There is an interesting controversy that has erupted over a recent speech by Martin Kramer, a fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Critics at Electronic Intifada denounced Kramer’s speech as a call for genocide when he called for the West to end support for Palestinian clinics and hospital for “pro-natal” care.
Kramer has written the column below insisting that he never made the comments attributed to him by the site. However, his own column includes the following passage from the speech:
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.”
That seems pretty extreme to me. The clear import is that the West could reduce the birth rate of Palestinians.
He admits that he “called on it to desist from deliberately encouraging births through pro-natal subsidies for Palestinian ‘refugees.'” He adds the “pro-natal subsidy in Gaza is the unlimited promise of hereditary ‘refugee’ status to future generations.”
That does not appear to improve upon additional readings. While he does not call for genocide, he certainly calls for such measures to reduce the birth rate for Palestinians.
Martin’s Harvard bio states his affiliation as “Senior Fellow, National Security Studies Program. Former Director, Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Tel Aviv University.”
For the Kramer column, click here.