Professor Efraim Karsh Becomes Director of the BESA Center

By November 6, 2016

The Executive Council of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Efraim Karsh as the new center director. He succeeds Professor Efraim Inbar, who concludes a 25-year tenure as the center’s founding director.

“Under Prof. Inbar, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies earned a sterling international reputation for strategic prescience and intellectual fearlessness,” says Prof. Karsh. “I intend to build on his achievements. The center will continue to offer fresh thinking on Israel’s key security, political and diplomatic challenges in a rapidly-changing Middle East. We will stand on the frontlines against historical revisionism, and uphold Israel’s key security interests.”

Prof. Inbar remains a senior research associate at the center.

Prof. Karsh is a renowned authority on Middle Eastern history and politics. He taught for 25 years at King’s College London, where he founded and directed the Middle East and Mediterranean Studies Program. In 2013 he joined Bar-Ilan University as professor of political science.

Prof. Karsh has been a visiting professor at Harvard and Columbia universities, the Sorbonne, and the London School of Economics, and a research associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies. He also has served as director of the Philadelphia-based think tank, the Middle East Forum.

Prof. Karsh has authored over 100 scholarly articles and sixteen books, including The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East (Bloomsbury, 2015); Palestine Betrayed (Yale, 2010); Islamic Imperialism: A History (Yale, 2006); Arafat’s War: The Man and his Battle for Israeli Conquest (Grove, 2003); Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East 1798-1923 (Harvard, 1999); Fabricating Israeli History: The “New Historians” (Routledge, 1997); The Gulf Conflict 1990-1991 (Princeton, 1993); Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography (The Free Press, 1991); The Soviet Union and Syria (Routledge, 1988); and Neutrality and Small States (Routledge, 1988).

He is editor of the Middle East Quarterly and Israel Affairs academic journals, and has published op-ed articles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, London Times, Der Spiegel, and many other global newspapers.

In September, the center published Prof. Karsh’s study The Oslo Disaster.

Over the past 25 years, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (also known as the BESA Center) has published over 500 cutting edge research studies and policy papers, as well as 20 books. It has conducted more than 450 symposia and conferences for defense, military industry, and intelligence and foreign policy specialists, as well as diplomats, businesspeople, academics and politicians. The center has also developed cooperative relations with leading strategic research institutes throughout the world, from Ankara to Washington and from London to Seoul.

Center researchers have been at the forefront of the national security debate in Israel.  Israeli strategic relations with key countries such as Turkey and India; the rise of radical Islam; the dangers of Arab bio-chemical weapons; the security threats of a Palestinian state; Palestinian demographic myths; the anti-Israel de-legitimization campaign – all were first put on the public agenda by center associates.

In 2016, the center held 15 conferences and seminars, and published 60 policy papers on a broad range of Mideast issues, including: chemical weapons in Syria, cyberspace challenges, deterrence of Hezbollah, foreign policy of Qatar, Gaza tunnels, Greek-Israel alliance, IDF force-structure, Israel’s natural gas policies and diplomacy, Israeli Palestinian options in a post-Obama and post-Abbas era, Libyan meltdown, North Korean nuclear troublemaking, nuclear deal with Iran, Russian and Chinese Mideast policy, Saudi Arabia’s new approach to the regional landscape, strategic challenges in the eastern Mediterranean, strategies for countering ISIS, Turkish-Israeli reconciliation and the failed coup in Turkey, US disengagement from the Middle East, and the US-Israel foreign aid accord.

All center publications are online in English and Hebrew at