The Washington Institute has sponsored a series of discussions about sudden succession in the Middle East. Each session focuses on scenarios that might unfold if a specific ruler or leader departed the scene tomorrow. This essay sets the scene by asking whether a major leader’s departure is necessarily history-changing. Martin Kramer examines past cases of unexpected departures of twentieth-century regional leaders, in Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. He suggests that the impact depends mostly on where the hand of fate interrupts the leader’s career. Paradoxically, the more successful a leader has been in realizing his larger goals, the less consequential his exit.
Why did MLK not condemn Israel’s actions in the twenty years between 1948 and 1968, at a time when Israel stood repeatedly in the dock? And why didn’t he say anything about the Palestinian “plight,” especially as he got a high-level tutorial on the subject during a visit to East Jerusalem in 1959? An exploration of possible influences, from Reinhold Neibuhr to King's own personal experience.
A survey of the past history of efforts to create a regional security order in the Middle East. Israel has always sought its security through major ties with centers of power outside the region. The article examines the logic for this approach, and assesses prospects that this might change.
The career of Bernard Lewis was punctuated by three wars: World War II, the Cold War, and what he himself called “the crisis of Islam.” The article seeks to demonstrate that for Lewis, these wars formed a continuum, the common thread being the struggle to defend freedom and democracy against the forces of tyranny.
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 two parts of this essay were published in November 2017. Visit the Mosaic Magazine website for responses by Benny Morris, Michael Mandelbaum, and Harvey Klehr. The Russian translation of the first part appeared in Лехаим № 4 (312), апрель 2018.
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 of the first part, 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.