Martin Kramer on Barry Rubin’s Improbable Journey

Kramer: Today is one year since the passing of Barry Rubin, scholar and friend. I knew him for thirty-five years. I offer an appraisal of his remarkable journey, which began on the anti-Zionist left, and of his prodigious writings on the Middle East.

barry-rubinToday, February 3, marks one year since Barry Rubin, scholar and friend, lost his bout with an aggressive cancer. He was sixty-four. The many tributes published upon his passing celebrated him as a prolific and passionate advocate for his adopted country, Israel, and as a tireless scholar who generated a steady flow of writings and an astonishing array of initiatives: a think tank, several journals, and many conferences. His highly regarded expertise made him the go-to source on the Middle East for journalists, diplomats, and some Israeli public figures.

This was Barry Rubin, the finished product. Had you told me thirty-five years ago, when I first met him, that he would become not only “one of the great intellectual defenders of Israel,” but an Israeli, I would have dismissed you. Nothing would have seemed so improbable…

Martin Kramer was one of the first writers I encountered as started to read about the Middle East after 9/11.