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Refusing Entry to Foreign Nationals: How Common Is It?

August 26, 2019,

How unusual was Israel’s refusal to allow Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to enter Israel to engage in hostile political activity? Not very, based on a comparison with the UK.more

Netanyahu’s Sound Decision to Bar Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib

August 26, 2019,

Israeli PM Netanyahu was right to bar the entry of Muslim Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. Both are radical anti-Israelis and supporters of the BDS movement, whose end goal is Israel’s destruction. Their visit to the territories would have been an anti-Israel circus goaded on by the international media. Leaders of the Democratic Party understand that if their party moves toward the radical left, as exemplified by Tlaib and Omar, they will lose their chance to reclaim the White House next year.more

Israel’s Budding Relationship with the GCC

August 25, 2019,

Though largely motivated by mutual concerns about surging Iranian imperialism, the strengthening of Israel’s relationship with the GCC monarchies could ultimately help reignite the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.more

Revisiting the Principle of the “Legitimate Rights of the Palestinian People”

The US administration is reportedly considering the principle of autonomy for the Palestinians as the political goal of the “Deal of the Century.” This framework was initially introduced by Menachem Begin during the 1978 Camp David summit and appeared in the signed accords. Though the idea was never brought to fruition, it enabled the entrenchment of the mantra known as “the legitimate rights of the Palestinian People” – a formula that owes much to Israeli Chief Justice Aharon Barak, who served as Begin’s legal advisor at Camp David.more

A Geopolitical Crossfire: Al-Azhar Struggles to Balance Politics and Tradition

August 22, 2019,

When Pope Francis I visited Egypt in 2017 to stimulate interfaith dialogue he walked into a religious and geopolitical minefield at the heart of which was Al-Azhar, one of the world’s oldest and foremost seats of Islamic learning. The pope’s visit took on added significance with Al-Azhar standing accused of promoting the kind of ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim Islam that potentially creates an environment conducive to breeding extremism.more

“The Occupation” – How the EU Discriminates Against Israel

August 21, 2019,

Why does the EU single out Israeli “occupation” over other “occupations”? Because anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian positions are one of the few rallying cries that unite Europe.more

Contemporary Jewish Academics and the Masochist Tradition

August 20, 2019,

There is a strong trend of masochism in the contemporary Jewish world, the origins of which can be found in the Tanach [the Hebrew Bible]. The tradition of Jewish masochism continues through Talmudic expression and into later Jewish literature, and can also be found in the prayer book. One of many recent examples is a letter by 240 Israeli and Jewish scholars to the German government rejecting the parliamentary motion equating BDS with antisemitism.more

A Risky Gamble: Official Turkish Delegation to Inspect Troubled Xinjiang

August 19, 2019,

An official Turkish visit to the troubled northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang to assess reports of a brutal crackdown on the region’s Turkic Muslims could shape Turkey’s challenge to conservative Gulf states’ leadership of the Islamic world and complicate Muslim silence about the most frontal assault on their faith in recent history.more

Netanyahu: More a Jabotinsky than a Begin or a Ben-Gurion

August 18, 2019,

In favoring the political over the military approach, Benjamin Netanyahu is the direct successor of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, who espoused the political Zionism of forging an alliance with a world power. Netanyahu’s outlook is evident in his conflict management strategy vis-à-vis the PLO, Hamas, and Hezbollah while focusing on fighting Israel’s foremost enemy, Iran. Even there Netanyahu has preferred the path of political struggle, in cooperation with the US, and the use of sanctions over war.more

The Tlaib-Omar Trainwreck: A First Assessment

August 16, 2019,

The Israeli decision to ban US Representatives Tlaib and Omar on the basis of their support for BDS has elicited a firestorm of comments from Israel's detractors and supporters. The decision, warranted but unnecessary, illustrates the deep dysfunction that has come to characterize US-Israeli relations. The poisoning of American attitudes initiated by President Obama and the hysteria that accompanies everything associated with President Trump (and Prime Minister Netanyahu) set the stage for Tlaib and Omar to create a lose-lose situation for Israel. Their trip would have resulted in condemnations at the end, or worse. But the manner in which Israeli public diplomacy failed to make its case shows bad situational awareness and crisis management that was unable to overcome the Congresswomen’s bad faith or Trump’s unwanted intervention.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.