Steve Walt ends a column on Martin Kramer’s idea of limiting Palestinian births with the million-dollar question, which he does not answer: what’s an Israeli-American wingnut doing at Harvard? Why is he so well connected?
[M]any Israelis and most American Jews would undoubtedly find Kramer’s views offensive. At the same, however, he is hardly an isolated extremist, or some messianic settler sitting in a trailer in an illegal outpost in the West Bank. On the contrary, he is an especially well-connected individual, with appointments at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and of course Harvard. Moreover, he is not the only Israeli who has expressed such hateful views about the Palestinians. Of course, one can find equally hateful sentiments about Israeli Jews coming from Palestinians and Arabs. But the key difference is that they don’t hold appointments at prestigious institutions like Harvard.
Kramer reminds me of Charles Jacobs, the extremist at the head of the David Project who nonetheless exerted tremendous influence over Columbia University a few years ago. Kramer also reminds me of former ambassador Dore Gold, the neoconservative Netanyahu aide who runs a thinktank in Jerusalem, was raised in CT, seems to be coordinating attacks on the Goldstone Report, and has long been a $96,000-a-year scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. What are these men doing in influential American institutions? They are there because powerful backers want them there; because neoconservatism with its hostility toward the Arab world remains a strong and largely-unchallenged current in Jewish life, even among liberals at the Forward— and therefore in the life of the U.S. establishment.