Columbia Professor Rashid Khalidi Prohibited from Speaking at Ramaz School

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Professor Rashid Khalidi

Professor Rashid Khalidi

Students at the Ramaz School, a Jewish prep school in Manhattan, created a petition to oppose their school’s decision to prohibit a speech by Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi.

Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia, as well as Director of the Middle East Institute at SIPA.

The Ramaz Political Society, a student group, invited Khalidi to give a talk, but the event was banned by the school’s administrators. The decision appears to be based on Khalidi’s outspoken criticism of Israel and U.S. policy in the Middle East. Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East is the scathing title of just one of Khalidi’s books on the subject.

A Ramaz student recently drafted a petition to allow Khalidi to speak, which has garnered 203 signatures and counting. The petition reads:

“I, an open-minded, intellectually honest, and unprejudiced student of the Ramaz Upper School support The Ramaz Politics Society’s (RamPo) event on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict headlined by Columbia Professor Rashid Khalidi. I believe it is critical that Ramaz students are exposed to different perspectives and that open dialogue be encouraged at Ramaz—not limited. I call upon Head of School Mr. Shaviv to realize how important academic equitability is to the Ramaz community and reverse his prohibition on Professor Khalidi’s address to RamPo.”

In a letter sent home to parents on Friday, Ramaz Head of School Paul Shaviv called the student group’s invitation to Khalidi “well intentioned, but inappropriate.” Shaviv defended his decision to prohibit the talk: “We felt that controversy would be inevitable over this invitation, would massively overshadow any conversation and would make an educational experience impossible; and also that Prof. Khalidi, who is an international personality of great political stature, was not the right partner for ‘dialogue’ with high school students.”

School administrators have not changed their stance as the number of petitions signatures continues to grow.

Khalidi’s “bring it” face via Alex Levac

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  1. Lets hear him  

    Any chance he'd give the talk at Columbia? High school students could attend here. Sounds interesting.

    • Actually...  

      Is there any chance that one of Columbia's many political, Israeli or Palestinian groups could do this? It's not even that hard logistically speaking for a weaker to give a speech, even a controversial speaker. And surely more perspectives never hurt--even controversial ones can add significant value.

  2. CC 14  

    posts like these make me think bwog is back on the rise

  3. Not relevant

    Well I'm glad bwog is now reporting about stories relevant to high schools. There's lots of professors at columbia who aren't invited to speak at places because of their views and since this story is focused on the students at this school and not khalidi, I really don't see why you think this is important.

  4. Anonymous

    Professor Rashid dropping magnum all over the place. That photo is white hot fire flames. Would not mess with him.
    OOO Kill 'em.

  5. Ramaz Alum  

    Why is it news that a private Zionist school is prohibiting a speaker that clearly opposes the views of the institution. The school did not say that students could not hear Khalidi speak; rather that the students could not invite him to speak at an event hosted by the school.

  6. Alum

    I applaud these brave students for inviting him. Of course there will never be peace when people only want to hear one side of an argument. Luckily at Columbia you have the freedom to take a course in anything.

  7. anon  

    Thats like Columbia inviting the head of the TEA party here to speak.

  8. C/O 14  

    Good for Ramaz. Khalidi is a bigot.

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