Perspectives Papers

Perspectives Papers provide analysis from BESA Center research associates and other outside experts on the most important issues pertaining to Israel and the Middle East.

View Archive

Lessons from Israel’s First US Ambassador

No. 1202
| June 17, 2019

Following Harry Truman’s recognition of the Provisional Government of Israel in early 1949, James McDonald was appointed the first US ambassador to the nascent Jewish state. In his memoirs, McDonald discusses Israel-Diaspora relations, which are as central today as they were in the early days of the State. This topic continues to be a source of division: witness the slanderous attacks made by Muslim Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar regarding American Jews’ “dual loyalties” and the State of Israel.

The Trade War Is Just the Start of a US-China Cold War

No. 1201
| June 16, 2019

Many observers view the current confrontation on trade between China and the US as temporary. However, the two countries have opposed geopolitical imperatives that make it highly unlikely that a long-term solution will be found. The US will have to consider how to contain China, which is a far more formidable competitor than the Soviet Union ever was. The US will need much more than a Cold War-style “containment” strategy to counter Chinese ambitions. 

Russian-Iranian Strains Raise Possibility of US-Israel-Russia Deal on Syria

No. 1200
| June 14, 2019

With Israel set to host an unprecedented meeting of the national security advisors of the US, Russia, and Israel, this week’s efforts by German FM Heiko Maas and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to mediate between the US and Iran could prove to be but a sideshow. The meeting of the national security advisors, against the backdrop of Syrian and Russian forces pummeling Idlib, the last major stronghold of Syrian rebels, takes on added significance with strains emerging in relations between Moscow and Tehran.

The Six-Day War and the Israeli Dream

No. 1199

The Six-Day War was a decisive turning point in the Zionist enterprise. But the project of building Israeli communities on the West Bank and the messianic aspects of Zionism were not born in 1967. They are stages in processes that were initiated by the workers’ parties and the Herut movement.

Israel Needs American Jewry, Now More than Ever

No. 1198
| 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.

What Hiding One’s Kippa Says About Europe

No. 1197
| June 11, 2019

Germany’s national antisemitism commissioner, Felix Klein, recently said, “I cannot advise Jews to wear kippot everywhere all the time in Germany.” Klein’s words, which prompted strong responses from the German authorities, revealed that the German legal system and police cannot guarantee Jewish freedom of expression in the public domain.

How Germans Remember the Holocaust

No. 1196
| June 10, 2019

The selective details on display at the Documentation Center of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds, a museum in Nuremberg, give an indication of the ways in which the German people choose to remember the Holocaust and the era of Nazi rule.

Putin’s Turkish Gambit

No. 1195
| June 9, 2019

The first-ever NATO member state to shoot down a Russian military jet has willingly fallen in line with Vladimir Putin’s “Turkish Gambit,” a strategy designed to drive a deep crack into the NATO alliance.

Saudi Religious Moderation: How Real Is It?

No. 1194
| June 7, 2019

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is determined to promote an image of himself as a harbinger of Saudi religious moderation, but many observers suspect that the changes he has implemented are only skin-deep. His reforms may turn out to have more to do with public relations than with fundamental change.

Gaza’s Past and Gaza’s Present

No. 1193

Israel’s difficulties with Gaza have long historical antecedents. Philistia, an ancient geographical area that contained modern-day Gaza in its southern portion, was a trouble spot for the inhabitants of the Land of Israel as long ago as the time of Judges.