Academic Freedom Must Be Preserved

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Article/book #: 10600
Title: Academic Freedom Must Be Preserved
By: Arthur Hertzberg  
Published in: The Jewish Week
Date of issue: Friday, 19 November 2004
Topic(s) addressed: People/entities mentioned in this item:
Commentary (by JB):

Rashid Khalidi is mentioned here but the incident at Columbia to which Hertzberg refers also involved an attack on Joseph Massad.

Some years ago Rashid Khalidi, who had been an assistant professor in the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, was nominated as a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Chicago. One or two Jewish faculty members tried to create a furor: How could this Palestinian nationalist be allowed to set some of the tone in a Middle Eastern Institute at Chicago? I was soon involved because Khalidi and I together had taught a course comparing Zionist and Palestinian nationalism, with the understanding that each of us would be free to express his opinions on the other’s views.

I wrote the president of the University of Chicago that I found Khalidi to be a solid and serious academic, and that his personal politics were no more offensive than mine — and I had been teaching the history of Zionism at Columbia for some 20 years while everyone knew that I was an active leader in the Zionist cause. That was the end of the furor and Khalidi’s appointment went through.

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