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 Limits of Erdoğan’s “Nation”

No. 724
| January 25, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent strategy of allying with the far right and his turn to nationalism are limited by the Sunni sectarian nature of his politics. A closer examination of the failure of his Alevi reform initiative of 2009-2010 reveals the structural obstacles Turkish Islamists encounter in their attempts to reach beyond the Sunni community to coopt Turkey’s Alevi electorate. In a similar manner, Erdoğan’s nationalist policies will continue to exclude Alevis, entrench sectarianism further, and expose the limits of belonging to his Sunni “nation.”

Iran and Saudi Arabia Revisit Their Strategies

No. 723
| January 24, 2018

Expressions of support for the Iranian anti-government protests by US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have provided grist for Iranian claims that the protests were instigated by foreign powers. The assertions, while largely baseless, nonetheless offer insight into the very different strategies adopted by Iran and Saudi Arabia in their vicious struggle for regional dominance.

In Jenin, Terrorists Get What They Deserve. In Gaza, They Don’t

No. 722
| January 23, 2018

The night of January 17, 2018, we were witness to another reminder of the success of the hard-hitting strategy adopted by the IDF towards the Arabs in the West Bank – and the failure of containment in Gaza.  In Jenin, the murderer of Rabbi Shevah was killed and at least one other terrorist apprehended eight days after the crime. Gilad Shalit’s abductors were never punished and his abduction led to the release of over 1,000 terrorists. The lesson: peacemaking must be from the ground up.

Religion in the IDF: The Struggle over Israeli Public Space

No. 720

Recent years have seen a notable increase in kippa-wearers among IDF combat soldiers and commanders. The growing opposition to the presence of kippot, however, is not what drives the struggle against religionization. It is, rather, the fear of losing the military’s character as a national public space that is secular or at least neutral with regard to religion.

Arabs and Muslims Will Not Accept Israel as the Jewish State

No. 719

The existence of a living Jewish people in a functioning Jewish state threatens the very raison d’être of Islam, which came into being to render Judaism obsolete. For that reason, Arabs and Muslims will never accept Israel as the Jewish State.

Russia and Iran: Friends and Foes

No. 718
| January 17, 2018

Russia and Iran have been geopolitical rivals for centuries – but over the past couple of years, the Moscow-Tehran axis has grown exponentially. This creates major headaches for the US and other western powers that are concerned about how far this cooperation could go. The two powers share common interests in the South Caucasus and the Middle East, but are wary of one another’s growing influence in their own backyards.

Iranian Protests Reveal Leadership Fault Lines in the Muslim World

No. 717
| January 16, 2018

If week-long anti-government protests in Iran exposed the Islamic Republic’s deep-seated economic and political problems, they also laid bare Saudi Arabia’s structural inability to establish itself as the leader of the Sunni Muslim world.

Israel and Jews: Facing Europe’s Challenges

No. 716
| January 15, 2018

A number of major problem issues in Western European countries and the EU face Israel and the Jews. The widespread demonization of Israel remains a critical problem. So do anti-Semitism, the continuous influx of Muslims without any selection, the major manifestation of anti-Semitism within the UK Labor Party, the growth of the extreme right and left in France, and other important issues. Establishing such an inventory may provide a useful tool for Israel and international Jewish organizations in defining their 2018 agenda.

The Trump Peace Plan

No. 715

US President Donald Trump has referred to his peace plan as “a good deal,” but unlike in the business world, agreements between peoples are only valid for the moment. Agreements are always temporary, awaiting a strategic shift in which everything is reconsidered.

Securing a Jewish Future in the West Bank Following Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration

No. 714
| January 12, 2018

The domestic and international outcry at President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital suggests that Israel’s position in the West Bank is far from secure. If Israel wishes to secure a future for Jews in the West Bank, ordinary Palestinians there must also benefit from – and express their support for – coexistence with Jews.