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.
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).
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.
Much maligned for his truth-telling about Arab political culture, Fouad Ajami became the bête noire of the Middle East studies establishment. Some went so far as to call him “pro-Israel,” even a “Likudnik.” The author knew Ajami from his student days, and often assisted him on his visits to Israel. The article sets the record straight on Israel in Ajami’s worldview.
Barry Rubin, analyst of the Middle East, followed an improbable journey, from a radical of the 1960s American left, to a hard-nosed Israeli critic of Arab politics and U.S. policy. Martin Kramer recalls his long friendship with Rubin, and traces the stages in his evolution as an intellect and scholar.
For almost two generations, major parts of academe have been alienated from America's exercise of power due to entrenched ideological differences with the federal government. Following President Obama's election, however, signs of a remarkable shift emerged, with more academics serving in policy positions, huddling with top officials behind closed doors, and otherwise extolling the virtues of "soft" or "smart" power. How can Washington take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to create more structured and effective partnerships with universities?
In this Policy Focus, Dr. Martin Kramer surveys the state of government-academe relations ten years after his bestselling book Ivory Towers dissected "the failure of Middle Eastern studies in America." Intended as a short field manual for government engagement with professors, deans, and university presidents, the paper describes how policymakers can better wield three of academia's most important levers: the clout inherent in peer review, the influence conferred by academic endowments, and the access created by sharing information despite the need to keep some of it classified.
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.
Jews figure prominently in the history of the modern European encounter with Islam. The similarities between Hebrew and Arabic, the parallels between two faiths grounded in law, and the relative tolerance of Muslim rule toward Jews--all these are said to have permitted many Jews to approach Islam with an understanding and sympathy once uncommon in Europe. Was there a "Jewish discovery of Islam," distinct from Europe's discovery? Is there some unifying characteristic to the approach of these Jewish "discoverers"? In this original volume, contributors assess the approaches to Islam of some of the most famous European Jewish travelers, writers, and scholars.