Posts Tagged The War on Error

A year of anniversaries

The War on ErrorAs 2016 winds down, I thought I’d share some end-of-year updates:

  • I’ve given an interview to the podcast program The Tel Aviv Review on my recent book The War on Error: Israel, Islam and the Middle East. I speak, inter alia, about Ari Shavit and Lydda, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Six-Day War, and why surgeons don’t perform operations in sewers. Listen at this link, and order the book from Amazon here.
  • My article “Repairing Sykes-Picot” caps the just-published proceedings of a conference on the enduring legacies of the post-World War One settlement in the Middle East. The book is entitled The Lines That Bind: 100 Years of Sykes-Picot, and it’s published by The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The volume also includes fine articles by Andrew Tabler, Fabrice Balanche, Michael Knights, David Pollock, David Schenker, Sam Menassa, Soner Cagaptay, Ghaith Omari, David Makovsky, and Brigitte Curmi. It’s free to download at this link.
  • In October, I concluded seven years of service as head of Shalem College. (I was appointed president-designate in 2009, when the College was still in formation, and I became its first president in 2013.) My successor is Isaiah Gafni, distinguished professor emeritus of Jewish history at the Hebrew University. Read about him here. I’ve joined the faculty ranks, where I teach the modern history of the Middle East, as well as a course on the Middle East in the work of Bernard Lewis. I’ll bet it’s offered nowhere else.

2017 will be a year of many anniversaries: the Balfour Declaration (1917), UN Resolution 181 for the partition of Palestine (1947), and the Six-Day War (1967). The errors in “expert” commentary about each will abound. I’m looking forward to a busy and interesting New Year—and wish the same to you.

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    The War on Error is underway…

    The War on ErrorThe War on Error: Israel, Islam, and the Middle East is my new collection of twenty-five essays and articles, some of them published for the first time. Order the book from Amazon in paperback or Kindle.

    In connection with publication, please watch or read the following:

    • View my opening remarks at my book launch, held at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, here. That’ll take only thirteen minutes. If you have an hour and a half, you might watch the entire event, featuring responses from Benny Morris and Hussein Ibish. There’s also a rapporteur’s summary of the event.

    • Read the first review of the book by Jonathan Marks, written for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East in The Algemeiner, here.

    • Read a profile of me and my work by Shepard Barbash in The Federalist, here.

    • Lee Smith interviewed me for the blog of The Weekly Standard, here.

    I welcome comments, criticisms, and compliments. I invite you to post them here on Facebook, or (even better) at Amazon.com.

    Description:

    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.

    Advance Praise:

    • Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations:

    The best antidote to academic assaults on Israel and false versions of Zionist history is Martin Kramer. These essays on Israel and on current Arab and Islamic politics show him at his best: a sharp, wise, and very funny guide. If you’ve read this all before, read it again; time has only made his analyses more telling. If you don’t know Kramer, you’re in for an intellectual feast.”

    • Josef Joffe, fellow of the Hoover Institution and the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University:

    “What is the Talmudic spirit? It is to poke, probe and provoke, never to let received notions stand. Today’s Middle East harbors more half-truths and willful misrepresentations than oil under its sands. Concepts like ‘Orientalism’ are ideologies posing as dispassionate scholarship. Islamism is a magnet for apologists blind to the region’s cultural pathologies. Terrorism is transfigured into legitimate anti-colonialism, even though the Arab world has been independent for two, three generations. Martin Kramer has done the ‘Talmudic’ thing, exposing sloppy or mean-spirited thinking with an incisive mind and first-rate empirical research. This collection is required reading for anybody who prefers intellectual rigor to ideological obfuscation.”

    • Gilles Kepel, professor at the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and member of the Institut universitaire de France:

    “Martin Kramer is a major scholarly contributor to the worldwide political debate about the contemporary Middle East. Not all will agree with his strong views, but they are always stimulating and challenging, and it is worth taking up such a challenge in the unprecedented chaos that the region has witnessed since 9/11, both within its ever-changing borders and in its complex relations with Europe and America.”

    • Michael Mandelbaum, Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies:

    “In The War on Error, Martin Kramer, an eminent scholar of Middle Eastern affairs, fearlessly and eloquently exposes the myths, half-truths, and outright lies that pervade the public discussion, and so inhibit public understanding, of the region he knows so well.”

    • Michael Oren, member of Knesset and former Israeli ambassador to the United States:

    Martin Kramer, a preeminent and prolific scholar of the Middle East, provides expert and singularly clear-sighted insights into this crucial region. Whether writing about the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the West’s relations with Islam, or the global struggle against terror, Kramer is at once deeply informed, courageous, and engaging.”

    • Itamar Rabinovich, president of the Israel Institute and former Israeli ambassador to the United States:

    “Martin Kramer spans an unusual range. He is a first-rate historian of the modern Middle East who is as masterful with social media as he is with the traditional archive. This new collection of essays and papers deals with the most current issues in Middle Eastern politics and policies from a perspective that only a profound historian possesses. But Kramer is not encumbered by his academic baggage; he writes well and vividly. I sometimes disagree with him but I always read carefully and learn something new or different. I strongly recommend the book for the professional and the lay reader.”

    • Ruth R. Wisse, former professor of Yiddish and comparative literature, Harvard University:

    “Correcting error is the indispensable first step in stopping terror. No one writes better on the Middle East, its distorters and misinterpreters than Martin Kramer. He must be read—to be believed.”

      ,

      The War on Error

      The War on ErrorIsrael, Islam, and the Middle East

      by Martin Kramer

      Publisher: Routledge

      Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4128-6499-2 List Price: $44.95

      Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4128-6433-6 List Price: $100.00

      Pages: 318

      Publication Date: October 31, 2016

      Order from Routledge

      Order from Amazon US

      Order from Amazon UK

      Order from Amazon Canada

      Order from Barnes and Noble

      Description:

      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.

      Martin Kramer is the founding president of Shalem College in Jerusalem, where he also chairs the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. He is the author and editor of several books, including Arab Awakening and Islamic Revival.

      Advance Praise:

      • Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations:

      The best antidote to academic assaults on Israel and false versions of Zionist history is Martin Kramer. These essays on Israel and on current Arab and Islamic politics show him at his best: a sharp, wise, and very funny guide. If you’ve read this all before, read it again; time has only made his analyses more telling. If you don’t know Kramer, you’re in for an intellectual feast.”

      • Josef Joffe, fellow of the Hoover Institution and the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University:

      “What is the Talmudic spirit? It is to poke, probe and provoke, never to let received notions stand. Today’s Middle East harbors more half-truths and willful misrepresentations than oil under its sands. Concepts like ‘Orientalism’ are ideologies posing as dispassionate scholarship. Islamism is a magnet for apologists blind to the region’s cultural pathologies. Terrorism is transfigured into legitimate anti-colonialism, even though the Arab world has been independent for two, three generations. Martin Kramer has done the ‘Talmudic’ thing, exposing sloppy or mean-spirited thinking with an incisive mind and first-rate empirical research. This collection is required reading for anybody who prefers intellectual rigor to ideological obfuscation.”

      • Gilles Kepel, professor at the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and member of the Institut universitaire de France:

      “Martin Kramer is a major scholarly contributor to the worldwide political debate about the contemporary Middle East. Not all will agree with his strong views, but they are always stimulating and challenging, and it is worth taking up such a challenge in the unprecedented chaos that the region has witnessed since 9/11, both within its ever-changing borders and in its complex relations with Europe and America.”

      • Michael Mandelbaum, Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies:

      “In The War on Error, Martin Kramer, an eminent scholar of Middle Eastern affairs, fearlessly and eloquently exposes the myths, half-truths, and outright lies that pervade the public discussion, and so inhibit public understanding, of the region he knows so well.”

      • Michael Oren, member of Knesset and former Israeli ambassador to the United States:

      Martin Kramer, a preeminent and prolific scholar of the Middle East, provides expert and singularly clear-sighted insights into this crucial region. Whether writing about the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the West’s relations with Islam, or the global struggle against terror, Kramer is at once deeply informed, courageous, and engaging.”

      • Itamar Rabinovich, president of the Israel Institute and former Israeli ambassador to the United States:

      “Martin Kramer spans an unusual range. He is a first-rate historian of the modern Middle East who is as masterful with social media as he is with the traditional archive. This new collection of essays and papers deals with the most current issues in Middle Eastern politics and policies from a perspective that only a profound historian possesses. But Kramer is not encumbered by his academic baggage; he writes well and vividly. I sometimes disagree with him but I always read carefully and learn something new or different. I strongly recommend the book for the professional and the lay reader.”

      • Ruth R. Wisse, former professor of Yiddish and comparative literature, Harvard University:

      “Correcting error is the indispensable first step in stopping terror. No one writes better on the Middle East, its distorters and misinterpreters than Martin Kramer. He must be read—to be believed.”