The Netflix series The Crown includes a scene depicting British prime minister Anthony Eden nearly misleading Queen Elizabeth about the role of Israel in the 1956 Suez "collusion." The author considers whether the depiction is accurate.
The two parts of this essay were published in April 2018. Visit the website of Mosaic Magazine for the responses by Benny Morris, Efraim Karsh, and Avi Shilon.
Kramer, Martin. “A Controversy at Harvard.” In Anti-Zionism on Campus: The University, Free Speech, and BDS, edited by Andrew Pessin and Doron S. Ben-Atar, 151-162. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2018.Abstract
A review of the Harvard aspects of a 2010 controversy that followed remarks on Gaza made by the author at a conference in Israel.
Bernard Lewis, historian of the Middle East, was widely misunderstood. But no other person in our time has done as much to inform and influence the West's view of the Islamic world and the Middle East.
نقادی ادوارد سعید از شرقشناسی هم نظام آموزشی دانشگاههای آمریکا را تحت تأثیر قرار داد هم نظام اداری آنها را. بخش نگاهِ ماه شماره هشتم بدین موضوع میپردازد، از جمله در مصاحبه با مارتین کریمر، استادِ مطالعات خاورمیانه و شاگرد برنارد لوئیس که از ناقدان نامدار سعید شناخته میشود. به علاوه، گزارشِی از تحولات عمده چند دهه اخیر در منابع مالی نهادهای آموزشی و پژوهشی آمریکا که راه را بر نفوذ دولتهای غیردموکراتیک عربی گشوده است.
The author revisits the making of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, and demonstrates that the Lloyd George government only issued it after receiving the prior approval of other Allied governments. The role of Zionist diplomat Nahum Sokolow is given particular attention.
The two parts of this essay were published in June 2017. Visit the website of Mosaic Magazine for the responses by Nicholas Rostow, Allan Arkush, and Colin Shindler. The Arabic translation, by Ahmad M. Jabir, appeared in Al-Hadaf, January 20, 2018.
“When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” Martin Luther King was supposed to have said this at a dinner party in Cambridge, Massachusetts, shortly before his death. Critics claimed he could not have said this because he could not be placed in Cambridge at the time. They thus insinuated that the quote must have been invented by Harvard’s Seymour Martin Lipset, who reported it. The author relies on King’s papers to establish a firm address, host, date, and time for the dinner. But he also bring evidence (from FBI wiretaps) of King’s profound ambivalence about Israel’s 1967 victory. King supported Israel’s right to exist, but he thought Israel would have to disgorge its military conquests.
Amalgamates and revises three posts from Kramer's blog Sandbox.
Kramer, Martin. “The Exodus Conspiracy.” In The War on Error: Israel, Islam, and the Middle East, 245-52. New Brunswick, NJ and London: Transaction Publishers, 2016.Abstract
The author examines the oft-repeated claim that the famous 1958 novel Exodus by Leon Uris was set in motion by a scheming New York advertising man, and not by Uris himself. Through the testimony of witnesses who were there, the author shows that this is untrue.
Originally a lecture delivered to the graduate proseminar "Approaches to Middle Eastern Studies" at Harvard in 2007. This is its first publication. The Persian translation, also here in pdf, appeared in the magazine Ghalamo, no. 8, Dey 1396 (December 2017-January 2018).
Conventional wisdom holds that the Israeli-Palestinian status quo is "unsustainable." Yet it has been remarkably resilent in the face of the distruptive changes sweeping the Middle East. This article explains why the status quo has been so durable, and why it is likely to endure in the future.
Kramer, Martin. “Repairing Sykes-Picot.” In Lines That Bind: 100 Years of Sykes-Picot, edited by Andrew J. Tabler, 79-85. Washington, DC: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2016. Entire bookAbstract
A century after Sykes-Picot, much confusion reigns about its actual legacy. Some of its provisions faded into history, but a few have persisted. This article looks at what has lasted and what has not, and asks whether it should be dismantled or repaired.
Israel in its early years built the foundations of its national security in defiance of the United States. Israel's growing dependence on the United States since 1967 has eroded its freedom of action, posing a question of whether it will be able to act decisively should its future leaders wish to do so.
On the 100th birthday of Bernard Lewis, his student and friend Martin Kramer recalls Lewis's prescience in his 1976 article "The Return of Islam," and situates it in the great historian's vision of the relationship between Islam and the West. The follow-up, "The Master Historian of the Middle East," responds to respondents, and adds further insights.
Many believe that the 1916 Anglo-French partition of the Ottoman Empire, known as the Sykes-Picot agreement, was a precursor to the Balfour Declaration. To the contrary: Zionists regarded it as "fatal" to their plans, and they worked to undermine it. The Balfour Declaration negated Sykes-Picot, and superseded it.
In The War on Error, historian and political analyst Martin Kramer presents a series of case studies, some based on pathfinding research and others on provocative analysis, that correct misinformation clouding the public’s understanding of the Middle East. He also offers a forensic exploration of how misinformation arises and becomes “fact.”
The book is divided into five themes: Orientalism and Middle Eastern studies, a prime casualty of the culture wars; Islamism, massively misrepresented by apologists; Arab politics, a generator of disappointing surprises; Israeli history, manipulated by reckless revisionists; and American Jews and Israel, the subject of irrational fantasies. Kramer shows how error permeates the debate over each of these themes, creating distorted images that cause policy failures.
Kramer approaches questions in the spirit of a relentless fact-checker. Did Israeli troops massacre Palestinian Arabs in Lydda in July 1948? Was the bestseller Exodus hatched by an advertising executive? Did Martin Luther King, Jr., describe anti-Zionism as antisemitism? Did a major post-9/11 documentary film deliberately distort the history of Islam? Did Israel push the United States into the Iraq War? Kramer also questions paradigms—the “Arab Spring,” the map of the Middle East, and linkage. Along the way, he amasses new evidence, exposes carelessness, and provides definitive answers.
The author recalls his long friendship with the late Shabtai Teveth, renowned journalist and the biographer of David Ben-Gurion. Teveth, largely unknown to younger readers, may have been the first to challenge the excesses of the “new historians," and his work deserves to be rediscovered.