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The Passing of Uri Avnery

Most of the articles and statements following the passing of veteran Israeli journalist and far-left political activist Uri Avnery were of a glorifying nature, praising his persistent support for a Palestinian state and the end of the Israeli “occupation.” However, his misconceived predictions and deeds undermining Israeli sovereign interests, including during wartime, were intentionally ignored.more

The Logic of the West’s New Anti-Semitism Crisis

September 23, 2018,

The anti-Semitism crises exploding in the British Labour Party and threatening to erupt in the US Democratic Party have complex sources in both the elites and the middle class. These include the logic of socialism, which opposes Jewish difference; rejection of the nation-state, which Jews still embrace; and conventional nineteenth-century beliefs in Jewish greed and conspiracies. Post-colonial guilt has also led to multiculturalism and societal self-mortification through Muslim mass immigration, which has enormously exacerbated anti-Semitism and terrorism. The trends in Europe and Britain portend negative changes in the US for Jews and Israel.more

A Question of Identity

September 21, 2018,

It is not alleged “religionization” that threatens Israeli identity and deepens the cleavages in Israeli society but the absence of a mutually accepted contemporary Jewish common ground.more

Israel’s Nationality Law, UN Resolution 181, and the Arab List

September 21, 2018,

For many years, General Assembly Resolution 181 was the document the Palestinians cited most frequently to buttress two of their major claims. They no longer do so because the document stipulates for the creation of a Jewish state, as emphasized by the nationality law they now decry.more

The Tehran Summit and Iran’s Regional Ambitions

September 20, 2018,

The recent Russian-Turkish-Iranian summit in Tehran underscored the Islamic Republic’s determination to take an active and central part in the future reconstruction of Syria so as to promote a range of civilian and security interests that are bound to work to Israel’s detriment.more

Battle with Fate: Russia, Geography, and the Historical Cycle

September 20, 2018,

Russia under Putin falls neatly into the Russian historical cycle. When the old state is in decline, chaos ensues, and a new, powerful leader emerges to rebuild Russia. There are plenty of comparisons from Russian history that echo Putin’s rise and success – but there are crucial differences, too, which help explain his inability to transform Russia into a truly global power.more

Humanitarian Concessions Will Not Reduce Hamas Violence. Here is the Evidence

September 18, 2018,

Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman appears to be accepting the argument that humanitarian gestures towards Hamas will buy quiet. The evidence provided by UN agencies in an effort to advocate for humanitarian gestures ironically proves that there is in fact no correlation between such gestures and a reduction in Hamas violence.more

Letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

September 17, 2018,

Mr. Prime Minister, The state of Israel and its citizens have been fortunate to have you at the helm for the past nine years. One can readily envisage the nightmare scenarios had your ideological and political opponents been leading the country. Your steadfast opposition to the "peace plan" that President Barack Obama tried to dictate has been particularly significant. And yet, there is a lingering concern about your demographic vision of the spatial arrangement of the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Not least because your government’s long-term construction plans envisage the concentration of most of Israel’s population in the crowded coastal strip and the Dan metropolitan area (Gush Dan).more

Light at the End of the Tunnel for Greece?

September 16, 2018,

Maladministration, overspending, cronyism, and statism over a period of decades made Greece the weakest link in the Eurozone when the world financial crisis hit Europe in 2009. To avoid a chaotic default and an exit from the European system, Greece had no alternative but to accept bailouts offered by the EU and the IMF in exchange for austerity measures and structural reforms. The third and final one expired on August 20, 2018. The day after finds Greece with relatively stable public finances but unable to immediately regain market confidence. Above all, the tendency of politicians to put their political interest above the national one remains even as the society is suffocating from social problems and is pessimistic about the future.more

Greece Faces the End of the Bailout Era and a Dispute with Russia

September 16, 2018,

Greece is now facing the end of the eight-year bailout and an unexpected diplomatic crisis with Russia. While PM Alexis Tsipras is trying to take credit for the former and manage the latter, his government may pay a price in voter discontent.more

The Price of Israeli Withdrawal: Lessons from the Past

September 14, 2018,

Prominent politicians still advocate withdrawal from the West Bank. A simple analysis of pertinent basic data that appears in the Shin Bet’s terrorist summary for the year 2006 alone shows that the idea of withdrawal, which would imply the cessation of IDF activity in the area, could be misguided and dangerous.more

How Feasible Is a Long-Term Truce with Hamas?

September 14, 2018,

The prospect of a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas brings with it both risks and opportunities. While it remains far from clear that such an arrangement is even feasible, Israel is giving Egyptian mediation efforts a chance.more

The Oslo Disaster Revisited: How It Happened

September 13, 2018,

Precisely two decades after the failure by the Golda Meir government to identify a willing Arab peace partner triggered the devastating 1973 Yom Kippur war, another Labor government wrought a far worse catastrophe by substituting an unreconstructed terror organization committed to Israel’s destruction for a willing peace partner. Instead of ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the “Oslo peace process” between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) created an ineradicable terror entity on Israel’s doorstep that has murdered some 1,600 Israelis, rained thousands of rockets and missiles on the country’s population centers, and toiled tirelessly to delegitimize the right of the Jewish state to exist.more

Oslo at 25: A Personal View

September 13, 2018,

Perhaps the most important misperception about Oslo is that it is – or was – a peace process, a two-sided affair, a matter of give-and-take in which each side’s promises depended on fulfillment of the other’s promises. My view, as a witness to some of the relevant history, is that it was a kind of unilateral Israeli withdrawal.more

The North Korean Foreign Minister Visits Tehran

September 12, 2018,

Iran and North Korea are faced with similar challenges posed by the US, particularly since the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jung-un and President Trump. The recent visit of the North Korean foreign minister to Tehran might presage an attempt to covertly retain and transfer cardinal North Korean nuclear and ballistic assets to Iran.more

The Anti-Israel Effort Intensifies in Politics and On Campus

September 11, 2018,

Anti-Semitism continues to be aggressively promoted in the guise of anti-Israelism in two highly influential arenas: politics, particularly in Britain; and on campus. In the US, the BDS movement is doing all it can to ostracize Jewish students.more

Insights from the UK Labour Anti-Semitism Debate

September 11, 2018,

Over the past two and a half years a major debate has developed about anti-Semitism in the British Labour party. Jeremy Corbyn, the party leader, is a supporter of murderous and even genocidal terrorists and is a supporter of Holocaust deniers and distorters. He is furthermore an anti-Israel inciter and part-time anti-Semite. Many insights can be gleaned from the Labour anti-Semitism debate, and several are crucially important to the UK and the Western world at large.more

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New at BESA Center

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.

DEBATE: What Is the Best Way to Deal with North Korea?

December 31, 2017

Q: A few weeks after the visit of US President Donald Trump to Asia, North Korea is continuing with its missile launches. While the military option is openly on Washington’s agenda, a potential diplomatic solution cannot be excluded. BESA is joining the debate by asking experts: What is the best way to deal with North Korea?

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.