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March 21, 2003

Columbia U's Radical Middle East Faculty

Front Page piece on Columbia Universtiy's Middle East Faculty
Corigliano’s critique of Columbia’s department of Middle Eastern languages and cultures (MEALAC), is should put the university on notice that it has a problem. Unfortunately, that problem is about to get worse, with the arrival of Rashid Khalidi next fall as MEALAC’s inaugural (anonymously funded) “Edward Said Professor of Middle East Studies” and head of the university’s Middle East Institute.

A glance at Khalidi’s work shows why this is a step in the wrong direction for Columbia University. His writings and statements routinely cross the line from education into a political advocacy that is not just extremist but often factually wrong. Four examples:

On American foreign policy. Following Saddam’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Khalidi called the widespread resistance to this act of aggression an “idiots’ consensus” and called on his colleagues to combat it.[i] After 9/11, he admonished Washington to drop what he called its “hysteria about suicide bombers.”[ii]

Khalidi asserts that the U.S. government has “yet to support the independence of Arab Palestine,”[iii] despite open endorsement by President George W. Bush of a Palestinian state[iv], and nearly $1 billion in direct U.S. aid to the West Bank and Gaza since 1993.[v]

And beware anyone who disagrees with Khalidi! He throws reckless accusations out against them, such as calling Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz “a fanatical, extreme right-wing Zionist.”[vi][more]