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.

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A Russian-Western Rapprochement?

No. 1316
| October 20, 2019

There have been hints over recent months of improvement in Russian-Western relations that could have major implications for the balance of power in the Eurasian landmass.

Political Islam Is Declining in the Middle East

No. 1315
| October 18, 2019

The lack of a reaction to the death of former Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi and the absence of religious demands by protesters in Algeria, Sudan, and Iraq suggest that political Islam is waning after the defeat of ISIS three years ago.

Lithuania’s Past, Antisemitism, and Israel

No. 1314
| October 17, 2019

Lithuanians generally prefer to approach their own history by honoring their fighters for resisting Soviet rule – and ignoring their active collaboration with the Nazis. The “victimization” approach largely precludes discussion about Lithuanian participation in Holocaust crimes and sparks chauvinistic sentiments. Recent threats to the Lithuanian Jewish community and signs of antisemitism highlight the problem. Lithuania accuses Russia of sowing domestic discord via fake news on this issue, but the problem is real and needs to be addressed.

Hints of Gulf Rapprochement: Iranian Tactics Might Be Paying Off

No. 1313
| October 16, 2019

Fears of a potential military conflict with Iran may have opened the door to a Saudi-Iranian dialogue against the backdrop of a rethink of US military logistics, involving at least a gradual partial relocation to the US of command and control operations based in the Gulf for almost four decades.

BDS, Antisemitism, and Class

No. 1312
| October 15, 2019

Contemporary antisemitism has the ability to graft itself onto a variety of causes and movements. But the social and information environment in the US and Europe is strongly conditioned by virtue-signaling among elites and increasingly among portions of the middle class. Antisemitism, in part through BDS-fueled antipathy toward Israel, is becoming a signal of middle class respectability. At the same time, though left-wing Western elites remain strongly anti-national, the working classes and other parts of the middle class are becoming renationalized. These and other class conflicts will shape antisemitism in the next decades.

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

No. 1311
| 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.

Eurasia’s Great Game: India, Japan, and Europe Play to Putin’s Needs

No. 1310
| October 11, 2019

Eurasia’s Great Game is anything but simple and straightforward. A burgeoning alliance between China and Russia that at least for now is relegating potential differences between the two powers to the sidelines has sparked a complex geopolitical dance of its own.

Distorting Ben-Gurion

No. 1309
| October 10, 2019

By ignoring millions of declassified documents from the period of the British Mandate (1920-48) and Israel’s early days that show the claim of premeditated dispossession of the Palestinian Arabs to be completely unfounded, “revisionist” journalist Tom Segev’s rewrites David Ben-Gurion’s personal story, and, by extension, the story of Israel’s creation, in an image of his own making in which aggressors are transformed into hapless victims and vice versa.

Russian-Chinese Cooperation Is Not As Temporary As You Think

No. 1308
| October 8, 2019

Many believe the Russian-Chinese partnership, which functions across a variety of economic and political spheres, is only temporary. But Moscow’s disenchantment with the West, and the redirection of its foreign policy toward Beijing and beyond, is rooted in Russian historical thinking. The disagreement between Russia and the West is a full-scale geopolitical separation.

Repentance at Election Time

No. 1307

After two highly charged election campaigns, Israeli society – in all its various sectors – is in need of soul-searching and repentance. From a Jewish standpoint, everyone, even the morally virtuous, needs to repent, and each in his/her own way. Regrettably, the notion of repentance has been trapped over the years in a narrow and incorrect interpretation, when it is in fact a miraculous opportunity for renewal.