, Israel. He was educated in the United States, receiving his B.A. from Queens College, and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. Telhami currently is the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and sits on the board of Human Rights Watch and Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, among other groups. He is one of the most widely respected and well-known Middle Eastern experts in the American media today. Telhami is the author of many publications, including the highly regarded The Stakes: America and the Middle East (2003).
This is not to suggest that Khalidi is not without his detractors. In 2005 he became the target of heavy criticisms for his stands on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and his public stands against U.S. policy in Iraq. Similar to many other American scholars Khalidi became the target of Campus Watch, a right-wing, pro-Israeli watchdog group monitoring academics whose work is not in accord with their perspectives. Khalidi was criticized for defining the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as an illegal occupation. He was also criticized for stating that the Palestinians have the right under international law to resist Israeli occupation. In his book, Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East, he underlined and bemoaned "the pervasive atmosphere of intimidation and fear that makes many experts on the region reluctant to express themselves frankly" (p.xiii). In April 2005 a committee made up of faculty members at Columbia University cleared Khalidi and other professors of the charge of anti-Semitism. In another speech given at Columbia University on April 4, 2005, Khalidi tackled the issue of academic freedom. In this speech he stated that, "freedom of speech and academic freedom are particularly necessary for unpopular and difficult ideas, for unconventional ideas, for ideas that challenge reigning orthodoxy. Academic freedom is important secondly, because it's necessary to push the frontiers of knowledge forward."
Khalidi will be remembered as a scholar of modern Palestinian history, and, increasingly, of American policy in the Middle East. He also has emerged as the dean of a new generation of Palestinian-American scholars, the generation that grew up in the aftermath of the first Arab-Israeli War of 1948 and the creation of Israel.
WORKS BY KHALIDI
British Policy towards Syria and Palestine 1906–1914: The Antecedents of the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence, the Sykes-Picot Agreements and the Balfour Declaration. London: Ithaca Press, 1980.
Under Siege: PLO. Decision-Making During the 1982 War. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.
Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
"Professor Rashid Khalidi Discusses the Hamas Terrorist Organization." Interview with Michele Norris. All Things Considered show on National Public Radio. 13 June 2003. Available from http://www.npr.org/programs/.
Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East. New York: Beacon Press, 2004.
"On the Importance of Academic Freedom." Teach-in on academic freedom, Columbia University, April 4, 2005.
The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006.
With Lisa Anderson, Muhammad Muslih, and Reeva Simon. The Origins of Arab Nationalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.
With Camille Mansour, eds. Palestine and the Gulf: Proceedings of an International Seminar. Beirut, Lebanon: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1982.
Kennicott, Philip. "The Knowledge That Doesn't Equal Power. Mideast Expert: Policy Born of Ignorance." Washington Post (13 May 2004). Available from http://www.washingtonpost.com/.
George E. Irani