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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Whitewashing Antisemitism

No. 1128
| April 1, 2019

Major cases of antisemitism are usually accompanied by attempts at whitewashing. Yet the whitewashing of antisemites and antisemitism is rarely looked at as a widespread international issue. There are many ways one can cover up antisemitism. Politicians, media, the legal system, Jewish organizations and Jews abroad (mainly from the left), Israeli Jews, and Arabs have all participated. Still, the whitewashing of today’s antisemitism pales in comparison to the whitewashing of national antisemitism during the Holocaust.

Beyond Realpolitik: Israel’s Strategic Imperatives

No. 1127
| March 31, 2019

For all nation-states, but especially the most powerful or influential, success must be measured along two separate dimensions: present and future. Although Israeli leaders may correctly calculate that their country is doing reasonably well under classic geopolitical criteria of realpolitik, that judgment is likely to collapse in the longer term. There is a great need for a new world politics of cooperation and acknowledged interdependence.

Turkey Plants Its Flag in Christchurch

No. 1126
| March 29, 2019

When, two days after the mass shooting in New Zealand, Turkish VP Fuat Oktay and FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu became the first high-level foreign government delegation to travel  to Christchurch, they were doing more than expressing solidarity with New Zealand’s grieving Muslim community. They were planting Turkey’s flag as part of a global effort to expand support for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s style of religiously packaged authoritarian rule – a marriage of Islam and Turkish nationalism – beyond the Turkic and former Ottoman world.

Hassan Rouhani’s Visit to Iraq

No. 1125
| March 28, 2019

For the first time since his swearing-in, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani paid a visit to neighboring Iraq. While the visit was sparked by the economic sanctions imposed by Donald Trump’s administration and Iran’s desire to create an economic corridor that would enable it to bypass those sanctions, it was also intended to implement a broader range of interests: to maintain Iraq within Tehran’s sphere of influence on the one hand, and to accumulate achievements at the expense of Rouhani’s domestic opponents on the other.

Erdoğan’s Dangerous Ambitions Threaten India and Beyond

No. 1124
| March 27, 2019

The age of empire has come and gone, but in some quarters, the imperialist dream is alive and well. Leaders continue to appear on the world stage from time to time to style themselves in this fashion. The latest entry in this category is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is promoting himself as leader of the Muslim world to his coreligionists around the globe – particularly in India.

The Israeli-Egyptian Peace: 40 Years On

No. 1123

In stark contrast to the extraordinary vision and courage displayed by PM Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in signing the peace treaty 40 years ago, the Palestinian leadership emerges as staunchly rejectionist and a serial squanderer of opportunities for peace. One can only hope that the Arab regimes, which appear increasingly reluctant to remain hostage to Palestinian rejectionism, will be courageous enough to follow in Sadat’s visionary footsteps.

Israel’s Dilemma in Gaza

No. 1122

At this strategic watershed moment, one can discern the logic of the policy that has guided the Netanyahu government’s approach to Gaza over the past decade – that it is in Israel’s interest for Hamas to remain in control until the group is rejected by its own people.

Security Is Not Enough

No. 1121

The State of Israel is at a fateful crossroads. The unending necessity to safeguard the state’s secure existence ensures that its leaders will face complex and painful decisions. But there are other, no less critical considerations that must be factored into the decision-making equation, notably powerful national, historical, cultural, and religious sentiments and aspirations.

Iran and North Korea Highlight Pitfalls of Trump’s “Maximum Pressure” Strategy

No. 1120
| March 24, 2019

President Donald Trump’s hitherto failed “maximum pressure” approach to Iran, as well as, for that matter, North Korea, begs the question what his true objectives are and what options he will be left with should the policy ultimately fail.

Should America’s Asian Allies Adjust Their Security Policy?

No. 1119
| March 22, 2019

The media focused its attention on the success or failure of the Singapore Summit in June 2018 and the Hanoi Summit of February 2019, but largely disregarded President Trump’s policy on joint military drills with South Korea. His decision to postpone the drills raises questions about US policy in the region.