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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The Netherlands’ Profound Hypocrisy on the Jews

No. 1068
| January 20, 2019

The Netherlands’ attitude towards the Jews reveals Dutch society to be profoundly hypocritical. The Dutch government remains the only one in Western Europe that consistently refuses to admit, let alone apologize for, the massive failures of its predecessors towards the Jews during WWII. Ignoring the truth of its past enables the Dutch government and parts of the political system to act as moral judges over others, with Israel a prime target.

The Persistence of European Anti-Semitism

No. 1067
| January 18, 2019

The fight against anti-Semitism on the international level continues to be characterized by restraint combined with ignorance – a potentially deadly combination. European hand-wringing and the spouting of clichés will never suffice; the extent of the rot must be acknowledged if it is to be effectively confronted.

Heads of State vs. Ministers of Defense

No. 1066

Given the inherent professional tension between heads of state and their ministers of defense, most critically manifested in moments of grave national crisis, it might be preferable for the national leader to hold the defense portfolio as well.

Changing Sides on the Korean Peninsula

No. 1065
| January 16, 2019

The Korean conflict has divided more than the two Koreas. It has also prompted the creation of opposing “blame narratives” among scholars, policymakers, and journalists. The election of Donald Trump, and the 2018 Singapore summit between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, challenged those narratives and forced some of the actors to reconsider their political agendas. 

Iran and the Taliban: A Tactical Alliance?

No. 1064
| January 15, 2019

Iran and the Taliban have long had their ups and downs. In 1998, the two sides nearly came to a direct clash when Taliban forces killed Iranian diplomats, though the incident ended without a major conflict. However, the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan, the fear of a resurgent ISIS in Afghanistan, and water issues have prompted Tehran to ramp up its engagement with the Taliban. This tactical alliance will enable Iran to further expand its influence in Afghanistan.

Saudi Arabia and the West’s Right Wing: A Dubious Alliance

No. 1063
| January 14, 2019

While purporting to be focused on promoting a more tolerant form of Islam, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is instituting reforms that are designed to centralize power around himself. His moves include embracing European and Western far-right groups that are hardly beacons of tolerance and respect.

Germany’s Role in the Israeli Navy’s Developing Submarine Fleet

No. 1062
| January 13, 2019

While matters pertaining to Israel’s purchase of German submarines are central to the corruption case involving former senior Israeli officials and officers, the subs themselves are very important to the Jewish state’s military security. As dangerous enemies arm themselves with missiles that can strike anywhere, the strategic value of a submarine fleet continues to rise.

Russia After the Ukraine Crisis: European, Asian, or Eurasian?

No. 1061
| January 11, 2019

As competition grows more intense between the US and China, Moscow must assess which side will do more to help it solve its problems across the former Soviet space. Moscow’s choice will affect Russia’s identification as European, Asian, or Eurasian.

Is the IDF Ready for All-Out War?

No. 1060
| January 10, 2019

The Israeli military’s state of readiness has dramatically improved, but it has a lot more catching up to do. It has spent years neglecting the ground forces – and those forces will be essential if enemies like Hezbollah are to be decisively defeated.

Extreme Anti-Semitism at Berlin Schools

No. 1059

Jewish pupils at German public schools are particularly vulnerable to the country’s greatly increased anti-Semitism. A number of extreme anti-Semitic incidents have been publicized in recent years, of which several of the most severe occurred in Berlin. German authorities are only slowly waking up to the problem. In many cases, the alleged perpetrators are children of Muslim immigrants – in particular in Berlin, which has the largest Muslim and Jewish communities.