The Corner

Khalidi and Ayers and Guilt By Association — As Long As It’s Not THEIR Associations

An interesting op-ed in the WSJ today from Bari Weiss, who took a course in Modern Middle East History at Columbia from Prof. Rashid Khalidi, who structured the course around his book, Resurrecting Empire:  Western Footprints and America’s Perilous Path in the Middle East.  Channeling his predecessor Edward Said, Khalidi’s approach, of course, is that all problems in the Middle East are caused by U.S. policy.  No surprise there.  After all, as Weiss notes, “Disdain for American power and a muscular foreign policy are the standard at Columbia.”

But, he goes on to observe:

in rereading “Resurrecting Empire” this past week, I took new note of the book’s dedication: to Said, and to Mr. Ayers. Mr. Khalidi writes: “First, chronologically and in other ways, comes Bill Ayers. He persuaded me a little over a year ago that I should write this book . . . Bill was particularly generous in letting me use his family’s dining room table to do some of the writing for this project.” Mr. Khalidi also thanks Mr. Ayers’s notorious wife: “Bernardine Dohrn continually encouraged me to keep working on the book when I was traveling and at home.”

And guess what?  Though Khalidi condemns those who would judge Barack Obama by associations with the likes of Khalidi, it turns out the good professor thinks one’s associations are extremely significant if they happen to run counter to Khalidi’s worldview.  Weiss writes:

Is it fair for voters to judge Mr. Obama by some of the company he has kept? Mr. Khalidi implied last week that he thinks not. The controversy over his connection to Mr. Obama was “an idiot wind,” he said. But Mr. Khalidi is not shy about judging others by their associations. In explaining the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, Mr. Khalidi pointed to a favorite target of left-wing academics, neoconservative government policy makers and their connections to Israel. He wrote:

“The idea that the neocons and [the Israeli right-wing party] Likud are joined at the hip is reinforced by a revealing piece of intellectual affinity: University of Chicago professor Leo Strauss, the revered mentor of [Deputy Defense Secretary] Paul Wolfowitz, his deputy in the Pentagon Avram Shulsky, and many other neocon leading lights, was a great admirer of Vladimir Jabotinsky, founder of the extreme ultranationalist Revisionist branch of Zionism from which Likud has grown.”

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