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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Deterrence Is Not Everything

No. 1035

Israel’s decisions a) to contain Hamas’s continuous provocations rather than use them as a casus belli and b) to refrain from an immediate military response to the discovery of Hezbollah tunnels into Israeli sovereign territory in the northern Galilee highlight the issue of deterrence as a core factor affecting the Israeli image in the region. Assuming the current Israeli modus operandi is the product of rational and thoughtful staff work, it can be inferred that deterrence is no longer either a decisive factor or even a strategic goal in the asymmetric conflicts with Hamas and Hezbollah.

Louis Farrakhan: America’s Foremost Anti-Semite

No. 1034
| December 12, 2018

The best known and most virulent full-time anti-Semite in the US is Louis Farrakhan, the long-time leader of the Nation of Islam. He attacks the Jewish religion and people as well as the State of Israel, using a broad array of classic anti-Semitic motifs, and has called Adolf Hitler a “very great man.” Though Farrakhan has spent decades inciting anti-Semitism, he is legitimized by his many interactions with prominent Americans. The First Amendment of the American Constitution does not allow for this hatemonger to be brought to court, a limitation that not only enables but even strengthens his anti-Semitism.

The Geopolitics of Ukraine’s Newly Independent Church

No. 1033
| December 11, 2018

The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is experiencing troubles in Ukraine. Areas once considered to be the uncontested territory of the Russian Patriarchate are now becoming autocephalous (independent), adding yet another dimension to the geopolitical challenges Russia is facing in the borderlands of the former Soviet space.

Lebanon’s Strategic Symbiosis

No. 1032
| December 10, 2018

A new strategic symbiosis has evolved over the past decade between Hezbollah and the Lebanese state, enabling the Islamist group to pursue its massive military buildup with impunity. This necessitates that Israel revisit its strategic doctrine vis-à-vis Lebanon and clarify to the Lebanese government the devastating consequences that could result from a new Hezbollah-induced war with Israel.

US Senate Resolution on Saudi Arabia Could Change Middle East Dynamics

No. 1031
| December 9, 2018

A draft US Senate resolution  portraying Saudi policy as detrimental to US interests and values and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman as “complicit” in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi could, if adopted and implemented, change the dynamics of the region’s politics and create an exit from almost a decade of mayhem, conflict, and bloodshed. It could accomplish this by causing the prince’s close UAE ally, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed, to reconsider the wisdom of his being so closely associated with Muhammad bin Salman.

Erdoğan: Ideological but not Suicidal

No. 1030
| December 7, 2018

Turkey’s radical shift in crises, first with Russia and then with America, shows that while President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan can be confrontational along ideological lines, he is not suicidal. He cannot afford to risk a punishing economic crisis that might cost him his power.

The Iranian Modus Operandi

No. 1029
| December 6, 2018

Time and again in recent decades, Iran has used its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to attempt to deprive Israel of calm borders with its neighbors. As this problem is likely to recur in the context of the Gaza Strip, it is essential – and by no means impossible – to root it out from that area.

The Russian-Israeli Crisis over Syria Lacks an Exit Strategy

No. 1028
| December 5, 2018

Israeli and Russian interests in Syria are colliding. Russia’s new posture is challenging Israel’s defensive campaign against Iran, and Moscow and Jerusalem have so far been unable to defuse the crisis.

Is War Looming in the Baltic Sea?

No. 1027
| December 4, 2018

Russia and Sweden have fought 12 wars over the course of their histories. In recent years, relations have grown tense once again between the expansionist superpower and the peaceable Scandinavian state. At issue is the Baltic Sea as an energy source.

Sweden’s Ugly Ultraliberalism and the Jews

No. 1026
| December 4, 2018

For anyone curious to see just how ugly ultraliberalism can get, Sweden is the ideal case study. The deep presence of anti-Semitism in Sweden reveals that the country’s image as a near perfect liberal democracy is false.  So serious is the problem that the country is in dire need of a national anti-Semitism commissioner who can point out the threats coming from neo-Nazis and Muslims, the flaws of the police and the justice system, and other failures of the authorities to deal with anti-Semitism. But Sweden’s purported love of free speech is unlikely to extend so far as to give a mouthpiece to such a person.