26 thoughts on “Martin Kramer, Genocidaire – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.

  1. Martin Kramer’s statements that have generated the current controversy are remarkable in their stunning savagery. He talks of controlling & culling the supposedly ‘over-running’ Palestinian population as if he were talking about some wild animal population that needs to be ‘managed’, or roaches or vermin that have gotten out of hand and need to be dealt with. These are the unavoidable and intrinsic implications and associations at the dark heart of Kramer’s dehumanizing language. This level of total de-humanization, which is so clearly evident in Kramer’s language regarding the Palestinians of Gaza, is beyond merely offensive, I don’t really have words to describe it, but ‘evil’ does come to mind. It is astounding that he is talking about flesh and blood human beings in this way and in these terms.

    Kramer’s advocacy and prescriptions are effectively about slow mass murder when you get down to it. He’s talking about the deliberate strangulation of a trapped and besieged overwhelmingly civilian population through denial of food, the basic essentials of life—with the specific intention of targeting Palestinian youth and children with famine and slow death by this policy (for his cockamamey reasons that don’t even merit addressing, the Nazis also had so-called “reasons” for their acts of intrinsically unjustifiable barbarity).

    I don’t bring up the Nazi analogy lightly, but Kramer’s language frankly does carry a whiff of the debased, dehumanizing rhetoric of National Socialism and other past genocidal racisms, the parallels in thinking and assumptions are there even if the magnitude of the murderous, criminal thinking isn’t quite the same. After all, Kramer has not yet advocated just going in and massacring by bullet and bomb the entire trapped & enclosed Palestinian population of Gaza. So, to nuance things perhaps we should consider this Genocide Lite, it’s down a notch from the old-school twentieth century stuff mastered by Hitler and Stalin, he’s not quite advocating THAT degree of evil. Let’s keep our distinctions! But Kramer’s “analysis” and prescription embodies pretty horrendous ‘thinking’ and language as it is. What’s more horrific is that Kramer’s murderous ‘ideas’ seem to be more or less the gist of Israeli policy right now (but carried out over the even longer term), looking at the current siege of Gaza.

    The fact that this “scholar” is associated with Harvard, one of our most prestigious universities, is really quite mind-blowing, we’re talking deeply, deeply scary territory here. I think we need to seriously where we’re at as a nation with our Israel policy and its demented, blood-thirsty cheerleaders. How did we get from the Berlin airlift, MLK and Bobbie Kennedy to high-profile Harvard ‘scholars’ talking like this. Unbelievable. This has got to be some weird nightmare. If the clear endorsement and defense of this man doesn’t seriously besmirch Harvard’s national and international reputation, then our ethical center in the West must by completely gone, dried up. And this on top of the Dersh’s insanity! What a sad sack of a pathetic school. The local right-wing dispensationalist bible college has got more integrity and coherence at this point.

  2. Kramer is what happens when racism is allowed to grow unchecked. We can argue about the right to free speech, and the freedom of ideas in academia, but here’s your proof that there are some corridors of thought which should go unexplored. This is a truly sick man, and the people who are defending him and keeping him in his position at Harvard are no less diseased because in their pursuit of intellectualism, they have lost their moral compass entirely. This hateful, amoral attack against Palestinians and other “superfluous young men” is an outrage against all humanity. He should be fired forthwith.

  3. Palestinian rejection of radical agendas will happen the fastest if Israel’s Jews were to do the right thing: undergo a ‘de Klerk moment’, give up their privileges, and begin treating the Palestinians as the equals that they are.

  4. Yeah, it’s advocacy of genocide according to the official legal definition. And it’s extremely vicious and racist even if one prefers the popular understanding of the word “genocide”. It’s depressing seeing people at various blogs claiming that it’s no different from an individual choosing not to give more money to UNICEF. Well, no–when you blockade 1.5 million people, destroy their economy, and then advocate cutting aid to keep the birth rate down you’re advocating genocide.

    I could imagine this story eventually breaking into the mainstream press–the NYT, conceivably, might publish a piece in their Arts section, where they sometimes talk about academic controversies (like Finkelstein’s tenure denial). But I suspect that if so, they’ll spin it in a way that makes the “genocide” charge seem silly and make it about academic freedom.

    1. They’ll also utterly fail to adequately portray the horror that is the occupation of Palestine; instead, they’ll focus on Hamas, putting the usual blame on them for the suffering of the people of Gaza (and conveniently glossing over the other Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, southern Lebanon, Syria and all over the world). The pattern stays the same; the victims are blamed for their plight.

      I see an extremely serious problem in Harvard’s defense of Kramer. As I said above, there are some avenues of intellectual speculation that should remain unexplored. This loathsome man has overstepped the boundaries of what can rightfully be called intellectual discourse. No decent human being advocates genocide, and the fact that Harvard is defending him makes me think there’s something damned wrong not only in Harvard itself, but in this entire country.

      It is just me, or is Obama’s silence deafening once again, not only on this issue, but also regarding the murder of the Hamas member in Dubai? For heaven’s sake, what is wrong with this country and its so-called leaders?

    2. I could imagine this story eventually breaking into the mainstream press–the NYT

      I’ve already queried The Forward but they seem to be under such severe financial constraints & their reporting staff so shrunken, that I fear they won’t be able to cover it. As for the Times, that’s a great idea. There’s a NYT reporter I know who reports on precisely this type of story. I’ve just e mailed her. We’ll see if she has anything to say.

  5. Kramer speaks about a population growth of 40% in 10 years. To the unassuming eye this seems staggering, even “out of control”.

    Until you properly do the maths. 40% growth over 10 years equates annually to 3.42%. Now this is quite high, it’s the 5th fastest growing population area on earth after UAE, Burundi, Niger & Kuwait according to the CIA world fact book, and there are at least 6 countries greater than that according to the UN. But what these two organisations don’t mention, and neither does Kramer, are the growth rates of the state sanctioned and internationally illegal israeli settlers of the occupied Palestinian territories.

    He specifically wouldn’t mention this, because like most racists, facts are never presented in a precise context.

    Note that these figures are taken from Wikipedia for a rough comparison –
    Settlers in the WB excl EJ – 2004 population = 234,487; 2007 pop = 276,462.

    which equates to a 5.6% annual population growth. If that is extrapolated out over a 10 year period, that would be a whopping 72% population increase, dwarfing Gaza’s paltry 40%.

    And overall, including EJ and Golan Heights, the settler population in the same period increased at an annual rate of 3.2%, which would give a 37% increase over 10 years. Not so different than Gaza. (I think it would be fair to assume that since 2007 settler growth rates have increased).

    Here are the innocent Palestinians of Gaza imprisoned in the largest jail in the world, being condemned for increasing their population, while no condemnation of similar and in the biggest case, much larger growth rates of the absolutely illegal settlers inside belligerently, militarily occupied Palestinian territories, let alone even a mention of them.

    This guy twittered a lie that so called Israeli/Jew haters/anti-semites were mistakenly calling him a Professor, and he wanted to sethe record straight – that he was a research fellow. Unbelievable.

    1. Minor quibble – in the case of Gaza, most of the population increase (dare I say, virtually all of it) is coming from very high birth rates. While the settlers in the Palestinian Territories also have higher birth rates than Israel on average, their growth is heavily supplemented by immigration and internal migration.

      1. The point is, Andrew, that data was manipulated to promote a racist point of view. This isn’t new. As for the population of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, the Zionists have been manipulating population data for years in order to promote their idea that they must increase the Jewish population to compete with the “higher birth rate” of Arabs in order to remain a “Jewish state.” Fortunately, this same manipulation has ironically prevented their assimilation of the West Bank (that is, until they get enough settlers in there, and drive out enough Palestinians, to tip the demographic scale in their favor).

  6. imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group,

    Do you believe that UNWRA and its funders are obligated to provide some minimal standard of living for the Gazan Palestinians? The reason why I bring this up is that I’m questioning whether or not this really constitutes genocide along the definition you listed. The part above seems to refer to active methods, like mass sterilization as one example, to curb births within the group, as opposed to simply refusing to provide support for births within that group. If, say, the United States were to someday completely cut off all welfare aid and support to the impoverished in the US, including pre- and post-natal assistance, that would seem to be bordering on genocide according to that definition, particularly if the impoverished fell largely into a distinct group (such as a minority or group of minorities).

    That’s not to say that I support Kramer’s position. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, his proposal would result in mass suffering for the Palestinians in Gaza, particularly since Israel and Egypt have also cut off most other means of economic survival with their blockade. I just question as to whether the action he proposes constitutes “genocide” along that definition.

    1. The argument Kramer is making is this:

      The Palestinian Gazan population is growing too much; elderly Palestinians are easy to oppress because they do not resist; youngters by default are radical, thus they are a threat, and threats, we should look to curtail.

      Curbing population growth for that very reason constitutes a call to genocide.

      If the shoe was on the other foot, and say, Kramer was making that remark instead about Jews, that would be an international uproar, and he’d no doubt be indicted.

      1. The Palestinian Gazan population is growing too much; elderly Palestinians are easy to oppress because they do not resist; youngters by default are radical, thus they are a threat, and threats, we should look to curtail.

        His point to me seemed to be that a very young population, particularly one with an extremely large number of young men, is more prone to violence and crime, for reasons that have nothing specifically to do with Palestinians and largely to do with the nature of young men (excessive risk-taking behavior, aggression and sexual drives at full swing, and so forth). That’s debated in social sciences – I have heard arguments, for example, that one of the reasons behind the social turbulence in the 1960s was that you had the children of the post-World War II population boom entering into their late teens and early twenties.

        I would imagine the above would be particularly exacerbated if there are no sources of employment, and very little to do in general.

        I do think that the population of Gaza is growing too much. The place is likely to become one single stretch of urbanized area with an extremely young population, and even a very generous projection of economic growth following a hypothetical end to the Israeli blockade would be hard-pressed to provide that much employment and opportunities that quickly.

        If the shoe was on the other foot, and say, Kramer was making that remark instead about Jews, that would be an international uproar, and he’d no doubt be indicted.

        Not indicted, but censured to a greater degree (there are groups in the US that say far, far worse things than what Kramer advocated for). I agree that there is a double standard, particularly in the US.

        1. One can make a case that population growth in parts of the world (probably including Gaza) is a problem, but Kramer isn’t engaged in some general policy discussion about economic growth, environmental sustainability and so forth–he’s explicitly linking his “recommendation” to the Israeli blockade and talking about “superfluous young men”.

          It’s frustrating reading posts like yours. It’s not that you don’t make a possibly legitimate point about population problems–it’s that in this context it’s perfectly clear that Kramer is blaming the conflict in large part on crazed young Arab men and he wants to “solve” it through a combination of a severe blockade and a cutback in aid. And this habit of blaming the underclass for overbreeding has a very long and ugly history.

    2. You still don’t understand that giving birth to children is a human right and interference with it is in violation of law.

      The Israeli government. not the UN, is responsible for the abysmal living standard of Gaza. And please bear in mind that Israel blocks the full number of aid trucks into Gaza that the UN feels would adequately address the needs of the population. There’s plenty of reading on that; it’s been common knowledge ever since the blockade on Gaza began.

      1. You still don’t understand that giving birth to children is a human right and interference with it is in violation of law.

        I’m not questioning the Palestinians’ right to have children. My post merely raised the point of whether this counts as “genocide” under the definition in Richard’s post, because it’s not a case of them actively preventing births (such as mass sterilization or forced abortions) so much as it is refusing to provide external support for the births that occur.

        As I clarified in my second post, you can definitely make an argument that cutting off the food when Israel is obstructing all other methods of sustenance and economic livelihood via the blockade would be genocide, but were the blockade lifted, I believe that would not be the case.

        1. Yes it does amount for a call to genocide – because it is calling to limit population growth of a particular ethnic group, such that the policies of the occupying power, which amount to oppression, can be more easily enforced. I draw attention to the term limit – this here transposes to the “destroy, in whole or in part” definition of genocide.

          Given that the refugee support to the Palestinians is essential; that the right to give birth to chilren is one of the most important, and fundamental human rights we have; and a policy of collective punishment is already in place in Gaza (ie creeping genocide), I think Kramer should not just be booted out of academia, he should be indicted for the incitement to commit genocide.

          The idea of lifting the illegal blockade of Gaza is not part of Kramer’s argument. He can see that the blockade is not weakening the will of Palestinians of their inalienable human right to justice, so he wants to make their condition worse. And a condition worse than the status quo, quite frankly is genocide.

          1. Kramer’s thinking is so bizarre that he apparently prefers the idea of withholding prenatal nutrition to pregnant women to the more logical and much more human approach, that is, to lift the very blockade and end the occupation which produces all those “superfluous young men” in the first place.

            This is where the racism comes in; by failing to recognize this more obvious approach, Kramer makes it very clear that he is a racist in favor of the genocidal approach.

    3. UNRWA doesn’t have an obligation to provide for them – it merely took over these duties in Israel’s place. It’s actual Israel’s obligation, as an occupying power, to provide for the population of the occupied territories. And that’s not a matter of belief, it’s a simple fact of international law.

      Now to your nonsensical argument that withholding aid would not “actively” kill Palestinian babies: If I locked your family of, say, six persons, into a house and only allowed delivery of enough food for four persons to survive, would I be “actively” starving two of you (at least) to death? What would a jury say?

      Maybe it didn’t occur to you, but many, if not most genocides were committed by placing the victims in unliveable conditions. Even the Nazis killed more people by barbed wire and rerouted food shipments than by poison gas. And that’s exactly what Kramer advocates – and to counter the possible next argument, no, the fact that he “only” advocates starving to death a part of the population does not make it less genocidal either.

      1. Koshiro, you are absolutely correct; a large portion of the genocidal deaths at the hands of the Nazis were the result of diseases such as typhus. Under the conditions of malnutrition, inadequate sewage disposal, and Israel’s reluctance to allow sick Palestinians free movement to obtain medical attention, similar conditions can occur in Gaza. Similarly, the American Indians lived in horrendous conditions when they were confined to the reservations, succumbing to measles, smallpox, typhoid fever, etc.

  7. One correction to that earlier post – at the very beginning, I said “Do you believe that UNWRA and its funders are obligated to provide some minimal standard of living for the Gazan Palestinians?” Obviously, since the former exists in large part to do so according to its set-up, that’s the case.

    Change that to “Do you believe that the Gazan Palestinians are owed some externally provided minimal standard of living?”

    On thinking about it further, in a situation where there is little other source of livelihood, cutting off the only available supply of food and support would constitute at least negligence to a mass tragedy, and genocide. However, if the Israelis were to lift the Gazan blockade, then somehow manage to get UNWRA aid revoked, that might not be so much the case.

    1. Well, yes, if the Palestinians had their own state and were free to run their own affairs and trade with the rest of the world and their economy wasn’t a wreck and if they could repair the damage caused by Israeli bombs, then yes, one could then have the perennial liberal vs. conservative debate about whether welfare checks provide an incentive for irresponsible behavior and furthermore, whether the UN should be providing that aid. (Even the domestic liberal vs. conservative argument on welfare often has a pretty ugly racist subtext.) It’s more than a little out of place in the actual context of Gaza.

  8. What Kramer advocates is the classic definition of one of the tenants of genocide. The reason American institutions support people like Kramer is because they have been and continue to be a part of genocide, from murdering the native population in the United States to slavery to advocating for people like Kramer

    Until Americans start to see that we ARE the problem, that our support for Israel and our money sent to this country enable and support Israeli slow-drip genocide, people like Kramer are going to continue justifying what Israel is doing. Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. What are we doing about that? Israeli settlers dump sewage and waste into Palestinian villages. What are we doing about that? Israeli settlers murder and maim and arrest Palestinian non-violent protesters in Bil’in, Nil’in, Beit Sahour and Hebron. What are we doing about that?

    Americans need to wake up and demand that people like Kramer be fired, but we also need to wake up and realize that our money and our support of Israel is what makes ‘a Kramer’ possible

    1. Well said, Greta. Institutional support of murderous policies comes not only from governmental sources, but also cultural and educational ones, hence the Kramers in the world, the Dershowitzes, the Pipes’, etc. continue to hold prestigious positions and are given free rein to spew their racist ideologies. People without any intellectual objectivity follow these dangerous ideologues and can be manipulated into adopting their beliefs. Hitler himself sought out scientists, doctors and academics who would substantiate his belief that the Aryans were the “master race.”

      On the other hand, academics who are voices of dissent have been given a very difficult time. Norman Finkelstein lost tenure; Ilan Pappe had to leave his position and has been harshly vilified for his courageous books on the history of Israel and Palestine. In fact, there are so many that they cannot all be listed, but one of the most familiar would be Nelson Mandela, who spend more than 22 years in a South African prison for speaking truth to power.

  9. I’m not sure about MJ’s line here. I see this definition of “measures to prevent births” on the “PreventGenocide.org” website:

    “Prevention of births includes involuntary sterilization, forced abortion, prohibition of marriage, and long-term separation of men and women intended to prevent procreation.”

    When the Genocide Convention was drafted in the 1940s, people were undoubtedly thinking about these sorts of things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link