Rashid Khalidi (born 1950), an American historian of the Middle East, is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, and director of the Middle East Institute of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs.
Family, education and career
Khalidi was born in New York to a Palestinian father and a Lebanese mother.
He received a B.A. from Yale University, where he was a member of Wolf's Head Society, in 1970, and a D. Phil. from Oxford University in 1974 and spent many years as a professor and director of both the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago before joining the Columbia faculty. He has also taught at Georgetown University, Lebanese University, and the American University of Beirut.
Khalidi is married to Mona Khalidi, former President of the Arab American Action Network.
Princeton University let it become known that it was considering hiring Khalidi in 2005. However, a controversy developed over Khalidi's political involvements and no job offer was made.
Khalidi’s research covers primarily the history of
the modern Middle East
. He focuses on the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean
, with an eye to the emergence of various national identities and the role played by external powers in their development. He also researches the impact of the press on forming new senses of community, the role of education in the construction of political identity, and in the way narratives have developed over the past centuries in the region. Michael C. Hudson, director of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
at Georgetown, describes Khalidi as "preeminent in his field. He served as President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America
in 1994. Khalidi is currently editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies
Much of Khalidi's scholarly work in the 1990s focused on the historical construction of nationalism in the Arab world. Drawing on the work of theorists Benedict Anderson who described nations as "imagined communities", he does not posit primordial national identities, but clearly argues that these nations have legitimacy and rights. In Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness (1997), he places the emergence of Palestinian national identity in the context of Ottoman and British colonialism as well as the early Zionist effort in the Levant. This book won the Middle East Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Prize as best book of 1997. His dating of Palestinian national emergence to the early 20th century and his tracing of its contours provide a rejoinder to Israeli nationalist claims that Palestinians either do not exist, or had no collective claims prior to the 1948 creation of Israel. Nevertheless, Khalidi is also careful to focus on the late development, failings and internal divisions within the various elements of the Palestinian nationalist movement as well.
In Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East (2004), Khalidi takes readers on a historical tour of Western intervention in the Middle East, and argues that these interventions continue to have a colonialist nature that is both morally unacceptable and likely to backfire.
Khalidi has written dozens of scholarly articles on Middle East history and politics, as well as op-ed pieces in many U.S. newspapers. He has also been a guest on numerous radio and TV shows including All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, Morning Edition, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Charlie Rose, and Nightline, and has appeared on the BBC, the CBC, France Inter and the Voice of America. Khalidi had an advising role at the Madrid Conference of 1991 between the U.S., Israel, Palestinians and Arab states. He served as president of the American Committee on Jerusalem, now known as the American Task Force on Palestine.
Khalidi's statements on the status of Palestinians in Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories have been the most controversial. In an interview on PBS, Khalidi used the term "occupied" in reference to Mandatory Palestine in 1948, saying "about half of it was occupied by Israel (which under UNGA 181 was supposed to obtain roughly 55% of Mandate Palestine, and which by the time of the armistice had taken control of about 78%, including half of what was to have been the Arab state)... the remainder was, as you say, under Egyptian and Jordanian control from 1948-1967.
A New York Sun editorial criticized Khalidi for stating that there is a legal right under international law for Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation. For example, in a speech given to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Khalidi said that “[k]illing civilians is a war crime. It’s a violation of international law. They are not soldiers. They’re civilians, they’re unarmed. The ones who are armed, the ones who are soldiers, the ones who are in occupation, that's different. That's resistance.” The Sun editorial argued that by failing to distinguish between Palestinian combatants and noncombatants, Khalidi implies that all Palestinians have this right to resist, which it argued was incorrect under international law. In an interview discussing this editorial, Khalidi objected to this characterization as incorrect and taken out of the context of his statements on international law.
Khalidi has described discussions of Arab restitution for property confiscated from Jewish refugees forced to flee Middle Eastern and North African countries after the creation of Israel as “insidious”, "because the advocates of Jewish refugees are not working to get those legitimate assets back but are in fact trying to cancel out the debt of Israel toward Palestinian refugees.
Khalidi opposes the Iraq War and has said that “we owe reparations to the Iraqi people.”
Allegations of PLO connections
Khalidi has been accused of having ties to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, based on his work for Wafa in the late 1980s, and later serving as an advisor to the Palestinian delegation during the Madrid Conference of 1991. Khalidi denied the allegation that he served as a PLO spokesman. Khalidi explained that he often spoke to journalists in Beirut, and was usually cited, without attribution, as a well-informed Palestinian source. He also said that he was unaware of any misidentification as a PLO spokesman.
The claim received renewed attention in 2008 when it was raised due to a reported friendship between Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Khalidi's family when Khalidi taught at the University of Chicago. Articles by Aaron Klein and John Bachelor, writers respectively for World Net Daily and Human Events, were referenced by rival political campaigns and reprinted in wider-circulation media.
Khalidi's relationship to Obama has come under increasing interest due to the U.S. Presidential race of 2008. Obama made one of the presentations in praise of Khalidi at a 2003 farewell dinner on the occasion of Khalidi leaving the Chicago Area. The dinner was a celebration of the Chicago area Palestinian community. Obama's remarks alluded to the numerous dinners that he had at the home of the Khalidis.
NYC teacher training program
In 2005 Khalidi's participation in a New York City teacher training program was ended by the city's Schools Chancellor. The Chancellor, Joel I. Klein, issued a statement that “Considering his past statements, Rashid Khalidi should not have been included in a program that provided professional development for [Department of Education] teachers and he won't be participating in the future.” Following the decision, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger spoke out on Khalidi's behalf, writing: "The department's decision to dismiss Professor Khalidi from the program was wrong and violates First Amendment principles... The decision was based solely on his purported political views and was made without any consultation and apparently without any review of the facts."
- The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood, Beacon Press, 2006.
- Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East, Beacon Press, 2004.
- Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, Columbia University Press, 1997.
- The Origins of Arab Nationalism (Co-editor), Columbia University Press, 1991.
- Under Siege: PLO Decision-making during the 1982 War. Columbia University Press, 1986.
- Palestine and the Gulf (Co-editor), Institute for Palestine Studies, 1982.
- British Policy towards Syria and Palestine, 1906-1914. Ithaca Press for St. Antony's College, 1980.
Papers, Articles, and Chapters in Edited Volumes
- "Arab Nationalism in Syria: The Formative Years." In Nationalism in a Non-National State: The Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, pp. 207-237. Edited by William Haddad and William Ochsenwald. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1977.
- "The Soviet Union's Arab Policy in 1975." In The Yearbook of the Palestine Question: 1975, pp. 314-353 [Arabic]. Edited by Camille Mansour. Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies [IPS], 1977.
- "Soviet Policy in the Arab World in l976: A Year of Setbacks." In The Yearbook of the Palestine Question: 1976, pp. 397-420 [Arabic]. Edited by Camille Mansour. Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1979.
- Soviet Middle East Policy in the Wake of Camp David. I.P.S. Papers No. 3. Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1979, 36 pp.
- The Soviet Union and the Middle East in the 1980s. I.P.S. Papers No. 7. Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1980, 34 pp.
- "'Abd al-Ghani al-'Uraisi and al-Mufid: The Press and Arab Nationalism before 1914." In Intellectual Life in the Arab East, 1890-1939, pp. 38-61. Edited by Marwan Buheiri. Beirut: American University of Beirut Press, 1981. Reprinted in Arab Studies Quarterly 3, 1 (Winter 1981): 22-42 [Arabic: pp. 55-78, Beirut: Arab Unity Studies Center, 1983].
- "L'URSS au Moyen Orient: Mythes et Réalités." Revue d'Etudes Palestiniennes 3 (Spring 1982): 91-103.
- "The Role of the Press in the Early Arab Reaction to Zionism." Peuples Méditerranéens/ Mediterranean Peoples 20 (July-September 1982): 105-24.
- "The Gulf and Palestine in Soviet Policy." In Palestine and the Persian Gulf, pp. 149-185. Edited by Rashid Khalidi and Camille Mansour. Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1982.
- "Problems of Foreign Intervention in Lebanon." American-Arab Affairs 7 (Winter 1983-84): 24-30.
- "The Palestinians in Lebanon: The Social Repercussions of the Israeli Invasion." Middle East Journal 38, 2 (Spring 1984): 255-266.
- "Social Factors in the Rise of the Arab Movement in Syria." In From Nationalism to Revolutionary Islam, pp. 53-70. Edited by Said Arjomand. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984.
- "L'impact du mouvement national palestinien sur le Liban." Revue d'Etudes Palestiniennes 12 (Summer 1984): 3-14.
- "The 1982 War and the Palestinian National Movement." Fikr 2 (June-July 1984): 26-36 [Arabic].
- "The Asad Regime and the Palestinian Resistance." Arab Studies Quarterly 6, 4 (Fall 1984): 259-267.
- "The 1912 Election Campaign in the Cities of Bilad al-Sham." International Journal of Middle East Studies 16, 4 (November 1984): 461-474.
- "Lebanon in the Context of Regional Politics: Palestinian and Syrian Involvement in the Lebanese Crisis." Third World Quarterly 7, 3 (July 1985): 495-514.
- "Foreign Intervention and Domestic Conflict in Lebanon." Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Working Paper, July, 1985, 32 pp.
- "Reagan Administration Policy towards the Palestinians." American-Arab Affairs 13 (Summer 1985): 10-16.
- "Arab Views of the Soviet Role in the Middle East. The Middle East Journal 39, 4 (Fall 1985): 716-732.
- "The Palestinian Dilemma: PLO Policy after Lebanon." Journal of Palestine Studies, 15, 1 (Autumn 1985): 88-103.
- "Palestinian Politics after the Exodus from Beirut." In The Middle East After the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon, pp. 233-253. Edited by Robert O. Freedman. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1986.
- "An Arab View of Containment." In Containment: Concepts and Policies, pp. 415-423. Edited by John Gaddis and Terry Deibel. Washington, DC: National Defense University, 1986.
- "Le Liban et les Palestiniens." In Le Liban: Espoirs et Réalités, pp. 135-152. Edited by Bassma Kodmani-Darwish. Paris: Institut Francais de Relations Internationales, 1987.
- "Social Transformation and Political Power in the 'Radical' Arab States." In Nation, State and Integration in the Arab World, Vol. III, Beyond Coercion: The Durability of the Arab State, pp. 203-219. Edited by Adeed Dawisha and I. William Zartman. New York: Croom Helm, 1988 [Arabic: pp. 681-696, Beirut: Arab Unity Studies Center].
- "Palestinian Peasant Resistance to Zionism before World War I." In Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question, pp. 207-233. Edited by Edward Said and Christopher Hitchens. New York: Verso, 1988.
- "The Palestinians and Lebanon." In Toward a Viable Lebanon. pp. 133-144. Edited by Halim Barakat. Washington DC: Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, 1988.
- "The Shape of Inter-Arab Politics in 1995." In The Next Arab Decade: Alternative Futures, pp. 55-63. Edited by Hisham Sharabi. Boulder: Westview, 1988 [Arabic: pp. 73-84, Beirut: Arab Unity Studies Center, 1986].
- "The Economic Partition of the Arab Provinces of the Ottoman Empire before the First World War." Review 11, 2 (Spring 1988): 251-264.
- "The Uprising and the Palestine Question." World Policy Journal 5, 3 (Summer 1988): 497-517.
- "The Palestine Liberation Organization and Camp David, 1978-1988." In The Middle East: Ten Years After Camp David, pp. 261-278. Edited by William B. Quandt. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1988.
- "Revisionist Views of the Modern History of Palestine: 1948." Arab Studies Quarterly 10, 4 (Autumn 1988): 425-34.
- "Leadership and Negotiation during the 1982 War: Yasser Arafat and the P.L.O." In Leadership and Negotiation: A New Look at the Middle East, pp. 49-69. Edited by Barbara Kellerman and Jeffrey Rubin. New York: Praeger, 1988.
- "The Palestinian People 22 Years after 1967." In Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising Against Israeli Occupation, pp. 113-126. Edited by Zachary Lockman and Joel Beinin. Boston: South End Press, 1989.
- "The Way Forward: A Palestinian Perspective." Journal of Refugee Studies, 2, 1 (1989): 191-199.
- "Consequences of the Suez Crisis in the Arab World." In Suez 1956: The Crisis and its Consequences, pp. 377-92. Edited by Roger Louis and Roger Owen. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1989.
- "The P.L.O. as Representative of the Palestinian People." In The International Relations of the Palestine Liberation Organization, pp. 59-73. Edited by Augustus R. Norton and Martin H. Greenberg. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989.
- "The Resolutions of the 19th Palestine National Council: A Textual Analysis." Journal of Palestine Studies, 19, 2 (Winter 1990): 29-42.
- "Observations on the Palestinian Right of Return." Emerging Issues: Occasional Paper No. 6, Cambridge: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, October 1990 [with Itamar Rabinovich]. Modified version in Journal of Palestine Studies, 21, 2 (Winter 1992): 29-40.
- "The Palestinians and the Gulf Crisis." Current History 90, 552 (January 1991): 18-20, 37 [reprinted: The Gulf War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions, pp. 423-430]. Edited by Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf. New York: Times Books, 1991.
- "The Impact of the Iraqi Revolution on the Arab World." In The Iraqi Revolution of 1958: The Old Social Classes Revisited, pp. 106-117. Edited by Robert A. Fernea and W. Roger Louis. London: I.B. Tauris, 1991.
- "United States Policy and the Palestine Problem: Historical Dimensions and the Creation of an 'Alternative Narrative'." In History, the White House and the Kremlin: Statesmen as Historians, pp. 20-37. Edited by Michael G. Fry. London: Pinter, 1991.
- "External Intervention in Lebanon: The Historical Dynamics." In Quest for Understanding: Arabic and Islamic Studies in Memory of Malcolm Kerr, pp. 99-118. Edited by Samir Seikaly, Ramzi Baalbaki and Peter Dodd. Beirut: American University Press, 1991.
- "Introduction" and "Ottomanism and Arabism in Syria before 1914: A Reassessment." In The Origins of Arab Nationalism, pp. vii-xix and 50-69. Edited by R. Khalidi, L. Anderson, R Simon and M. Muslih. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.
- "Arab Nationalism: Historical Problems in the Literature." The American Historical Review, 96, 5 (December, 1991): 1363-1373.
- "Policy-Making in the Palestinian Polity." In The Middle East in Global Perspective, pp 59-81. Edited by Harold Saunders and Judith Kipper. Boulder: Westview, 1991.
- "Society and Ideology in Late Ottoman Syria: Class, Education, Profession and Confession." In Problems of the Modern Middle East in Historical Perspective: Essays in Honour of Albert Hourani, pp. 119-132. Edited by John Spagnolo. Oxford: Ithaca Press for St. Antony's College Middle East Monograph Series, 1992.
- "The Future of Arab Jerusalem." British Journal of Middle East Studies, 19, 2 (Fall, 1993): 133-143.
- "A Response to Amos Oz, 'The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Storyteller’s Point of View'." The Michigan Quarterly Review, 32, 2 (Spring, 1993): 178-187.
- "Albert Hourani, 1915-1993." MESA Bulletin, 27 (July 1993): 1-3.
- "Roadblocks in the Bilateral Negotiations." al-Siyasa al-Filistiniyya [Palestinian Politics], 1-2 (Winter-Spring 1994): 30-39 [Arabic].
- "The Genesis of the Palestinian-Israeli Agreement." Current History, 93, 580 (February, 1994): 62-66.
- "Ottoman Notables in Jerusalem: Nationalism and other Options." Special issue of The Muslim World devoted to Jerusalem, Charles D. Smith, ed., lxxxiv, 1-2, (January-April 1994): 1-18.
- "The Palestinian Refugee Question: Toward a Solution." In Palestinian Refugees: Their Problem and Future. A Special Report. Washington DC: The Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine, October 1994, 21-27.
- " Address: Is there a Future for Middle East Studies?" Middle East Studies Association Bulletin , 29, 1 (July 1995): 1-6.
- "Prospects for Peace in the Middle East and the Continuing Palestinian-Israeli Conflict." Annals of the Japan Association for Middle East Studies, 10 (1995): 235-244.
- American Policy in the Middle East. Public Lectures, no. 7. Nablus: Center for Palestine Research and Studies, February 1996, 19 pp.
- "Contrasting Narratives of Palestinian Identity." In The Geography of Identity, pp. 187-222. Edited by Patricia Yaeger. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996.
- "The Arab Experience in the First World War". In Facing Armageddon: The First World War Experienced, pp. 642-655. Edited by Hugh Cecil and Peter Liddle. London: Leo Cooper, 1996.
- "The Formation of Palestinian Identity: The Critical Years, 1917-1923". In Rethinking Nationalism in the Arab Middle East, pp. 171-190. Edited by James Jankowski and Israel Gershoni. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
- "Fifty Years after 1948: A Universal Jubilee?" Tikkun, 13, 2 (March/April, 1998): 53-56. Modified version in N. Ateek, ed., Holy Land, Hollow Jubilee: God Justice and the Palestinians, 89-96. London: Melisende, 1999.
- "For a Shared Jerusalem." Jusoor: The Arab-American Journal of Cultural Exchange, 9/10, special issue, "The Open Veins of Jerusalem," (June 1998): 45-54.
- "The ‘Middle East’ as a Framework for Analysis: Re-mapping A Region in the Era of Globalization." Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 18, 2 (1998), 1-8. Modified version published as "The Middle East as an Area in an Era of Globalization." In Localizing Knowledge in a Global World: Recasting the Area Studies Debate. Ali Mirsepassi, Amrita Basu and Fredrick Weaver, eds. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, forthcoming 2001.
- "Transforming the Face of the Holy City: Political Messages in the Built Topography of Jerusalem." Jerusalem Quarterly File, part 1: 3 (Winter 1999): 16-21; part 2: 4 (Spring 1999): 21-29.
- "Truth, Justice and Reconciliation: Elements of a Solution to the Palestinian Refugee Issue." In The Palestinian Exodus 1948-1998, 221-242. Edited by Ghada Karmi and Eugene Cotran. Reading: Ithaca Press, 1999. Earlier versions in: International Journal (Canada), 53, 2 (Spring, 1998): 234-252; Politica Exterior (Spain), 12, 63, Sept.-Oct. 1998, 97-116.
- "Introduction." In Jerusalem In History, pp. xi-xxxi. Edited by Kamil J. Asali. New York: Olive Branch Press, 3nd edition, 2000. Earlier version in "Foreword." In Jerusalem In History, pp. x-xvi. London: Kegan Paul International, rev. ed. 1997.
- "Edward W. Said and the American Public Sphere: Speaking Truth to Power." In Edward Said and the Work of the Critic: Speaking Truth to Power, pp. 152-165. Edited by Paul Bové. Durham: Duke University Press, 2000. Earlier version in Boundary 2, 25, 2 (Summer 1998): 161-178.
- "The Future of Arab Jerusalem." In Arab Nation, Arab Nationalism, pp. 19-40. Edited by Derek Hopwood. Vol. 2, London: MacMillans/St. Antony’s College, 2000.
- "Intellectual Life in Late Ottoman Jerusalem." In Ottoman Jerusalem: The Living City, 1517-1917, pp. 221-228. Edited by Sylvia Auld and Robert Hillenbrand. London and Jerusalem: British School of Archaeology and World of Islam Festival Trust, 2000.
- "The Palestinians and 1948: The Underlying Causes of Failure." In The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948, pp. 12-36. Edited by Eugene L. Rogan and Avi Shlaim. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Arabic version in Majallat al-Dirasat al-Filistiniyya, forthcoming, 2001.
- "The Centrality of Jerusalem to an End of Conflict Agreement." Journal of Palestine Studies, 30, 3, no. 119 (Spring 2001), pp. 82-87.
- "The Revolutionary Year of 1958 in the Arab World." In The Revolutionary Middle East in 1958. Edited by Wm. Roger Louis. Washington, D. C. and London: Woodrow Wilson Press and I.B. Tauris, forthcoming, 2001.
- "Arab Society in Mandatory Palestine: The Half-Full Glass?" In New Approaches to the Study of Ottoman and Arab Societies. Israel Gershoni and Ursula Wokoek, eds. Berkeley: University of California Press, forthcoming, 2001.
- "Anti-Zionism, Arabism and Palestinian Identity: ‘Isa al-’Isa and Filastin." In Political Identity in the Arab East in the 20th Century. Samir Seikaly, ed. Beirut: American University of Beirut Press, forthcoming.
Unpublished Conference Papers and Public Lectures
- American University in Cairo Political Science Department Distinguished Visiting Professor, May 8-10, 2001: "American Middle East Policy," "Palestinian Identity: Diasporic, Historic and Contingent Constituents," and "The Question of Jerusalem: Aspects of a Solution."
- Tufts University Jerusalem Symposium, Talloires, France, May 4-5, 2000: "Sharing Jerusalem: Preconditions for a Just Peace."
- Ninth Annual Middle East Symposium, Hamline University, St. Paul, March 11, 2000: "Will the Current Peace Process Produce a Lasting Peace?"
- Royal Institute for International Affairs/ALECSO Conference, "The Future of Jerusalem," London, December 13-15, 1999: "The Politics of Building in Jerusalem."
- Bruno Kreisky Forum Conference, "Historical Roots of the Post-1945 Middle East Conflict," Vienna, October 10-11, 1999: "The Arab States between the Super-Powers."
- University of Chicago conference, "50 Years of Hebrew Culture in Israel," April, 1998: "The Future of Israel as a State in the Middle East."
- Raymond and Wilberta Savage Visiting Professorship Lecture in International Relations and Peace, University of Oregon, Eugene, October, 1997: "Israelis and Palestinians: Narratives of Identity and Peace."
- Social Science Research Council Workshop, "The Cold War and the Third World," Chicago, December 1990: "The Middle East in the Post-Cold War Era."
- American Historical Association conference, San Francisco, December 1989: "The French Revolution as Model and Examplar: The Arabic Press after the 1908 Ottoman Revolution."
- University of Illinois conference, Champaign, November 1989: "Antonius, Dawn and the Rise of Arabism in Syria: Changing Views of a Changing Society."
- Social Research Council conference on "Retreating States and Expanding Societies," Aix-en-Provence, March 1988: "Nation-State Nationalism and Arab Nationalism."
- Middle East Studies Association conference, Baltimore, November 1987: "Nationalism in Egypt and Bilad al-sham before 1914: A Comparative Perspective."
- University of Chicago Oriental Institute, January 1987: "The Role of the Press in the Intellectual Life of Late Ottoman Syria."
- Middle East Studies Association conference, Boston, November 1986: "The Middle East and India in Pre-World War I British Strategy."
- A.U.B. History Dept. Seminar, "Egypt 1882-1914: Occupation and Response," May 1982: "The 'Aqaba Incident of 1906: Britain and the Egyptian National Movement."