Breaking: Students rise up against NY Jewish school’s ‘prohibition’ of Rashid Khalidi

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Rashid Khalidi

Rashid Khalidi

Ramaz is a Jewish day school in New York. Evidently the head of the school has barred a neighbor, the scholar Rashid Khalidi, from speaking to the student politics society there. And students are not taking the prohibition lying down. Here’s a petition that I believe went up one day ago:

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.

I see that the petition has 112 signatures. Some of them are young people in the Open Hillel movement, which is seeking to end the prohibition on free speech about Israel/Palestine at campus Hillel chapters.

One signer says:

David Cahn “Freedom of speech is a fundamental rights. When schools ban certain points of view, they limit the ability of their students to form educated opinions. Ramaz is not inviting Khalidi – the students are. That’s an important distinction that needs to be made. Keep up the good work!”

Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia, is author of Brokers of Deceit, a book anatomizing the US role in the peace process. He is a former adviser to the PLO delegation to the Madrid talks and was said to be close to Barack Obama when they were Chicago neighbors, but the relationship became an issue in the 2008 campaign and the Obama campaign threw Khalidi under the bus. (And Khalidi is a friend.)

Ramaz’s student politics society lately hosted a talk by Joe Lhota, a Republican.

I have reached out to Ramaz Head of School Paul Shaviv, the Politics Society and Rashid Khalidi, who is traveling. I will update when I learn anything.

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