Prof. Efraim Karsh

Prof. Efraim Karsh

Prof. Efraim Karsh

Director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. Professor Emeritus of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King’s College London; Professor of Political Science at Bar-Ilan University; and a Principal Research Fellow (and former Director) of the Middle East Forum (Philadelphia), where he also edits the scholarly journal Middle East Quarterly.


Born and raised in Israel, Prof. Karsh earned his undergraduate degree in Arabic language and literature and modern Middle Eastern history from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and his graduate and doctoral degrees in international relations from Tel Aviv University. After acquiring his first academic degree, he served for seven years as an intelligence officer in the Israel Defense Forces, where he attained the rank of major.

He has held various academic posts at Harvard and Columbia universities, the Sorbonne, the London School of Economics, Helsinki University, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, and the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington D.C. In 1989 he joined King’s College London, where he established the Middle East and Mediterranean Studies Program (currently the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies), directing it for 16 years. In 2013 he joined Bar-Ilan University, and in October 2016 became director of the BESA Center for Strategic Studies.

Prof. Karsh has published extensively on the Middle East, strategic and military affairs, and European neutrality. He is the author of over 100 scholarly articles and sixteen books, including The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East (Bloomsbury); Palestine Betrayed (Yale); Islamic Imperialism: A History (Yale); Empires of the Sand: the Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East 1798-1923 (Harvard); Fabricating Israeli History: The “New Historians” (Routledge); The Gulf Conflict 1990-1991 (Princeton); Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography (Free Press); Arafat’s War (Grove); The Soviet Union and Syria (Routledge); and Neutrality and Small States (Routledge).

He is founding editor of the scholarly journal Israel Affairs, now in its twenty-third year, and founding general editor of a Routledge book series on Israeli History, Politics and Society, with over 60 books published.

Mobile: 972-52-952-2148

The Oslo Disaster

| September 4, 2016

The Oslo diplomatic process is the starkest strategic blunder in Israel’s history and one of the worst calamities ever to have afflicted Israelis and Palestinians. Twenty three years after its euphoric launch on the White House lawn, the Oslo ‘peace process’ has substantially worsened the position of both parties, and made the prospects for peace and reconciliation ever more remote.

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Occupation Is Not the Problem

| July 4, 2016

The proposition that “occupation” is to blame for Palestinian terrorism defies history, reality, and logic. Israel’s control of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza has been virtually nonexistent for twenty years, ever since the 1995 interim agreement and the 1997 Hebron redeployment. Palestinian terrorism has increased not in response to the “occupation,” but in response to its ending.

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Prof. Efraim Karsh’s new book Debunks Orientalism

| January 7, 2016

In an important new book, The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East (Bloomsbury), BESA Center senior research associate Prof. Efraim Karsh debunks the Edward Said’s “Orientalist” notion that the agonies of the Middle East are traceable to the rough handling of the region by Western powers – first European colonialists, then American cold warriors.

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Palestinian Suffering Used to Demonize Israel

| July 22, 2014

As long as Palestinians continue to serve as lightning rod against Jews, Israel will never be allowed to defend itself.

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The Myth of Palestinian Centrality

| July 7, 2014

The “Palestinian cause” has been at the forefront of discourse on the Middle East for nearly a century. It has long formed the primary common concern of pan-Arab solidarity and its most effective rallying cry, yet neither the Arab states nor Palestinian leaders have truly acted in the interest of the “liberation of Palestine.”

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Running Away from Statehood, Again

| April 28, 2014

The Palestinian Authorities' decision to strike an agreement with Hamas is proof of the Palestinian leadership's continual rejection of both peace and independent statehood.

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