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Martin Kramer Spouts Anti-Muslim Racism at Prestigious Herzliya Conference

Thanks to M.J. Rosenberg for featuring this video of Martin Kramer speaking at Israel’s equivalent of Davos, the Herziliya conference.

Kramer, a noted pro-Israel neocon academic (think a slightly suaver, less bombastic version of Dershowitz), makes numerous sweeping judgments and statements that are at best arguable, and at worst flat out wrong, about Islamism.  The first of them is this one, in which he rebuts the claim that the key to ending Islamism is resolving the Israel-Arab conflict:

In places like Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia, where Al Qaeda is most deeply entrenched, a just and lasting peace for the Palestinians would not make a shred of difference.

This is a ludicrous statement.  But aside from that, the issue isn’t so much how Al Qaeda and its followers in those countries would react to a peace settlement, but how the mass of the world’s Arabs and Muslims would react.  They are the pool from which the Islamists recruit, and without the leading radicalizing catalyst, Al Qaeda would rapidly lose the ability to recruit unless it sharply changed its political mission.

So what is for Kramer the greatest danger posed to the west by Islamism?  Fertility.  I kid you not.  Those A-rabs are f(&^ing like rabbits and this is what will destroy western civilization as we know it.  His thesis is, in short, that the younger the median age of a society, the more prone to violence it becomes.  And conveniently for Kramer’s arguments, the media age in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza is under 20:

When you get below a median age of 20, you’re talking about places where Islamist radicalization is taking place on a massive scale.  The biggest radicalizer is fertility hovering at 6, 7[%] and masses of economically superfluous young men of fighting age between 15-29…If a state can’t control these young men, then someone else will…

Radical Islam is a way for the superfluous sons to enter history.

So Kramer’s argument is that fertility will drive radicalization of Muslims societies and fuel the threat to the west.  One of the ways this will happen is that many of these “superfluous” citizens will emigrate to the west and so spread the contagion here.  But wait, there’s hope.  If we can only bring about a decline of fertility rates, then Al Qaeda will wither and die for lack of disaffected recruits:

Aging populations reject radical agendas and the Middle East is no different.

This judgement sounds entirely like it was made up on the fly.  Not to mention that it blames political disputes solely on demographic factors which is an absolute lie.  But here’s the most disgusting part of this presentation, in which Kramer essentially argues that those western countries shipping humanitarian aid to Gaza should simply let babies there fend for themselves. After enough die, mamas will get the message and stop having any.  This ghoulishness follows in the spirit of the Dov Weisglass, who bragged that Israel’s siege was putting Gaza “on a diet:”

Eventually this [declining fertility rates] will happen among the Palestinians too.  But it will happen faster if the west stops pro-natal subsidies for Palestinians with refugee status.  Those subsidies are one reason why Gaza’s population grew between 1997-2007 by an astonishing 40%.  Israel’s present sanctions on Gaza have a political aim…but 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 Islamism and treating it at its root.

If the Gaza strangulation regime is a violation of international law, then what you have just read is an intellectual defense of lawbreaking.  I only wish that in addition to any Israeli or Hamas leaders, militants and generals who may be brought to justice that we could also bring such “intellectual” defenders of infant starvation into the dock as well.

Why doesn’t Kramer invent some way to sterilize child-bearing women?  Wouldn’t that stem population growth?  Perhaps Israel could drop some chemicals in the water supply or taint some of the meager food relief entering into Gaza with some contraceptive.  Why not take your ideas to their natural conclusion?  Why not, for that matter, seal off Gaza entirely so nothing gets in and then propose a la Jonathan Swift, that Gazans consume their children after they die of malnutrition or disease?  Isn’t that truly the best way to reign in the runaway rabbitization of Gaza’s population?

And in case you were of a mind to give Kramer the benefit of the doubt in any way, consider this deliberate lie that he spreads about his critics (among them Phil Weiss and M.J. Rosenberg) who’ve claimed that his speech represents a defense of genocide:

Being accused of advocating genocide by people who daily call for Israel to be wiped off the map of the Middle East is rich.

Yes, that’s right, M.J. Rosenberg the Zionist seeks to wipe Israel off the map. And note that Kramer deliberately uses the same phrase falsely attributed to Ahmadinejad, thereby likening Weiss and Rosenberg to him. I tell you it’s a nifty piece of propaganda worthy of Der Shturmer. Mazel tov, Kramer. You’ve sunk to lows not previously seen since Danny Ayalon or Yvette Lieberman last opened their mouths. And this from a supposedly distinguished Harvard University professor.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Gene Schulman February 23, 2010, 2:11 AM

    Talk about f(&îng like rabbits, read the article I just sent you from the Feb 18 NYT: “God Said Multiply, and Did She ever”, about Yitta Schwartze!

    Sometimes I think God’s chosen are absolutely out of their minds. They must not be encouraged.

  • Robin February 23, 2010, 8:22 AM

    “Connections”, oh boy is this a labyrinth, but one name keeps popping up, David Seranga, former deputy spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.

    Remember the blitz by the consulate in New York which included the Maxim shoot of female IDF soldiers scantily dressed a couple of years ago?

    David Seranga’s doing.

    Your article on sizedoesntmatter, the blitz going on in Canada which includes the Asper Institute which is actively involved in PR work for Israel in Canada has the Asper Institute for New Media Diplomacy at Hertzliya

    link to portal.idc.ac.il

    Now, who works for the Asper Institute?

    Well, take it from the horse’s mouth

    link to davidsaranga.com

    As a faculty member of the Asper Institute at the Sammy Ofer School of Communications, at the interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, I have the privilege to lead the effort to upload the 10th Annual Herzliya Conference on Social Media.

    This guy is everywhere, from Maxim shoots to uploading this conference on social media which featured this speaker, Martin Kramer spouting off.


    link to khaleejtimes.com

    Israel in campaign to defend its image abroad

    The link is in that article to the document but it’s in Hebrew

    This makes Bush’s campaign to clean up America’s image run by Karen Hughes look like a bunch of inexperienced choir singers.

    Is there a link between the lowlife sizedoesntmatter campaign and fertility being a threat? Oh where your mind can lead you. One thing is most evident, from appealing to lust to Kramer’s paranoid racist statements there is a thread, sex, from the appeal to it to the fear of the fruit of the “other”

  • mary February 23, 2010, 10:40 AM

    Anything, just anything at all to deflect the responsibility for the world’s terrorism from the US and Israel. Now it’s “superfluous males” who should be exterminated in the name of world survival, of the white “master race.” Said superfluous males happen to be Arab and Asian Muslims.

    As it has been said, those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

  • tree February 23, 2010, 11:26 AM

    “Aging populations reject radical agendas and the Middle East is no different.”

    How old is Kramer? His spouting of radical agendas put the lie to his own assertion. Radical agendas seem to be the ken of an awful lot of old farts these days. And I do mean “awful”.

  • mary February 23, 2010, 1:02 PM

    The old farts are the problem, Tree. I can think of a whole awful lot of them, too. They’re so mired in denial and their whole lives so vested in political agendas gone wrong, that they’ve radicalized in order to try to stay relevant. Look at Dick Cheney, for one.

    This loser is nothing but a racist Islamophobe, and I sincerely hope he is forced to retire. People like him shouldn’t be teaching their hateful ideas to impressionable others.

  • Castellio February 23, 2010, 2:51 PM

    If you didn’t believe the crudeness and specific intent of the racism before, this clarifies the situation for you: Israeli destruction of the Palestinian orchards, olive groves, fishing, agricultural land, the one functioning flour mill, the UN food depot … and clarifies wonderfully well the intent of the embargo on Gaza.

    An excellent video to forward. Spread it widely!!

  • Andrew February 23, 2010, 5:31 PM

    But here’s the most disgusting part of this presentation, in which Kramer essentially argues that those western countries shipping humanitarian aid to Gaza should simply let babies there fend for themselves. After enough die, mamas will get the message and stop having any.

    He gets his incentives wrong, then. A high infant mortality (and young child mortality) is usually an incentive to have more children, because so many will die in infancy.

    The segment you cite, though, has him arguing that food subsidies (I assume he is referring to the UN food program) allow the population to explode. He is probably correct on that – if the food were cut off, the death rate would climb to the point where it kept the population at a certain point regardless of Palestinian birth rates. It is horribly inhumane (for one thing, it would result in the deaths of thousands of Palestinian children), but correct.

    • mary February 23, 2010, 6:00 PM

      Malnutrition is already a significant problem among Palestinian children, especially those in the Gaza Strip, where UN doctors and NGO workers have noted a significant number of children are stunted from lack of adequate food.
      link to palestinemonitor.org

      I have always wondered whether this is due to a deliberate policy on the part of the occupier, or whether they see it as a fringe benefit. In any case, this horror does not receive the attention it deserves, that the wonderful, “humane,” and benevolent Israel is responsible for such a travesty.

      • bar_kochba132 February 23, 2010, 6:33 PM

        That report is from January 2009, over a year ago, just after the end of the Gaza War. The photo of the woman standing in front the empty refrigerator is certainly very touching, but anyone could take a photo like that, even in Beverly Hills, California or Dubai.
        Do you have any up-to-date reports on Palestinian malnutrition from reputable, neutral news sources?

        • Richard Silverstein February 23, 2010, 8:05 PM

          This is ridiculous. Israel is besieging Gaza. Its children are barely subsisting if not seriously malnourished & this is suffering that has absolutely no legitimacy under international law. No one has to prove that Palestinian children are starving to understand how awful Israel’s conduct is. But there are plenty of such studies & you can find them if you search for them.

          • Yoni February 23, 2010, 10:04 PM

            [comment deleted for violation of comment rules

          • mary February 24, 2010, 6:34 AM

            The report is irrelevant, perhaps because the idiot thinks conditions have improved in Gaza since 2009. I’m sorry I missed the deleted comment, actually.

      • Elisabeth February 24, 2010, 10:33 AM

        “Come let us deal wisely with them, unless they multiply…” Can’t help thinking of that.

  • iii February 23, 2010, 6:45 PM

    [comment deleted for comment rule violations]

  • amyro February 23, 2010, 9:12 PM

    One way to call BS on Kramer is that the stats on Somalia are totally bogus. Virtually -for the whole of Somalia -no statistics exist ONLY estimates. In the south (where Al-Shabab has some control) there is too much fighting to study the population demographics.

    As well Kramer, portrays all of Somalia as being under the control of Al Shabab. This is far from the truth. Somalia is broken down into 3 parts; Somaliland (northwest), Puntland (northest) and the south (where Al Shabab has some control).

    I would guess the same would be said of Afghanistan since there is just as much instability.

  • Shirin February 23, 2010, 11:48 PM

    What a creative fellow! How does he come up with that fantasy stuff?

    • fiddler February 24, 2010, 8:09 AM

      Why fantasy? Every schoolkid who was awake in biology lessons can tell you that populations grow and shrink according to food resources. The human factor might make this a little less straightforward, but that can be overcome – you know, if force doesn’t work, try more force.
      His language more than hints at eugenics – “superfluous young men” used to be called “life unworthy of life”; as a historian he can’t not know of the sordid history of these concepts.

      • blha February 24, 2010, 8:51 PM

        Food is a factor only until a certain point, after a point increased prosperity leads to lower birth rates, witness Europe.

        • Shirin February 24, 2010, 11:02 PM

          That’s just the point, and just why Kramer’s thinking is so idiotic. If he really wants to lower the Arab birthrate, the most likely way to succeed is to promote a high degree of prosperity, not to starve people.

          And by the way, prosperity and food supply are inextricably intertwined. Food is a factor always.

      • Shirin February 24, 2010, 10:14 PM

        There is plenty of fantasy stuff there, such as suggesting that starving people and depriving their children of food, medicine, and opportunity is likely to kill the desire to fight for freedom and some sort of justice. And then there is the fantasy that the problem is so-called “Islamism” and not a normal human reaction to oppression and abuse. Oh yes, and as someone already pointed out, birth rates tend to increase, not decrease with poverty, and deprivation, and particularly with child mortality, so his notion that starving people’s children will lead to a reduction in birthrate is also a fantasy.

  • Mary Hughes-Thompson February 24, 2010, 10:21 AM

    And this from Harvard Center in defense of Kaplan’s comments:

    “Over the past several days, we have heard from several members of the public, and of the Harvard community, who object to the statements of Martin Kramer at a recent conference.”

    “Accusations have been made that Martin Kramer’s statements are genocidal. These accusations are baseless. Kramer’s statements, available at link to martinkramer.org express dismay with the policy of agencies that provide aid to Palestinian refugees, and that tie aid entitlements to the size of refugee families. Kramer argues that this policy encourages population growth among refugee communities. While these views may be controversial, there is no way they can be regarded as genocidal.”

    link to electronicintifada.net

  • mary February 24, 2010, 12:19 PM

    From Kramer’s blatherings I pick up on a “master race” kind of thinking, a mentality that presumes it has the right to determine who is “superfluous” and which populations ought to be “controlled.” Of course, these populations will overall be deemed “superfluous” – the poor, the non-white, the unemployed, and the “potential terrorist.” The man obviously thinks certain “superfluous young men” are vermin whose numbers must be reduced or eradicated, even by involuntary methods. On a purely ethical level, what right does anyone have to determine which populations of people should be controlled or reduced? Why the poor, who use the least amount of the limited natural resources left on this earth? Why not the populations who actually consume the lion’s share, such as the US, Europe and, ahem, Israel?

    This is where the racism in Kramer’s remarks becomes so glaringly apparent – that he lacks logic except in his own mind. “Superfluous young men” means “young men we have made superfluous because they are the victims of our hubris.” He also ignores the fact that this hubris also creates “superfluous young women.” So the idiot is a sexist, too.

    Kramer is just another old bonehead trying justify the continuation of policies which victimize and destroy. These policies always dictate just who has the right to live, and who is “superfluous.”

    • fiddler February 24, 2010, 2:47 PM

      Agree about the circular logic. Very many young Gazans have been made economically “superfluous” and dependent on aid not because their parents bred like rabbits but because the siege destroyed Gaza’s economy that would otherwise have been able to employ them.

      I think Kramer talked of specifically young men not because women are less affected by the crisis but because most militants are men.

      • mary February 24, 2010, 4:18 PM

        And of course there is also the question of whether legitimate resistance to occupation and siege is “militancy” or “terrorism.” Which, of course, makes Kramer’s whole gobbledygook speech sound like nothing more than another potential form of oppression. Which to me, it does.

        • fiddler February 25, 2010, 8:39 AM

          The part of the resistance that uses violent means is by definition “militant”, though not necessarily “terrorist”.

          • mary February 25, 2010, 10:08 AM

            Why is resistance considered “militant” but blatant aggression is nothing more than “defending ourselves”? I admit it’s a bit off topic, but nevertheless an interesting question.

            The whole thrust of Kramer’s BS is nothing more than another sickening set of ideas on how to manipulate oppressed people and ultimately break their will. I thought this kind of thinking ended with the Nazis, honestly. The US defeated the Native Americans by spreading disease, decimating the buffalo herds, violently attacking with superior weapons (massacres), and ultimately, herding the surviving people like cattle onto locked reservations, after which they were given inadequate food and plenty of booze with which they could destroy themselves. I sense a pattern here.

          • fiddler February 25, 2010, 2:05 PM

            Mary, I’m in no way defending Kramer, I find his remarks as disgusting as you do.

            Main Entry: mil·i·tant
            Pronunciation: \-tənt\
            Function: adjective
            Date: 15th century

            1 : engaged in warfare or combat : fighting
            2 : aggressively active (as in a cause) : combative
            link to merriam-webster.com)

            This is roughly the definition I’m using. It’s only about the means or the attitude regarding their use. There’s no value judgement implied, least of all about the cause.

            Now if you’re saying that’s not how the mainstream press uses the term, I agree, see the Newsweek discussion I posted the link to the other day. In this so-called War on Terrorism those guys see themselves as combatants.

          • mary February 25, 2010, 3:01 PM

            hi fiddler, I was merely pointing out the interesting semantics; it was not meant as a criticism of anything you said. The word “terrorism” is so politically charged so as to have lost a lot of its true meaning. Resisting occupation is not terrorism per se; but some methods of resistance may be considered terrorism, but even then it is up to interpretation. In the case of Palestine, many forms of reistance have been automatically tagged as terrorism just because they are, indeed, acts of resistance.

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