Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University. He once served as Director of the Palestinian press agency, Wikalat al-Anba al-Filastinija. In the 1980s he so strongly identified with the aims of the Palestine Liberation Organization, designated a terrorist organization by the State Department during Khalidi's affiliation with the Yasser Arafat-run political entity, that he repeatedly referred to himself as "we" when expounding on the PLO's agenda. Additional evidence of Khalidi's intimacy with the PLO can be seen in his involvement with a so-called PLO "guidance committee" in the early 1990s.
According to journalist John Batchelor:
Khalidi hosted a fundraiser for Obama's first (unsuccessful) Congressional campaign in 2000. Obama attended a farewell party in Khalidi’s honor when the latter was leaving the University of Chicago (to embark on his new position at Columbia) in 2003.
“Mr. Khalidi is said to have made Mr. Obama's acquaintance when they were colleagues at the University of Chicago, with Mr. Obama a lecturer at the law school and Mr. Khalidi a professor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. In Chicago in 1995, Mr. Khalidi and his wife Mona founded the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), a group associated with confrontational statements of support for Palestinians and antagonism toward Israel. In 2001 and again in 2002, the Woods Fund of Chicago, with directors [Bill] Ayers and Obama, made grants of $40,000 and $35,000 to the AAAN. Importantly, the AAAN vice-president Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada has remembered Mr. Obama's speaking in 1999 against ‘Israeli occupation’ at a charity event for a West Bank refugee camp; and Mr. Abunimah … has also recalled Mr. and Mrs. Obama at a fundraiser held for the then-Congressional candidate Obama in 2000 at Rashid and Mona Khalidi's home, where Mr. Obama made convincing statements in support of the Palestinian cause.”
To view a comprehensive profile and numerous supplemental resources about Rashid Khalidi, click here.