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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Crackdown in Xinjiang: The Islamic World’s Achilles Heel

No. 1058
| January 8, 2019

A disagreement between major Indonesian religious leaders and the government on how to respond to China’s crackdown on Turkic Muslims raises questions about the Islamic world’s ability to sustain its silence about what amounts to one of the most concerted assaults on the faith in recent history.

Israel and Abbas: Security Cooperation + Terrorism

No. 1057
| January 7, 2019

At one and the same time, the PA indirectly encourages terrorism while pursuing extensive security cooperation with Israel to quell it. Israel accepts this contradictory framework and will probably continue to do so, even during the succession crisis that is likely to follow Abbas’s demise.

Is US Withdrawal Viable in Afghanistan?

No. 1056
| January 6, 2019

President Trump’s decision to withdraw half of all US troops in Afghanistan will likely be seen as a sign of weakness by the Taliban, who might subsequently feel less motivated to accept a ceasefire proposal. For Pakistan’s security establishment, Trump’s desperation to ensure a less ignominious exit from Afghanistan represents a chance to engage with Washington on its own terms.

Angela Merkel’s Legacy and the Jews

No. 1055
| January 3, 2019

Angela Merkel’s tenure as Chancellor of Germany is drawing to a close. While she has always shown great empathy for Germany’s Jews, her 2015 decision to open the country’s gates to migrants led to the influx of approximately a million and a half people (so far), mainly from Muslim countries, which has in turn strengthened Germany’s longstanding anti-Semitism. Helmut Kohl, who was CDU chancellor from 1982-98, enabled the strengthening of the German Jewish community through major immigration from Russia. Merkel’s legacy, by contrast, may well be a substantial diminishment of the German Jewish community through emigration.

Canary Mission Is Effective Against BDS

No. 1054
| January 2, 2019

Canary Mission monitors, spotlights, and reports cases of online hate speech – a vital service, as hate speech often precedes hateful acts of violence. It remains to be seen whether this undertaking will be embraced by the people it is designed to defend and protect.

Terrorism as Power over Death

No. 1053
| January 1, 2019

Opposing terrorism, especially jihadist terror, has become a continuous security obligation of the US, Europe, and of course Israel. Still, too little serious analytic attention has been directed towards identifying remedies for such perils. These remedies should build upon an understanding of terrorism as a tool in the search for personal immortality.

Israel and North Korea: A New Opportunity?

No. 1052
| December 31, 2018

The inter-Korean negotiations and upcoming summits between Pyongyang and Seoul and President Trump offer a window of opportunity for Israel to try to prevent the continuation of North Korean military exports to the Middle East. Israel should consider how and when to offer this initiative and how to overcome the regional constraints. An Israeli initiative of this kind could serve as a win-win situation for all parties.

The US Withdrawal from Syria: A Blessing in Disguise?

No. 1051
| December 30, 2018

However misconceived, President Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from Syria might have a silver lining for Israel. It forces Jerusalem to reevaluate the basic assumptions of the “peace process” with the Palestinians that has been actively and coercively led in recent decades by successive US administrations.

US Troop Withdrawal from Syria Could Fuel Gulf Assertiveness

No. 1050
| December 30, 2018

President Donald Trump, in shrugging off allegations that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman may have been responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, described the world as a dangerous place. Gulf leaders are likely to share that perception in response to the president’s seeming unwillingness to fully take their interests into account, particularly in the wake of his announced US troop withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan. The vacuum created by Trump risks fueling greater Gulf assertiveness, with potentially messy consequences.

Israel, Greece, and Cyprus Join Hands in Beersheba

No. 1049
| December 28, 2018

Israel, Greece, and Cyprus are building a democratic bloc in the eastern Mediterranean. The Beersheba trilateral summit highlighted the strong momentum of this initiative, as well as American institutional support for it. Jerusalem, Athens, and Nicosia are expanding their collaboration in fields including defense, cyberspace, energy, and education. The potential construction of an East Med pipeline could be a flagship project contributing to security and prosperity in Europe and the Middle East.