Rashid Khalidi–What’s the Deal?

A minor storm is brewing around the dropping of Professor Rashid Khalidi from a New York Board of Education program that taught city K-12 teachers about the Middle East…and like any storm, it is obscuring the public vision regarding the problems besetting Columbia.
Yes, Columbia is almost unbearably one-sided when it comes to teaching the Middle East, simply from the perspective that every field and every subject should be accessed critically, and one-sidedness does not permit for criticism. And yes, the University should seek to expand the voices on its faculty. But Khalidi, if anything, seems to serve as an example of a professor who separates between his politics and his pedagogy–and therefore, under the current situation, the model of a professor who is also a politically involved citizen.
Just to be clear, I think he is a bigot due to remarks he made about Jews, but I have not yet heard one thing to indicate that he uses the classroom as a bully pulpit, and I respect that.
So, should the BOE have dropped Khalidi? Truth is, I think they have the full right to decide whether to hire or fire. But I also think that in making those decisions they should do so in respect to the behavior of the person in the role, and not their political beliefs.
[crossposted]

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