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 Historic Opportunity That Must Be Seized

No. 1431

Regardless of the ambiguities and open questions attending President Trump’s “Deal of the Century,” Israel clearly stands at a historic juncture and must decide what to make of this one-time opportunity. About such moments it is said: “There are those who gain the world in a single moment and there are those who lose the world in a single moment.”

Trump Peace Plan Unlikely to Lead to Major Escalation, But IDF Is Taking Precautions

No. 1430
| January 30, 2020

While few in Israel expect a major escalation to follow Trump’s announcement of the “Deal of the Century”, the IDF is conducting ongoing situation assessments to keep its finger on the pulse. The Israeli defense establishment is preparing to study the details of the proposal closely to see what conclusions can be drawn in terms of potential security ramifications.

China and Viruses: The Case of Dr. Xiangguo Qiu

No. 1429
| January 29, 2020

In July 2019, a rare event occurred in Canada. Suspected of espionage for China, a group of Chinese virologists was forcibly evicted from the Canadian National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg, where they had been running parts of the Special Pathogen Program of Canada’s public health agency. One of the procedures conducted by the team was the infection of monkeys with the most lethal viruses found on Earth. Four months prior to the Chinese team’s eviction, a shipment containing two exceptionally virulent viruses—Ebola and Nipah—was sent from the NML to China. When the shipment was traced, it was held to be improper and a “possible policy breach.”

Trump’s Realpolitik Approach to Middle East Peace

No. 1427

The Trump administration’s approach to the issue of peace in the Middle East differs from that of previous US administrations in that it is based on facts on the ground as they have evolved over time. The US peace team appears to have jettisoned both the historical “blame game” and the contradictory narratives of the Palestinians and the Israelis, which have combined to frustrate all prior peace initiatives.

Sports: A Battlefield for Freedom of Expression and Political Change

No. 1426
| January 28, 2020

Athletes, executives, and fans are turning sports in an era of defiance and dissent into a battleground for freedom of expression and political change, putting national and international sports associations that only nominally adhere to human rights on the spot.

Gulf Security: China Envisions Continued US Military Lead

No. 1425
| January 28, 2020

Notwithstanding the mounting rivalry between the world’s two largest economies, China does not appear to aspire to supplant the American role in Gulf security any time soon.

How Labour’s Antisemitism Changed the Attitudes of British Jewry

No. 1424
| January 27, 2020

Jeremy Corbyn was elected Chairman of the British Labour Party in September 2015. Ever since then, elected representatives of the party have expressed a steady stream of antisemitic invective, a problem that has never seemed to concern Corbyn or his associates to any great or genuine extent. Labour’s antisemitism eventually prompted public expressions of dismay from Jewish organizations, rabbis, parliamentarians, and individuals—a radical departure from the previous behavior of British Jewry, which has long preferred to keep a low profile.

Are the US and Iran Headed Toward War?

No. 1423
| January 26, 2020

On January 3, 2020, an American drone killed Iran’s roving fixer in the Middle East, Quds commander Qassem Soleimani, sparking intense, but largely partisan, reactions in the US. While Republicans lauded President Trump, many Democrats worried that the action might spark a war with Iran. But while it is easy to criticize Trump for stirring up conflict in the Middle East, Iran has helped to create the conditions of this current conflict.

The Jordan Valley Is Not Up for Negotiation

No. 1422

The Jordan Valley, in its full scope and broadest definition, is essential to Israel’s national security. Its retention by Israel requires not only military deployment but a comprehensive development plan—i.e., the construction of housing, roads, and infrastructure—that will establish this territory as Israel’s eastern wing.

With Putin’s Proposed Changes, Russia Begins Its Transition to One-Party Rule

No. 1421
| January 24, 2020

Vladimir Putin’s proposed changes to the Russian constitution portend a shift toward one-party rule and lay out a framework by which he can continue to be a major power broker well beyond the end of his presidential tenure in 2024.