Rashid Khalidi is a man whose brilliance, fairmindedness, and decency I can personally attest to. He is the director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, and a highly respected scholar. Recently, in a disgraceful but unfortunately typical show of pro-Israel political muscle-flexing by the New York City government, he was banned from lecturing to city teachers.
Joyce Purnick writes about it in the New York Times:
Earlier this month, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein barred Rashid Khalidi, director of Columbia’s Middle East Institute, from again lecturing to city teachers enrolled in a professional development course because of “a number of things he’s said in the past,” said Michael Best, the department’s general counsel. Asked if the department had verified those purported remarks, Mr. Best did not answer directly: “He’s denied saying certain things; he has not denied saying others.”
Set against the backdrop of a simmering campus dispute over Jewish students’ charges of intimidation by pro-Palestinian teachers, the Khalidi affair has inevitably been linked to the larger controversy. “In this feeding frenzy for finding culprits, he sort of got lumped in with others, and it’s been unfair to him,” said Ari L. Goldman, dean of students at Columbia’s journalism school…
There are no known complaints about Professor Khalidi from the schoolteachers, and he has won student praise at Columbia. In fact, Charles Jacobs, who heads the pro-Israeli group that first raised complaints of intimidation in Columbia classrooms, said Professor Khalidi “was not at all criticized. Students said he was the opposite of the people they were complaining about.”
And while we are on the subject, Frank Furedi writes in Spiked: