Relationship with Obama
On April 10, 2008 Senator Barack Obama spoke at a farewell event for Rashid Khalidi who was leaving Chicago for a job in New York. Obama was a friend of Khalidi and his frequent dinner companion. He had many in-depth conversations over meals prepared by Khalidi's wife, Mona at their home in Chicago.
Khalidi also stated that while he strongly disagrees with Obama's current views on Israel, and has often disagreed with him during their talks over the years, he thinks that Obama would be more understanding of the Palestinian experience than typical American politicians due to his unusual background, with family ties to Kenya and Indonesia. He commented,
- "He has family literally all over the world. I feel a kindred spirit from that."
In 2000 Rashid Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama's unsuccessful run for congress.
Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine
In September, 2004 Rashid Khalidi gave a talk entitled "Resurrecting Empire: Our Perilous Path in the Middle East", sponsored by the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine.
MDS Board member
The business portion of the meeting followed with each board nominee introducing themselves to the conference. The board, a very diverse group, was voted in by acclamation... Board nominees where were not able to attend the conference were included in the appointment by acclamation. The list included Elliott Adams, Panama Vicente Alba, Tariq Ali, Stanley Aronowitz, David Barsamian, Rosalyn Baxandall, John Bracey, Jr., John Brittain, Robb Burlage, Noam Chomsky, Jayne Cortez, Carl Davidson, Angela Davis, Bernardine Dohrn, Barbara Epstein, Gustavo Esteva, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Stephen Fleischman, Bill Fletcher Jr, Tom Hayden, Gerald Horne, Florence Howe, Mike James, Robin D G Kelley, Alice Kessler Harris, Rashid Khalidi, Mike Klonsky, Betita Martinez, Ethelbert Miller, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Barbara Ransby, Patricia Rose, Michael Rossman, Studs Terkel, Charlene Teters, Jerry Tucker, Immanuel Wallerstein, Cornel West, Leonard Weinglass and Howard Zinn.
"Support Bill Ayers"
In October 2008, several thousand college professors, students and academic staff signed a statement ”Support Bill Ayers” in solidarity with former Weather Underground Organization terrorist Bill Ayers.
In the run up to the U.S. presidential elections, Ayers had come under considerable media scrutiny, sparked by his relationship to presidential candidate Barack Obama.
- “We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack
- We, the undersigned, stand on the side of education as an enterprise devoted to human inquiry, enlightenment, and liberation. We oppose the demonization of Professor William Ayers.”
Rashid Khalidi of Colombia University signed the statement.