Shay Attias

The Soleimani Killing: Trump’s New Approach to the War on Terror

| January 12, 2020

Soft power and coercive diplomacy tools have not worked for almost 20 years against “peaceful Iran” (as Obama used to call it), and America has opted instead to exercise hard power. Trump’s order to kill Qassem Soleimani exposes once again the vast gap between the US and Europe on the problem of Iran.


The WhatsApp Crisis Reveals Cracks in Iran’s Soft Power Strategy

| December 8, 2019

The “WhatsApp crisis” in Lebanon revealed a crack in Iran’s grand diplomatic strategy of using its proxies to push ideological soft power concurrently with hard power. Since 1979, Tehran has been trying to brand itself as the epicenter of the Islamic Revolution. That notion is being challenged—not by Lebanese tanks and Iraqi bullets but by citizens armed with smartphones.


Israeli Arabs Welcomed in Saudi Arabia: Diplomatic Breakthrough or Cynical Ploy?

| October 13, 2019

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s calls to invite Israeli Arabs to live and work in Saudi Arabia could be either a diplomatic breakthrough or a cynical ploy. If the former, it could indicate that at long last, the Arab world is awakening to the possibility that to fully enter the modern world, it must normalize relations with Israel.


Is America Still “First”?

| October 4, 2019

In the third year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the US continues to suffer from a negative global image. The world views Chinese and Russian leadership more favorably than that of the US. This seems to be a continuation of the instant, worldwide negative response – even panic – that followed Trump’s victory in 2016. The most negative attitudes were shown among the “Western democracies” while in non-democratic states the US scored much better.


Russian Soft Power in the Middle East

| July 26, 2019

Russian soft power efforts in the Middle East are bearing fruit, as many young Arabs now view Moscow as an ally and the US as unreliable. Russia wants to build more ties with the Muslim world and views Trump’s presidency as an opportunity in that regard. This ambition is tempered somewhat by the Muslim jihadist threat in Russian areas and, of course, the painful legacy of the war in Afghanistan.


Israel Needs American Jewry, Now More than Ever

| June 12, 2019

The persistent affiliation of the American Jewish diaspora with the Democratic party – a party that is vocally and increasingly critical of Israel – raises concern over what will happen when the US eventually elects another Democratic president. When that happens, the gap between Israel and American Jewry, one of its most powerful and necessary diplomatic assets, will be even bigger than it is today.


The Barring of Eurovision from Jerusalem Is a Win for the BDS Movement

| May 14, 2019

The €28.5 million Eurovision song contest, which draws 200 million viewers from 42 countries, might seem to be just a huge pop spectacle, but it is a good deal more. In addition to serving as an entertainment vehicle, it is a powerful mechanism of soft power – a tool that is critically important to the modern State of Israel and particularly to the city of Jerusalem. Europe’s refusal to allow the contest to be held in Jerusalem, in contravention of Eurovision’s own rules, constitutes a victory for the BDS movement.


Soft Power and Global Standing – No. 1

| June 21, 2018

The term “soft power” came into currency in the 1990s but its use has accelerated dramatically in recent years, reflecting the explosion of the digital age. Soft power is defined as the application of persuasive, rather than coercive, techniques to attract positive attention on the international stage and thereby achieve greater room for diplomatic maneuver. Soft power assessments can be used to compare how countries stand in terms of democracy, global image, corruption, life expectancy, and many other criteria. Soft power combined with hard power – i.e., military strength and the ability to coerce – amounts to “smart power,” a metric in which Israel is particularly strong.