Rashid Khalidi Undermines His Own Thesis
Mon Mar 16 2020
In an interview last week, Columbia University's Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Rashid Khalidi, told fellow Columbia professor Bruce Robbins, "I am a great believer in the artificiality, in the constructed nature, in the entirely modern nature, of nationalism and nations. I don't think they have the ancient roots they all claim."
This would seem to undermine a key tenet of Khalidi's worldview: his insistence that the Palestinian people have a long history.
In a New York Times review of Khalidi's recent The Hundred Years' War On Palestine, Scott Anderson summarized the professor's thesis: "the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is best understood as a war of colonial conquest, one that closely hews to the pattern and mind-set of other national-colonial movements of the 19th century."
So, on the one hand, Khalidi claims all nationalisms are artificial constructs, while on the other — the central thesis of his book and much of his previous scholarship, in fact — he argues that Palestinian nationalism is an inviolable concept threatened by phony Zionist colonialism....