Last month, a visiting scholar to Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Martin Kramer, made what he called a memorable argument for the role of population growth in radicalization.
However his opinion is not shared by all. Mr. Kramer’s views have been hotly contested from many quarters of academia and laymen alike, who accuse the scholar of promoting genocide. Many critics have called for a complete disassociation of Mr. Kramer, by the Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
During the annual Herzliya Conference in Israel -a global policy gathering of Israeli and international participants from the highest levels of government, business, and academia. In his speech, Kramer, who is also president-designate of Shalem College in Jerusalem (in formation), offered the suggestion to Israeli policymakers that UN pro-natal subsidies be curtailed in order not to encourage growing numbers of Palestinian youth, who would presumably be radicalized upon coming of age into the hands of Hamas, and the like.
Oddly, the speech took place almost a year after the bicentennial celebration of the birth of Charles Darwin (February 12, 1809), who introduced natural selection in his work On the Origin of Species. The interpretation of natural selection as progressive, or leading to increasing advances in intelligence and civilization, was fittingly used as a justification for the policies of eugenics and colonialism.
Kramer told the audience: “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.” By using the words “superfluous” and “population” in conjunction with “culture of martyrdom,” the speech implies that suicidal terrorism, is somehow woven into the inherent fabric of the Palestinian society, making this strand of Arab youth undesirable, superfluous.
In an ensuing uproar that accused Kramer of promoting genocidal policies, the visiting scholar admitted that the basis of his theory is unoriginal. Kramer attributes the same to the “stimulating work of Gunnar Heinsohn,” a German scholar. In his own defense, Kramer quoted a January 2009 Wall Street Journal article by Heinsohn called “Ending the West’s Proxy War Against Israel: Stop funding a Palestinian youth bulge, and the fighting will stop too:” “Despite claiming that it wants to bring peace to the region, the West continues to make the population explosion in Gaza worse every year,” writes Heinsohn. “By generously supporting UNRWA’s budget, the West assists a rate of population increase that is 10 times higher than in their own countries.
But until there is unbiased, pre-intifada, historical and quantifiable scientific evidence that attributes relative national reproduction rates with the social ill of suicidal terrorism, denying innocent newborns universal health care could be defined as criminal. Targeting babies whose individual futures are unforseen, diverse and unpredicatable could even lead to eliminating future doctors, lawyers and peacemakers.
Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs issued a statement subsequently that “it does not attempt to monitor or control the activities of its affiliates.”