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Rashid Khalidi

Author of Hundred Years' War on Palestine

17+ Works 1,590 Members 18 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Rashid Khalidi is the author of six books about the Middle East, including Palestinian Identity, Resurrecting Empire, The Iron Cage, and Sowing Crisis. His writing on Middle Eastern history and politics has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and many show more journals. He is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University in New York. show less
Image credit: 23 January 2009. Next Left Notes (Photo Credit: Thomas Good / NLN)

Works by Rashid Khalidi

Associated Works

Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question (1988) — Contributor — 197 copies, 2 reviews
The War on Lebanon: A Reader (2007) — Foreword, some editions — 16 copies

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Reviews

Very well documented and presented, and absolutely gut-wrenching. I was brought up in a conservative household where Zionism didn't have a name but was absolutely the way of thinking. I never fully understood why we were so invested in Israel as they seemed to be the bully of the area, and now that I've read the history of the area I am even more flabbergasted that there are Zionists at all. War crimes and genocidal strategies have been their game for decades, so listening to officials say there is no evidence of them in this massacre is nearly laughable. Freedom for Palestine.… (more)
 
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KallieGrace | 8 other reviews | May 8, 2024 |
Like many people since the events of October 7 2023 and all that has followed, I have read as much as has reached the media and the usual foreign studies publications but have also been looking for a more comprehensive history of Palestine, Israel and how we have reached where we are today.

There is a awful lot out there, but much seems to want to address the moral correctness of one view over another or alternatively how to get from here to there,whereas i have been looking for an impartial, factual history of the story. I suspect that there is no such work (or at least one or even a few that many would agree as being such a work.

Whilst this book is not that work, as it is clearly written from the Palestinian perspective, as a novice in this area, it seems to be a balanced depiction of that history in that it sets out (one) depiction of the history, highlights why various acts over time have been acceptable or not to the Palestinian people, where they have made mistakes, where Israel (and before its creation the Zionist Movement) and its main supporters (Great Brittan and the USA) have made mistakes, including the workings of the United Nations.

Despite the claims that reach back centuries, the story is mainly one of the 20th century, with its evolution away from colonialization, the development of the notions of statehood, nationhood and peoples and citizenship, the desire of the UK and later the USA to have a friendly, aligned place in the Middle East in order to better safeguard their respective security and economic interests (particularly petroleum interests), the strengths and weaknesses of the United Nations.

I am very conscious that I have much more to learn about this ongoing tragedy ( I think I can call it that even if October 7 had never happened), particularly from the Israeli perspective, but this is a very readable starting point as to the history.

As hopefully already clear, this does not address October 7 itself, having been published in 2020, but the history is nevertheless very helpful background.

The only reason I have not awarded 5 stars is because I don't believe that with my amateur status in this arena, I could not confer that grading without being able to test the veracity of the underlying scholarship.

Big Ship

24 April 2024
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bigship | 8 other reviews | Apr 23, 2024 |
This book may be one of the best modern books you will read on Palestine. While I have been up in arms about the recent genocidal behaviour of the Israelis, I had also a smattering of understanding of the apartheid regime of Israel.
It is easy to allow emotion to blind you. However, when you read this book, you realise the genuine horror of the situation. Rashid Khalidi lived through some of the bombing, yet wrote a balanced, well-researched book. He does not spare the Palestinian authorities for their incompetence, nor does he spare the Arabic countries for their almost useless approach to the problem.
However, it becomes clear that the Americans have allowed the Israelis free hand. It is also clear that Israel owns American political strategy in the Middle-East.
Excellent companion books to this one are "The General's Son," Orientalism, "Culture and Colonialism." When you read the latter three books, you will understand the cultural context of the Palestinian problem, the genocide and apartheid.

Meanwhile, read this book. The scholarly, readable book does not conceal his pain.
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RajivC | 8 other reviews | Jan 26, 2024 |
There is a lot of truth here, but also a lot of strategic omission, to an extent that even I — not a professional historian — felt was deliberate and wrong. I was hoping Khalidi would bring out a new perspective, a way to understand the conflict and the Palestinian view that would be more productive, but instead this felt — in tone, and in the selection of events — like propaganda.

I listened to the book, and noted all of my skepticism about his reporting of history:

Why did Palestinian Arabs not support the Peel commission at all, or offer a cogent counteroffer, either then or in 1947? Khalidi doesn't engage with those proposals in detail; he doesn't confront the Arab belief at the time that Jews had no place in Palestine — a refusal to engage with the Zionist idea that Jews had nowhere to go and that, in hindsight, Palestine was the only solution for them. What would he have done, if he were a Jew in the 1930s? Is asking him to consider this question too much?

Khalidi has nothing but criticism for Abdullah in Jordan, for stifling Palestinian nationalism — though he was one of the only Arab leaders to give them full citizenship after 1948. Why was there no discussion of how they are fully naturalized citizens of Jordan? Does Khalidi wish for refugees to be denied absorption into their new countries?

He mentions Abu Iyad — as an important Palestinian leader, later assassinated — and discusses him admiringly, without mentioning at all that he masterminded the Munich Massacre. Did he ever express regret for helping plan the murder of Israeli athletes? And why would Khalidi completely fail to mention that about Abu Iyad? Why would Khalidi fail to mention the Munich Massacre in the book at all? That seems to have been a central moment in the Palestinian story, an instance in which the Palestinian cause commanded global attention, and perhaps a major backwards step in their struggle — completely ignored by Khalidi. Is this because he intended for this book to target Western audiences that would not sympathize with the strategies of the Palestinian movement?

The failure of the Oslo accords, the Camp David negotiations in 2000 — no mention of the sticking point of refugee return, or of the Clinton Parameters for peace that Barak accepted but Arafat did not? No mention of the 2008 negotiations, in which Olmert drew up an offer on a napkin that Abbas left on the table? Sure, all these negotiations were flawed, the offer may not have been attractive to Palestinians, or the Palestinian leaders may not have felt that they had the popular mandate to accept them (a different problem altogether) — but there was scant or no mention of these discussions in this book. How can Khalidi claim to disagree with the Zionist thesis of Palestinian rejectionism without addressing the most recent and salient points of data that support it?

Khalidi very heavily criticizes the Oslo process and its facade of peace, which he claims concealed the continued entrenchment of Israeli occupation — but he doesn't cite the horrible suicide bombings during this period that cooled the Israeli public's desire for peace. He only brings up the terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada section, and even then more as a strategic failure for the Palestinian movement.

When discussing the start of the Second Intifada, he mentions the tunnel built under the Temple Mount but doesn’t explain its archeological purpose or the defamatory propaganda that inflamed Palestinians' hysteria about it, and about Sharon's ascent to the Temple Mount. He mentions the Israeli bulldozing of the neighborhood adjacent to the Western Wall — which, yes, was awful — but he never mention Jordanian and Palestinian destruction and desecration of the Jewish quarter after 1947. And the most aggravating thing for me, personally, was his language around terrorist attacks: Suicide bombings “followed” other events, "were carried out" by Hamas, etc. — were they not heavily supported by the Palestinian public at the time? Who carried them out? And does he not see that Israelis' response to these attacks would be utter unwillingness of any rapprochement with Palestinians?

Anyway. Those were my thoughts as I was reading, and on the whole I agree with the prism that Khalidi uses to view this conflict: It is at heart a settler conflict vs. native encounter, and Israel is mostly in the wrong, seeing as it has the upper hand in nearly every way. But the book proved to be a wholly minor addition to my understanding of the conflict — saying nothing new, sticking by the Palestinian narrative, while also calculatingly omitting events that could lead a Western audience to lose sympathy for the Palestinian cause.
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Gadi_Cohen | 8 other reviews | Sep 22, 2021 |

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