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Ramaz High School’s student-run politics society issued an invitation to Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, but the talk was cancelled by Ramaz’s head of school.

Ramaz High School’s student-run politics society issued an invitation to Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, but the talk was cancelled by Ramaz’s head of school, Paul Shaviv. Some students and alumni of Ramaz are protesting the school’s decision.

Khalidi, who was born in New York to a Saudi-Palestinian father and Lebanese mother, lived in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war and was associated with the Palestine Liberation Organization. As a professor, he has said that Palestinians living under Israeli occupation have a legal right to resistance and has charged supporters of Israel with using McCarthyite tactics to silence honest debate in America about the Middle East, including falsely accusing him of anti-Semitism.


Khalidi’s signature work, “Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness” (Columbia University Press, 1997), argues that the Arabs living in Eretz-Israel (commonly called Palestine before 1948) began to regard themselves as a distinct people early in the 20th century, and disagrees with the Israeli view that the arrival of modern Zionism and the Arab struggle against it is not the sole explanation of the emergence of Palestinian nationalism.

In a 2001 interview published in North Coast Xpress, Khalidi said, “Every other single place on the face of the earth is in support of the Palestinians, yet all of them together aren’t a hill of beans compared to the United States and Israel, because the United States and Israel can basically do anything they please. They are the world superpower, they are the regional superpower.”

In a 2007 interview, Khalidi described discussions of Arab restitution for property confiscated from the Jewish refugees from 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.”

New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman said of Khalidi’s book The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood: “When he talks about repressive Israeli measures having been ‘sometimes imposed on the pretext of security,’ critics are bound to ask: What pretext? How many suicide bombings of cafes and pizza shops does it take before a country has a right to end them by any method that seems to work?”

Efraim Karsh said about the same book: “One would have hoped that after 80 years of stubborn adherence to the ‘one-state solution’ and an equally adamant rejection of the ‘two-state solution,’ which have resulted in Palestinian statelessness, all but the most fanatically self-deluded would grasp the root causes of the Palestinian debacle — not least a historian purporting to redress the ‘continuing refusal to look honestly at what has happened in this small land over the past century or so.'”

In a statement issued to JTA on Friday, Shaviv said he was working with students to “navigate a delicate political situation, respecting their wish for open exchange of ideas, but also being mindful of multiple sensitivities within our varied school constituencies.”

The statement from Ramaz said, “The issue is not whether or not students should hear another view – they should. Our question was: ‘Is this the appropriate program?’”

The school’s administration said it believed the controversy surrounding an appearance by Khalidi would “massively overshadow any conversation and would make an educational experience impossible,” and that Khalidi was not the right partner for dialogue with high school students. Shaviv said he met with Khalidi and amicably explained the situation to him, and Ramaz’s statement said the school is “working with the politics club to arrange an event that will provide the program content they originally envisaged.”


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  1. Jews have to learn the difference between listening to both sides of a debate and empowering people who want to kill Jews or justify the murder of Jews. There are not two sides to the question : Do Jews have the right to live. Anybody who wants to debate that question does not deserve a podium anywhere and he sure as hell doesn't deserve a podium at a Jewish school. The sooner the students at that Jewish school, and every other, learn that, the better off they will be and the better of the Jewish people will be. And the better off the world will be.

  2. Too bad, really. The Ramaz kinderlach who want to hear him should have had the opportunity to hear what he has says, particularly in a Jewish day school. Personally. I would certainly have liked to hear the questions that the students would have asked and, even more so, his answers. Mr. Chaviv, you would have lost nothing in having him at Ramaz.. Nice comment, Sara Springer.

  3. Ramaz is a left of center orthodox school, the Head of School should expect his students to want to hear people like Khalidi.What does Dovev expect the student to invite Moshe Feiglin.

  4. The students should consider both views. Let them read Khalidi's view in the Iron Cage, and my view that the Jews lawfully own the right to self-determination in Palestine under International Law, and the Arabs residing in Palestine and calling themselves "The Palestinian People" do not. Khalidi agrees with me that the Balfour Declaration ignored the Arabs in Palestine when they recognized the ownerships of political rights — the right to self-determination. The can find my view at Up to now, people have believed the UN Committee that calls itself Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. But the legal opinion put together by the Committee was based on the views of W.T. Mallison and of Henry Cattan. They are the only authority cited in their report Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem. Henry Cattan was a friend of Haj Amin al Husseini was was the head of the Arab Higher Committee and a friend of Adolph Hitler. Cattan was a member of the Committee. He also represented the Arabs in the UNSCOP hearings in 1947. If you trust the UN to give you the truth, you are also trusting Cattan to be objective, and trusting Mallison who wrote the foreword in Cattan's book on the Palestine Question. An acclaimed International Lawyer named Julius Stone was so outraged by the distorted work of Mallison that he wrote Israel Palestine: Assault on the Law of Nations. So if these High School Students want to zero in on the truth, let them read Kahlidi's The Iron Cage, Julius Stone's Israel Palestine: Assault on the Law of Nations, and my legal opinion archived at Enter the URL carefully or you will be told it cant be found.

  5. Entertaining the idea that there is a Palestinian country and spinning our wheels over a peace process for a country and a people who do not exist is killing Jews. Enough. There is no occupation. We are resettling. There are resettlers in Judea and Samaria. There is no West Bank. Take back the conversation. Stand up and refuse to go along with the insanity of a peace process for a non-existent entity.

  6. I am a father of a Ramaz student (and I am a graduate of Columbia). It pains me that a Jewish Press reporter ignored the essential facts and logic inherent in rescinding Rashid Khalidi's invitation in this article[1]. Students at Ramaz are educated to support Israel (and America) and pray for the welfare of American & Israeli soldiers. Khalidi advocates for the murder of both Israeli and American soldiers, "He [Khalidi] tried to explain away Hezbollah's 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, which killed 241 American military personnel, claiming that U.S. peacekeeping forces were an invading army that could be opposed justifiably." [2] As even a carefully research editorial in the secular media pointed out, Khalidi's views on international law are false: "It is the great tragedy of the situation at Columbia, which has become a college at which the authorities seem indifferent to the substance of the arguments made by those who teach the students."[3]
    Khalidi often communicates disingenuously and lies about his own past, "Khalidi uses rational, peaceful language when addressing English-speaking audiences, yet switches to virulent diatribes when speaking Arabic." [2] I don't think it is hard to decipher his ethical stance towards Israeli soldiers is to advocate also for their murder, Khalidi has stated about our brethren in Israel: "Killing 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." [2]
    Even public schools in NY have not welcomed Khalidi's presence "… [NYC] 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."[4]
    Some might find it interesting to hear our enemy's propaganda, and there is no shortage of Khalidi's bogus scholarship available to those who might chose to research it like moths driven to a flame. However, Jewish students as a whole don't benefit from wasting their time by being exposed directly to a charlatan who builds a career on lies and deception all the while advocating of the murder of our brothers and sisters and our nation's destruction.
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