Newsletters

 

 

Middle East Study Centre—Newsletter December 2022

MESC Announcements

MESC Director, Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor, was awarded the 2023  Olof Palme Guest Professorship.

The Professorship was established by the Swedish Riksdag in 1987 in memory of Sweden’s former prime minister, Olof Palme. Every year or two, the Swedish Research Council issues a call and Swedish universities compete by nominating internationally prominent researchers in areas of importance for the understanding of peace in a broad context – areas to which Olof Palme had a life-long commitment. The research may cover areas such as international politics, peace and conflict research and the comparison of social institutions.

Many congratulations to Professor Cohen-Almagor!

 

The MESC is pleased to welcome our new Affiliate Member, Sir John Jenkins.

 

Sir John is currently a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange, the London-based think tank, for whom he has written extensively on Islamism and extremism more generally. Between 1980 and 2015 he served as a British diplomat, initially in Abu Dhabi (1983-86), Malaysia (1989-92) and Kuwait (1995-98) before being appointed Ambassador to Burma (1999-2002). He was subsequently HM Consul-General, Jerusalem (2003-06), Ambassador to Syria (2006-07), FCO Director for the Middle East and North Africa (2007-09), Ambassador to Iraq (2009-11), Special Representative to the National Transitional Council and subsequently Ambassador to Libya (2011) and Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2012-2015). He took an active part in Sir John Chilcott’s Iraq Inquiry and in March 2014 was asked by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, to lead a Policy Review into the Muslim Brotherhood and Political Islamism. Until his departure from the FCO he was the government’s senior diplomatic Arabist. After leaving the FCO, he was Executive Director of The Institute for Strategic Studies – Middle East (2015-2017) and a Senior Fellow at the Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs (2017), teaching courses on Middle Eastern Politics. Sir John holds a BA (Double First Class Honours), MA and PhD from Jesus College, Cambridge. He also studied at The School of Oriental and African Studies in London (Arabic and Burmese) and through the FCO with the London and Ashridge Business Schools. He is an alumnus of the Salzburg Seminar.  He has written for The Guardian, The Times, The Spectator, The New Statesman, Al Arabiya and Arab News.

 

 

Nukes, Protests, and Iran With Robert Malley

 

Robert Malley, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, discusses with Aaron David Miller (MESC) for a wide-ranging conversation on the Biden administration’s Iran policy, the ongoing protests in Iran, and the fate of the nuclear deal.

 

Listen

 

https://carnegie-connects.simplecast.com/episodes/nukes-protests-and-iran-with-robert-malley?utm_source=carnegieemail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=announcement&mkt_tok=ODEzLVhZVS00MjIAAAGH2LJMbQeh3WxHMXTN_AZ-fmeZMTN7XaD1AmY_msOf-xNOi9J9cy7RYOyjyCVOlqVR176Qnkj_JyIokbShYnZj-iMITk4HwoJG-WidPLo

 

Another interesting conversation is America in the World With Thomas L. Friedman,

https://carnegieendowment.org/2022/11/17/carnegie-connects-america-in-world-with-thomas-l.-friedman-event-7983

 

The MESC has a new Facebook page. Thank you for promoting it:

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100088112598003

 

 

Iran

 

On 10 Nov, the top Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti ( best known for her role in the Oscar-winning film The Salesman) posted an image of herself on Instagram without a headscarf to signal solidarity with anti-government demonstrations.  She also held up a sign reading “Woman, Life, Freedom” in Kurdish, which has become a common rallying cry among protesters.

 

On 21 Nov it was reported that two other prominent Iranian actresses have been arrested for publicly supporting mass anti-government protests.  These were Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi who are accused of collusion and acting against Iran’s authorities, according to the Irna news agency.  Both women earlier appeared in public without their headscarves.

BBC.co.uk/world-middle-east

 

Iranian authorities have brutally cracked down on youth protesters.  The average age of protesters is 15, according to Iranian officials. Some have been beaten and detained. Rights groups say that at least 50 minors have been killed. The authorities have raided schools in an effort to crack down on dissent. “They are terrorizing the kids because they are afraid of the future and they know these kids will fight for their rights,” said the uncle of a boy whose school was raided.

 

Iran launched ballistic missile and drone attacks at Kurdish Iranian opposition bases in Iraq, killing at least two people.

New York Times, 14 Nov.

 

Further reports of crack downs, with security forces storming cities at the heart of the protests, came on 21 Nov.  Tear gas was widely used and protesters were fired upon in Mahabad and other Kurdish cities.  Fighting has occurred on university campuses where members of the security forces have posed as students.  Students have been attacked and also kidnapped from dormitories.  In some cases, university administrations have cooperated with the security forces.

 

Earlier Iran was blamed for a drone strike on an Israeli oil tanker in the Arabian Sea.  The Pacific Zircon, owned by the Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, was reported to have suffered only minor damage.

Times, 17 and 21 Nov.

 

Iran’s security forces are using ambulances to infiltrate protests and detain people.

New York Times, 23 Nov.

 

MI5 Director General, Ken McCallum said on 16 Nov that Iran is a “mounting concern” (along with Russia and China).  According to MI5, Iran poses a major security threat for the United Kingdom as it uses “coercion, intimidation, and violence to pursue its interests.”  During his annual threat update in Thames House, London, Director McCallum underlined that Iran is a state actor which most frequently crosses into terrorism: “Iran projects threat to the UK directly, through its aggressive intelligence services. At its sharpest this includes ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime.”

 

Iranian journalists and others regarded as against the regime living in this country are under threat.  At least two journalists of Iran International have received credible death threats because of coverage of the protests in Iran.  McCallum further stated that UK authorities have discovered at least 10 “potential threats” since January to “kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime.”  Counter-terrorism police have warned many Iranians that their lives may be at risk from hit squads sent by the regime.

 

Later Scotland Yard placed armed response vehicles outside the channel’s broadcasting house.  The Metropolitan Police stated, “These lethal threats to British citizens come after weeks of warnings from the IRGC [the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] and Iranian government about the work of a free and uncensored Persian-language media in London.”  Concrete barriers have been installed on roads and 24-hour security has been set up.  All vehicles are being checked.

https://www.iranintl.com

 

Protesters in Iran set fire to the ancestral home of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic republic’s founder.  Social media showed the house in the city of Khomein in the western Markazi province ablaze with crowds of jubilant protesters marching past.  Khomeini died in 1989 but remains the subject of adulation by the clerical leadership under his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.  The house was later turned into a museum commemorating Khomeini.

Guardian, 18 Nov.

 

As the Iranian national anthem was played before the Iran team’s match at the World Cup (against England), the Iran players refused to sing.  At the same time, Iranian fans jeered at the anthem, and some held up signs with the slogan, “Woman. Life. Freedom”.  Before the game the Iranian captain had said that the players supported the anti-government demonstrations.

 

In its turn, the regime blamed the defeat of their team on the “ruthless and unprecedented psychological media war”.  A newspaper representing the government claimed that the team had been distracted by a propaganda war and had shown a “lack of pride” in refusing to sing the national anthem.

 

The London-based Islam Centre of England is a British charity run by a representative of Ayatollah Khamenei.  The Charity Commission is conducting an inquiry on it after it held a vigil for General Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian general killed by a US air-strike.  The director has also claimed that those protesting against the Iranian regime are “soldiers of Satan”.

Times, 22-23, 25 Nov.

 

Iran’s morality police is being disbanded, the country’s attorney general says.  Mohammad Jafar Montazeri’s comments have yet to be confirmed.  At an event on Sunday (4 Dec.), he stated: “The morality police had nothing to do with the judiciary and have been shut down from where they were set up.”  Control of the force lies with the interior ministry and not with the judiciary.  On Saturday, Mr Montazeri also told the Iranian parliament the law that requires women to wear hijabs would be looked at.  Protesters were understandably sceptical of the announcement until it can be confirmed by action.

BBC.co.uk/News/4 Dec.

 

 

Qatar and the World Cup

 

Qatar agreed to allow charter flights from Israel to bring Israeli and Palestinian fans together to World Cup finals.  This was negotiated for the period of the tournament only, since the two countries do not have diplomatic relations.  Qatar had had to agree to let Israelis attend in order to stage the World Cup.

Times, 11 Nov.

 

Migrant workers were alleged to have fuelled Qatar’s World Cup preparations.  The work force was so large and anonymous that no one is able to agree on how many migrants died to get the World Cup across the finish line. But human rights organizations have put the death toll in the thousands.  Qatar apparently spent $220 billion redrawing its entire landscape since being selected to host the tournament in 2010. The construction of sites like an enormous sparkling new stadium at Lusail, where the World Cup final is being held, was carried out by hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who did dangerous work in the searing heat.

New York Times, 16 Nov.

 

(See “Iran” above for the protests by the Iranian team in Qatar.)

 

 

Israel

 

Bomb attacks in Jerusalem killed a teenager and injured at least 18 others.  These were the first bomb attacks on civilians in Israel in more than six years, according to Israeli police.  They were caused by explosive devices planted at two bus stops. One of the explosions killed a 15-year-old yeshiva student who was a dual Israeli-Canadian citizen.  The attacks came as Israel and the occupied West Bank experienced their deadliest wave of violence since 2015.  A Palestinian teenager was killed during a firefight between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants, and Palestinian gunmen abducted an Israeli teenager whose family insisted that he was alive at the time and later died.

New York Times, 23 Nov.

 

Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu reached a coalition deal with the far-right Religious Zionism party, bringing him closer to securing a new government after the election on 1 Nov.  Religious Zionism will be given control of the Finance Ministry as part of a rotation, Likud said. It will also have strong influence over policies in the occupied West Bank and the country’s justice system.  Religious Zionism head Bezalel Smotrich had been lobbying to be defence minister.

 

Ultra-nationalist Jewish Power leader Itamar Ben-Gvir, an Israeli far-right politician, got involved in a row with a military chief over the jailing of a soldier who had taunted leftist activists in the occupied West Bank.  The soldier had been filmed warning pro-Palestinian activists in Hebron: “Ben-Gvir will sort this place out.”  Netanyahu has promised Ben-Gvir the post of national security minister, with expanded powers over police in the West Bank, much to the consternation of the Israeli defence establishment.

Reuters, 30 Nov., 1 Dec.

 

 

Turkey and Syria

 

In an Istanbul bomb attack, six people were killed and 81 injured after an explosion on the popular pedestrian thoroughfare İstiklal Avenue.  It was not clear who was behind the attack, though speculation took in the usual “suspects”: Isis or a Kurdish group.

Guardian, 13 Nov.

 

Russian efforts to broker a summit with Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan, is being resisted by Syria, according to several sources.  The Erdogan government has supported rebel fighters who tried to topple President Bashar al-Assad and has accused the Syrian leader of state terrorism, saying earlier in the conflict that peace efforts could not continue under his rule.  However, two Turkish sources, including a senior official, disputed that Damascus was delaying and said that things were on track for an eventual meeting between the leaders.

Reuters, 2 Dec.

 

A protester and a policeman have reportedly been killed during demonstrations in the southern Syrian city of Sweida.  Crowds angry because of the worsening economic conditions in Syria stormed the governor’s office.  Eyewitnesses say the protesters set fire to the building amid exchanges of gunfire in the Druze-majority city.  Earlier about 200 demonstrators were reportedly calling for President Bashar al-Assad’s overthrow.  Syria is in the grip of a severe economic downturn, which has led to spiralling prices and increasing anger towards President Assad’s regime in Sweida, which has avoided the worst violence of the Syrian war.

BBC.co.uk/news/4 Dec.

 

 

Isis

 

Isis is using Tinder love scams to gain funds for terrorism.  Agents of the Islamic State have been using the South African version of Tinder to trap victims.  They have created fake profiles and used them to defraud unsuspecting users of the app.

Times, 14 Nov.

 

The Islamic State militant group has appointed a previously unknown figure as its head after its leader blew himself up in October while being besieged by former anti-government rebels in southern Syria.  They selected Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Quraishi as its new leader, a spokesman for the group said in a recording.

Reuters, 1 Dec.

 

 

Anti-Semitism

 

The anti-Semitic posts of rapper Kanye West were mentioned in the November Newsletter.  He now goes by the name Ye and was invited to have dinner with Donald Trump on 22 Nov.  When he arrived, he had brought three guests with him, including white nationalist and anti-Semite Nick Fuentes.  Trump claims that he did not know who Fuentes was, though he apparently claimed that he “liked” him during dinner.

 

On 1 Dec. Ye praised Adolf Hitler and Nazis in an interview with far-right provocateur Alex Jones.  He also posted a Star of David with a swastika inside it on Twitter, with the result that Twitter has suspended his account once again.

nbcnews.com

 

 

Obituary

 

Hannah Pick-Goslar has died at the age of 93.  She had been a childhood friend of Anne Frank and had reunited with her in Bergen-Belsen.  Anne died in the camp, but Hannah survived.  She emigrated to Israel where she married and had three children.  After her husband died, she travelled the world to talk about the Holocaust and its lessons.  This led to a book, Hannah Goslar Remembers, in 1998, and last year’s Dutch film, My Best Friend Anne Frank.

Legacy.com

 

 

 

 

Lester L. Grabbe

4 Dec. 2022

 

 

 

 

 

Middle East Study Centre—Newsletter November 2022

 

Continuing Demonstrations in Iran

The women-led demonstrations against the regime (described in the October Newsletter) have not stopped or been successfully suppressed.  The government continues to blame Western powers for allegedly being behind the demonstrations, even though they have spread to many cities in Iran. Even oil field workers have joined the demonstrations.

 

In early October students chanted “get lost” to President Raisi as he spoke at an all-women university.  Yet security vans have come to make arrests at schools across the country because school girls have been involved in the widespread protests.  About 300 people have been killed, including 50 under age 18.

 

Lyse Doucet, chief international correspondent wrote:

“In addition to those killed across Iran, more than 13,000 have been detained so far. The UN has expressed concern that the authorities are now refusing to release some of the bodies of those who have died – they know every new death provokes yet another outpouring of anger and grief.

 

“The authorities are still trying to dismiss and discredit them as ‘rioters influenced by foreigners’.

 

“It’s hard to square that with extraordinary images of teenage schoolgirls rejecting obligatory headscarves, of women of all ages walking bare-headed in public spaces.”

BBC.co.uk/news, 30 Oct.

 

The headline of an article in the Times of 1 Nov was, “Defiance the new normal for Iran’s women”.  Not only women but also teenage girls are defying the regime by taking to the streets over the hijab.  Many girls are resisting arrest by the morality police, though several thousand girls (with an average age of 17) have been imprisoned for demonstrations.

 

 

According to the New York Times of 27 October, thousands of Iranian mourners travelled to Mahsa Amini’s hometown on that date to mark 40 days of mourning since her death in police custody.  This was in defiance of government decree, and they claimed they were fired upon by the police.

 

Wearing the hijab has become an issue as far away as the Gaza strip, because it is governed by Hamas who is supported by Iran.  Both pupils and teachers have complained that school heads have tried to enforce the wearing of the hijab, even though it is not a part of Islamic law.  Courts have required female lawyers to wear the hijab in court, opposed by the syndicate of lawyers.  Hamas has denied that wearing the hijab is compulsory, but regulations have also begun to appear even in universities.

Times, 24 Oct.

 

 

Israeli Elections—Netanyahu Once More Trying to Form Government

 

Israelis went to the polls on 1 Nov, and Likud and associated parties have won the largest share of the votes, against the coalition around Yesh Atid and Benny Ganz.  As of today (4 Nov.) it appears that Netanyahu’s coalition will have about 65 delegates in the 120-member Knesset.  Part of his problem is that he has often had altercations with members of his coalition in the past, since each minority party uses its cooperation to made demands for cabinet posts or other concessions.  The far-right Ben-Gvir continues to make anti-Arab (meaning Israeli Arabs who are Israeli citizens) comments and is seeking to become minister for the police.

 

According to Israeli law, the official results must be handed to President Isaac Herzog eight days after the election, meaning by 9 November. The president then has a week, until 16 November, to consult with the heads of the parties as to who should receive the mandate to form a government. The Knesset member who receives the mandate, presumably Netanyahu, then has 28 days to form a government.

 

In the meantime, Netanyahu remains under investigation for corruption in previous periods when he was prime minister, though there is the threat of his (or his partners’) using his Knesset position to change the law and bring the investigation to a halt.

 

Political scientist Gayil Talshir, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, warned that if the exit polls at the time “reflect the real results – Israel is on its way to become Orban’s Hungary”.

BBC, 1 Nov.

 

In a press release on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the American Conference of Cantors, the leadership of these organizations state that they “affirm Israel’s robust democracy, reflected in the more than 71% turnout for the fifth election in four years.” They stressed that they “love Israel,” and are “committed to the vision of Israel as a democratic, pluralistic Jewish state.” In addition, they congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu, who is expected to become prime minister for his sixth term—even though they have a very complex relationship with the likely next prime minister, who would not meet with them in the last years of his tenure.

 

The press released stated, “As Netanyahu assembles his coalition, we are profoundly concerned about promises of cabinet positions he has made to Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, the leaders of the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionism Party.  Their platforms and past actions indicate that they would curtail the authority of Israel’s Supreme Court and inhibit the rights of Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, members of the LGBTQ+ community and large segments of Jews who are non-Orthodox.”

 

These Reform leaders suggested that “including Ben-Gvir and Smotrich in the government will likely jeopardize Israel’s democracy and will force the country to reckon with its place on the world stage.” They added that this sort of government “will almost certainly lead to challenging moments in the US-Israel relations” and will “be painful for Jews worldwide who will not see the Israel they love and believe reflected in these leaders, nor in the policies they pursue.”

Jerusalem Post, 3 Nov.

 

 

Cop27 at Sharm El-Sheikh

 

The issue of attendance at Cop 27 (6-18 Nov.) continues to churn, with Rishi Sunak, having stated he would not attend, now changing his mind and saying that he will participate.  There was pressure from several sources.

 

Earlier a spokesman had stated, “As we’ve said, the Prime Minister is focused on pressing domestic issues, most significantly preparing for the autumn statement, so any attendance at Cop would depend on progress on preparation for that fiscal event, and that work is ongoing,”  Sufficient progress has now been made on the budget, it is stated.

 

Boris Johnson has also indicated his intention to attend.  He participated in the Cop26 in Glasgow last year as prime minister.  No 10 Downing Street has continued to advise King Charles not to attend, which sources indicate is very disappointing for him.  He has been described as “champing at the bit” to address the conference.  However, he is hosting a reception at Buckingham Palace for 200 business leaders and others, including US climate change envoy John Kerry; Sunak has also been invited.  Kerry has stated his opinion that Charles should be going to Cop 27.

Evening Standard, 31 Oct.

 

On 3 Nov., the Times reported that Sunak had privately withdrawn Liz Truss’s advice to the King not to attend the conference.  However, after discussions it was decided that it was now too late to organize the King’s attendance at such short notice.  Therefore, no public announcement was made about a change with regard to the His Majesty’s situation in regard to Cop27.

 

Bill Gates plans to attend and made comments in his recent book [Bill Gates extract https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bill-gates-how-to-avoid-a-climate-disaster-book-extract-8rjwn3zmm

From How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need, published by Allen Lane at £20]:

 

Gates said that Egypt, as host of next month’s Cop27 climate summit, had the opportunity to put adaptation to a warming world higher up the agenda. “The farmers near the equator deserve dramatically better seeds and better credit and advice, so they don’t become the first victims of climate change,” he said.

 

Overall, he said he was feeling good about the progress being made by businesses. “The small companies, many of them spin-offs from universities, that are looking at all the different areas of emissions — from cheap green hydrogen, to direct air capture [of CO2], to steel, cement, to agriculture — they’ve really looked at completely new approaches, where the extra costs, what I call the green premium, could be zero. Or in some cases, even negative.”

 

The BBC reported on 3 Nov. that 15 Nobel prize winners called on Egypt to release Alaa Abdel Fattah, a British-Egyptian dissident, who has been on hunger strike.  The hope is that with Cop27 being hosted by Egypt, pressure can be brought to help not only Abdel Fattah but many other political prisoners who are in a vulnerable position.  Thousands were imprisoned after the 2013 coup which brought Sisi to power.

 

 

Israel and Lebanon

 

Israel and Lebanon have agreed to resolve a dispute that has gone on for decades.  The two countries have technically remained at war.  Now they have agreed to a draft deal to resolve the conflict over control of an eastern stretch of the Mediterranean Sea.  The deal would allocate drilling rights at one contested gas field to Lebanon and confirm Israeli control of another field to the south.  If the agreement is ratified, it could help relieve some of the tensions between Israel and Hezbollah.

New York Times, 11 Oct.

 

 

OPEC Decreases Oil Production

 

Russia and the rest of the OPEC Plus energy cartel have plans to cut oil production.  What is surprising is that Saudi Arabia also supports this, in spite of the US request for it to increase production. The move to reduce output by two million barrels a day was a rebuke for Western efforts to ease gas prices and punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. The prices for petrol and crude oil rose after the meeting.

 

“This is completely not what the White House wants, and it is exactly what Russia wants,” said Bill Farren-Price, a director of macro oil and gas analysis at Enverus, a research firm.  The production cuts could complicate plans by the EU to impose a price cap on Russian oil. But Saudi Arabia and Russia’s pricing power may also be weakened by falling demand in China, where the economy is slowing, and by increased production from non-OPEC nations.

New York Times, 5 Oct.

 

 

LBGT Incidents relating to the World Cup in Qatar

 

The stance of Qatar on LBGT people (who are criminalized there) continues to cause controversy and present a dilemma of whether to attend or not.  Prince William was not planning to attend, because of “diary constraints”, unless the UK was in the finals.  He is president of the Football Association.  The Qatari security forces have been accused of arresting and beating up LBGT people.

ITV.com/news, 28 Oct.

 

 

Mining Disaster in Turkey

 

41 miners were killed in a disaster on 14 Oct at Amasra, a tourist resort on the Black Sea.  Many were young and some recently married.  This is only the most recent in a string of disasters in Turkish mines.  Between 2019 and 2021, 189 workers died in accidents, and 300 were killed in the Soma mine eight years ago.  A lawyer investigating some of this and earlier accidents expressed fear that the official investigation will be flawed, especially considering that the mining company is state owned.  Previous investigations have been badly done.  He stated, “After Soma, some improvements were made in mining legislation but Amasra shows that nothing has changed in the management or infrastructure.”

Times, 24 Oct.

 

 

Planned Trade Deal with India

 

The foreign secretary James Cleverly is giving priority to a trade deal with India and is confident of getting one.  However, no date can be given at the moment.  The previous prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss had hoped a deal could be signed by Diwali, which was last Monday, 24 Oct.  It was widely thought that Suella Braverman’s comments helped to delay the process.

Reuters, 29 Oct.

 

In early October Suella Braverman, then the home secretary, said she had “reservations” about a trade deal with India because it would increase immigration to the UK.  This went contrary to the intent of the then prime minister Liz Truss who was trying to establish a trade deal with India.   Braverman argued that a trade deal with India would increase immigration to the UK.

 

Braverman stated that Indians are the most frequent visa overstayers. She also said a deal signed with India by Priti Patel, her predecessor as home secretary, that would raise the number of illegal arrivals and those who overstayed their visa would be returned had not worked very well.  The latest Home Office statistics show that 20,706 Indians overstayed their visas in 2020, more than any other nationality, although other countries recorded a higher proportion.

The Guardian, 6 Oct.

 

 

Continuing Anti-Semitism

 

Community Security Trust’s Antisemitic Incidents Report 2021, published in February, shows 2,255 anti-Jewish hate incidents reported nationwide in 2021. This is the highest annual total that CST has ever recorded and is a 34% increase from the 1,684 anti-Semitic incidents reported in 2020. 111 incidents of anti-Semitic abuse were reported for universities in 2020-21.  This is the background to the National Union of Students investigation of anti-Semitism.

 

An investigation by the National Union of Students (NUS) has now led to the dismissal of its president, Shaima Dallali, over anti-Semitism claims.  This follows an independent code-of-conduct investigation after allegations were made against her.

 

The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) said it “respects” the decision to dismiss Ms Dallali but the fact she had been elected in the first place was “a symptom of a wider problem” in the NUS.  The findings of a wider investigation into the NUS are yet to be published.                                                             CST.org.uk/news; BBC.co.uk/news, 1 Nov.

 

The rapper Kanye West had his Twitter account suspended over alleged anti-Semitic posts.  He had earlier been suspended by Instagram for the same offence.  Adidas has now cut its ties with him after his endorsement of their products, producing an estimated $2 billion in the deal.  The Gap had already cancelled their partnership with him in Sept.  Hollywood is also jettisoning prospective deals with him.  Donda Academy, a private school named after his mother, closed with immediate effect, though it planned to re-open in Sept.  It promised a faith-based education that promoted Christian values, charging $15,000 per year.

CNN.com/31 Oct.

 

The Royal Court theatre received anti-Semitic abuse because of staging the play, Jews, in their Own Words.  It is a play about anti-Semitism, based on interviews with 12 Jewish people from Britain, including the novelist Howard Jacobson.  The situation is somewhat ironic since the theatre staged Seven Jewish Children, A Play for Gaza.  This was a response to the death of a thousand Palestinians in the war between Israel and Hamas in 2008-9, and was labelled as “anti-Israel” by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

The Telegraph, 8 Oct.

 

The director James Gray has been criticized for casting Anthony Hopkins as a Holocaust survivor in his latest film, Armageddon Times.  Gray, who is himself Jewish, bases some of the content on his own upbringing in New York city.  He stated, “Does that person watch The Godfather and complain that Marlon Brando is from Omaha, Nebraska, and not an Italian New York guy?  At some point, we have to acknowledge that our whole function as artists is to try and step into the consciousness of someone else and find compassion and emotional power in doing that.”

Los Angeles Times, 31 Oct.

 

Sunak Cancels Any Move of Embassy to Jerusalem

 

The Times of today reports that Liz Truss’s review of the situation has now led to a cancellation of any change. Sunak, however, is a strong supporter of Israel.

 

 

 

Lester L. Grabbe

4 November 2022

 

 

Middle East Study Centre—Newsletter October 2022

 

A Note on the MESC Programme 2022-2023

We finalised the MESC programme for the coming year and presented it in the September Newsletter.  There was an additional participant for the Book Session that should have been listed.  Here is the corrected version:

 

17 May 2023, at 17:00 LONDON TIME

MESC Book Celebration

Chair: Professor Giuliana Mazzoni (MESC)

Professor Glenn Burgess (MESC)

Professor Jo Carby-Hall (MESC)

Dr Bhumitra Chakma (MESC)

Professor Hall Gardner (MESC)

Professor Lester Grabbe (MESC)

Professor Daniel Kurtzer (MESC)

Professor Ruth Wodak (MESC)

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor (MESC)

 

Please feel free to circulate the information on the programme to interested parties. All are welcome to our events.

 

An Invitation to Publish an Article in the Transatlantic Policy Quarterly

 

My name is Aybars, and I am the Editor-in-Chief of Transatlantic Policy Quarterly (www.transatlanticpolicy.com), an independent academic journal centralizes on global affairs. Since 2002, we have been publishing a journal once in every three months, cooperating with various national and international organizations including NATO, FNF and World Bank.

 

Our upcoming Fall 2022 issue will deal with the recent changes in Israel’s Foreign Affairs, and the consequences of these developments in the broader MENA region. Considering this, we plan to focus on topics including – but not limited to -:

Rapprochement of Israel with other prominent regional actors – De-escalation of tensions between Israel and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and most recently Türkiye.

The Future of Abraham Accords – A pathway for stable peaceful environment in the Middle East politics or a temporary setback of conflicts?

Possibility of a Two-States Solutions for Israeli – Palestinian Conflict

Israel’s increasing role and importance in the Mediterranean energy crisis

The list can be expanded, but our main aim is to provide an issue that concerns with the changing dynamics in Israel’s foreign policy and the recent rapprochement processes taken place between Israel and other regional powers.

 

Our desired length for the article contributions are 2500 – 3500 words. This amount can be expanded to 4000 words if necessary. The articles should be submitted with Times New Roman, 12pt, single interval. All references should be given as footnotes (Times New Roman, 10 pt).

Our desired deadline is November 8.

All submissions are set to be published in our website, www.transatlanticpolicy.com, by December 1, 2022. Selected works will be included in the hard-copy version of TPQ’s Fall 2022 issue, which will be printed by the beginning of December 2022.

 

Any questions regarding the article submissions can be addressed to aybars@transatlanticpolicy.com

Kindest regards,

Aybars

 

The Israeli Elections

The upcoming Israeli elections have been largely ignored by the UK press, but they are scheduled for less than a month from now, on 1 Nov.  A poll on Sunday, 2 Oct, gives the lead to the Lekud coalition, with 60 seats, one short of a majority.  The Yesh Atid coalition would have 56 seats.  (The poll drew on 701 respondents, conducted by Midgam and StatNet.)  It is suggested that three question will determine Israel’s election results:

Will Arab turnout come in at 40-plus percent or more?

Will Netanyahu wake up the Likud base?

Can Benny Gantz’s party lure some religious voters?

Everyone has an opinion about Netanyahu, either pro or con, and there have been anti-Netanyahu protests. Winning is very important to the former prime minister.  With a Knesset majority he is expected to go ahead with legislation that would suspend his ongoing corruption trial on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust:

“Netanyahu’s plans for ‘reforms’ in the judicial system could significantly diminish the independence of the criminal prosecution and the supreme court and further erode Israel’s democratic institutions. The former prime minister denies the corruption charges.”

Ha’aretz and the Jerusalem Post, 3 Oct.

 

Right Wing Gains in Italian Elections

The right-wing candidate Giorgia Meloni, of the hard-right Fratelli d’Italia (FDI, or “Brothers of Italy”), has become the Italian prime minister.  Her triumph has worried many Italian Jews.  One FDI candidate praised Hitler as a great statesman.  Calogero Pisano was candidate for a seat in the constituency of Agrigento, southern Sicily.  He was suspended by the party over the comment days before the poll, yet he still won the seat.

In Milan there were two candidates.  One was Isabella Rauti, whose father backed Mussolini’s regime in 1943 and became leader of the post-war Fascist party, Italian Social Movement.  The other was Emanuele Fiano, representing the Democratic Party, who is son of an Italian Jew who barely escaped death in Auschwitz. In the end, Rauti and the Brothers party won the seat.

Jewish Chronicle, 27 Sept., and Times, 20 Sept.

 

Giorgia Meloni is said to have revered works by the British writer J.R.R. Tolkien.  The hard right sees The Lord of the Rings as a sacred text.  For the last half-century, the country’s descendants of post-war Fascism have looked to Tolkien’s works to reconstruct their rightwing identity, looking for symbols, heroes, and creation myths to escape from the old Fascist taboo baggage.  Apparently, Meloni used to dress up as a hobbit; she said, “I think that Tolkien could say better than us what conservatives believe in. I don’t consider ‘The Lord of the Rings’ fantasy.”

New York Times, 21 Sept.

 

Protests in Iran over Death of Woman in Police Hands

Weeks of protests have affected Iran after the death of woman arrested by the “morality police”.  The situation was widely reported:

“The protests, now in their seventh day, have reached 80 other cities and towns. A human rights group said at least 31 civilians had been killed, while state television put the death toll at 17. . . .

“Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman from the north-western city of Saqez, died in hospital in Tehran on Friday following three days in a coma.

She was visiting the capital on 13 September when she was arrested by morality police officers, who accused her of violating the law requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf, and their arms and legs with loose clothing. She collapsed after being taken to a detention centre.

 

“There are reports that officers beat Ms Amini’s head with a baton and banged her head against one of their vehicles. The police have said there is no evidence of any mistreatment and that she suffered ‘sudden heart failure’.

BBC.co.uk/news, 22 Sept.

 

“Iranian forces attacked what they said were the bases of Kurdish separatist groups in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, unleashing drone and artillery attacks for almost eight hours today. A semiofficial news agency accused paramilitary groups in the region of fostering chaos in Iran.

“Protests have swept the country for 10 days in response to the killing of Mahsa Amini, 22, an Iranian Kurdish woman who was in police custody for violating the country’s strict dress codes for women. The demonstrations — larger than any antigovernment movement in Iran since the Green Revolution in 2009 — have been especially intense in northwest Iran, where many members of the country’s Kurdish minority live.”

New York Times 27 Sept.

 

A journalist who reported details of Mahda Amini’s death at the hands of police is held in solitary confinement, as the judiciary sets up special courts to try demonstrators after more than a hundred protests across Iran.

Times, 28 Sept.

 

Morality police retreated from streets in wake of widespread protests against the death of Mahsa Amini, perhaps for their own safety.  Iranian journalists, however, warned that this would not be permanent and doubted the government would back down for long.

Times, 30 Sept.

 

The official government position was that the protests were instigated by foreign forces.  On the other hand, public anger was so widespread that a daily newspaper sympathetic to the regime nevertheless accused the authorities of denial of their own shortcomings.  An editorial in the Jomhuri Eslami stated, “Neither foreign enemies nor domestic opposition can take cities into a state of riot without a background of discontent. The denial of this fact will not help.”

President Ebrahim Raisi called for unity against the protests even as they continued to grow, bringing together Iranians across ethnic and class divides, despite the government crackdown.  The security forces have clashed with students at Isfahan University the past two days.  It is reported that some members of Iran’s military have refused to assist with the crackdown on the protests.  There have been many deaths, though the number is uncertain: 50 are acknowledged, but some sources say 130 or more.  Military strikes on Kurdistan have also continued.

The Guardian, 4 Oct.

 

 

US Considers Sanctions on Iran over Rushdie Attack

The Biden administration is reported to be considering sanctions to target entities linked to Iran for encouraging attacks on Salman Rushdie.  Some of them have offered rewards to kill Rushdie who was stabbed before a lecture on 12 Aug.  The sanctions under consideration include restricting access to the global financial system.  Hadi Matar, a New Jersey man of Lebanese descent, has been arrested for the stabbing, though his possible motives are still being investigated.  U.S. officials point to the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 which called for Rushdie’s death over The Satanic Verses.  Secretary of State Antony Blinken is quoted as vowing to use “every appropriate tool at our disposal” in response.  He is convinced that Iran is responsible, stating,  “Iranian state institutions have incited violence against Rushdie for generations, and state-affiliated media recently gloated about the attempt on his life”.

Wall Street Journal, 14 Sept.

 

 

Holocaust Survivor Challenges Iran

The president of Iran Ebrahim Raisi was asked on American TV about a week ago whether he believed the Holocaust had taken place.  His reply was ambiguous:  “Look. Historical events should be investigated by researchers and historians. There are some signs that it happened. If so, they should allow it to be investigated and researched.”  He has now been challenged by a 91-year-old survivor of the Holocaust to “learn compassion” and educate himself after he seemed to dismiss the Holocaust.   This was Rae Goldfarb who was born to a Polish-Jewish family in what is today Belarus.  She stated, “I would like to take him to my town, and have him open up the grave where 3,000 people were shot dead.”  State-sponsored antisemitism and Holocaust denial has been rampant in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iranwire, 21 Sept

 

Moving British Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Liz Truss spoke to the Conservative Friends of Israel at an event in Birmingham.  She stated that “the UK will stand up for Israel”, that she was a “huge Zionist and huge supporter of Israel” and pledged that she would “take the UK-Israel relationship from strength to strength”.  At the same event, Israel’s Ambassador, Tzipi Hotovely, suggested that a “review” of the British embassy’s location ought to be pursued.  She said, “Nothing can be more significant to show the friendship between Israel and the UK than this step.  There is just one capital to the UK, and that is London. There is just one capital to Israel, Jerusalem.  For the past two thousand years, it’s been Jerusalem, always our spiritual home. We can’t ignore the historic truth.”  The president of the Board of Deputies has also urged the British government to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Chronicle, 3 Oct.

Name of Oxford “Oriental Faculty” Changed

Announcement from Oxford University on 1 August:

“The Faculty of Oriental Studies’ name has changed to the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies from today (1 August).

“This follows extensive conversations with students, staff, alumni and other relevant stakeholders over the past two years. Three surveys were conducted across the Faculty and the proposed name has now been approved by the Faculty Board and relevant University committees.

“Professor David Rechter, Faculty Board Chair, said: ‘The Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies was selected as the new name after an extensive consultation process and I would like to thank the many staff and students who took part in surveys and gave their views.

“‘I am confident that this change is the right decision. Many considered the word ‘oriental’ to be inappropriate and, while the change will not affect what the Faculty researches and teaches, it does better reflect the breadth and diversity of the academic activity in the Faculty.’

“Along with the Faculty’s name, the Faculty’s building in Pusey Lane in Oxford will no longer be called the Oriental Institute.”

Lester L. Grabbe

5 October 2022

 

Middle East Study Centre—Newsletter September 2022

MESC Programme 2022-2023

We finalised the MESC programme for the coming year. As in previous years, we were able to secure an impressive list of international speakers who will speak on different pertinent topics. Please feel free to circulate the information to interested parties. And, of course, we welcome you to all our events.

Trimester 1

26 September – 30 January 2022

 

19 October 2022, at 18:00 LONDON TIME

MESC Annual Lecture

Dr Yossi Beilin (MESC)

Prospects For a Palestinian-Israeli Peace Agreement

Chair: Professor Glenn Burgess (MESC)

Discussant: Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor (MESC)

 

9 November 2022, at 17:00 LONDON TIME

MESC Leadership Seminar

Maj. Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan

Yom Kippur War – Its Lessons and Impact on the Middle East

Chair: Dr Raymond Swaray (MESC)

Discussant: Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor (MESC)

 

23 November, at 17:00 LONDON TIME

MESC Ambassador Forum

Sir John Jenkins

The Gulf and its Islamists

Chair: Professor Niaz Shah (MESC)

Discussant: Sir Tom Phillips (MESC)

 

14 December 2022, at 17:00 LONDON TIME

Professor Isabell Schierenbeck (MESC)

Newly arrived Syrian migrants meet street-level bureaucrats: Refugee integration in Jordan, Sweden, and Turkey

Chair: Dr Rene Brauer (MESC)

Discussant: Professor Simon Smith (MESC)

 

Winter break

19 December – 8 January 2023

 

Trimester 2

30 January – 29 May 2023

 

1 February 2023, at 17:00 LONDON TIME

Professor Lester Grabbe (MESC)

“Is Shulgi also among the Prophets?”: Israelite Prophecy in its Ancient Near Eastern Context

Chair: Professor Thomas Lundmark (MESC)

 

22 February 2023, at 17:00 LONDON TIME

Professor Eugene Rogan

The 1860 Damascus Massacres:  A Genocidal Moment?

Chair: Mr Ahmed Zaky (MESC)

Discussant: Sir Tom Phillips (MESC)

 

22 March 2023, at 18:00 LONDON TIME

MESC Women Forum

Professor Naomi Chazan (MESC)

Ms. Merissa Khurma

Professor Aili Mari Tripp

Dr Fadiah Alraies

Chair: Dr Marianne Afanassieva (MESC)

Discussant: Professor Beverly Metcalfe

 

Easter vacation

3 April – 16 April 2023

 

26 April 2023, at 17:00 LONDON TIME

Dr Robert Satloff

The Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands

Chair: Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh (MESC)

Discussant: Professor Anthony Julius (University College London (UCL)

 

17 May 2023, at 17:00 LONDON TIME

MESC Book Celebration

Chair: Professor Giuliana Mazzoni (MESC)

Professor Glenn Burgess (MESC)

Professor Jo Carby-Hall (MESC)

Dr Bhumitra Chakma (MESC)

Professor Hall Gardner (MESC)

Professor Lester Grabbe (MESC)

Professor Daniel Kurtzer (MESC)

Professor Ruth Wodak (MESC)

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor (MESC)

 

Cairo Review of Global Affairs

The MESC is pleased to include information on the Cairo Review of Global Affairs. The Editor of the Cairo Review welcomes contributions by our faculty and would be happy to discuss further.

The Cairo Review of Global Affairs is American University in Cairo (AUC) ’s flagship policy journal published quarterly by the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP). The Cairo Review provides a forum for high-quality commentary to a global and regional readership, focused on the complex linkages between the Middle East region and broader global public policy issues.

As such, the Cairo Review constitutes an important vehicle for the University’s engagement with global audiences on key issues of public policy at the regional and global levels. This is achieved through the contribution of high-profile authors to the Cairo Review, as well as through engagement with the broad readership of the journal itself. More broadly, the Cairo Review also serves as an important promotional tool for AUC among practitioners and policy makers.

Writers for the Cairo Review have included among others former President Jimmy Carter, President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas, former United Nations Under Secretary-General Lakhdar Brahimi, former UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen Koning Abu Zayd, Nobel Laureate Ahmed Zewail, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, former WHO Director General Gro Brundtland, writer and novelist Pico Iyer, French sociologist Michel Wieviorka, former Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim, authors Ahdaf Soueif, Pietra Rivoli and Farha Ghanam, former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben Ami, former U.S. ambassador to Egypt and Israel and MESC member Daniel C. Kurtzer, Middle East scholars Marina Ottaway, Shireen T. Hunter, and Rashid Khalidi. See

https://www.thecairoreview.com/

 

If interested to contribute, please write directly to:

Professor Karim Haggag

karim.haggag@aucegypt.edu

 

Three-Day Battle between Israel and Islamaic Jehad in Gaza

The conflict was apparently set off by the presence of Ziyad al-Nakhalah, secretary-general of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in Gaza.  He is usually based in Damascus and receives instructions from Tehran, which also supplies funding for Islamic Jehad operations.  An attack was being planned against Israel who had arrested (and publicly humiliated) an Islamic Jehad leader in Jenin.  Israel launched air attacks on Gaza beginning on 5 August; Islamic Jehad responded by launching more than 500 rockets against targets in Israel.  Most of these were shot down by Israeli defences, and several misfires killed individuals in Gaza.  Israel claims to have wiped out a good portion of the Islamic Jehadic leadership in Gaza, though the deaths reportedly included six children.

An interesting point is that Hamas, who has supported Islamic Jehad in the past, but this time they did not.  Indeed, they helped Egypt to broker a cease fire on 7 August.  The view is that they did not want to jeopardize important economic considerations, which includes Israeli aid for infrastructure projects and also 14,000 Israeli work permits for Gazan workers.  Some have wondered if Hamas might be shifting to a new position on peace with Israel, which it has strongly opposed up to now.

Shortly after the cease fire, Israeli troops came under fire in a raid on terrorists in Nablus.  Three terrorists were killed, including Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, head of the local Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade.

A fortnight later four Israeli soldiers were dismissed from the military for attacking Palestinians without good cause.  A video captured their beating two individuals from a vehicle they had stopped near Ramallah.  It turned out that the soldiers were members of Netzah Yehuda (Judah Forever), a contingent of Ultra-Orthodox solders.

 

Liz Truss on Israel

In mid-August Liz Truss was criticized for comments she made that Labour had become a talking shop for anti-Semitism under Keir Starmer, a surprising claim considering the efforts made by Starmer to root out anti-Semitism from Labour.  She also asserted that the civil service sometimes “strays into anti-Semitism” and vowed to oppose it.  She has made some wide-ranging criticisms of the civil service, but the FDA union (which represents civil servants) claimed there was no evidence for her comments.

A group of prominent individuals, including Sir Richard Dalton, former ambassador to Iran and MESC member, and Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former ambassador to the UN, signed a letter to the (London) Times on 12 August.  They pointed out that the only scheme that would work was the two-state solution (the one-state solution that some propose will not solve the difficulties between the Palestinians and Israel).  Anything that hinders the two-state solution should be abandoned or at least postponed.  This includes the proposal to move the British embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a proposal which Liz Truss promised to the Conservative Friends of Israel to review.

 

The USA Makes Airstrikes on an Iran Base in Syria

Syrian para-military groups backed by Iran made a drone attack on an American base in the country.  On 15 August two drones flew over an American base near the Jordanian border, one shot being down and the other crashing.  They caused no damage, but in retaliation for the attack the President ordered air assaults on fuel storage sites in Deir Ezzor province associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran.  Part of the strikes were cancelled to avoid potential civilian casualties.

A couple of weeks later Israel launched an air strike on a military site near the town of Tartus that had missiles to be used by fighters backed by Iran.  Satellite photos indicated that the attacks had caused considerable damage.

 

Education of Girls in Afghanistan

“Dear world, we are the only country on earth where girls can’t go to high school, just think about that.”  This is how girls from a secret school in Afghanistan began an open letter to “the world”, i.e., the West.  They say that theirs is the only country on earth where girls cannot go to high school.  Many of them have great ambitions but require an education as a minimum qualification to achieve them.  The only place they can get an education is at secret schools, which has led a contingent of girls at one of the schools to write the open letter just referred to. The first anniversary of the Taliban takeover was 15 August: the letter was written as that anniversary approached, reminding everyone that the Taliban had promised to implement education for girls—a promise so far not kept.

See the special report by Christine Lamb, Sunday Times, 7 August 2022.

 

France Plans to Change the Law to Expel an Imam

The Muslim imam Hassan Iquioussen had lived all his life in France, though of Moroccan nationality.  He is accused of anti-Semitic language and also of opposing the equality between the sexes.  He denied calling for genocide of non-Muslims but was declared an enemy of the French by the interior minister who called for him to be expelled from France.  He stated that if necessary he would have the law changed in order to send away Iquioussen.

When the French Council of State approved his expulsion, Iquioussen took this declaration as a reason to go on the run.  The result is that a European arrest warrant has been issued, though as of the finalizing of this Newsletter he has not been found.

Lester L. Grabbe

5 Sept. 2022

 

MESC Newsletter-August 2022

By   Lester L. Grabbe

Joe Biden in the Middle East

President Biden engaged in a four-day trip to the Middle East, 13-17 July, at a time when Israel is in the midst of an election campaign.  He was hosted by the caretaker prime minister Yair Lapid.  This was Biden’s tenth trip to the Israel-Palestinian region, and he has met every prime minister of Israel, beginning with Golda Meir.

He is reported as declaring at the airport: “The connection between the Israeli people and the American people is bone deep.  Generation after generation that connection grows. We invest in each other. We dream together. We’re part of what has always been the objective we both had. I’ve been part of that as a senator, as a vice president, and quite frankly, before that, having been raised by a righteous Christian.”

Among his assurances to Israel, were

—A nuclear deal with Iran would make the world safer,

—America would stop Iran developing a bomb, by force if

necessary,

—The Iranian Revolutionary Guard would remain on the

terrorist list.

The President also met with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.  He affirmed that the US commitment to a two-state solution “has not changed”, yet he also commented that the “ground is not ripe” to restart talks between Israel and Palestine.

From Israel Biden flew on to Saudi Arabia, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  This was awkward because Biden had made a campaign promise to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  The President claimed that he brought up Khashoggi’s murder privately with the Crown Prince.

The US wants Saudi Arabia to increase oil production.  There is also a desire to avoid China and Russia exerting influence in the region, and a hope of closer relations with Israel.  Rather than shaking hands with the Crown Prince, Biden instead gave a fist bump.  But from bin Salman’s point of view, this was a part of the “rehabilitation” of Saudi Arabia on the international scene.

At the end of July, President Macron hosted Mohammed bin Salman in the Elysée Palace (after visiting him at the end of 2021 in Jeddah).  Like Biden, Macron has apparently been encouraging the Saudis to increase oil production.

 

Putin Courts Iran and Egypt

In mid-July Vladimir Putin paid a rare international visit to Iran who had supported Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.  He was welcomed with considerable ceremony and later met with both Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi.  He also had discussions with them and President Erdogen of Turkey.  (Some have suggested that Putin might try to take asylum in Iran if he was forced from power.)

In a parallel development Putin’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, met Egyptian President Sisi and his Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry.  He assured them that the deal to export grain from the Ukraine would go ahead.  He also met the secretary general of the Arab League and addressed the representatives of the member countries.  This was the first stop that Lavrov was making to African countries, including Ethiopia, Uganda, and the Congo

In a related story, Russian female influencers have come in numbers to Tehran.  Instead of appearing in designer clothes as normal, however, they have usually adopted the local hijab (though Iranian woman who have not adopted the hijab have been persecuted and beaten).  Since they are being kept by circumstances from travelling in Europe, as they normally would, this was seen as an opportunity.

 

Mass Graves of Poles Killed by Nazis Found

The Institute of National Remembrance of Poland announced the discovery of two mass graves, containing the ashes of approximately 8000 Polish victims.  They were apparently victims from a Nazi prison camp, disposed of in Bialuty Forest some 100 miles north of Warsaw.  After cremation and burial of the ashes, the perpetrators seem to have planted trees on top of the site to help hide it.

 

Jewish Graduate Sues Leeds University

Sociology graduate Danielle Greyman’s suit claims that she submitted an essay about the crimes of the Hamas regime against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.  Her tutor apparently failed the essay because it did not criticize Israel, though an external examiner argued that the essay should be given a passing mark.  The result was that she had to resit the course, which delayed receiving her degree and taking up her offer of an MA course at Glasgow.

 

Obituaries

Paul Willer (1928-2022)

His mother was a Jewish doctor but his father became an ardent Nazi supporter and divorced her in 1933.  It was thought that he and his brother would not be eligible for the Kindertransport because he was only “half Jewish”.  But his uncle lived in London, and British sympathizers provided aid for the family to immigrate.  The family made the journey to the UK in April 1939, though a German official confiscated Paul’s watch as they crossed the border into the Netherlands.  Arrangements were made for him to stay temporarily with Clement Attlee.  Speaking no English, he initially communicated with the Attlee family via Latin.  The Attlees’ generosity was not advertized and only became known in recent years.

 

Margot Heuman (1928-2022)

She and her family were sent to the Theresienstadt ghetto in 1942 (even though her father had won the Iron Cross in World War I).  They were transported to Auschwitz in 1944, but Margot had fallen in love with a girl of her own age and was allowed to accompany her to a concentration camp near Hamburg.  The rest of her family later perished in Auschwitz.  The two girls had to march to Bergen-Belsen in 1945 but survived and were liberated by the British in April.  She later joined relatives in New York.  Although having further affairs with women, she later married a man and had children.  In recent decades her experiences were partially depicted in a ballet, Spirit Unbroken, and more fully in the theatre in The Amazing Life of Margot Heuman.

 

Jozef Walaszczyk (1919-2022)

A member of the Polish resistance, he married his girl-friend after she admitted to him that she was Jewish.  He had a number of narrow escapes, but his position as a foreman in a potato flour factory provided the opportunity to employ Jews and provide a certain amount of protection for them.  He was credited with saving the lives of 53 Jews and was declared “Righteous among the Nations” by the Holocaust centre Yad va-Shem in 2002.  As a result of his work, he has been referred to as “the Polish Schindler”.

 

A.B. Yehoshua (1936-2022)

He was an acclaimed Israeli novelist and playwright who wrote on Jewish identity, relations between Jews and Arabs, and religious orthodox and secular Jews.  Although a firm Zionist, he had many Palestinian friends and was a strong supporter of the two-state solution, as co-founder of the Peace Now movement; however, in recent years the lack of progress apparently made him despair of his hope in the two-state solution.  He held a post at the University of Haifa but also taught at Paris, Oxford, Harvard, Chicago, and Princeton.  Many of his novels have been translated into English, including his final novel The Tunnel.

 

July 2022
Please note that while Professor Cohen-Almagor is on study leave, I
am temporarily responsible for the monthly Politics blog. We shall all miss Raphael’s wit, wisdom, and knowledge—none more than me.
But I hope at least to pass on some current information on the Middle East, including some historical data which is my own special interest.
Lester L. Grabbe

Israeli Politics Once More at the Top of the News
The coalition of Naftali Bennett has finally fallen, much later than
some had predicted—or even hoped—but it brings forward a new
crisis, necessitating a fifth general election in less than four years.
Bennet, head of the Yamina party, has struggled to keep his coalition
together but had lost a majority and was thus prevented from passing any legislation.
Yair Lapid, coalition partner, foreign minister, alternative prime
minister, and leader of Yesh Atid, will be the caretaker until a new
election takes place. The expectation is that Binyamin Netanyahu
will seek to become prime minister once again. There has been
considerable speculation about how Netanyahu will conduct his
campaign, in which he is expected to push a very right-wing agenda.
Some are predicting that he will accuse the Yesh Atid party of
encouraging terrorism because they included several Israeli Arab
parties in the coalition. Some think he will try to change the law to
negate corruption charges that have been brought against him.
Elections will probably be held on 1 November. It will be interesting
to see what the election campaign throws up. In the meantime, the
trial Netanyahu for corruption continues, with one accusation being
that he required “gifts” of boxes of cigars, one cigar of which was
worth several hundred pounds.

The Origin of the “Black Death”
The journal Nature (of 15 and 16 June 2022) reports on the DNA
analysis of a cemetery in Kyrgyzstan, in Central Asia. Many of the
tombstones dating to the years 1338 and 1339 have the Syriac word
for “pestilence”. DNA analysis of the teeth from skeletons in the
cemetery has found evidence of the plague bacterium, yersinia pestis.

Their conclusion is that this marks the origin of the plague popularly
known as “the black death”. It was not long after this year that the
plague flared up in the Black Sea region and from there spread west
into Europe.

Olympic Founder Praised Hitler
According to a report of 14 June, Baron Pierre de Coubertin (the
modern founder of the Olympic Games) had proclaimed Germany’s
hosting of the games in Berlin in 1936 as the “guardian of the
Olympic spirit”. The German magazine Der Spiegel reported on the
work of a researcher at the Centre for German Sports History in
Potsdam, Emeritus Professor Hans Joachim Teichler. Professor
Teichler, examining the diaries and correspondence of Carl Diem who organized the Berlin Olympics, found that Baron de Coubertin had expressed approval of Hitler’s government and the “revolution” the German Chancellor had initiated; he apparently even asked for
Hitler’s autograph! Hitler in turn donated 10,000 reichsmarks to the
International Olympic Committee and put de Coubertin’s name
forward to the Nobel committee for the peace prize. There were
attempts made to boycott or move the Olympic games from Berlin,
but they were not successful.

Jesse Owens saluting the crowd at Berlin Olympics 1936
Ukrainian Jews Being Forced Out by War
The chief rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt claims more than
half of Ukraine’s Jews have fled the country because of the fighting.
A great deal of work had been done to build up the Jewish community in Ukraine since the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. The number of Jews in Ukraine before the war is uncertain, estimated to be anywhere from 40,000 to 400,000. Goldschmidt became rabbi of Moscow in 1993, but he has now gone into exile because he refused to support the war against Ukraine. Many synagogues and Jewish centres have been destroyed by Russian shelling.

The Vatican and the Jews in World War II
The question of the Vatican response to Nazi persecution of the Jews has been around for decades. Many have accused Pius XII of
callousness or even anti-Semitism for not speaking out when the
Nazis rounded up Jews in Rome; others have claimed that he worked hard for Jews but that it was behind the scenes and thus not evident.
As of 2020 the Vatican has now opened up and put online many of
the archival documents relevant for the question. These and many
other documents were sourced in a new book, The Pope at War, by
David Kertzer, a professor at Brown University. He argues, on the
one hand, that the Vatican did reach out to provide help to many
Jewish people; on the other hand, these were Jews who had converted to Catholicism. (Keep in mind that the Nazi regime did not consider Jewishness a religious category but a racial one, so that even Jews who had converted to Christianity were still considered and treated as Jewish.) The book was dismissed by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

Plaque Honouring Judges under Nazi Rule
In Karlsruhe, in the German Federal Court of Justice, is a panel with
the names of 34 justice figures who were arrested by the Russian
secret police after the 1945 victory; most subsequently died in
captivity. The plaque was set up in 1957, but a later investigation by
the German magazine Stern found that 23 had been loyal Nazis.
Questions have recently been raised as to whether it is appropriate to maintain the plaque. The parallel to recent questions in the UK about monuments to individuals connected to the slave trade is obvious.

Recent Books
Following are several books that have appeared recently.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to read any of those here; thus, the information on them comes mainly from reviews in the Times and Sunday Times, except for the first one.
Jonathan Freedland: The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of
Auschwitz to Warn the World.
Reading the review of this book brought back many memories. The
book tells the tale of a Slovak Jew named Walter Rosenberg sent to
Auschwitz, who eventually managed to escape and tried to warn the
Hungarian Jewish community of Nazi plans to exterminate it (he was
only partially successful because of disbelief and foot-dragging). It
was about 1967 that I read the book, I Cannot Forgive by Rudolf
Vrba. I was very moved by his story. Later I heard him lecture in the
UK. He apparently migrated to Canada after the war where he
became an academic chemist at the University of British Columbia. I
was sorry to see his obituary in 2006. Apparently Rosenberg changed his name to Vrba after the war, and it is always as Rudi Vrba that I think of him. The review of this book indicates it is good, but I can’t imagine it being better or more moving than Vrba’s own book which I can recommend wholeheartedly.
(See also the review by Dominic Sandbrook in the Sunday
Times Magazine of 5 June 2022)
Rudolf Vrba
Karina Urbach: Alice’s Book: How the Nazis Sole my Grandmother’s
Cookbook
Alice Urbach’s cookbook appeared in 1935 with the title, So kocht
man in Wien! It was, as the title suggests, a Viennese cookbook. But
the author was Jewish, and with the Anschlu she was told by her
publisher that she had to turn over the copyright to the publishing
copy. They made some edits to the text to “Aryanize” it, then issued
it in the name of a certain Rudolf Rösch who immediately became a
best-selling author without having written a word of it! Urbach
emigrated to the UK, then the USA. After the war she tried to reclaim her rights in the book, but the publisher placed various obstacles in her path, republishing the book under Rösch’s name in 1966.
Eventually (though after Alice Urbach’s death in 1983), the “pre-Nazi” version of the cookbook was reissued by the original Austrian publisher. This story is told by her granddaughter Karina.
Review by Ysenda Maxtone Graham in the Times
Saturday Review of 14 May 2022.
Deborah Cadbury: The School that Escaped the Nazis
Bunce Court was an old house near Oterden in Kent that had been
turned into a school for Jewish refugee children from Nazi Germany.
It was set up by Anna Essinger. She had a Jewish school in Ulm in
southern Germany, but unlike some she realized the threat posed
when the Nazis came to power in 1933. She travelled to Kent and
arranged for a new site there, then moved her pupils from Germany.
With the escalating persecution in Germany and the Kindertransport programme, Bunce Court was unable to meet the vastly increased demand. Money was a constant problem, but Essinger managed to keep it open until the building was confiscated for the Royal Tank Regiment. Essinger then managed to move her school to Shropshire.
The school finally closed in 1948, though Anna Essinger lived until
1960. The book has chapters concentrating on the personal stories of three of the pupils and their families.
Review by Ysenda Maxtone Graham in the Times
Saturday Review of 14 May 2022.

 

MESC Newsletter-May 2022

 Dear all

The war in Ukraine continues. World peace is facing a grave challenge. The international community must respond. The issue is not only Ukraine. It concerns all Russia’s and China’s neighbours. The war might have grave implications on the Middle East, destabilising peace and risking the positive achievements that were made recently.

 

First they came for Crimea, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Crimean.

Then they came for Ukraine, and I did not speak out— because I was not an Ukrainian.

Then they came for Georgia, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Georgian.

Then they came for Moldova, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Moldovian.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

 

Inspired by Martin Niemöller

 

 

 

MESC Steering Committee 2022-2023

 

The MESC Steering Committee during the year 2022-2023 is composed of the following people:

 

Sir Tom Phillips

 

Prof. Lester Grabbe

 

Prof. Glenn Burgess

 

Dr Marianne Afanassieva

 

Mr Ahmed Zaky

 

 

 

MESC Books’ Celebration

 

The MESC concluded its events’ programme for the year with a most interesting book celebration. Seven of our members presented their fascinating, new books. The book celebration exhibited the strength and diversity of our group of international researchers.

 

 

MESC Books’ Celebration 2023 for books published in 2022-2023

 

The MESC intends to hold an online book celebration on 17 May 2023, 5:00-7:00pm. If you have published a book during 2022, or intend to publish before May 2023, we’d like to invite you to present your new book.

 

Please send us:

  • Your name
  • title of the new book
  • abstract/short description/endorsements
  • place of publication
  • publisher
  • year
  • link to the book, and
  • a cover image.

Please join and showcase your book!

 

 

Funding Appeal

 

The MESC opens a funding appeal, writing to charities and foundations for funding. Our work to promote human rights, peace and security in the Middle East, specifically between Israel and its neighbours has never been more vital. The election of President Biden creates an opportunity for creative thinking not only about how to revitalise the Israeli-Palestinian peace process but also about how to promote peace, accountability and human rights in the Middle East more generally, building in particular on the Abraham Accords and the possibility of reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and expanding the international and regional dialogue with that country so as to address a key cause of instability in the Middle East.

 

Among the threats and challenges, terrorism remains a recurrent phenomenon, while the Russian attack on Ukraine might have serious implications also for the Middle East. Russia’s proxies will be assisted if Russia will have it its way in Ukraine. The global COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an increased pressure on political and financial priorities. This pressure raises the risk that unique opportunities may be lost.

 

In this complex situation, Think Tanks and university bodies such as Hull’s Middle East Study Centre can and should play a key role in injecting fresh thinking and ensuring that policy-makers remain conscious of the core issues in the region and exposed to fresh thinking. But, of course, such organisations are themselves challenged by limited resources. We are therefore seeking the support of individuals and foundations to ensure that our shared goals remain high on the agenda, and that we continue to work to build understanding and a shared commitment to peace and justice through an expanded programme of communication and collaborative research.

 

The funding would allow us to promote a greater exchange of ideas through bringing more guest lecturers, scholars, diplomats and politicians to events and expand our support for students working in the field of Middle East Studies. In particular:

 

  • £4,000 would sponsor the Annual Lecture on peace and security in the Middle East
  • £5,000 would cover the costs of three international guest speakers to attend events and present papers
  • £10,000 would fund two MA Scholarships for Middle East Studies, allowing students from Israel, Palestine and Arab countries to study at Hull.
  • £15,000 would allow visiting scholars from the Middle East to attend Hull for one year, or fund post-doctoral research
  • £60,000 would fund a Doctoral Scholarship in Middle Eastern Studies from Israel, Palestine and Arab countries to study at Hull.

 

We appreciate any donation, large or small, as well as ideas for funding in order to increase the volume of our activities.

 

 

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor received the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship

 

I received the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Public Policy Fellowship to carry out full‑time independent research on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in Washington, D.C. While at the Center during June-August 2022, I will be affiliated with the Middle East Program.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars was chartered by the American Congress in 1968 as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson. It is the American key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community. As an organ of the Congress, the Wilson Center has special relationships with the Library of Congress, the greatest library in the world. In 2019, the Wilson Center was named the #1 regional studies think tank in the world.

It is the second time that I am invited to this prestigious center. I am delighted to return to the best research center I know that provides superb environment to carry out research. The Wilson Center is a place that attracts academics, politicians and policy makers. Together they bring creative thinking and exceptional expertise to tackle the most pressing policy challenges we face today. The Center had provided me invaluable support as I was writing my book Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side (CUP, 2015). I am sure it will do the same as I will be writing my book on the failed peace process between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

 

 

Carnegie Connects: The U.S.-Israeli Relationship With Ambassador Thomas R. Nides

 

MESC member Aaron David Miller recently hosted Ambassador Nides for conversation about US-Israel relationships. See

https://carnegieendowment.org/2022/05/05/carnegie-connects-u.s.-israeli-relationship-with-ambassador-thomas-r.-nides-event-7869

 

 

Initiative to Bring Jews and Muslims Together

 

Jewish and Muslim community leaders from across the globe started a new initiative to strengthen Jewish-Muslim relations. The Mukhayriq Initiative, named after the Medina-born rabbi who fought alongside Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Battle of Uhud in 625 CE, aims to promote Jewish-Muslim cooperation. The initiative’s opening event was held on the eve of Ramadan. Muslim and Jewish leaders spoke on the importance of strengthening relations between Jewish and Muslim communities all over the world. Among those who spoke at the event were former Albanian labour and social affairs minister Valentina Leskaj and Prof. Ephraim Isaac, the director of Princeton University’s Institute for Semitic Studies. The initiative was founded by former US deputy special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism Ellie Cohanim, co-founder of the American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC) Anila Ali, executive-producer of the American Sephardi Federation Jason Guberman, Mimouna Association president El Mehdi Boudra, Jewish Council of the Emirates senior rabbi Elie Abadi and other Muslim and Jewish figures.

 

Source: The Jerusalem Post

 

 

Egypt-Saudi Arabia Relationships

 

The Biden administration has been mediating among Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt on negotiations that, if successful, could be a first step on the road to the normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. It involves finalizing the transfer of two strategic islands in the Red Sea from Egyptian to Saudi sovereignty. If an arrangement is reached, it would be a significant foreign policy achievement for the Biden administration in the Middle East. Sources said the agreement is not complete and the sensitive negotiations are ongoing.

 

The Tiran and Sanafir islands control the Straits of Tiran — a strategic sea passage to the ports of Aqaba in Jordan and Eilat in Israel. Saudi and Egyptian officials say Saudi Arabia gave Egypt control of the islands in 1950. They were later demilitarized as part of the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. The Biden administration believes finalizing an arrangement could build trust between the parties and create an opening to warm relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which do not have official diplomatic relations. 

 

Source: Axios

https://www.ynetnews.com/article/h1g9m7qv5?utm_source=S.+Daniel+Abraham+Center+for+Middle+East+Peace+List&utm_campaign=6c14de6c8d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_07_22_12_06_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_929d521884-6c14de6c8d-138680861

 

 

MESC LinkedIn page

 

Our Centre has a webpage on LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/middle-east-study-centre

 

You are more than welcome to contribute to it.

 

Gratitude is expressed to Ahmed Zaky for making this happen.

 

 

MESC Goodreads page

 

Our Centre has a webpage on Goodreads:

 

https://www.goodreads.com/group/invite/1184146-middle-east-study-centre-mesc—university-of-hull?invite_token=MjRkMWY0OTktYTA1MC00ZGQwLWExZDYtMWFlZDIxNWZkN2Fm&utm_medium=email&utm_source=copypastegroup

 

Please join the page and add your books.

 

Gratitude is expressed to Ahmed Zaky for making this happen.

 

 

Volunteers needed

 

In the past few months, Ahmed and I arranged the MESC events programme and the book celebration; launched funding appeal; collected information for the upgrade to centre; updated the MESC website; compiled information for the MESC Annual Activities Report; engage in establishing international relationships between the MESC and other organisations, and more.

 

As our volume of activities increases, we are looking for volunteers who will assist us with MESC work. If you have time to do important work with us, please get in touch. You will gain invaluable experience in networking, organising events, fund raising, contacting important people and organisations throughout the world, participate in research and initiate and pursue your own ideas.

 

With my very best wishes for a joyful summer

 

Rafi

 

MESC Newsletter-April 2022

 Dear all

The war in Ukraine continues. War is, often, the failure of reason, and this is the case now. When leaders send soldiers to war, they should see each and every one of these soldiers as their own sons. Then they should re-reflect and ask themselves: Is this absolutely necessary? Do I have clear aims? Are they justified?

I did not think I will witness another war in Europe. As was the case before, it was waged for the wrong, unjustified reasons. The war might have serious implications also for the Middle East. Russia’s proxies will be assisted if Russia will have it its way in Ukraine.

In 2014, the free world allowed Russia to annex Crimea. Crimea was part of the Soviet Union until 1954. Then, the Soviets transferred control of the peninsula to Ukraine. Putin sees himself as the follower of Peter the Great, Tsar Alexander III and Stalin. Those three leaders expanded Russia and made it great. Putin wishes to return to the days of the Russian Empire, viewing himself as a leader of the same character and calibre.

When political and economic constraints are relatively low and the benefits resulting from aggression are high, leaders like Putin are more likely to choose violence. When the constraints are substantial, leaders like Putin would be more willing to turn to peaceful resolution.

World peace is facing a grave challenge. The international community must respond. The issue is not only Ukraine. It concerns all Russia’s and China’s neighbours.

New Book

Just published: Raphael Cohen-Almagor, The Republic, Secularism and Security: France versus the Burqa and the Niqab (Cham: Springer, 2022). In memory of Jack Hayward (1931-2017) who provided sharp insights on French politics and culture prior to his death.

Jack was a founding member of the MESG, now MESC.

 

ISBN 978-3030946685

https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-94669-2

“Introduction”, https://hull.academia.edu/RaphaelCohenalmagor/Books

In France, secularism is celebrated in the public sphere. The manuscript makes general arguments about France’s changing identity and specific arguments about the burqa and niqab ban. It explains how French history shaped the ideology of secularism and of public civil religion, and how colonial legacy, immigration, fear of terrorism and security needs have led France to adopt the trinity of indivisibilité, sécurité, laïcité while paying homage to the traditional trinity of liberté, égalité, fraternité. While the motto of the French Revolution is still symbolically and politically important, its practical significance as it has been translated to policy implementation has been eroded. The emergence of the new trinity at the expense of the old one is evident when analyzing the debates concerning cultural policies in France in the face of the Islamic garb, the burqa and the niqab, which are perceived as a challenge to France’s national secular raison d’être. The French Republic has attempted to keep public space secular. Is the burqa and niqab ban socially just? Does it reasonably balance the preservation of societal values and freedom of conscience? What are the true motives behind the ban? Has the discourse changed in the age of COVID-19, when all people are required to wear a mask in the public space?

It is argued that the burqa and niqab ban is neither just nor reasonable in the eyes of the women and girls who wish to wear the Muslim garb, their families and community, and that paternalism that holds that the ban is for the women’s own good is a poor, coercive excuse. Claims for paternalistic coercion to protect adult women from their own culture when they do not ask for protection are not sufficiently reasonable to receive vindication.

 

MESC events

We were very fortunate to host during the past month three extraordinary speakers: Justice Professor Elyakim Rubinstein, Mr Joel Singer and Dr Francesco Motta. The three speakers delivered fascinating lectures that received praise and appreciation by many listeners.

All events are recorded and available on our website:

Speakers

Dr Francesco Motta

I am delighted to welcome Dr Francesco Motta as an affiliate member of the MESC. Francesco: Welcome on Board!!

 

Invitation:

MESC Books’ Celebration

27 April 2022, 5:00-7:00pm

Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6165794445316367888

 The books include the writings of:

 

Professor Lester Grabbe

Dr Alan Brener

Professor Jack Goldstone

Professor Simon C. Smith

Professor David Tal

Professor Alan Dowty

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

 

Professor Lester Grabbe

A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period 4: The Jews under the Roman Shadow (4 BCE–150 CE)

This is the fourth and final volume of my history of the Jews in the Second Temple period, i.e., the period beginning about 550 BC and covering the Jews under Persian, Greek, and Roman rule to about 150 of the Common Era.  This volume gives the history from the death of King Herod the Great to the last Jewish revolt under Bar-Kokhva (about 132-35).  It takes in the period of the Roman governors of Judaea including Pontius Pilate, the beginnings of Christianity, the conquest of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple 66-70, and the foundations of Rabbinic Judaism.  It collects all that is known about the Jews during the period in which they were ruled by the Roman Empire. Based directly on primary sources such as archaeology, inscriptions, Jewish literary sources and Greek, Roman and Christian sources, this study includes analysis of the Jewish diaspora, mystical and Gnosticism trends, and the developments in the Temple, the law, and contemporary attitudes towards Judaism. The volume concludes with a holistic perspective on the Jews and Judaism for the entire 700 years of the Second Temple Period.

 

Dr Alan Brener

Housing and Financial Stability: Mortgage Lending and Macroprudential Policy in the UK and US, (Routledge, 2020)

The book addresses the relationship between housing policy, credit and financial instability in the light of the recent global financial crisis, and proposes both short and long-term solutions. Although it is not known where the next crisis will come from, history suggests that it will have credit and property at its source. This book is focused on the UK and US but it also considers a number of other countries including Israel.

It is important that the UK and other countries look more broadly at what should be done in terms of policies, institutions and tools to make the housing market and mortgage lenders more resilient against a future crisis. This book sets out a number of workable proposals. Central to this work are questions relating to the quantitative macroprudential measures, such as loan-to-value and debt-to-income restrictions. In particular, the book questions the political legitimacy of their use and the potential consequences for the institutions, such as central banks, promulgating such policies. Preserving financial stability in very uncertain market conditions is of key importance to central bankers and other regulators, and macroprudential policy is a rapidly growing subject for both legal and economics study.

 

 

Professor Jack Goldstone

The Post ISIS-era: Regional and Global Implications

  • This edited volume is the result of a NATO workshop that was held in Washington DC in September 2019. It discusses the future of ISIS, maintaining security and stability, ISIS recruitment, propaganda and activities, plight of refugees, radicalization, and public fear of terrorism.
  • The Netherlands
  • IOS Press
  • 2021

 

Professor Simon C. Smith

 Britain and the Arab Gulf after Empire, 1971-1981: Kuwait Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

  • Although Britain’s formal imperial role in the smaller, oil-rich Sheikhdoms of the Arab Gulf – Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates – ended in 1971, Britain continued to have a strong interest and continuing presence in the region. This book explores the nature of Britain’s role after the formal end of empire. It traces the historical events of the post-imperial years, including the 1973 oil shock, the fall of the Shah in Iran, and the beginnings of the Iran–Iraq War; considers the changing positions towards the region of other major world powers, including the United States; and engages with debates on the nature of empire and the end of empire. The book is a sequel to the author’s highly acclaimed previous books Britain’s Revival and Fall in the Gulf: Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the Trucial States, 1950–71 (Routledge 2004) and Ending Empire in the Middle East: Britain, the United States and Post-war Decolonization, 1945–1973 (Routledge 2012).
  • Routledge
  • 2020
  • https://www.routledge.com/Britain-and-the-Arab-Gulf-after-Empire-Kuwait-Bahrain-Qatar-and-the/Smith/p/book/9780367671150

Professor David Tal

The Making of an Alliance: the Origins and Development of the US-Israel Relationship

Laying the foundation for an understanding of US-Israeli relations, this lively and accessible book provides critical background on the origins and development of the ‘special’ relations between Israel and the United States. Questioning the usual neo-realist approach to understanding this relationship, David Tal instead suggests that the relations between the two nations were constructed on idealism, political culture, and strategic ties. Based on a diverse range of primary sources collected in archives in both Israel and the United States, The Making of an Alliance discusses the development of relations built through constant contact between people and ideas, showing how presidents and Prime Ministers, state officials, and ordinary people from both countries, impacted one another. It was this constancy of religion, values, and history, serving the bedrock of the relations between the two countries and peoples, over which the ephemeral was negotiated.

 

 

Professor Alan Dowty

  • Israel
  • How did a community of a few thousand Jewish refugees become, in little over a century, a modern nation-state and homeland of half the world’s Jews? Alan Dowty distils over half a century of study as an inside/outside analyst of Israel in tracing this remarkable story.
  • Cambridge
  • Polity
  • 2021
  • https://politybooks.com/bookdetail/?isbn=9781509536894

 

 

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

 Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism: Liberalism, Culture and Coercion

The book explores the main challenges against multiculturalism. Its primary objectives are twofold: to examine whether liberalism and multiculturalism are reconcilable, and what are the limits of liberal democratic interventions in illiberal affairs of minority cultures within democracy when minorities engage in practices that inflict physical harm on group members (e.g. Female Genital Mutilation) or non-physical harm (e.g. denying members property or education). In the process, the book addresses three questions: whether multiculturalism is bad for democracy; whether multiculturalism is bad for women, and whether multiculturalism contributes to terrorism.

The main thesis is that liberalism and multiculturalism are reconcilable provided that a fair balance is struck between individual rights and group rights. It is argued that reasonable multiculturalism can be achieved via mechanisms of deliberate democracy, compromise and, when necessary, coercion. Placing necessary checks on groups that discriminate against vulnerable third parties, commonly women and children, the approach insists on the protection of basic human rights as well as on exit rights for individuals if and when they wish to leave their cultural groups.

  • place of publication: Cambridge
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Year: 2021
  • Information: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/just-reasonable-multiculturalism/5EB0648682BB3A81E392DC2E374A5A09#fndtn-information

 

Link to register:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6165794445316367888

All welcome

 

MESC LinkedIn page

Our Centre has a webpage on LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/middle-east-study-centre

 

You are more than welcome to contribute to it.

 

Gratitude is expressed to Ahmed Zaky for making this happen.

 

MESC Goodreads page

Our Centre has a webpage on Goodreads:

 

https://www.goodreads.com/group/invite/1184146-middle-east-study-centre-mesc—university-of-hull?invite_token=MjRkMWY0OTktYTA1MC00ZGQwLWExZDYtMWFlZDIxNWZkN2Fm&utm_medium=email&utm_source=copypastegroup

 

Please join the page and add your books.

Gratitude is expressed to Ahmed Zaky for making this happen.

 

Volunteers needed

In the past few months, Ahmed and I arranged the MESG events programme and the book celebration; launched funding appeal; collected information for the upgrade to centre; updated the MESG website; compiled information for the MESG Annual Activities Report; engage in establishing international relationships between the MESG and other organisations, and more.

 As our volume of activities increases, we are looking for volunteers who will assist us with MESC work. If you have time to do important work with us, please get in touch. You will gain invaluable experience in networking, organising events, fund raising, contacting important people and organisations throughout the world, participate in research and initiate and pursue your own ideas.

 With my very best wishes for a very festive season, Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Ramadan Kareem

 

Rafi

 

 

MESC Newsletter-March 2022

 Dear all

 

We express deep solidarity with Ukraine and convey a message of peace and support to all our friends.

 

First they came for Crimea, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Crimean.

Then they came for Ukraine, and I did not speak out— because I was not an Ukrainian.

Then they came for Georgia, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Georgian.

Then they came for Moldova, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Moldovian.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Inspired by Martin Niemöller

 

New Book

Just published: Raphael Cohen-Almagor, The Republic, Secularism and Security: France versus the Burqa and the Niqab (Cham: Springer, 2022). In memory of Jack Hayward (1931-2017) who provided sharp insights on French politics and culture prior to his death.

Jack was a founding member of the MESG, now MESC.

 

 

ISBN 978-3030946685

https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-94669-2

“Introduction”, https://hull.academia.edu/RaphaelCohenalmagor/Books

 

In France, secularism is celebrated in the public sphere. The manuscript makes general arguments about France’s changing identity and specific arguments about the burqa and niqab ban. It explains how French history shaped the ideology of secularism and of public civil religion, and how colonial legacy, immigration, fear of terrorism and security needs have led France to adopt the trinity of indivisibilité, sécurité, laïcité while paying homage to the traditional trinity of liberté, égalité, fraternité. While the motto of the French Revolution is still symbolically and politically important, its practical significance as it has been translated to policy implementation has been eroded. The emergence of the new trinity at the expense of the old one is evident when analyzing the debates concerning cultural policies in France in the face of the Islamic garb, the burqa and the niqab, which are perceived as a challenge to France’s national secular raison d’être. The French Republic has attempted to keep public space secular. Is the burqa and niqab ban socially just? Does it reasonably balance the preservation of societal values and freedom of conscience? What are the true motives behind the ban? Has the discourse changed in the age of COVID-19, when all people are required to wear a mask in the public space?

It is argued that the burqa and niqab ban is neither just nor reasonable in the eyes of the women and girls who wish to wear the Muslim garb, their families and community, and that paternalism that holds that the ban is for the women’s own good is a poor, coercive excuse. Claims for paternalistic coercion to protect adult women from their own culture when they do not ask for protection are not sufficiently reasonable to receive vindication.

 

MESC events

 

We were very fortunate to host during the past month two extraordinary speakers: Justice Professor Elyakim Rubinstein and Mr Joel Singer. Both delivered fascinating lectures that received praise and appreciation by many listeners.

 

All events are recorded and available on our website:

Speakers

 

I invite you to our MESC next event in which Dr. Francesco Motta will discuss the work of the UN in promoting human rights in the Middle East. Francesco agreed to reflect also on the current situation in Ukraine.

 

Middle East Study Centre (MESC)

Wednesday 9 March 2022, 5:00-7:00pm LONDON TIME

 

Dr. Francesco Motta

Chief of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa Branch of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Between a Rock and a Hard Place – the work of the UN promoting human rights in the Middle East

 

 

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8554371306472469776

 

 

Opening words: Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Director, MESC

 

Chair and Discussant: Professor Glenn Burgess (MESC)

 

“Human Rights” is a core pillar of the UN Charter and the respect and protection of human rights is considered fundamental to achieving the UN’s primary objective of maintaining international peace and security. This lecture shall outline the evolution of human rights promotion by the United Nations in the context of the Middle East, the tensions that exist within the UN in relation to the promotion and protection of human rights, and the significant challenges that face the UN in promoting human rights throughout the Middle East region.

 

Biography

Francesco Motta is the Chief of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa Branch of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva. He has two doctoral degrees, one in Law (Aust. National U.) specializing in IHL and the other in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology (U. Sydney).

Dr Motta has almost 30 years professional experience as a lawyer, Member/Judge of the Refugee Review Tribunal (Australia), legal/policy adviser to the Minister for Immigration (Australia), project manager for UNHCR (Sudan, Egypt and Nepal), legal officer for UNRWA (Palestine), diplomat for the Australian Government (WTO), and as Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Palestine), senior human rights officer and head of regional office (UNAMA) and Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Director of Human Rights Office of UNAMI (Iraq). He has worked for the United Nations in the field of human rights in the Middle East for the past 20 years.

Dr Motta specializes in IHL/Laws of Armed Conflict and refugee law, particularly the protection of civilians and human rights in armed conflict, new asymmetric conflicts, prevention and early warning, terrorism, and States in transition. He has several publications on IHL, IHRL, and Refugee law.

 

Chair and Discussant:   Professor Glenn Burgess (MESC)

Glenn Burgess is Professor of History at the University of Hull, where he has also served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor 2014-2019. He was educated at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and the University of Cambridge. Professor Burgess has written extensively on the history of 16th and 17th century political thought and has just finished a book on George Orwell and intellectual freedom.

 

Date:               Wednesday 9 March 2022, 5:00-7:00pm LONDON TIME

 

Please register directly with the online platform:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8554371306472469776

 

 

All are welcome to attend

 

 

MESC LinkedIn page

 

Our Centre has a webpage on LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/middle-east-study-centre

 

You are more than welcome to contribute to it.

 

Gratitude is expressed to Ahmed Zaky for making this happen.

 

 

MESC Goodreads page

 

Our Centre has a webpage on Goodreads:

 

https://www.goodreads.com/group/invite/1184146-middle-east-study-centre-mesc—university-of-hull?invite_token=MjRkMWY0OTktYTA1MC00ZGQwLWExZDYtMWFlZDIxNWZkN2Fm&utm_medium=email&utm_source=copypastegroup

 

Please join the page and add your books.

 

Gratitude is expressed to Ahmed Zaky for making this happen.

 

 

Volunteers needed

In the past few months, Ahmed and I arranged the MESG events programme and the book celebration; launched funding appeal; collected information for the upgrade to centre; updated the MESG website; compiled information for the MESG Annual Activities Report; engage in establishing international relationships between the MESG and other organisations, and more.

 

As our volume of activities increases, we are looking for volunteers who will assist us with MESC work. If you have time to do important work with us, please get in touch. You will gain invaluable experience in networking, organising events, fund raising, contacting important people and organisations throughout the world, participate in research and initiate and pursue your own ideas.

 

With my very best wishes

 

Rafi

 

MESC Newsletter-February 2022

 

Dear all

We follow with great trepidation the war that Russia waged on Ukraine. Some leaders find it easier to make war than to make peace. War is, often, the failure of reason. It is a terrible thing. It should be ALWAYS the last resort, after exhausting ALL other alternatives, and it must be waged for JUST reasons via JUST means. I hope common sense will prevail, soon, and Russia will put an end to the unsettling hostilities.

 

 

MESC events

 

Tonight at 6pm I will speak at the UoH Politics Society on the Roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Please contact the Politics Society if interested to attend.

 

We were very fortunate to host during the past month two extraordinary speakers: Justice Professor Elyakim Rubinstein and Mr Joel Singer. Both delivered fascinating lectures that received praise and appreciation by many listeners.

 

All events are recorded and available on our website:

Speakers

 

 

Professor Trevor G. Burnard

I am very pleased to convey that Trevor has joined the MESC.

 

Trevor Burnard is Wilberforce Professor of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull and Director of the Wilberforce Institute. He is a specialist in the Atlantic World and slavery in plantation societies. He is the author of Only Connect: A Field Report on Early American History (Virginia, forthcoming); Jamaica in the Age of Revolution (2020) and The Atlantic World, 1492-1830 (2020). He recently curated a special forum in the journal, Slavery and Abolition on Black Lives Matter and Slavery. He is a member of the senior management board of the Modern Slavery Policy and Evidence Centre.

 

Welcome on Board!!

 

 

Invitation:

 

Middle East Study Centre (MESC)

Wednesday 9 March 2022, 5:00-7:00pm LONDON TIME

 

Dr. Francesco Motta

Chief of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa Branch of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Between a Rock and a Hard Place – the work of the UN promoting human rights in the Middle East

 

 

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8554371306472469776

 

 

Volunteers needed

In the past few months, Ahmed and I arranged the MESG events programme and the book celebration; launched funding appeal; collected information for the upgrade to centre; updated the MESG website; compiled information for the MESG Annual Activities Report; engage in establishing international relationships between the MESG and other organisations, and more.

 

As our volume of activities increases, we are looking for volunteers who will assist us with MESC work. If you have time to do important work with us, please get in touch. You will gain invaluable experience in networking, organising events, fund raising, contacting important people and organisations throughout the world, participate in research and initiate and pursue your own ideas.

 

With my very best wishes

 

Rafi

 

 MESC Newsletter-January 2022

 Dear all

Funding opportunities

The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Mission to the United Kingdom is pleased to announce the opening of the FY2022 Grants Program.  Their notification says:

 

Funds awarded through our grants program support U.S. foreign policy priorities and strengthen ties between the United States and the United Kingdom.   We will be accepting applications on a rolling basis, with decisions to be made in March 2022 and July 2022 through a competitive competition.  You can find the full details about the program in our annual program statement, founds on the Embassy website  https://uk.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/london/ukpa/grants-programs/

 

Please let me know if you wish to prepare an application in support of your own research and the MESC. Please indicate under which Program you may wish to submit. I will connect between people who wish to submit under the same Program.

 

MESC Ambassador Forum

Professor Daniel Kurtzer’s lecture, Biden’s Agenda in the Middle East: How Relevant will the United States Be? with Sir Richard Dalton was insightful and interesting. You are able to listen to it at https://www.gotostage.com/channel/923cb85986064f9bb7f9be592abf994d/recording/8abac116f115429e99f8f62d68a8955a/watch

All events are recorded and available on our website:

Speakers

 

 

Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman

I am very pleased to convey that Lawrence has joined the MESC. Welcome on Board!!

 

Invitation:

9 February 2022, 5:00-7:00pm

MESC Research Seminar

Former Deputy President of The Israel Supreme Court, Justice Professor Elyakim Rubinstein (MESC)

Moshe Dayan – A Personal Memoir

Chair: Dr Alan Brener, UCL Faculty of Laws and MESC

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8260060630971209742

 

More information about both at

https://mesg.wordpress.hull.ac.uk/speakers/

Moshe Dayan is one of the most fascinating leaders of modern Israel. Dayan left his mark on many spheres, including the army, politics, diplomacy, war and peace. Here you will have an opportunity to hear about him from Ely Rubinstein who knew him closely.

 

We are greatly honoured to host Justice Rubinstein. Ely was the Legal Advisor to the Israeli Government and Deputy President of the Israeli Supreme Court. He is a person of great wisdom, experience and wit. I am sure it will be fascinating.

 

Invitation:

16 February 2022, 5:00-7:00pm

MESC Research Seminar

Mr Joel Singer (MESC), the architect of the Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the PLO

From Oslo to Gaza

Chair: Dr Jacob Eriksson, York University and MESC

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/636424135822788109

Singer was a member of Israeli delegations negotiating peace treaties and other agreements with all of Israel’s Arab neighbors, including Egypt (the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty), Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinians (the Oslo Accords). His insights of the Oslo Peace Accords are truly fascinating.

 

 

EIU Report Key trends and forecasts for North America in 2022 

The Economist Intelligence Report outlines the major themes that will shape the economic, political and policy landscapes in the US and Canada over the next 12 months. It emphasises the importance of the mid-term elections. Its Key forecasts:

  • The US economy will register another year of impressive growth in 2022, following its quick rebound from the coronavirus crisis in 2021. Large-scale government spending will again play a role, unless derailed by legislative gridlock (a growing risk).
  • Concerns about high inflation will prompt the Federal Reserve (Fed, the central bank) to start raising interest rates by March. We expect nine rate increases in total by early 2024, with the federal funds target rate rising to 2.4%.
  • China will remain the focal point of US foreign policy as tensions between the two countries remain high. Russia and Iran will be (lesser) priorities. Otherwise, a continuing trend of global disengagement is on the cards for the US.
  • We expect the Republicans to retake the House of Representatives (the lower house) in the November mid-term elections. The race for the Senate (the upper house) is too close to call. Losing both houses would put the Democrats on extremely weak footing for the next elections in 2024

 

 U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Q&A with Stu Eizenstat

 Blinken spoke at the 33rd annual Fran Eizenstat and Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture. He had Q&A session with Stu Eizenstat. The session starts at 11:40 minute of the recording.

 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1954fXsrbRysD7bbg1RjJXmuUisWW_qHB/view

 

 Volunteers needed

In the past few months, Ahmed and I arranged the MESG events programme and the book celebration; launched funding appeal; collected information for the upgrade to centre; updated the MESG website; compiled information for the MESG Annual Activities Report; engage in establishing international relationships between the MESG and other organisations, and more.

 

As our volume of activities increases, we are looking for volunteers who will assist us with MESC work. If you have time to do important work with us, please get in touch. You will gain invaluable experience in networking, organising events, fund raising, contacting important people and organisations throughout the world, participate in research and initiate and pursue your own ideas.

 

With my very best wishes

 

Rafi

 

 

MESG Newsletter-December 2021

 Dear all

 

 

Annual Report

 

Thank you to all the researchers who provided information about their activities during the past year. If you wish to add information, please send it to me no later than 10 December 2021.

 

I just published a fascinating interview with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: “Lessons from Peace Negotiations: Interview with Ehud Olmert”, Israel Affairs (online first 1 November 2021). DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2021.1993000. Available at: https://hull.academia.edu/RaphaelCohenalmagor/Papers

 

 

MESG Programme 2021-2022

 

The last MESG Research Seminar with Rt Hon. Alistair Burt, former Minister for the ME and North America, Sir Richard Dalton (MESG), Sir Vincent Fean (MESG) and Sir Tom Phillips (MESG) on Britain in the Middle East: Does it still have a role? was superb. Those of you who saw it surely enjoyed it. If you did not see it for some reason, this unmissable event is available at

https://www.gotostage.com/channel/923cb85986064f9bb7f9be592abf994d/recording/90b67c9edb5a4dc79a2555d9a4511ac6/watch

 

You can read Sir Richard’s paper at

https://mesg.wordpress.hull.ac.uk/speakers/

 

Reiterated gratitude is expressed to Richard, Vincent, Tom, Dean Hardy, Ahmed Zaky and the FBLP events team for organizing this event.

 

Coming next two events on the same day:

 

8 December 2021, 2:00-3:00pm

FBLP Research Seminar

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism

Discussant: Professor Naomi Chazan (MESG)

Chair: Professor Massimo La Torre (MESG)

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7074420958859479052

 

Naomi Chazan is professor emerita of political science and African studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prof. Chazan served as a Member of the Knesset for three terms (1992-2003) on behalf of the Meretz party. She was Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, and a member of numerous committees:  Foreign Affairs and Defense, Education, Economics, Immigration and Absorption, and the Advancement of the Status of Women.

 

Massimo La Torre is Professor of Philosophy of law at the University of Catanzaro, Italy, and a visiting professor of European law at the University of Tallinn, Estonia. For many years, Massimo was a Visiting Professor at hull School of Law.

 

More information about both at

https://mesg.wordpress.hull.ac.uk/members/

 

 

8 December 2021, 6:00-8:00pm

MESG Annual Lecture

Sir Professor Lawrence Freedman

Great Powers and the Middle East: The Twenty Years Shift

Chair: Professor Stephen Hardy

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8332035760999046157

 

Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman is Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King’s College London. He was Professor of War Studies from 1982 to 2014 and Vice-Principal from 2003 to 2013. In June 2009 he was appointed to serve as a member of the official inquiry into Britain and the 2003 Iraq War.

More information at https://mesg.wordpress.hull.ac.uk/speakers/

 

 

MESC

As some of you know, I am seeking to transform MESG into The Middle East Study Centre (MESC). The main reason for this application is to compete for funding. Building on the strengths of the MESG, we could do better in attracting students, increasing the volume of activities, attracting funding and growing in importance in the field of Middle Eastern studies as a centre of excellence.

 

 

MESG Partnerships

Together with Sir Tom Phillips I am working to create partnerships with similar centres in the Middle East. The University is interested to support this initiative, and this is very important.

 

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE SPEECH

Remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on Middle East Security at the Manama Dialogue (As Delivered)

NOV. 20, 2021

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III

https://www.defense.gov/News/Speeches/Speech/Article/2849921/remarks-by-secretary-of-defense-lloyd-j-austin-iii-on-middle-east-security-at-t/

 

 

 

Volunteers needed

 

In the past few months, Ahmed and I arranged the MESG events programme and the book celebration; launched funding appeal; collected information for the upgrade to centre; updated the MESG website; compiled information for the MESG Annual Activities Report; engage in establishing international relationships between the MESG and other organisations, and more.

 

As our volume of activities increases, we are looking for volunteers who will assist us with MESG work. If you have time to do important work with us, please get in touch. You will gain invaluable experience in networking, organising events, fund raising, contacting important people and organisations throughout the world, participate in research and initiate and pursue your own ideas.

 

 

Wishing you good health and peace, with my very best wishes

 

Rafi

 

MESG Newsletter-November 2021

 

Dear all

 

Visiting Professorship

Many thanks to all of you who congratulated me after reading the VC announcement that the Swedish Research Council granted me the 2023 Olof Palme Guest Professorship.

 

The Professorship was established by the Swedish Riksdag in 1987 in memory of Sweden’s former prime minister, Olof Palme. Every year, the Swedish Research Council issues a call and Swedish universities compete by nominating internationally prominent researchers in areas of importance for the understanding of peace in a broad context – areas to which Olof Palme had a life-long commitment. The research may cover areas such as international politics, peace and conflict research and the comparison of social institutions.

 

https://www.vr.se/english/applying-for-funding/decisions/2021-08-25-olof-palme-visiting-professorship.html

 

https://www.vr.se/english/applying-for-funding/how-applications-are-assessed.html

 

The Palme Professorship is from 1 January until 31 December 2023. The purpose of the Olof Palme Visiting Professorship is to give universities the opportunity to develop a subject area by inviting an internationally prominent researcher as a visiting professor for one year. The position comes with many responsibilities throughout the year, including research collaboration, delivering lectures and seminars, supporting PhD students, advising Lund University and its partners in facilitating this professorship, communicating with politicians, decision-makers and the media.

 

In making this application for the Palme Professorship, Lund University partnered with five other reputable institutions: Gothenburg University, The Swedish Institute of Foreign Affairs, Stockholm University, The Folke Benadotte Academy, and the University of Copenhagen. They all acknowledge the important work that the MESG is doing.

 

https://www.cmes.lu.se/article/cmes-hosting-2023-olof-palme-visiting-professorship-awarded-raphael-cohen-almagor

 

 

Annual Report

 

Thank you to all the researchers who provided information about their activities during the past year. If you wish to add information, please send it to me no later than 10 December 2021.

 

I just published a fascinating interview with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: “Lessons from Peace Negotiations: Interview with Ehud Olmert”, Israel Affairs (online first 1 November 2021). DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2021.1993000. Available at: https://hull.academia.edu/RaphaelCohenalmagor/Papers

 

 

MESG Programme 2021-2022

 

The last MESG Research Seminar with Rt Hon. Alistair Burt, former Minister for the ME and North America, Sir Richard Dalton (MESG), Sir Vincent Fean (MESG) and Sir Tom Phillips (MESG) on Britain in the Middle East: Does it still have a role? was superb. Those of you who saw it surely enjoyed it. If you did not see it for some reason, this unmissable event is available at

https://www.gotostage.com/channel/923cb85986064f9bb7f9be592abf994d/recording/90b67c9edb5a4dc79a2555d9a4511ac6/watch

 

You can read Sir Richard’s paper at

https://mesg.wordpress.hull.ac.uk/speakers/

 

Reiterated gratitude is expressed to Richard, Vincent, Tom, Dean Hardy, Ahmed Zaky and the FBLP events team for organizing this event.

 

Coming next two events on the same day:

 

8 December 2021, 2:00-3:00pm

FBLP Research Seminar

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism

Discussant: Professor Naomi Chazan (MESG)

Chair: Professor Massimo La Torre (MESG)

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7074420958859479052

 

Naomi Chazan is professor emerita of political science and African studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prof. Chazan served as a Member of the Knesset for three terms (1992-2003) on behalf of the Meretz party. She was Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, and a member of numerous committees:  Foreign Affairs and Defense, Education, Economics, Immigration and Absorption, and the Advancement of the Status of Women.

 

Massimo La Torre is Professor of Philosophy of law at the University of Catanzaro, Italy, and a visiting professor of European law at the University of Tallinn, Estonia. For many years, Massimo was a Visiting Professor at hull School of Law.

 

More information about both at

https://mesg.wordpress.hull.ac.uk/members/

 

 

8 December 2021, 6:00-8:00pm

MESG Annual Lecture

Sir Professor Lawrence Freedman

Great Powers and the Middle East: The Twenty Years Shift

Chair: Professor Stephen Hardy

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8332035760999046157

 

Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman is Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King’s College London. He was Professor of War Studies from 1982 to 2014 and Vice-Principal from 2003 to 2013. In June 2009 he was appointed to serve as a member of the official inquiry into Britain and the 2003 Iraq War.

More information at https://mesg.wordpress.hull.ac.uk/speakers/

 

 

MESC

As some of you know, I am seeking to transform MESG into The Middle East Study Centre (MESC). The main reason for this application is to compete for funding. Building on the strengths of the MESG, we could do better in attracting students, increasing the volume of activities, attracting funding and growing in importance in the field of Middle Eastern studies as a centre of excellence.

 

 

MESG Partnerships

Together with Sir Tom Phillips I am working to create partnerships with similar centres in the Middle East. The University is interested to support this initiative, and this is very important.

 

The Balfour Project

On Tue, 30 November 2021, 17:30 – 18:30 GMT, our member and friend Sir Vincent Fean will host Toufic Haddad to discuss “Will there ever be a Two-State Solution?”

Dr Toufic Haddad is a social scientist whose work focuses on the political economy of development and conflict in the Middle East, and Israel-Palestine in particular. Before joining the Council for British Research in the Levant as the Kenyon Institute’s Deputy Director in October 2018, Toufic had an eclectic professional and academic career working as a journalist, editor, researcher, consultant and a publisher, including for several UN bodies.

 

He has a BA in Philosophy and Middle East Studies from Trinity College; an MA in Near East Studies and Journalism from New York University; and, a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (Development Studies). His PhD was transformed into Palestine Ltd: Neoliberalism and Nationalism in the Occupied Territory, published by I.B. Tauris in 2016, with paperback edition out in 2018. He is the co-author of two additional books and has extensively spoken and published on the Israel-Palestine conflict, featured in an assortment of books, print, television and online media, both academic and popular.

 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/toufic-haddad-the-israeli-palestine-conflict-what-does-the-future-hold-tickets-204786200037

 

 

UCL Book Launch

Some of you asked for the link of the book launch I had at UCL with The Rt Hon. Lord David Neuberger,

Deputy President (ret.), Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, and Professor Avrom Sherr. It is available at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axlHX5obYrE

 

 

Volunteers needed

 

In the past few months, Ahmed and I arranged the MESG events programme and the book celebration; launched funding appeal; collected information for the upgrade to centre; updated the MESG website; compiled information for the MESG Annual Activities Report; engage in establishing international relationships between the MESG and other organisations, and more.

 

As our volume of activities increases, we are looking for volunteers who will assist us with MESG work. If you have time to do important work with us, please get in touch. You will gain invaluable experience in networking, organising events, fund raising, contacting important people and organisations throughout the world, participate in research and initiate and pursue your own ideas.

 

 

Wishing you good health and peace, with my very best wishes

 

Rafi

 

MESG Newsletter-October 2021

 

Dear all

 

I am delighted to announce that one of our members, Professor Saul Friedlander, has received The Balzan Prize for scholarly and scientific achievements. The prize of 750,000 Swiss francs was granted for his work broadening the perspective on the history of the Holocaust.

 

The Balzan Foundation awards two prizes in the sciences and two in the humanities each year, rotating specialties to highlight new or emerging areas of research and sustain fields that might be overlooked elsewhere. Recipients receive 750,000 Swiss francs ($815,000), half of which must be used for research, preferably by young scholars or scientists.

 

 

MESG Programme 2021-2022

 

The programme is now complete. As already said, it promises to be interesting and stimulating as it was in previous years.

 

MESG Programme 2021-2022

 

https://mesg.wordpress.hull.ac.uk/speakers/

 

 

 

 

6 October 2021, 5:00-7:00pm

MESG Ambassador Forum

Ambassador Jon Allen (MESG)

The Role of Canada in the Middle East

Chair: Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Lecture recording: https://www.gotostage.com/channel/923cb85986064f9bb7f9be592abf994d/recording/86227013344241dba7134796995a2ac6/watch

 

9 November 2021, 5:00-7:00pm

MESG Research Seminar

Opening words: PVC (International) Professor Philip Gilmartin

Rt Hon. Alistair Burt, former Minister for the ME and North America

Sir Richard Dalton (MESG)

Sir Vincent Fean (MESG)

Sir Tom Phillips (MESG)

Britain in the Middle East: Does it still have a role?

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1598136170312728333

 

8 December 2021, 2:00-3:00pm

FBLP Research Seminar

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism

Discussant: Professor Naomi Chazan (MESG)

Chair: Professor Massimo La Torre (MESG)

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7074420958859479052

 

8 December 2021, 6:00-8:00pm

MESG Annual Lecture

Sir Professor Lawrence Freedman

Great Powers and the Middle East: The Twenty Years Shift

Chair: Professor Stephen Hardy

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8332035760999046157

 

19 January 2022, 5:00-7:00pm

MESG Ambassador Forum

Professor Daniel Kurtzer (MESG)

Biden’s Agenda in the Middle East: How Relevant will the United States Be?

Chair: Sir Richard Dalton (MESG)

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6660273410942404621

 

9 February 2022, 5:00-7:00pm

MESG Research Seminar

Former Deputy President, Justice Professor Elyakim Rubinstein (MESG)

Moshe Dayan – A Personal Memoir

Chair: Mr Uzi Dayan

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8260060630971209742

 

16 February 2022, 5:00-7:00pm

MESG Research Seminar

Mr Joel Singer (MESG)

From Oslo to Gaza

Chair: Professor Isabell Schierenbeck (MESG)

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/636424135822788109

 

9 March 2022, 5:00-7:00pm

MESG Research Seminar

Mr Francesco Motta
Chief, Asia Pacific and MENA Branch, The United Nations

Between a Rock and a Hard Place – the work of the UN promoting human rights in the Middle East

Chair: Professor Glenn Burgess

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8554371306472469776

 

27 April 2022, 5:00-7:00pm

MESG Books’ Celebration

 

 

Dr Alan Brener

Professor Alan Dowty

Professor Jack Goldstone

Professor Daniel Kurtzer

Professor Lester Grabbe

Professor Simon Smith

Professor David Tal

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Chair: Professor Stephen Hardy

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6165794445316367888

 

 

Please pencil the dates in your diaries.

 

 

Invitation: Online Book Launches at Reading and UCL

 

WEDNESDAY 27 OCTOBER 2021, 5-7PM BST

 

SCHOOL OF LAW

UNIVERSITY OF READING

‘JUST, REASONABLE MULTICULTURALISM’ (CUP, 2021)

VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH AND PANEL DISCUSSION

On Microsoft Teams

Please contact r.ziegler@reading.ac.uk for registration

 

Panelists:

Raphael Cohen-Almagor (Chair in Politics, Hull)

Chris Hilson (Professor of Law, Reading)

Gila Stopler (Dean and Associate Professor of Law, College of Law & Business)

Aleardo Zanghellini (Professor of Law and Social Theory, Reading)

 

Chair and moderator:

Ruvi Ziegler (Associate Professor in International Refugee Law, Reading) (MESG)

 

This book explores the main challenges against multiculturalism. It aims to examine whether liberalism and multiculturalism are reconcilable, and what are the limits of liberal democratic interventions in illiberal affairs of minority cultures within democracy. In the process, this book addresses three questions: whether multiculturalism is bad for democracy, whether multiculturalism is bad for women, and whether multiculturalism contributes to terrorism. Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism argues that liberalism and multiculturalism are reconcilable if a fair balance is struck between individual rights and group rights. Raphael Cohen-Almagor contends that reasonable multiculturalism can be achieved via mechanisms of deliberate democracy, compromise and, when necessary, coercion. Placing necessary checks on groups that discriminate against vulnerable third parties, the approach insists on the protection of basic human rights as well as on exit rights for individuals if and when they wish to leave their cultural groups.

 

 

4th November 2021, 5 – 6.30pm

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism (Cambridge University Press, 2021)

 

Speakers include:

 

The Rt Hon. Lord David Neuberger of Abbotsbury, former President of the United Kingdom Supreme Court

 

Deputy President (ret.), Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, Israel Supreme Court, Jerusalem, Israel (MESG)

 

Professor Avrom Sherr, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Professor Emeritus, Director Emeritus (MESG)

 

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/events/2021/nov/online-book-launch-just-reasonable-multiculturalism

 

 

 

Volunteers needed

 

In the past few months, Ahmed and I arranged the MESG events programme and the book celebration; launched funding appeal; collected information for the upgrade to centre; updated the MESG website; compiled information for the MESG Annual Activities Report; engage in establishing international relationships between the MESG and other organisations, and more.

 

As our volume of activities increases, we are looking for volunteers who will assist us with MESG work. If you have time to do important work with us, please get in touch. You will gain invaluable experience in networking, organising events, fund raising, contacting important people and organisations throughout the world, participate in research and initiate and pursue your own ideas.

 

 

Wishing you good health and peace, with my very best wishes

 

Rafi

 

MESG Newsletter-September 2021

 

Dear all

 

The past few months were extremely busy. Ahmed and I, with the support of the MESG Advisory Board, have been exploring and establishing cooperation with international organisations; compiling information with the aim of elevating MESG to MESC, i.e., to a centre; launching fund raising campaign; compiling our MESG annual activities report; updating our website, and organising our international events for this academic year.

 

 

Cooperation between MESG and the Vienna Process

 

MESG has become an associated academic partner of the Vienna Process.

 

 

MESG Book Celebration

On 27 April 2022 we will hold our MESG Books’ Celebration. Several members will present their new books, published during the past year. These include:

Dr Alan Brener

Professor Jack Goldstone

Professor Daniel Kurtzer

Professor Lester Grabbe

Professor Simon Smith

Professor David Tal

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

 

The event will be chaired by FBLP Dean Professor Stephen Hardy.

 

 

MESG Programme 2021-2022

 

The programme is beginning to take nice shape. It promises to be interesting and stimulating as it was in previous years. Our first event for this academic year will be the Ambassador Forum:

 

6 October 2021, at 5:00pm

Ambassador Forum

Jon Allen (MESG)

Tentative title: “Canada and the Middle East”.

Please register directly with the online platform:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8415262193839918351

 

All, of course, welcome.

 

As our budget is strained (I am using my Oxonian understatement here), all our events will be online. This allows us to continue benefiting from the best brains in the world. The tentative programme is, in addition to Ambassador Allen:

 

9 November 2021, 5:00-7:00pm

Opening words: PVC (International) Professor Philip Gilmartin

Rt Hon. Alistair Burt, former Minister for the ME and North America

Sir Richard Dalton (MESG)

Sir Vincent Fean (MESG)

Sir Tom Phillips (MESG)

Britain in the Middle East: Does it still have a role?

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1598136170312728333

 

8 December 2021, 6:00-8:00pm

MESG Annual Lecture

Sir Professor Lawrence Freedman

Great Powers and the Middle East: The Twenty Years Shift

Chair: Professor Stephen Hardy

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8332035760999046157

 

19 January 2022, 5:00-7:00pm

Professor Daniel Kurtzer (MESG)

Biden’s Agenda in the Middle East: How Relevant will the United States Be?

Chair: Sir Richard Dalton (MESG)

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6660273410942404621

 

9 February 2022, 5:00-7:00pm

Deputy President, Justice Professor Elyakim Rubinstein (MESG)

Moshe Dayan – A Personal Memoir

 

16 February 2022, 5:00-7:00pm

Mr Joel Singer (MESG)

From Oslo to Gaza

Chair: Professor Isabell Schierenbeck (MESG)

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/636424135822788109

 

9 March 2022, 5:00-7:00pm

Mr Francesco Motta
Chief, Asia Pacific and MENA Branch

The United Nations

 

27 April 2022, 5:00-7:00pm

MESG Books’ Celebration

The books include the writings of:

 

Professor Lester Grabbe

Dr Alan Brener

Professor Jack Goldstone

Professor Simon C. Smith

Professor David Tal

Professor Daniel Kurtzer

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

 

Chair: Professor Stephen Hardy

 

 

Please pencil the dates in your diaries.

 

 

BALFOUR PROJECT OPENS APPLICATIONS FOR ITS PEACE ADVOCACY FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMME 2021/22

The Balfour Project is proud to open applications for the 3rd year of its peace advocacy fellowship programme. This paid fellowship is aimed primarily (but not exclusively) at post-graduate and final year undergraduate students who are committed to the Balfour Project ethos. The successful applicants will advocate for peace and equal rights on the basis of the Balfour Project approach, applying professional tools provided in the fellowship training.

Further details at;

https://balfourproject.org/bp/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Call-for-Balfour-Project-2021-2022-1.pdf

 

https://balfourproject.org/fellowships/

 

 

Carnegie Connects: Aaron David Miller (MESG) in Conversation with The Honorable James A. Baker, III
September 29, 2021  11:00 to 11:45 a.m. EDT

Live Online

Aaron and many others consider Jim Baker to be one of the brightest and ablest Secretary of State.

 

https://carnegieendowment.org/events/forms/?fa=registration&event=7702&lang=en&id=&mkt_tok=MDk1LVBQVi04MTMAAAF_rMubdhyMlWJ3kNHxpXGWQjX24rT6UrB8Ae2V7Ju3sz9SNB4WOCeyrHZPkHw6iXwmmkmbTP8Zh4S3GG8m1Q8K5r9pm26KziJMzQxASVn38pc

 

 

Invitation: Online Book Launch at UCL

 

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism (Cambridge University Press, 2021)

 

Speakers include:

 

The Rt Hon. Lord David Neuberger of Abbotsbury, former President of the United Kingdom Supreme Court

 

Deputy President (ret.), Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, Israel Supreme Court, Jerusalem, Israel

 

Professor Avrom Sherr, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Professor Emeritus, Director Emeritus

 

4th November 2021, 5 – 6.30pm

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/events/2021/nov/online-book-launch-just-reasonable-multiculturalism

 

 

Postgraduate Scholarships and Fellowships for Cypriot nationals

The Jo Carby-Hall Cyprus Scholarship/Fellowship

Each of these scholarships are applicable to all disciplines offered at the University of Hull. They are only offered to EXCEPTIONAL applicants. (The scholarship is for Master and Doctoral degrees with a contribution of £350 per annum towards their university fees. Fellowships are by invitation only and paid for by the sponsor authority. Prospective applicants are welcome to write to Professor Jo Carby-Hall: J.R.Carby-Hall@hull.ac.uk

 

Interview about R. Cohen-Almagor’s new book, Just, Reasonable Multinationalism,

Vital Interests, Fordham University, New York:

https://www.centeronnationalsecurity.org/vital-interests-issue-87-raphael-cohen-almagor

 

 

US Afghanistan withdrawal: the impact on MENA geopolitical risk

A REPORT BY THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT

The rapid US withdrawal from Afghanistan has provided the starkest example yet of the US’s long-standing desire to disentangle itself from the regional conflicts in the Middle East. However, a continued US presence in the Gulf remains a key underlying factor for political stability in the region.

This special report examines which countries in the Middle East could be next to be destabilised from a long-term US withdrawal. Our analysis also explores which global powers are poised to benefit from a declining US interest in the region.

https://www.eiu.com/n/campaigns/geopolitics-in-the-middle-east?utm_source=mkt-asset-download&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=sep-21-mena-geopolitics&utm_term=download-free&utm_content=cta-1&mkt_tok=NzUzLVJJUS00MzgAAAF_q5sdpdhUNreCP-0-zw8zccWPTTim3u6NjqdSF5mDepqgjy5LmHHmbfMreJVQfy02Mn0AKR3HEbKXOqz0ZVgnOAvzOSTN7kdS4SF-F3rbSSrN

 

 

The Alec Gill Hessle Road photo archive

A book celebrating the photographic study of one road in Hull and its community at the heart of the UK’s historic fishing culture.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/agarchivebook/alec-gills-hessle-road-archive

 

 

Volunteers needed

 

In the past few months, Ahmed and I arranged the MESG events programme and the book celebration; launched funding appeal; collected information for the upgrade to centre; updated the MESG website; compiled information for the MESG Annual Activities Report; engage in establishing international relationships between the MESG and other organisations, and more.

 

As our volume of activities increases, we are looking for volunteers who will assist us with MESG work. If you have time to do important work with us, please get in touch. You will gain invaluable experience in networking, organising events, fund raising, contacting important people and organisations throughout the world, participate in research and initiate and pursue your own ideas.

 

 

Wishing you good health and peace, with my very best wishes

 

Rafi

 

MESG Newsletter-August 2021

 

New books:

 

Professor Lester Grabbe (MESG) is about to publish a new book:

 

A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period, Volume 4: The Jews under the Roman Shadow (4 BCE–150 CE) (Library of Second Temple Studies 99; London/New York: Bloomsbury T & T Clark, 2021), 638 pp.

 

This is the fourth and final volume of my history of the Jews in the Second Temple period, i.e., the period beginning about 550 BC and covering the Jews under Persian, Greek, and Roman rule to about 150 of the Common Era.  This volume gives the history from the death of King Herod the Great to the last Jewish revolt under Bar-Kokhva (about 132-35).  It takes in the period of the Roman governors of Judaea including Pontius Pilate, the beginnings of Christianity, the conquest of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple 66-70, and the foundations of Rabbinic Judaism.  It collects all that is known about the Jews during the period in which they were ruled by the Roman Empire. Based directly on primary sources such as archaeology, inscriptions, Jewish literary sources and Greek, Roman and Christian sources, this study includes analysis of the Jewish diaspora, mystical and Gnosticism trends, and the developments in the Temple, the law, and contemporary attitudes towards Judaism. The volume concludes with a holistic perspective on the Jews and Judaism for the entire 700 years of the Second Temple Period.

 

 

My new book:

 

Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

 

New book: Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021). https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/just-reasonable-multiculturalism/5EB0648682BB3A81E392DC2E374A5A09#fndtn-information

 

My book explores the main challenges against multiculturalism. Its primary objectives are twofold: to examine whether liberalism and multiculturalism are reconcilable, and what are the limits of liberal democratic interventions in illiberal affairs of minority cultures within democracy when minorities engage in practices that inflict physical harm on group members (e.g. Female Genital Mutilation) or non-physical harm (e.g. denying members property or education). In the process, the book addresses three questions: whether multiculturalism is bad for democracy; whether multiculturalism is bad for women, and whether multiculturalism contributes to terrorism.

The main thesis is that liberalism and multiculturalism are reconcilable provided that a fair balance is struck between individual rights and group rights. It is argued that reasonable multiculturalism can be achieved via mechanisms of deliberate democracy, compromise and, when necessary, coercion. Placing necessary checks on groups that discriminate against vulnerable third parties, commonly women and children, the approach insists on the protection of basic human rights as well as on exit rights for individuals if and when they wish to leave their cultural groups.

 

 

During 2022, the MESG will hold a book celebration, hosting authors who recently have published new books. Please drop me a line if you wish to take part.

 

MESG Programme 2021-2022:

The programme is beginning to take nice shape. It promises to be interesting and stimulating as it was in previous years. Our first speaker:

6 October 2021, at 5:00pm

Ambassador Forum

Jon Allen (MESG)

Tentative title: “Canada and the Middle East”.

 

 

Please pencil it in your diaries. I will publish the full programme once it is finalized.

 

 

Recommended Podcast:

Peace Process Now with Yossi Beilin and Daniel Kurtzer (MESG)

https://peacenow.libsyn.com/199-peace-process-now-with-yossi-beilin-and-daniel-kurtzer

 

 

Recommended readings:

Joel Singer (MESG), The Israel-PLO Mutual Recognition Agreement, https://www.joelsinger.org/the-israel-plo-mutual-recognition-agreement/

 

 

Tariq Dana, Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority’s succession dilemma, https://english.alaraby.co.uk/analysis/mahmoud-abbas-and-pas-succession-dilemma

 

Wishing you peace, with my very best wishes

 

Rafi

 

MESG Newsletter-July 2021

 

Dear all

 

 

June 2021: Faculty Research Newsletter

 

Middle East Study Group Seminar Programme
The Middle East Study Group (MESG) is a think-tank that brings togetherpeople from different disciplines, academic and non-academic,

to discuss Middle Eastern affairs. Believing that the University should be an integral part of the community, the

MESG is open to all people who are interested in and engaged with Middle Eastern politics. The group has

been meeting since 2008, to discuss pertinent topics. Meetings are usually designed for the discussion of

work-in-progress papers, so presenters can benefit from the deliberation prior to publication, and there is an

annual seminar programme featuring guest speakers.

 

The MESG Seminar programme for 2020-21, which has recently

concluded, has been a wonderful opportunity to hear from a diverse mix of high profile, expert speakers about a

range of different issues relevant in the Middle East today.

 

With 8 sessions in total, the programme attracted 1138 registrants and a total of 695 delegates attended from

around the world.  The most popular seminar with an audience of 248, was a talk on the 21st April from world

renowned intellectual Professor Noam Chomsky, who offered his unique insights into the challenges facing human

kind today. In the second most popular talk we heard from former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Olmert, with an

audience of 109 delegates.

 

Thanks to Raphael Cohen Almagor, Founding Director of the MESG, and Ahmed Zaky for both securing

the speakers and their pivotal roles in the arrangements.

 

Recordings of all sessions are available on the FBLP Recording Channels and for more information about

the MESG please visit their website here.

 

 

25.5.2021

 Dear all

 1

MESG Affiliate Member Jon Allen agreed to share with you segments of a speech he delivered on May 14, 2021. Jon served as Canadian ambassador to Israel.

 

Let me begin by making it clear that what I have to say is not about justifying the almost 2000 rockets that have been launched against Israel over the past few days. I condemn Hamas’ rocket attacks as pure political opportunism as I will explain later. Nor does it justify Arab on Jewish violence in Israel’s mixed cities, the shocking new dimension to this conflict. Not only are these actions terrifying for all Israelis, men, women and especially children – and they must stop, but they also feed the belief that there is no, and never will be, a partner for peace on the Palestinian side, and that an independent Palestinian state would be a constant threat to Israel. I don’t agree with either of those suggestions but many Israelis and many Jews in the diaspora do and the violence this week further fuels the mistrust and in some cases hatred that are major obstacles to peace going forward.

 

In my view, the causes for the disturbances leading up to and including the rocket fire are multiple: they are secular and religious, they are long standing and immediate and they are political. But they are ultimately centered on the question of Palestinian rights and the lack thereof.

 

Let’s begin with the immediate causes. The first was the barricading of Damascus Gate during Ramadan. This is an area where young Palestinians traditionally gather while waiting for the evening meal and after. I don’t know why the decision was taken to do it. (There is some speculation that the commanders of the police were new and inexperienced.) At any rate, it was a provocation and it set off the first demonstrations and acts of real violence on both sides. It brought out radical Jewish extremists, and innocent Jews and Arabs were attacked during the protests and police actions that followed.

 

The second was the intervention by the Kahanist MP Itamar Gvir. According to the Times of Israel, Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai told Prime Minister Netanyahu that the extreme-right MK was responsible for ongoing riots in Jewish-Arab cities. He said that every time police appeared to be getting an area under control, Ben Gvir, the Kahanist member of the Religious Zionism party, showed up to fan the flames.

 

The third cause was the pending, now postponed, Supreme Court decision on whether a number of Palestinian families would be evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah – homes they have lived in since 1948. Derek will explain this issue in detail. Let me just say that scheduling the court decision and possible evictions during Ramadan was not well thought out. The evictions are perceived by Palestinians and others as part of a larger effort to surround the Old City with “Jewish only” settlements and thereby cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank.

 

The proposed march to celebrate Jerusalem Day that was intended to finish at the Damascus Gate, but which was re-routed at the last minute, also did not help. The simultaneous expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and the celebration of Jerusalem Day, which for the marchers means all of Jerusalem, both East and West, are also perceived as an effort to unilaterally settle one of the most sensitive of the final status issues between Israel and Palestine – the status of Jerusalem. The Trump Peace Plan’s formal recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol and his encouragement of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem are controversial backdrops to Palestinians concerns.

 

The fifth and by far most provocative cause, especially given that tensions were already high and that violence on both sides had already erupted, was the use of force by the police on the grounds of the Temple Mount/Al Aqsa. No one in the Israeli government seemed to recall that it was a visit by Ariel Sharon to this same site that provoked the Second Intifada, or to realize that it’s violation, especially during Ramadan, was guaranteed to provoke a strong reaction, not only in Jerusalem but throughout Israel and the Muslim world. The media coverage of police firing rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse demonstrators further stoked the flames.

 

As a result, even secular Muslims and non-Muslims could easily identify with these issues.

 

So why did Hamas act when it did and why with such force. The easy answer is that Hamas gave Israel an ultimatum to leave Al Aqsa and Israel didn’t comply. A more likely reason is far more political and opportunist. Hamas sought to take advantage of the Palestinian’s anger and long-standing frustration and fill a vacuum at a time when Fatah and its leader Mahmoud Abbas were silent. Recall also that this was taking place shortly after Abbas had cancelled the Palestinian elections – the first in almost 15 years – elections that many predicted Hamas would win. Another possible reason for Hamas’ reaction is that Hamas (and some say Bibi Netanyahu) believed that a conflict of this nature and magnitude would disrupt the efforts of the anti-Bibi bloc to form a government in Israel. As we know, that bloc could have succeeded in forming a government only with the support of one of the Israeli-Arab parties. Hamas, you see, prefers a Netanyahu government just as Bibi prefers to quietly support Hamas. Both want to weaken Fatah, and neither are interested in a two-state solution.

 

Just how long did Israel think that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza would put up with military rule and military courts; with house demolitions and evictions; with settler expansion and daily settler violence ignored by the IDF; with severe restrictions on their movement, both within the Territories and between the Territories and the outside world? How long would the residents of Jerusalem – they are denied Israeli citizenship – accept their third-class status? Did Israeli government officials think that Palestinian Israelis in Lod, Akko and Ramle were either ignorant of or immune to the treatment of Palestinians in the territories or the provocations at Al Aqsa? For how long do Israelis and we Jews in the Diaspora think that this situation is sustainable? If nothing is done to fix this larger problem, I fear we will back here in a few years having a very similar conversation.

 

 

2.

I published my own thoughts on my Blog, Israel: Democracy, Human Rights, Politics and Society, http://almagor.blogspot.com

 

 

3.

Affiliate Member Joel Singer shares: My First Encounter With Yasser Arafat

 

Singer recalls his first encounter with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, back in 1974 – nearly twenty years before we met on the White House South Lawn during the signing ceremony of the Oslo Agreement. In the three years that followed that ceremony, Singer spent so many days and nights negotiating the details of the Oslo Accords with him that some came to consider Singer an expert on Arafat – one of the most controversial and enigmatic figures of the 20th century.

 

https://www.joelsinger.org/my-first-encounter-with-yasser-arafat/

 

 

4.

Call for Papers: Post-Pandemic Politics: Perspectives and Possibilities

 

The Editors of Public Governance, Administration and Finances Law Review are inviting contributions to their online conference Post-Pandemic Politics: Perspectives and Possibilities (30th June 2021) to approximate some post-Covid-related political dilemmas. The deadline for abstract submission is 31st May 2021. Be sure to check out the full call at: https://ludevent.uni-nke.hu/event/938/

 

Prominent scientists say the transformation of Israel from a COVID-19 hotspot to a vaccination success story underlines that any developed country can subdue the virus.

 

They estimate that a relatively small number of vaccinations are needed to take a country out of crisis mode. The moment that half of the population aged 60-plus is inoculated, authorities can expect a dramatic drop in cases and hospitals are safe from being overwhelmed, they conclude.

 

5.

Dr Sina Hakiman, a retired psychiatrist who is living in Hull and is a member of the Baha’I community got in touch following Dr David Rutstien event. Sina wishes to explore whether if as a volunteer there is a possibility to collaborate on some community building activities in a neighbourhood in Hull as a project.

 

Those interested are welcome to contact Sina directly:

Dr Sina Hakiman

sinahakiman@hotmail.com

Mobile 07922333964

6.

Invitation to my Talk: “Arafat, Barak and Clinton at Camp David: Clashes of Characters and Conduct”, Centre for Leadership, Ethics and Organisation in conjunction with the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice

Chair: Dr Joanne Murphy Date: Wednesday 2nd June @ 4.30 pm – Via Zoom

The Centre for Leadership, Ethics and Organisation in conjunction with the Mitchell Institute invite you to attend a seminar by Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor, DPhil, St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford; Professor and Chair of Politics and Founding Director of the Middle East Study Group, University of Hull. The discussion will focus on all three parties: Israel, the PLO and the USA being responsible for the summit failure. This paper holds that convening the Camp David summit was ill-timed and ill-prepared. Israel and the PLO were not fully resolved to end the conflict and to sign a peace treaty. The parties – Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the USA – came to the summit unprepared, with impossibly wide gaps between the sides. The negotiators were not familiar with details of possible solutions to problems. In the focus of analysis are the three leaders: Ehud Barak, Yasser Arafat and Bill Clinton. The paper focuses on their conduct they were the first among equals and much was dependent on them. It is argued that all three of them made crucial mistakes that undermined the talks and brought about the summit’s inevitable failure. The analysis exposes inherent problems in the search for peace in the Middle East: the bad design and timing of the Camp David summit, the asymmetric power relationship between the negotiating sides, the poor human relationships, the yearning for public consensus at the expense of reaching results, the unbalanced mediation role of the USA, perceived to be biased by all three sides (Israel, PA and the USA itself), and the lack of leadership.

https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=6ner6qW040mh6NbdI6HyhmySBV8_hNdKjn7uif1eeRhUQjJaR1RFRDdVSEtYREc1OEUyODBLQ1M5Vi4u