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.
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.
Kramer, Martin. “The Israeli-Islamist War.” Occasional Papers Series, Middle East Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2006, Fall 2006, 8-10.Abstract
The Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts have been transcended by the Israeli-Islamist conflict. The 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war may be the first such conflict of many.
For the past twenty years, Middle Eastern studies in America have been factories of error. The academics, blinded by their own prejudices and enslaved to the fashions of the disciplines, have failed to anticipate or explain any of the major developments in the Middle East. Within the field, hardly a voice dares to protest, but beyond it, each debacle chips away at academic's credibility. Middle Eastern studies have failed--at a time when understanding the Middle East has become crucial to America. In this iconoclastic exposé, Martin Kramer surveys the ruins of Middle Eastern studies, to ask how and why they went wrong. Ivory Towers on Sand is the most thorough critique of Middle Eastern studies ever published in the United States--and a necessary step toward their reconstruction.
Is Islamism driven by religious fervor, social protest or national xenophobia? Is the rise of Islamism a threat to stability, tolerance, and order, or is it the first step toward reform, participation, and democratization? These and other questions are debated by nine authors - leading protagonists in the Islamism debate - from the United States, Britain, France, and Israel.
A biography of Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah, often identified as the "spiritual leader" of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hizbullah, covering his rise to influence, his political ideas, and his religious concepts.
Over the past decade, the political ground beneath the Middle East has shifted. Arab nationalism the political orthodoxy for most of this century has lost its grip on the imagination and allegiance of a new generation. At the same time, Islam as an ideology has spread across the region, and "Islamists" bid to capture the center of politics. Most Western scholars and experts once hailed the redemptive power of Arabism. Arab Awakening and Islamic Revival is a critical assessment of the contradictions of Arab nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism, and the misrepresentation of both in the West.
Kramer, Martin. “The Moral Logic of Hizballah.” In Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind, edited by Walter Reich, 131-57. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1990.Abstract
An examination of the debate within Hizballah over suicide bombings and hostage-taking.
Late in the 19th century, Muslims, separated by distance, language, and history, first thought to make their world whole by assembling in congress. "Islam Assembled" traces the roots of political activism in Islam as it took form in these gatherings. From the first fitful initiatives undertaken by a handful of Muslim cosmopolitans to the era when the West began to divest itself of its Muslim possessions and the need for the congresses diminished, "Islam Assembled" traces in detail this crucial but previously untold story.