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August 04, 2005

Comments

ashraf al-mansur

i can't believe that, after your first MESA conference, during subsequent ones you still wandered around looking for an interesting panel instead of going straight to the bar. that's the whole point of going to the conference, isn't it?

well, & the book stands. on the last day. when they give discounts.

--raf*

Mark R. Miner

Martin Kramer: Still a Jerk and Enemy of Real Scholarship

Hey, this is fun. Must be why old Marty pulls this crap all the time.

the aardvark

keep it civil, please... criticize Martin's analysis of MESA all you like, but no personal insults. thanks...

Moloch-Agonistes

Kramer's complaint about inordinate MESA focus on Palestine/Israel strikes me as faintly bizarre.

First, the Israeli Palestinian conflict is the emblematic struggle of our age, a proxy inter alia for the collision of extraterritorial and nativist nationalism; the tension of gerrymandering and democratic suffrage; the international commitment to state sovereignty versus fairness to minority groups; the efficacy and legitimacy of the U.N. in general (the Partition Plan was of course its first project). If MESA were ignoring it the organization could rightly be accused of scholarly cowardice and irrelevance to the outside world.

Second (in part because it is so emplematic) the Israeli Palestinian conflict is what interests many people in the Middle East initially. Naturally the papers reflect that interest.

Third, Palestine has been central to the European consciousness since the fourth century. Think of all those T-O maps that show Israel as the center of the world. Where does Kramer think Middle Eastern scholarship comes from? His criticism of MESA is clearly derivative of the claim that world focus on the Israeli Palestinian conflict in preference to say, Sierra Leone is ipso facto evidence of anti-Semitism. What a silly canard: if Herzl wanted his successors to shrink from the limelight he should have settled in Uganda after all.

Zionism was able to coalesce as a movement because Palestine was emblematic both for Jews and Christians. For its defenders (Kramer among them) to delegitimize those in the scholarly community who continue see it as emblematic--in part because of that very legacy--is misguided, if not disingenuous.

Mike Nargizian

That entire piece of bloviating long winded garbage is exactly the problem.
A small taste -

First, the Israeli Palestinian conflict is the emblematic struggle of our age, a proxy inter alia for the collision of extraterritorial and nativist nationalism;

And this incredible little tidbit lol -

the tension of gerrymandering and democratic suffrage;

Democratic suffrage versus gerrymandering? eh? is that like analyzing the prevalence of tension versus environmentalism?
Oh and where is there 'Democratic Suffrage' there?

if Herzl wanted his successors to shrink from the limelight he should have settled in Uganda after all.

Yes well now we know the real problem. Herzl wanted to remain in the limelight, he liked the attention, and that today is really the ongoing legacy of atttention after all.

If that comment is emblematic of what passes as 'intellectual discourse' at MESA than I could see why one would want to stay at the bar drinking.

Moloch-Agonistes

Mike. Thanks for the short-winded response. I'm sensing general disagreement, but your specific criticisms are bit obscure to me. Perhaps you could expand.

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