Juan Cole: Martin Kramer's Modest Proposal: Starve the Gazans into Having Fewer BabiesHistorians in the News
[Juan R. I. Cole is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. For three decades, he has sought to put the relationship of the West and the Muslim world in historical context.]
Martin Kramer revealed his true colors at the Herzliya Conference, wherein he blamed political violence in the Muslim world on population growth, called for that growth to be restrained, and praised the illegal and unconscionable Israeli blockade of civilian Gazans for its effect on reducing the number of Gazans.
M. J. Rosenberg argued that Kramer's speech is equivalent to a call for genocide. It certainly is a call for eugenics.
It is shocking that Kramer, who has made a decade-long career of attacking social science understanding of the Middle East and demonizing anyone who departs even slightly from his rightwing Israeli-nationalist political line, should be given a cushy office at Harvard as a 'fellow' while spewing the most vile justifications for war crimes like the collective punishment of Gazan children.
Kramer is after all not nobody. He was an adviser to the Giuliani presidential campaign. He is listed as an associate of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the influential think tank in Washington of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He is associated with Daniel Pipe's 'Middle East Forum,' a neo-McCarthyite organization dedicated to harassing American academics who do not toe the political line of Israel's ruling Likud Party.
Kramer's remarks are wrong, offensive and racist by implication. He is driven to them by his nationalist ideology, which cannot recognize the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by Israelis in 1948, cannot see that most Palestinians have been deprived by Israeli policies of citizenship rights (what Warren Burger called 'the right to have rights', as Margaret Somers pointed out), and that Palestinians are even at this moment being deprived of basic property and other rights by Israeli occupation. To admit that any of these actions produces a backlash is to acknowledge the Palestinian movements as forms of national liberation movement, and to legitimize Palestinian aspirations. Rightwing Zionism is all about erasing the Palestinians from history. And now Kramer wants to make it about erasing future Palestinian children!...
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