Martin Kramer: Wikis


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Martin Seth Kramer (b. September 9, 1954, Washington, DC) is an American scholar of the Middle East at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Shalem Center, and Harvard University's National Security Studies Program. His focus is on Islam and Arab politics.



Kramer began his undergraduate degree under Itamar Rabinovich in Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University and completed his B.A. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University. He earned his Ph.D. in Princeton as well, under Fouad Ajami, L. Carl Brown, the late Charles Issawi, and Bernard Lewis, who directed his thesis. He also received a History M.A. from Columbia University.[1]

  • Tel Aviv University, 1971-73 - Middle Eastern Studies
  • B.A. Princeton University, 1975 (summa cum laude) - Near Eastern Studies
  • M.A. Columbia University, 1976 - History
  • M.A. Princeton University, 1978 - Near Eastern Studies
  • Ph.D. Princeton University, 1982 - Near Eastern Studies [2]


During a 25-year career at Tel Aviv University, Kramer directed the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies; taught as a visiting professor at Brandeis University, the University of Chicago, Cornell University, and Georgetown University; and served twice as a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. He is currently the Wexler-Fromer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Senior Fellow at the Shalem Center, and National Security Studies Program Senior Fellow at Harvard University.

He is a senior and past editor of the Middle East Forum's Middle East Quarterly.[3] Primarily a scholar of twentieth century Islamist intellectual and political history, Kramer has also published columns in the National Review magazine[4][5] and on the websites of the History News Network[6],[7] and[8] (Front Page Magazine publishes selected pieces of Kramer's on its website[9]) Kramer is a Senior Fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center Institute for International and Middle East Studies.

In 2009 Kramer was appointed President of Shalem College.[10]

Kramer is a research fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University under the National Security Studies program.

Political involvement

Kramer was an early advocate of attacking Saddam Hussein in the wake of 9/11, arguing in December 2001 that regardless of a possible involvement, he posed a threat to the entire Middle East.[11] However, he was critical of the shifting rationale for the war in October 2002, questioning the United States' "tools of social engineering" needed to promote an eventual democracy process in the Arab world.[12]

He was a senior policy adviser on the Middle East to the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign.[citation needed]

Critique of Middle Eastern Studies


Ivory Towers on Sand

In 2001, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy published Kramer's book Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America (download). The work criticizes Middle Eastern Studies in the United States for what Kramer argues is a systematic left-wing bias backed with poor scholarship.[13]

Palestinian aid controversy

At the Feburary 2010 Herzliya Conference in Israel, Kramer caused controvery in a speech in which he advocated cuts in what he termed "pro-natal subsidies" to Palestinians as a means of curbing Islamic radicalization.[14][15]

In response to his critics, who went as far as to accuse him of genocide, Kramer called the accusation that he "called for the West" to "deliberately curb the births of Palestinians" a slander. He further explained, "I called on it [the West] to desist from deliberately encouraging births through pro-natal subsidies for Palestinian 'refugees,' which guarantee that Gazans will remain both radicalized and dependent... A pro-natal subsidy is a national or international promise to support the yet-unborn, not humanitarian assistance to the living. The pro-natal subsidy in Gaza is the unlimited promise of hereditary 'refugee' status to future generations.[16]

Kramer also posted video and the full transcript of his remarks on his blog.[17] He specifically directed readers to his statement in question:[16]

Aging populations reject radical agendas, and the Middle East is no different. Now eventually, this will happen among the Palestinians too, but it will happen faster if the West stops providing pro-natal subsidies for Palestinians with refugee status. Those subsidies are one reason why, in the ten years from 1997 to 2007, Gaza’s population grew by an astonishing 40 percent. At that rate, Gaza’s population will double by 2030, to three million. Israel’s present sanctions on Gaza have a political aim—undermine the Hamas regime—but if they also break Gaza’s runaway population growth—and there is some evidence that they have—that might begin to crack the culture of martyrdom which demands a constant supply of superfluous young men. That is rising to the real challenge of radical indoctrination, and treating it at its root."

In Foreign Policy, Stephen Walt criticized Kramer's remarks as "appalling" and "horrific" but rejected the claim that his speech advocated genocide. As a member of the executive committee of the Weatherhead Center, he also rejected calls to dismiss Kramer under the principle of academic freedom.[18] Yousef Munayyer in the Boston Globe criticized Kramer's remarks as "racist" and "offensive," also complaining about their "absurdity" and "lack of logic."[19]

In an open letter, Harvard student leaders representing 16 campus groups also denounced Kramer's comments and called on the Weatherhead Center to end its affiliation with the Middle East scholar.[20] Officials at Harvard University's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs rejected calls to dismiss Kramer as a visiting scholar, stating, "Accusations have been made that Martin Kramer’s statements are genocidal. These accusations are baseless." They found that Kramer's critics "appear not to understand the role of controversy in an academic setting" and rejected any attempts to restrict "fundamental academic freedom."[21]

Kramer also noted that stopping pro-natal subsidies wasn't his original idea, which he credits to German academic Gunnar Heinsohn. Heinsohn detailed this theory in a January 2009 Wall Street Journal article in which he also coined the term "superfluous young men."[22]



  • Political Islam (1980) ISBN 0-8039-1435-0
  • Islam Assembled (1985) ISBN 0-231-05994-9 Reviews
  • Shi'ism, Resistance, and Revolution (1987) ISBN 0-8133-0453-9
  • Hezbollah's Vision of the West (1989) ISBN 0-944029-01-9
  • Middle Eastern Lives: The Practice of Biography and Self-Narrative (Contemporary Issues in the Middle East) (1991) ISBN 0-8156-2548-0
  • Arab Awakening and Islamic Revival: The Politics of Ideas in the Middle East (1996) ISBN 1-56000-272-7
  • The Islamism Debate (1997) ISBN 965-224-024-9
  • The Jewish Discovery of Islam (1999) ISBN 965-224-040-0
  • Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America (2001) ISBN 0-944029-49-3, download

Journal Papers

Kramer on American scholars of the Middle East

Kramer on Key Middle Eastern Figures

  • [2] - Article about Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Fadlallah (Oracle of Hezbollah)


Kramer on Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies


  1. ^ Martin Kramer/Juan Cole: Oppo Research
  2. ^ Martin Kramer, CV and List of Publications
  3. ^ MESA Culpa, by M. Kramer, Fall 2002
  4. ^ Hijacking Islam, by M. Kramer, National Review, September 19, 2001
  5. ^ From Afghanistan to Araby, by M. Kramer, National Review, December 10, 2001
  6. ^ Is Sharansky Right? Does Everyone Want to Be Free?, by M. Kramer, History News Network, June 22, 2005
  7. ^ Ignatieff's Empire, by M.Kramer,, January 5, 2003
  8. ^ Power will not moderate Hamas, by M. Kramer,, March 27, 2006
  9. ^ Martin Kramer's Columns
  10. ^ "A progressive first from a conservative think tank.", Jerusalem Post, Oct 13, 2009, [1]
  11. ^ From Afghanistan to Araby by M. Kramer, National Review, December 10, 2001
  12. ^ When I Hear "Arab Democracy," I Reach for My Seat Belt by M. Kramer, October 11, 2002
  13. ^ Editorial Reviews
  14. ^ Savarese, Katharine M. (2010-02-04). "Weatherhead Fellow Incites Controversy". Harvard Crimson. 
  15. ^ "Harvard Fellow calls for genocidal measure to curb Palestinian births". Electronic Intifada. 22 February 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2010. 
  16. ^ a b Martin Kramer (22 February 2010). "Smear intifada". Sandbox (blog). Retrieved 13 March 2010. 
  17. ^ Martin Kramer (7 February 2010). "Superfluous young men". Sandbox (blog). Retrieved 13 March 2010. 
  18. ^ Walt, Stephen M. (2010-02-28). "Kramer versus Kramer". Foreign Policy. 
  19. ^ Munayyer, Yousef (2010-03-03). "Gaza’s youth not ‘superfluous’". Boston Globe. 
  20. ^ Bowman, John F. (2010-03-11). "On Kramer’s Statements". Harvard Crimson. 
  21. ^ Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (24 February 2010). "WCFIA at Harvard on accusations". Sandbox (blog). Retrieved 13 March 2010. 
  22. ^ Heinsohn, Gunnar (12 January 2009). [Ending the West's Proxy War Against Israel "Ending the West's Proxy War Against Israel"]. Wall Street Journal. Ending the West's Proxy War Against Israel. 

External links


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