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Iran and North Korea Highlight Pitfalls of Trump’s “Maximum Pressure” Strategy

March 24, 2019,

President Donald Trump’s hitherto failed “maximum pressure” approach to Iran, as well as, for that matter, North Korea, begs the question what his true objectives are and what options he will be left with should the policy ultimately fail.more

Should America’s Asian Allies Adjust Their Security Policy?

March 22, 2019,

The media focused its attention on the success or failure of the Singapore Summit in June 2018 and the Hanoi Summit of February 2019, but largely disregarded President Trump’s policy on joint military drills with South Korea. His decision to postpone the drills raises questions about US policy in the region.more

The EU Cannot Fight Antisemitism Effectively

March 21, 2019,

For operational and structural reasons, the EU cannot effectively combat antisemitism. The main operational reasons are the absence of an accepted definition of antisemitism and the lack of comparable statistics on incidents among EU member states. Structural reasons are the unwillingness of the EU to admit that antisemitism is part of European culture, and the inability to simultaneously incite against Israel and fight antisemitism. The discrepancy between the words of EU leaders about their intention to fight antisemitism and the need to act against it will thus remain huge.more

The Antisemitism Crisis in the Democratic Party

March 20, 2019,

The Democratic Party has been overtaken by an antisemitism crisis, a process of ”Corbynization” akin to that of the British Labour Party. The process’s three principal proponents, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar, personify three components – socialism, Palestinianism, and Islamism – given impunity by the concept of “intersectionality.” The trajectory of their red-green alliance is leading the Democratic Party towards socialism. For American Jews, this means their deep allegiance to the Democratic Party over many generations has been rewarded with abandonment and suspicion. For Israel, there is the prospect of a future Democratic administration that advocates its destruction. For the rest of the world, the party’s severe inward turn portends global retreat.more

In Mideast Protests, Ultras Are Down but Not Out

March 19, 2019,

Middle East soccer fans played an important role in the 2011 popular revolts. Regimes across the region are determined to ensure that they will not have another such opportunity.more

How Trump Should Counter Putin in Ukraine and Venezuela

March 18, 2019,

If Nicolás Maduro is removed from office in Venezuela, Putin might act as he did when a popular revolution overthrew Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014. At that time, he launched a surprise invasion of Crimea. This time, he may launch a surprise naval and land attack on Mariupol, set up a land bridge from Crimea to Russia, and continue intensifying his attempt to strangle Ukraine's economy in order to subjugate that country to Russia. Trump must take immediate preemptive measures to prevent this by increasing naval aid to Kiev.more

The US Does Not Lose Much by Withdrawing from Afghanistan

March 17, 2019,

In December 2018, the Trump administration announced that its military will start withdrawing roughly 7,000 troops from Afghanistan in the coming months. Though the decision seems an abrupt shift in the US’s 17-year-old war in Afghanistan, it fits into the American grand strategy of keeping Eurasia divided.more

Saudi Gas Export Plan Shines New Light on Efforts to Isolate Iran

March 15, 2019,

Saudi plans to become a major gas exporter within a decade raise questions about what the real goal of the kingdom’s policy, and by extension that of the US, is towards Iran.more

DEBATE: Can China and the US Peacefully Coexist?

March 14, 2019,

DEBATE: In his account of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides wrote, “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Harvard scholar Graham Allison subsequently applied the term “Thucydides Trap” to describe Sino-American relations. Following a meeting with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping said: “There is no such thing as the so-called Thucydides Trap in the world. But should major countries time and again make the mistakes of strategic miscalculation, they might create such traps for themselves.” BESA poses the question: Can China and the US peacefully coexist?more

Peace with the Arab States and the Palestinians Must be Delinked

March 13, 2019,

US officials and envoys dangle the prospect of peace with Arab states in front of Israel as bait to encourage it to make painful concessions on the Palestinian issue. It would be a grave strategic mistake for Israel to fall for this gambit. As the Oslo Accords proved, peace is not made on the White House lawn but in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Gaza.  more

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New at BESA Center

In Memoriam: Moshe Arens

January 8, 2019

The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies mourns the passing this week of Moshe Arens — professor, ambassador, politician, and devoted servant of Israel. Prof. Arens was a member of the International Board of the BESA Center from its first inception, and was an active participant in our conferences and events for many years. He will be missed.

There Is No Political Solution for Gaza

November 7, 2018

The claim that an agreement among the US administration, the Palestinian Authority, and the Egyptians to allow the PA to turn the financial screws on Hamas would culminate in the PA’s reassertion of control over the Gaza Strip could not be further from reality. In the Middle East, only armed force prevails.

Conference: The Oslo Process 25 Years On

September 3, 2018

On September 3, 2018, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies convened a conference on “The Oslo Process 25 Years On”.

The Privileged Palestinian “Refugees”

May 15, 2018

The “Palestine refugees” have been exceptionally indulged by the international community for seventy long years. This ranged from their very recognition as refugees though most of them fail to satisfy the basic criteria for such status, to the unprecedented benefit of a relief agency created exclusively for their welfare (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA), to the unique privilege of passing on “refugee” status to future generations.

Conference: Reforming UNRWA

March 18, 2018

“Palestine refugees” have been exceptionally indulged by the international community for 70 long years. Consider the ways: They should not even have been classified as refugees, they had the unprecedented benefit of a relief agency created exclusively for their welfare (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA), and they uniquely can pass on the “refugee” status to future generations.

Reframing the Middle Eastern and Palestinian Refugee Crises

March 13, 2018 and

There are two Middle Eastern refugee crises currently vying for resources and attention. One is nominally focused on Syria but in fact extends from Libya to Afghanistan. The other crisis is Palestinian and has supposedly been going on since 1948. A closer look at the causes of these crises shows the former to be primarily the result of the collapsing Arab state system and the rise of militant Islam, while the latter cannot be considered a crisis at all.

Conference: Strategic Challenges in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Gulf

February 22, 2018

Videos from the February 22 international conference on Strategic Challenges in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Gulf, convened by the BESA Center and B’nai B’rith International.

Surviving Donald Trump: Israel’s Strategic Options

February 2, 2018

While Israel has always been determinedly self-reliant on core matters of national security, this posture needs to become even more explicit in the disjointed “Trump Era.” In correctly acknowledging the unpredictability and possible incoherence of Trump’s developing policies towards the Middle East, Jerusalem will need to direct special attention towards growing prospects for “Cold War II,” and certain incrementally needed revisions of Israeli nuclear strategy.

Recent Conferences

Australia-Israel Dialogue

November 1, 2017

On November 1, 2017, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and Bar-Ilan Univeristy co-hosted the “Be’er Sheva Dialogue” at the Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel. The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia, was in attendance.

Strategic Challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean

February 21, 2017

On February 21, 2017, for the second consecutive year, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and B’nai B’rith International jointly held an international conference on Strategic Challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean. The event, which took place at the Begin-Sadat Center, involved the participation of experts from Greece, Russia, Britain, Turkey, Albania, the US, and Israel.