Martin Kramer on the Middle East
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Decoding Obama's Message on Iran by David Ignatius

Decoding Obama's Message on Iran by David Ignatius | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Obama chose the interesting tactic of deliberately narrowing his options, at least the public formulation of them, in an interview published Friday with Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic magazine. It was Obama at his most emphatic and articulate, and it was a clever way to communicate over Netanyahu’s head with an Israeli public that suspects his sincerity and toughness.

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The Evolution within the Revolution [in Egypt] by Nathan J. Brown

The Evolution within the Revolution [in Egypt] by Nathan J. Brown | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Two decades from now, I should not be surprised if I enter an Egyptian embassy and meet a consular officer with a very long beard who explains -- in response to my surprised look -- that Salafis are now common in the diplomatic corps and that he considers himself quite lucky, because he knows people in high places in the ministry he was able to avoid being sent to Paris but managed to snag the coveted Riyadh posting instead.

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Would a Military Strike Against Iran Be Legal? by Peter Berkowitz

Many of these considerations separately, and certainly taken together, furnish legal justification, grounded in the right of anticipatory self-defense, for Israel or the United States to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. However, not everything that is lawful is prudent and wise.

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Israel at Harvard by Rabbi Jonah C. Steinberg [Harvard Hillel Executive Director]

Israel at Harvard by Rabbi Jonah C. Steinberg [Harvard Hillel Executive Director] | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Last week, I attended a meeting of Israelis at the Kennedy School to discuss possible responses to the One State Conference. One stratagem of response is to put it to the academic centers at the KSG that are backing the event that, since they are supporting this one-sided ideological gathering, we expect that they will also lend support to an alternative program that will present a different and more broadly respected perspective, more in line with the most credible efforts toward peace. This week, a group of concerned faculty members and others will convene at Harvard Hillel to discuss possible themes for a ‘counter-conference.’

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Kramer on FB: When you can hear me at this year's AIPAC

Kramer on FB: When you can hear me at this year's AIPAC | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

On Sunday and Monday, I'll be at the AIPAC conference (with another 10,000+ people). On Sunday, I'll be speaking at a session on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which repeats at 12pm and 2:15pm; on Monday, I'll be speaking on another panel devoted to democracy in the Arab Spring countries, which repeats at 1:15pm and 3:15pm.

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Guess who won’t be at Harvard this weekend? by Petra Marquardt-Bigman

Guess who won’t be at Harvard this weekend? by Petra Marquardt-Bigman | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Unfortunately – and my eyes fill with crocodile tears while I’m typing this – the Harvard conference organizers had to make do without one of the most notable supporters of the “one-state solution:” Muammar Qaddafi demonstrated some two years ago in the pages of the New York Times how to present the abolition of the world’s only Jewish state as a measure that would benefit all of mankind.

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America's Israel Obsession by Shmuel Rosner

America's Israel Obsession by Shmuel Rosner | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

The overrepresentation of Israel in the American public square is at times a headache and at times a cause for celebration. Some might argue that the high level of U.S. support for Israel couldn't survive without it. In any event, keeping a low profile -- often a necessity for effective diplomacy -- is impossible for Israel. And it will be all the more so next week when both Obama and Netanyahu speak before 10,000 cheering AIPAC delegates -- a crowd that never tires of discussing Israel and its troubles.

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The Harvard Conference on the One-State Solution in Israel/Palestine by David Weinfeld

The Harvard Conference on the One-State Solution in Israel/Palestine by David Weinfeld | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

It’s morally consistent to support the one-state solution, but only if you really support a “no-state” solution, that is, if you believe in a universal, one-world government, maybe divided into loose geographic units. And some, on the far left, claim that is their position. That’s the theory. The reality, however, is quite different. In fact, their position is best summarized this way: "Ethnic nationalism is bad, and all ethnic nation-states should cease to exist…um… (awkward pause)… starting with Israel." This “Israel-first” position (as in, the first to get axed), under the pretense of leftist internationalism, is frankly antisemitic, in effect if not in intent, as Larry Summers would have it.

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Goldberg Interview Can’t Disguise the Divide Between Obama and Israel by Jonathan S. Tobin

Obama is bluffing when he talks about being willing to hit Iran. His halfhearted attempt to force Iran to its knees via sanctions is failing, and the idea that waiting until the end of the year (when, Obama hopes, he will be safely re-elected and thus free from needing to worry about Jewish voters or donors) to see if it works is just hot air. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who will be in Washington to meet with Obama following his address to the AIPAC conference, knows this, and that will be focal point of their next confrontation.

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Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) calls on Harvard to cancel ‘one state’ conference, Boston Globe

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) calls on Harvard to cancel ‘one state’ conference, Boston Globe | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

“I want to condemn in the strongest possible terms Harvard’s sponsorship of a conference exploring a ‘one-state solution’ to the Israel-Palestinian conflict,” he said in a statement. “This is dangerous thinking that gives comfort to Israel’s enemies who view the ‘one-state solution’ as a euphemism for eliminating Israel as a Jewish state. Harvard may have a right to do this, but that doesn’t make it right to do it. The University should cancel this conference.”

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Deeply Wrong, But Not Anti-Semitic, Harvard Crimson editorial

Deeply Wrong, But Not Anti-Semitic, Harvard Crimson  editorial | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

While we too possess strong reservations about the content of the conference, we defend the right of students to hold this symposium, and Harvard’s right to sponsor it. We therefore wish to highlight Harvard Students for Israel’s nuanced and level-headed response to this conference, which balances a profound disapproval of its content with support for the right of all Harvard students to political expression. It is our sincere hope that HSI’s statement can serve as a model for a more civil campus discourse on Israel/Palestine in the years ahead.

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Can Israel Trust The United States When It Comes To Iran? by Yossi Klein Halevi

Can Israel Trust The United States When It Comes To Iran? by Yossi Klein Halevi | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

An Israeli decision not to strike this year will mean that it effectively ceded its self-defense—against a potentially existential threat—to America. When Obama tells Israel to give sanctions time, what he is really saying is: Trust me to stop Iran militarily when you no longer can. But an adminstration serious about stopping Iran to the point of military intervention would convey messages that raise Iran’s anxiety, not Israel’s. By insisting that Israel’s military threat isn’t credible – without at the same time explicitly stating that America’s military threat is—the administration reassures Iran that it has little to fear from military action. The Israelis can’t and the Americans won’t.

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Resigning to Iran by Robert Joseph

Resigning to Iran by Robert Joseph | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Despite many high-profile statements about not allowing Iran to have nuclear weapons, the administration appears to have adopted the message put out by Iran’s leaders, that the cost of a military strike would be prohibitively high. While the administration will seek to impose additional sanctions, it now seems willing to live with the failure of its policy and rely on the belief that a nuclear-armed Iran can be deterred and contained. It is this core belief that defines the difference between U.S. and Israeli perspectives and policies. For Israel, a nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat; Israel cannot exist in such a world. Our president seems already resigned to it.

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Talking Points [Obama-Netanyahu] by Steven J. Rosen

Talking Points [Obama-Netanyahu] by Steven J. Rosen | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Obama's theory seems to be that you have to show daylight with Israel to get progress on peace and win friends in the Muslim world. But what if the president tried the opposite approach? What could Obama do to set a new tone? Here are four ideas.

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Obama's AIPAC speech will be pivotal for holding onto Jewish voters in 2012, The Hill

When President Obama takes the stage on Sunday morning before the American Israel Public Affairs Conference, it could represent a pivotal moment for Obama to keep Jewish voters in his corner. Republicans have sought to peel off the Jewish vote from President Obama with accusations that he isn't supportive of Israel.

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Harvard Israel Conference, April 19-20

Harvard Israel Conference, April 19-20 | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

The event titled Harvard Israel Conference starts on April 19, 2012! Featuring:

• Governor Stanley Fischer, Governor of the Bank of Israel

• Dennis Ross, Former chief White House adviser on Middle East policy

• Larry Summers, President Emeritus of Harvard University and Former Secretary of the Treasury of the United States

 

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Polls: Israel Needs US, US Loves Israel by Walter Russell Mead

Polls: Israel Needs US, US Loves Israel by Walter Russell Mead | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Americans don’t want a war with Iran, but they don’t want Iran to get nuclear weapons and they want Israel to be safe. The path forward is not clear, but with Israelis wary of acting without the US, and Americans not wanting to see Israel in danger, it seems that powerful forces in both countries will be pushing President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu to coordinate their approaches to Iran.

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How to Kill an Economy [Egyptian gas and Israel] by Lee Smith

How to Kill an Economy [Egyptian gas and Israel] by Lee Smith | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Egypt is going begging to the Arab states, the IMF and World Bank, while it is sitting on natural gas that it refuses to profit from for political reasons. And if Egypt fails to meet its contractual obligations to Israel, it is difficult to see investors taking further risks in a political climate dominated by Islamists.

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ZOA Urges Harvard to Cancel Conference Calling for Israel's Destruction, press release

ZOA Urges Harvard to Cancel Conference Calling for Israel's Destruction, press release | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

In a letter to President Faust, ZOA National President Morton A. Klein wrote, "Harvard has pretended that it is simply a student affair and that no responsibility attaches to the University. This is simply an insult to people’s intelligence. It is a contemptuous and contemptible argument. We have no doubt that Harvard is responsible for this Conference. The University is enabling it in every conceivable way. Your faculty will be among the Conference participants. The University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs is providing funding for it. The premises of the University’s Kennedy School of Government will be used to host it. This is complicity, pure and simple."

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Fearful of a nuclear Iran? The real WMD nightmare is Syria by Charles P. Blair

Fearful of a nuclear Iran? The real WMD nightmare is Syria by Charles P. Blair | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

The situation in Syria is unprecedented. Never before has a WMD-armed country fallen into civil war. All states in the region stand poised to lose if these weapons find their way outside of Syria. If chaos ensues in Syria, the United States cannot go it alone in securing hundreds of tons of Syrian WMD. Regional leaders -- including some, such as Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, that are now backing the insurgency and the regime, respectively -- must come together and begin planning to avert a dispersion of Syrian chemical or biological weapons that would threaten everyone, of any political or religious persuasion, in the Middle East and around the world.

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The "Apartheid State" That Minorities Keep Struggling To Get Into by Ramzi Abu Hadid

Why has it become the dream of many Arab Christians and Muslims to emigrate to the "Apartheid State"? Is it possible that all these people are uninformed? Or do they really know the truth about Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East? In Egypt, Syria, and Iran, for example, government officials put journalists in jail, but Israel is the only country in the region where one small journalist nobody has ever heard of can put a government official in jail.

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The Deceits of Seymour Hersh by James Kirchick

The Deceits of Seymour Hersh by James Kirchick | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Hersh’s enablers and fans don’t care if he repeatedly gets things wrong in his journalism, or makes outlandish allegations in public forums, as long as he continues to provide fodder for the narrative of America as a rapacious and blundering imperial power.

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For minorities [in the Arab world], now is the time to report by Michael Young

It is unfortunate that among those most anxiously observing the uprising in Syria (and not only Syria) have been members of the Middle East’s religious and ethnic minorities. To assume that an iron curtain of Sunni Islamism will necessarily descend on us all is to underestimate the influence of those, secular Sunnis and Islamist Shiites included, who reject such an outcome.

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Harvard conference draws fire, Boston Globe

An upcoming conference at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on the “one-state solution’’ to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is drawing ire from organizations who believe it promotes the elimination of Israel.

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Obama to Iran and Israel: "As President of the United States, I Don't Bluff," interview by Jeffrey Goldberg

In the most extensive interview he has given about the looming Iran crisis, Obama told me earlier this week that both Iran and Israel should take seriously the possibility of American action against Iran's nuclear facilities. "I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff." He went on, "I also don't, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say."

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