2021-2022 Programme

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

Ambassador Forum

Canada and the Middle East: Statemaking, Peacemaking and the Influence of the Domestic Lobby

Ambassador Jon Allen (MESG)

Chair: Raphael Cohen-Almagor


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

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

Opening words: PVC (International) Prof 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)


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

Sir Lawrence Freedman

Chair: Stephen Hardy


19 January 2021, 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)


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

Mr Joel Singer (MESG)

From Oslo to Gaza



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

Dr Alan Brener

Professor Jo Carby-Hall

Professor Jack Goldstone

Professor Daniel Kurtzer

Professor Lester Grabbe

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Chair: Professor Stephen Hardy



Middle East Study Group (MESG)

Ambassador Forum

Wednesday 6 October 2021, 17:00-19:00 LONDON TIME


Canada and the Middle East: Statemaking, Peacemaking and the Influence of the Domestic Lobby

Mr Jon Allen

Former Ambassador of Canada to Israel, Spain and Andorra


Link to register:



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


Jon Allen, a former Canadian Ambassador to Israel and Spain and currently a Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto will speak on Canada’s role in the Middle East from the post war period to the present. It will focus on Canada’s role at the UN, both with regards to the 1947 partition plan and the Suez Canal crisis where international peace-making was launched under Canadian leadership. Canada also played a supporting role in the peace process that followed the Madrid Conference of 1991as Chair of the Refugee Working Group. Since then Canada’s efforts in the region have been much reduced. Subsequent governments have been concerned not to offend domestic lobby groups on Israel-Palestine issues. Canada has closed its Embassies in Tehran and in Syria and has been engaged in a nasty dispute with Saudi Arabia over the latter’s sensitivity to Canadian criticism of Saudi human rights abuses. Canada is not dependent on Middle East oil and its bilateral trade and investment in the region is relatively small. It does, however, have large a Lebanese population (approx. 250,000), and significant Arab (approx.700,000) and Muslim (approx.1M) populations. Canada also has a large Jewish population (approx.350,000) that has deeper roots in the country and a more sophisticated lobby than the Arab and Muslim groups which are more recent and more diverse in their political views. Despite promises by the current Prime Minister in 2015 when he was elected that Canada would be “back” internationally, there has been little evidence to date support that intention either globally or in the Middle East.



Born in Winnipeg in 1950, Jon Allen (LL.B., University of Western Ontario, 1976; LL.M., International Law, University of London School of Economics, 1977) joined the then Department of External Affairs in 1981.

In addition to postings abroad in Mexico City (1983-85), New Delhi (1989-92) and Washington (1997-2001), Mr. Allen spent his early career in the Legal Bureau of the Department representing Canada in disputes under the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement and working in the areas of human rights, humanitarian and environmental law.

Mr. Allen also held the positions of Director General, North America Bureau (2001-2004) and Minister (Political Affairs) at the Canadian Embassy in Washington (2004-2006). As Assistant Deputy Minister, Americas (2010-2012), he managed Canada’s relations with North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.

From 2006 to 2010, Mr. Allen was Canada’s Ambassador to Israel. From 2012 to 2016 he was Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. From December 2012 to July 2014, he was Chargé d’affaires a.i. to the Holy See.

He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto and at Glendon College, York University and a Distinguished Fellow of the Canada International Council. He is the Chair of Project Rozana, a not for profit whose objective is to build bridges between Palestinians and Israelis via the health sector, and a Member of the Board of Transparency International Canada.

He is married to Clara Hirsch. They have two sons, Jake and AJ and two grandchildren, Olive and Micah.


Date:               Wednesday 6 October 2021, 17:00-19:00 LONDON TIME


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All are welcome to attend



Middle East Study Group

Research Seminar


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


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


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Opening words: PVC (International) Professor Philip Gilmartin

Moderator and Discussant: Sir Tom Phillips (MESG)

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

Sir Richard Dalton (MESG)

Sir Vincent Fean (MESG) Chair of Trustees, Balfour Project Charity


Britain has some strengths in the Middle East – friendships, trade, investment, culture, military presence and aid programmes. But its status as an influencer of events is not assured.  The region is unruly and its powers go their own way.  Britain lacks leverage and is not a heavyweight in the competition for bilateral advantages.  Its reputation for policy innovation, effectiveness and reliability has suffered since 2003.  Moreover, its alliances are problematic: Britain’s hand no longer contains EU cards and, as the scramble out of Afghanistan showed once again, the US will always give its own counsels far more weight than it gives relations with Westminster politicians.

British diplomatic activity will remain intense: there will be Security Council debates, multilateral discussions about conflict in different formats, in-country partnerships to sustain, all kinds of commerce to foster, arms sales to promote and citizens to support.  But what will this activity amount to when confronted with the big issues – regional security, climate change, Palestine, Saudi-Iranian rivalry, international terrorism, economic development, and governance and rights?  What changes in policy could HMG consider to reduce the risks, benefit from the opportunities and promote its values?




Rt Hon.  Alistair Burt was an MP for thirty-two years, retiring in 2019. During his ministerial career he served in the FCO as Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and North America between 2010-2013, and as Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa between 2017-2019, combining the role as Minister of State, DFID during the same period. He is now a Distinguished Fellow of RUSI, and is on the Council of the European Council for Foreign Relations. He is also currently Chair of the friendship group between the UAE and the UK, and Pro-Chancellor of Lancaster University.


Sir Richard Dalton was a British diplomat from 1970 to 20006.  From 1993-1997 he was UK Consul General in Jerusalem, responsible for dealings with the Palestinian Authority after the signing of the Oslo Accords. He re-established UK diplomatic relations with Libya in 1999 as the first Ambassador to Tripoli for 17 years.  From 2002-2006 he was UK Ambassador in Tehran, playing a part in European negotiations with Iran.  He co-wrote the Chatham House Research Paper of September 2014: “Iran’s Nuclear Future” and has been President of the British Iranian Chamber of Commerce.


Sir Vincent Fean: Chair of trustees of the Balfour Project (www.balfourproject.org), a charity raising awareness of what Britain did in Palestine/Israel in the first half of the 20th century, and advocating equal rights today for Palestinians and Israelis. Co-patron of the Britain Palestine Friendship and Twinning Network. Vincent also chairs the Libyan British Business Council, stimulating trade and investment. In his career as a British diplomat, Vincent’s postings included serving as Consul-General, Jerusalem (talking to Palestinians), as Ambassador to Libya and as High Commissioner to Malta.


Sir Tom Phillips:  A consultant and governance adviser with the UK government’s Stabilisation Unit. In his main career as a British diplomat, Tom’s postings included serving as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as Ambassador to Israel, and as High Commissioner to Uganda. After retirement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office he worked as Director of the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery at St Mary’s University and Commandant of the Ministry of Defence’s Royal College of Defence Studies, as well as international adviser to the Prince’s Charities’ International Sustainability Unit, and adviser to the business intelligence company GPW Ltd. Tom is a member of the MESG Advisory Board.


Date:                  Tuesday 9 November 2021, 5:00-7:00pm GMT


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Middle East Study Group (MESG)

Ambassador Forum

Wednesday 19 January 2021, 5:00-7:00pm LONDON TIME


Professor Daniel Kurtzer (MESG)

Former American Ambassador to Israel and Egypt

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


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


Chair and Discussant: Sir Richard Dalton (MESG)


The United States’ approach to the Middle East is changing, from something close to regional dominance to selective involvement consistent with narrower national security interests. This will impact at least three key policy challenges: Iran’s nuclear and regional ambitions; regional conflict resolution efforts, including Israel-Palestine; and the role of outside powers, specifically China and Russia, as they perceive a reduction of American influence. Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer will discuss these challenges in light of America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, seeming detachment from the Israel-Palestine peace process, and the difficulty in dealing with Iran.



Daniel C. Kurtzer is the S. Daniel Abraham Professor of Middle East Policy Studies at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. During a 29-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Ambassador Kurtzer served as the United States Ambassador to Israel and as the United States Ambassador to Egypt. He was also a speechwriter and member of the Secretary of State George Shultz’s Policy Planning Staff; and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research. Kurtzer is the co-author of Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East, co-author of The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011, and editor of Pathways to Peace: America and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Ambassador Kurtzer received his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. He is a Member of the MESG.



Chair and Discussant: Sir Richard Dalton (MESG)

Sir Richard was a British diplomat from 1970 to 20006.  From 1993-1997 he was UK Consul General in Jerusalem, responsible for dealings with the Palestinian Authority after the signing of the Oslo Accords. He re-established UK diplomatic relations with Libya in 1999 as the first Ambassador to Tripoli for 17 years.  From 2002-2006 he was UK Ambassador in Tehran, playing a part in European negotiations with Iran.  He co-wrote the Chatham House Research Paper of September 2014: “Iran’s Nuclear Future” and has been President of the British Iranian Chamber of Commerce.


Date:               Wednesday 19 January 2021, 5:00-7:00pm LONDON TIME


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All are welcome to attend


Middle East Study Group (MESG)

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

Deputy President, Justice Professor Elyakim Rubinstein

Israel Supreme Court, Jerusalem, Israel

Member, MESG


Moshe Dayan – A Personal Memoir


Link to register:



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


Chair and Discussant:


In this lecture, Professor Rubinstein will describe Dayan’s life from their beginning to the end. The focus, however, will be on the peace negotiations with Egypt.

Moshe Dayan was a major figure in Israel’s history throughout its first 33 years-a war hero and diplomat, a chief of staff of the Israel Defence forces in the 1956 Sinai campaign, Minister of Defence in the six-day war of 1967 and in the Yom Kippur war of 1973. Mainly in that junction he became controversial, but later – in 1977/9 – Dayan served as Foreign Minister under Prime Minister Begin at the peace-making with Egypt. I was privileged to serve as his chief assistant during that period.


Elyakim Rubinstein is a former Deputy President of the Israeli Supreme Court. Beforehand, he served as the Legal Advisor to the Israeli Government (1997-2004). Rubinstein, a former diplomat civil servant, has had an influential role in that country’s internal and external affairs, most notably in helping to shape its peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. He graduated cum laude from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, with Bachelor’s degrees in Hebrew Language and Arabic Literature and Language in 1967 and in Law in 1969. Obtained a Master’s degree cum laude in Contemporary Jewry in 1974. Justice Rubinstein is the recipient of the Gabriel Peace Prize for his part in the Peace Treaty with Jordan. He was awarded honorary doctorates by Yeshiva University in New York, the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and Bar-Ilan University. Justice Rubinstein has written books and articles on the subject of the Israel Supreme Court, public law in Israel, the history of Israel during the British Mandate, the history of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and the peace process. He taught at Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Justice Rubinstein is married to Miriam, Former Deputy State Attorney. They have four daughters and eleven grandchildren.


Chair and Discussant:


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

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All are welcome to attend


Middle East Study Group (MESG)

Wednesday February 16, 2022, 5:00-7:00pm LONDON TIME


Joel Singer

Former legal advisor, military officer and international negotiator for the Government of Israel

From Oslo to Gaza


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


Chair and Discussant: Professor Isabell Schierenbeck (MESG)


The events following Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza in 2005 – the Hamas takeover of this region in 2007 and the subsequent unending rounds of violence between Hamas and Israel – appear to be an unintended aberration of the original, joint plans for Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation which were encapsulated in the Oslo Accords. In fact, however, the current situation in Gaza simply brought to its natural conclusion the dreaded but apparently unavoidable basic bargain underlying the accords. As one Palestinian negotiator told Joel Singer when he negotiated, on behalf of Israel, the Oslo Agreement with the PLO: “You think that Israel is doing us a favor by handing over Gaza to the PLO? We are doing you a favor by taking Gaza from you.”


In his presentation, Singer will explain how the roots of the current situation in Gaza were built into the Oslo Accords’ genetic code, which many observers originally and correctly characterized as the blueprint for the “Gaza First” approach. Singer will also explain why this tragic, seemingly dead-end street was, in fact, inevitable and, further, why there is no feasible way at this time to rectify the deadlock.




Joel Singer served as Legal Adviser of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, previously, Director of the International Law Department of the Israel Defense Forces. From 1973 over a 25-year period, Singer worked for both right-wing Likud governments and left-wing Labor governments. 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). Until recently, Singer practiced law as a partner in the Washington, DC office of an international law firm. He is a Member of the MESG.



Chair and Discussant: Professor Isabell Schierenbeck (MESG)

Isabell Schierenbeck is Professor of Political Science at the School of Global Studies (SGS), University of Gothenburg. Her main research fields are public administration, migration (policy and practice), international development cooperation, as well as Middle Eastern and Israeli politics. She has a long-lasting interest in research ethics and safety, and her most recent publication is Safer Field Research in the Social Sciences. A Guide to Human and Digital in Hostile Environments (Grimm, J. et al. 2020, SAGE). Schierenbeck is frequently consulted as an expert commentator on Middle Eastern/Israeli politics for Swedish radio, TV and the daily press.

Date:               Wednesday February 16, 2022, 5:00-7:00pm LONDON TIME

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All are welcome to attend



2020-2021 Programme






Wednesday 21 October, 17:00-19:00

Professor David Drewry

Former Vice Chancellor, The University of Hull

‘Deaths on the Nile’ – Climate Change in the Middle East, Year 2075. An informed speculation



Wednesday 25 November 2020, 6.00pm – 8.00pm

Professor David Tal

Yossi Harel Chair in Modern Israel Studies

University of Sussex, UK

The Making of Alliance: The Origins of Israel-US Special Relations



Wednesday 20th January 2021, 18:00

Mr. Fahad Albinali

Counsellor, Embassy of Bahrain to the United Kingdom

The Normalisation Accord between Bahrain and Israel



17 February 2021, 18:00

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

My Quest for Peace: A Personal Account of My Negotiations with President Abbas


3 March 2021, 18:00

Aaron David Miller

Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“Gulliver’s Troubles”


24 March 2021, 18:00

His Excellency Mr Omar Al Nahar

Ambassador of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United Kingdom


21 April 2021, 18:00

Professor Noam Chomsky

The University of Arizona and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

A Moment of Peril and Challenge


19 May 2021

 Dr David Rutstein

Secretary-General, Bahá’í World Centre



The Middle East Study Group Annual Lecture


Wednesday 21 October 2020, 5.00pm – 7.00pm


‘Deaths on the Nile’ – Climate Change in the Middle East, Year 2075.  An informed speculation

Professor David J. Drewry

Non-Executive Director, UK Commission for UNESCO

Former Vice Chancellor; MESG, University of Hull

With Dean Stephen T Hardy


“It is 2075, and the region stretching from the north African states of Libya and Egypt into the Arabian Peninsula, east beyond the Persian Gulf and curling back through ancient Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean via Iraq and Jordan, has been the locus of a climate cataclysm for over a hundred years since the end of the 20th Century. Pervasive aridity and rising temperatures make it one of the hottest region on Earth and have conspired to make towns and cities almost uninhabitable, wrecked agriculture and compromised the lives of many millions of people trapped in nature’s furnace. For those people living inland of the coast or the main rivers access to water has dominated day-to-day existence. Along the Mediterranean coastal fringe disaster has befallen towns and villages from rising sea levels and frequent storm surges. These have cruelly imperilled ageless cities like Alexandria while flooding and the insidious intrusion of salt water has reduced the once rich harvests of the Nile Delta. Migrants are clustered at the southern borders of Egypt beyond which malnutrition has stalked neighbouring countries.”

Today in 2020, the narrative of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been consistent for three decades that there is rapid warming of the planet with impacts on natural systems and human society. One region with high levels of climate vulnerability is the Middle East. It is characterised by high population density, high population growth, the rapid spread of urbanization, scarce water resources, faltering agriculture, declining fisheries in addition to substantial societal and economical transitions and armed conflicts in some countries. These factors make the region one of very high risk from the consequences of rapid climate change.

The paper explores the likely impacts on the region from the perspective of fifty years hence; Egypt is taken as a case study.


David Drewry served as Vice-Chancellor of Hull University (1999-2009). He is Honorary Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University from which he holds a Doctorate in Geophysics, and where he was previously Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute. He has honorary professorships at London University and Xiamen University, China. David is Trustee Emeritus of the Natural History Museum, was previously Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Vice-President of the European University Association and a member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. David has been awarded the Patron’s Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, the Prix de la Belgica Gold Medal of the Royal Academy of Belgium, the Polar Medal, the United States Antarctic Service Medal and several honorary degrees from British and overseas universities. He has a mountain and a glacier named after him in Antarctica.


Professor Stephen Hardy

PhD, LLB, SFHEA, MCIArb, FRSA, Barrister {np}

Stephen is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Business, Law and Politics at the University of Hull with over 25 years’ experience in HE. He is a respected Professor of Law and an internationally recognised scholar in employment and social security laws, with 10 monographs and over 400 published articles.

He has previously worked at the EU Commission and at London, Staffordshire, Salford, Coventry and Manchester Universities. He was formerly a Barrister specialising in equality and trade union litigation. He remains an Academic Associate of 33 Bedford Row Chambers in London. Since 2011 he has been a part-time Judge. He is also a Board Member of the UK’s Judicial Pensions Board.

He is a former General Editor of Sweet and Maxwell’s Encyclopaedia in Employment Law and has recently published a guide to UK Social Security Law with Kluwer. Also, he is co-author (with Ryder) of Judicial Leadership (Oxford).

He is a member of the Executive Committee and Honorary Treasurer of the UK’s Society of Legal Scholars. He is also a Board Governor of the International Association of Law Schools and convenor of its Civil Procedure Study Group.

Date:              Wednesday 21 October 2020, 5.00pm – 7.00pm


All are welcome to attend.


Middle East Study Group

Research Seminar

Wednesday 18 November 2020, 6.00pm – 8.00pm

The Making of Alliance: The Origins of Israel-US Special Relations

Professor David Tal

Yossi Harel Chair in Modern Israel Studies

University of Sussex, UK

Link to register:



In December 1962, President John F. Kennedy told Israel’s foreign minister, Golda Meir, that “the United States has a special relationship with Israel in the Middle East comparable only to that which it has with Britain.” While agreeing that indeed, the Israeli-American relations could be labeled as ‘special,’ most students of American-Israeli relations marked the 1967 war as the turning point in the American-Israeli relationship. Israel’s astonishing victory made it, so went the argument, a valuable ally to the United States. However, the roots of the Israeli-American special relationship are to be found much earlier. Religion, values, and history are in the heart of the American-Israeli relationship, and they decided the nature and direction of the relationship from the inception of the Zionist movement in the United States.

The lecture will explore how those premises created, on the one hand, strong commitment on the part of the United States to help the Zionist movement and Israel to achieve their aspirations and to secure their existence, and on the other hand, made American presidents and administrations receptive to Zionist and Israeli statesmen and diplomats, and allowed the creation of constant dialogue between Americans and Zionists and Israelis.


Professor David Tal is the Yossi Harel Chair in Modern Israel Studies at the University of Sussex. Professor Tal got his Ph.D. from the Tel Aviv University in 1995. He had taught at Tel Aviv University and was a visiting professor at Emory University and Syracuse University. In 2009 he was appointed as Kahanoff Chair in Israel Studies at the University of Calgary, Canada, and was the head of the Israel Program there. Professor Tal was a NATO research fellow (2000-2002), INSCT research fellow (Syracuse University, 2008-2013) and Daniel Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies research fellow (2011-2012, 2013-2014, 2019-2020). Professor Tal specializes in Israel’s military and diplomatic history and US nuclear disarmament policy. He authored four books and edited two. His most recent authored book is US Strategic Arms Policy in the Cold War: Negotiation and Confrontation over SALT, 1969-79 (London: Routledge, 2017). He published more than 40 articles and book chapters in the major journals pertinent to Israel’s military and diplomatic history and US foreign policy. His present project is the history of US-Israel special relationship from the early 20th century to the present. Cambridge University Press will publish the book.

Date:              Wednesday 22 April 2020, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Venue:           Lecture Room 09, Wilberforce Building

Link to register:


All are welcome to attend.

You can watch the events at



Middle East Study Group (MESG)

Wednesday 20th January 2021, 18:00


The Normalisation Accord between Bahrain and Israel

Mr Fahad Albinali

Counsellor, The Embassy of Bahrain, London

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Mr Fahad Albinali will discuss the recent Normalisation Accords that were signed between Bahrain and Israel.


Fahad Albinali is a Counsellor at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain in the United Kingdom, he has been at the embassy for four and a half years and focuses on political affairs, outreach, and human rights.

Prior to joining the foreign service, Mr Albinali worked as the Head of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Interior Ombudsman office and was part of the founding team of the Arab region’s first police and prisoner Ombudsman.

He has also worked as an official foreign media spokesperson at the Bahrain Ministry of Information and also as a legal researcher at the Minister of Justice’s office.


 Date:                  Wednesday 20th January 2021, 18:00

 Please register directly with the online platform:


All are welcome to attend


You can watch the event at


Albinali Speech


The Prime Minister Lecture

The Middle East Study Group

Wednesday 17 February 2021, 6.00pm – 8.00pm


My Quest for Peace: A Personal Account of My Negotiations with President Abbas

Mr Ehud Olmert

Prime Minister of Israel 2006-2009

 Opening words:

PM Olmert and President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Mahmoud Abbas, known also by the name Abu Mazen, held extensive negotiations. Between December 2006 until 2008, the two leaders met 36 times and discussed all the pertinent issues. Olmert gave Abu Mazen the most generous peace offer to date. Abu Mazen did not reject it, but neither did he accept it. The offer was left in the air and did not translate to a concrete and abiding peace deal. Despite his extraordinary investment, PM Olmert was unable to sign a peace agreement with President Abbas.

Mr Olmert will present his views on the peace negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, focusing on his own contribution and involvement, and explaining why the extensive and most detailed negotiations did not lead to a comprehensive peace agreement between the two parties.







Born in Binyamina in 1945, Olmert studied at the Hebrew University and worked as a lawyer. He was first elected to the 8th Knesset (Israeli Parliament) in 1973 at the age of 28 and was re-elected eight times. In 1993, Olmert was elected as Mayor of Jerusalem. In 2003, he returned to national politics, holding many senior ministerial positions. In March 2006 Olmert led the Kadima Party to victory and was elected as the 12th Prime Minister of Israel.

In 2007, Olmert attended the Annapolis Peace Conference led by President George W. Bush. Olmert continues to promote efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is currently heading a private consulting practice and is enjoying spending time with his wife Aliza, their five children and 12 grandchildren.


Chair and Discussant: Sir Tom Philips KCMG


A consultant, and a governance adviser with the UK government’s Stabilisation Unit. In his main career as a British diplomat, Tom’s postings included serving as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as Ambassador to Israel, and as High Commissioner to Uganda. Since retiring from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office he has also worked as Director of the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery at St Mary’s University and Commandant of the Ministry of Defence’s Royal College of Defence Studies, as well as international adviser to the Prince’s Charities’ International Sustainability Unit, and  adviser to the business intelligence company GPW Ltd. Tom is a member of the Council of the Lord Kitchener National Memorial Fund; a member of RAND Europe’s Council of Advisors; a Trustee of the Youth Forward Initiative, and member of the MESG. Tom’s publications include several articles on the Middle East (e.g. on Israeli/Palestinian conflict in Prospect, Aug 2012 and Sept 2013).



Date:                   Wednesday  , 6.00pm – 8.00pm

All are welcome to attend.


You can watch the event at



Middle East Study Group (MESG)

Wednesday 3 March 2021, 18:00-20:00


“Gulliver’s Troubles”

Aaron David Miller

Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Please register:


Tied up by powers large and small whose interests either episodically coincide with America’s or don’t at all and by its own illusions, the US is like a modern day Gulliver wandering around in a region that has become increasingly less important pliable for US interests. What are core American interests in this region and how can America best protect them


Aaron David Miller is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, focusing on U.S. foreign policy. He has written five books, including his most recent, The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President (Palgrave, 2014) and The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace (Bantam, 2008). He received his PhD in Middle East and U.S. diplomatic history from the University of Michigan in 1977.


Between 1978 and 2003, Miller served at the State Department as an historian, analyst, negotiator, and advisor to Republican and Democratic secretaries of state, where he helped formulate U.S. policy on the Middle East and the Arab-Israel peace process, most recently as the senior advisor for Arab-Israeli negotiations. He also served as the deputy special Middle East coordinator for Arab-Israeli negotiations, senior member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and in the office of the historian. He has received the department’s Distinguished, Superior, and Meritorious Honor Awards.

Miller is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and formerly served as resident scholar at the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies. He has been a featured presenter at the World Economic Forum and leading U.S. universities. Between 2003 and 2006 he served as president of Seeds of Peace, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young leaders from regions of conflict with the leadership skills required to advance reconciliation and coexistence. From 2006 to 2019, Miller was a public policy scholar; vice president for new initiatives, and director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Miller is a global affairs analyst for CNN. His articles have appeared in the New York TimesWashington PostPoliticoForeign PolicyUSAToday, and CNN.com. He is a frequent commentator on NPR, BBC, and Sirius XM radio.


Chair: Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh

Educated at the Universities of Bombay and London, Lord Bhikhu Parekh is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Academy of the Learned Societies for Social Sciences and a Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Westminster. He taught at the University of Hull from 1964 until his retirement, and was also a visiting professor at several international institutions. He was Deputy Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality from 1985 to 1990, and chaired the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, whose report (the Parekh Report) was published in 2000. Lord Parekh has received many awards throughout his career including the Distinguished Global Thinker Award by the India International Centre Delhi (2006) and the Padma Bhushan honours in the 2007 Indian Republic Day Honours list.

If you missed Miller’s lecture and interested to listen to it,


How Biden Will End the Trump Sugar High for Israel and Saudi Arabia, politico.com/amp/news/magaz




Date:                   Wednesday 3 March 2021, 18:00-20:00

 Please register directly with the online platform:

All are welcome to attend


Middle East Study Group (MESG)

Ambassador Forum

Wednesday 24 March 2021, 18:00-20:00

Challenges Jordan is Facing Today

His Excellency Mr Omar Al Nahar

Ambassador of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United Kingdom

Opening words: Professor Stephen Hardy, PhD, LLB, SFHEA, MCIArb, FRSA, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Law and Politics

Link to register:


His Excellency Jordanian Ambassador Omar Al-Nahar will discuss Jordan’s role in advancing peace and moderation in the region. His Excellency will highlight Jordan’s active role in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution guaranteeing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. The Ambassador will also talk about the historic Hashemite role in protecting the Holy Christian and Muslim sites in Jerusalem, as well as discussing the importance of Jordan’s geopolitics, highlighting how it influenced the flow of refugees into the country. Jordan took the responsibility of hosting refugees from 48 different nationalities, thereby shouldering the burden from the international community. His Excellency will discuss how Jordan follows altruistic values that put its citizens and guests first. This was particularly evident in the strict COVID-19 measures which Jordan enforced sooner than many of its western counterparts. The Ambassador will go on to explore how this came at a cost to Jordan’s economy, whilst having a positive outcome on the country’s digitalisation efforts.


His Excellency Mr Omar B. Al- Nahar assumed his post in London as Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James’s in October 2017, whilst also serving as a non-resident Ambassador to Ireland and the Republic of Iceland.

Ambassador Al-Nahar joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in 1992.  Since that time, he has held a number of senior positions at M oFA and the Prime Ministry, including Special Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates; Director of the European Affairs Department; Head of the Peace Process Negotiations Coordination Bureau; and Director of the Political Department and Advisor to the Prime Minister.

Early diplomatic postings included five years in Tel Aviv; as well as Second Secretary & Consul to the Jordanian Embassy in London; and – from 2010-2016 – Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the Republic of Korea.

Born in 1969 and brought up in Amman, Ambassador Al-Nahar has a degree in Political Science and Business Administration from the University of Jordan, Amman. He is married to Hiba and together they have two children, Haya and Hussein

Chair: Professor Stephen Hardy

Date:              Wednesday 24 March 2021, 18:00-20:00

Please register directly with the online platform: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2136608788884267788

All are welcome to attend

Jordanian Ambassador’s Speech 2021

You can watch the event at



Wednesday 21 April 2021, 6.00pm – 8.00pm

A Moment of Peril and Challenge

Professor Noam Chomsky

The University of Arizona and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6845174975858269708



We are living at a unique moment in human history, facing a confluence of threats to survival of organized human society.  The focus of attention is on the pandemic. Unless we heed its lessons, others will follow, probably more severe. But it is the least of the crises we face. It will be overcome, at terrible and needless cost.  The grim effects of human heating of the earth will not be overcome. They are in place.  We can act to prevent irreversible damage, but time is short.  We have lived under the shadow of nuclear war for 75 years.  The threat, always severe, it growing steadily.  We know how to avert it, but instead it is being escalated.  The Middle East is one of the most critical flash points where solutions are at hand, but are barely even discussed.  These are only the most terrifying of the threats that confront the current generation, the first in human history with the responsibility to determine whether civilization will survive – and the last, unless it provides a decisive answer.


Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. His research revolutionized the field of linguistics by treating language as a uniquely human, biologically based cognitive capacity. Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science.

Chomsky has been one of the US most prominent public intellectuals. Since the Vietnam War, Chomsky has been a prolific critic of American politics and foreign policy, a fierce critic of capitalism and a staunch defender of freedom of speech and of the press.

Chomsky is a Laureate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona and Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is the author of more than 150 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism.

Chair and Discussant: Professor Glenn Burgess

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 21 April 2021, 6.00pm – 8.00pm

Please register directly with the online platform: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6845174975858269708

All are welcome to attend


If you missed Noam Chomsky’s talk or you wish to hear it again, please click



Wednesday 19 May 2021, 6.00pm – 8.00pm


From Displacement to Distinction: How the Bahá’í Faith came to have its world headquarters in Israel


Dr. David Rutstein


Bahá’í International Community

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5983960503170173196


Opening words: Professor Stephen Hardy, PhD, LLB, SFHEA, MCIArb, FRSA, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Law and Politics







In 1868, a small contingent of Persian religious exiles arrived as prisoners to ‘Akko, which was the harshest of penal colonies in the vast Ottoman Empire. Destitute and highly vulnerable – having already endured years of imprisonment, torture and banishment – the group comprising men, women and children, was led by Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of an emerging religion whose followers would become known as Bahá’ís.  Now, 153 years later, ‘Akko and the city of Haifa, a short distance around the bay, are the two cities that comprise the permanent spiritual and administrative center of the Bahá’í Faith, a world-wide independent religion with over 8 million adherents in over 200 countries, the central tenants of which are unity, peace and justice. The Bahá’í Shrines in ‘Akko and Haifa, nominated by the State of Israel and declared UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the spectacular gardens surrounding them, are made available to the public for free, and have attracted millions of domestic and international visitors. This lecture delineates the circumstances that resulted in the exile and eventual arrival of that small band of Bahá’ís in the Holy Land, their impact on the diverse elements assembling in Ottoman and British Mandate Palestine, and the establishment, by their descendants and co-religionists, of the Bahá’í World Centre in what became the State of Israel.



David Rutstein has taken up the responsibilities of Secretary-General of the Bahá’í International Community in October 2019. The Secretary-General is the senior officer acting on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, the international governing council of the Bahá’í community, in the conduct of its external affairs.


Dr. Rutstein is a senior health executive, public health expert and clinician. In the course of a 36-year career, he created and led innovative clinical, administrative, management, emergency response and executive level teams and organizations. Most recently, he founded SolHEALTH, a non-profit organization working to promote health and prevent disease in diverse populations globally. Prior to SolHEALTH, Dr. Rutstein was the Vice-President for Medical Affairs for United Family Healthcare in China. A retired Rear Admiral in the United States Public Health Service, he served as the Deputy Surgeon General of the United States until 2011.

He holds a Medical Degree from Brown University and a Master of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He completed his Family Medicine residency at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, California and is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. He maintains current medical licenses in California, Maine and Beijing and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards from both the public and private sectors.

A citizen of the United States, Dr. Rutstein has lived and worked in the United States, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Peoples’ Republic of China. He has been a member of various Bahá’í communities and served on different local and national Bahá’í institutions. He speaks English, Spanish, Pohnpeian, Mandarin, and is learning Hebrew.

Chair: Professor Stephen Hardy

Date:                   Wednesday 19 May 2021, 6.00pm – 8.00pm

Please register directly with the online platform: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5983960503170173196


All are welcome to attend



Wednesday 4 March 2020, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Lecture Room 14, Wilberforce Building

Makarios’ 13 Points: The Constitution of Cyprus

Professor Jo Carby-Hall

MESG, Director of International Legal Research in the Centre for Legislative Studies

University of Hull, UK


The paper will deal primarily with the legal perspectives of the 1960 Cyprus Constitution while the political aspects will feature briefly. It examines the short lived and original 1960 constitution in accordance with the Zurich Agreement 1959 and the London Treaty, 1959 and focuses on Makarios’ unilaterally imposed 13 Points, namely: (i) the abandonment of the President’s and Vice-President’s right to veto; (ii) deputising for the President; (iii) election of President of the House of Representatives; (iv) President and Vice President to be elected by the House as a whole; (v) establishment of unified municipalities. (vi) laws relating to taxation, municipalities and elections, (vii) unification of administration of justice; (viii) abolition of a body; (ix) security forces; (x) public service; (xi) public service commission; (xii) majority; (xiii) religion, cultural affairs, education, personal status.

The paper concludes with observations on the social and political consequences of the rejection of the 13 points by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots and on the rule of law in Cyprus.




As Director of International Legal Research in the Centre for Legislative Studies, Professor Jo Carby-Hall coordinates research and publication programmes and collaboration agreements worldwide. He is an acknowledged authority on British, European and international social law and Maritime Law. His works have been translated into eight languages. He is legal adviser to national and international organisations and governments. In recognition for his work in Poland, he was awarded three State Orders from various Presidents. He also received a British State Order from H.M The Queen. He is Honorary Consul at the Consulate of the Republic of Poland and its Branch for Scientific and Educational Co-operation.


Date:              Wednesday 4 March 2020, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Venue:           Lecture Room 14, Wilberforce Building

All are welcome to attend.



Wednesday 5 February 2020, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Lecture Theatre 29, Wilberforce Building


Kings Saul, David, and Arthur:              On Writing a History of the ‘Dark Age’

Professor Lester Grabbe

Emeritus Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism

MESG, University of Hull, UK


One of our problems in writing the early history of ancient Israel is that the period of its beginnings is essentially a “Dark Age”. Yet this is hardly the only period of history known as the “Dark Age”; another well-known one is the period of two centuries or so after the Romans left the British Isles. It is during this period that King Arthur is placed. This essay will attempt to work out principles for writing a history of Israel’s Dark Age by looking at the historiographic problems and their proposed solutions arising from the British Dark Age and, especially, the historicity of King Arthur.  What we find with the story of King Arthur is that eventually a detailed and full history not only of his exploits but those of the “Knights of the Round Table” developed, a story well satirized in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  But to what extent did that story represent the “historical King Arthur”?  Was there a King Arthur?  Was there a King David?  Or was David and his “Mighty Men” and Arthur and his “Knights of the Round Table” merely pieces of inspired and creative fiction?  The emphasis of the talk will be on examining the process of reconstruction that historians engage in.

Grabbe-Kings Saul, David and Arthur

Lester L. Grabbe is Emeritus Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism at the University. His main interest is in the history of ancient Israel and the Jews of the Second Temple period. He founded the European Seminar on Methodology in Israel’s History, and published the proceedings in the sub-series European Seminar in Historical Methodology (Bloomsbury T & T Clark), a total of eleven volumes, each of which not only contained the collected papers but also an introduction, summary of the papers, and a discussion of the debate.  He has written a history of ancient Israel: Ancient Israel: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It? (including a 2nd edition in 2017).  He is currently working on a history of Second Temple Judaism (from about 600 BCE to 150 of the Common Era)—a period of over 700 years.  Two volumes of this have appeared, on the Persian period and the early Hellenistic period.  A third volume is in the press (due out in early 2020), on the Maccabees, the Hasmonaean Kingdom, and Herod the Great.  The fourth and final volume is in preparation (on the Roman period up to the Bar-Kokhva Revolt) and to be submitted to the press shortly.  He has authored more than 15 scholarly books and 150 articles, and continues to be active in scholarship.

Date:              Wednesday 05 February 2020, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Venue:           Lecture Room xx, Wilberforce Building

All are welcome to attend.


Middle East Study Group

Research Seminar

Wednesday 04 December 2019, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Lecture Room 09, Wilberforce Building

Understanding Libya’s Political and Armed Crisis – Its Regional and International Ramifications

Dr Bashir Alzawawi

PhD Graduate in the Business School

University of Hull, UK


The Aim of this presentation is to explain the current situation of the armed and political crisis in Libya. Libya has been the theatre of a political and armed crisis since the fall of Gaddafi’s regime in 2011. Unlike its neighbouring states, Egypt and Tunisia, the Libyan version of the Arab Spring was violent. It turned the country to a failed state. Continued use of violence led to the collapse of state’s power and to a dysfunctional, corrupt economy and fragmented sovereign institutions. In 2014, the Islamic State took advantage of the fragmented environment to establish its largest stronghold outside Syria and Iraq. Furthermore, Libya became the largest hub for trafficking illegal migrants.


This talk sheds light on the current situation, and on how political violence was fuelled and deepened by regional and international rivalry between various international powers. The paper calls for swift, transparent and decisive international action to prevent further collapse of Libya. Abandoning this struggling country can create a space for others to exploit the situation and, more importantly, might undermine the shared European interests in Libya.

Flyer Bashir Alzawawi




Dr Bashir Alzawawi, a recent PhD graduate with a PhD in Management from the University of Hull Business School. His PhD title is: Organisational Change from the perspectives of translation: A case study of transformation in the Libyan Banking System. Prior to obtaining a doctoral degree, Bashir worked as a banker in Libya for 8 years. Between 2003-2005 he studied Master in Business Management at the University of Misurata in Libya. Two years later was appointed as an assistant lecturer in the Faculty of Politics and Economic Sciences. The uprising in 2011 was a turning point in his interest in Libya’s and also international politics. He became a political analyst, contributing to local and international discussion about Libya’s socio-political and economic affairs. His comments incorporated into some media discussion platforms including the BBC Humber on illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. Dr Alzawawi is frequently invited to provide media commentary on Libya’s political and armed conflict, and on Libya’s religious groups.

Date:              Wednesday 04 December 2019, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Venue:           Lecture Room 09, Wilberforce Building

All are welcome to attend.



Middle East Study Group

Research Seminar Program

Thursday 14 November 2019, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Lecture Room 09, Wilberforce Building


How the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Can be Resolved?

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Chair in Politics

University of Hull, UK


The Israeli Palestinian conflict is about two peoples who have justified claims over the same small piece of land. Peace is vital for both Israel and Palestine. In this lecture, I survey some of the possible proposals to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

(1) Decide Not to Decide: Maintaining the so-called Status Quo;

(2) Palestinian Autonomy;

(3) Exclusionary solutions;

(4) “State of All Its Citizens”;

(5) Confederations;

(6) Three-state solution;

(7) No state solution;

(8) Two-State Solution.


The lecture analyses each and every option and assess its feasibility.

How the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Can be Resolved

In Support of Two-State Solution – Youth Law Journal


Raphael Cohen-Almagor received his DPhil in political theory from Oxford University (1992). He is Professor/Chair in Politics, Founding Director of the Middle East Study Group, University of Hull, and the 2019 Distinguished Visiting Professor, Faculty of Laws, University College London (UCL). He held teaching positions in other universities, including Oxford, Jerusalem, Haifa, UCLA, Johns Hopkins, and Nirma University (India). In 2007-2008, he was Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Raphael has published 17 books and more than 250 papers in the fields of politics, media, philosophy, law and ethics. Among his books are Speech, Media and Ethics (2005), The Scope of Tolerance (2006), and Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side (2015). He is now writing two books: Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism, and From Oslo to Jerusalem. Both are under contract with Cambridge University Press).

Date:              Thursday 14 November 2019, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Venue:           Lecture Room 09, Wilberforce Building

All are welcome to attend.


Wednesday 10 October 2018, 4.20pm – 6.30pm

Lecture Room 26, Wilberforce Building

The Refugee ‘Crisis’ in Europe: 

Between Luxembourg, Lesbos, Brussels, Dublin, and Aleppo

Dr Reuven Ziegler

Associate Professor in International Refugee Law

University of Reading, UK


The talk will critically appraise the EU’s (mis)handling of the refugee ‘crisis’, one which may be more aptly characterised as a crisis of solidarity and the rule of law. It will do so through the prism of three legal contexts: the EU-Turkey ‘statement’, the (yet to be reformed) ‘Dublin’ counter-responsibility sharing, and the (absence of) humanitarian visas. In considering the EU-Turkey ‘statement’, the talk will query whether Turkey could be considered a ‘safe third country’; whether the EU General Court erred in declining to rule on the statement’s merits; and whether the outcome of the ‘statement’ is plausible. Regarding ‘Dublin’, the hurdles posed in the way of the emergency relocation mechanism and the challenge of construing permanent equitable responsibility-sharing will be assessed, in the light of the Visegrad group’s resistance. Finally, it is argued that the absence of prescribed ‘safe and legal routes’ in EU law and the reluctance of the Luxembourg court to follow the Advocate General’s opinion in X and X v. Belgium leaves little hope for progressive interpretation of the (EU) right to asylum.



Dr Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler is Associate Professor in International Refugee Law at the University of Reading School of Law, where he is Director of the Global LLM programmes in Human Rights, International Law, and Advanced Legal Studies. He is an Associate Academic Fellow of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple; Research Associate of the Refuge Studies Centre, University of Oxford; Convenor of the ‘Civil Liberties and Human Rights’ Section of the Society of Legal Scholars; Senior Research Associate of the Refugee Law Initiative (Institute for Advance Legal Study, University of London) and Editor-in-Chief of its Working Paper Series.

Dr Ziegler’s public engagements include serving as Chair of the Board of Trustees of ‘New Europeans Association LTD’; Chair of the Oxford European Association; A ‘Britain in Europe’ academic expert; and an advisory council member of ‘Rene Cassin’.

Previously, Dr Ziegler was a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School’s Immigration and Refugee Clinic and with the Human Rights Program, Tutor in Public International Law at Oxford, and a Legal Advising Officer in the Military Advocate General Unit of the Israeli Defence Forces.

Dr Ziegler’s recently published book is ‘Voting Rights of Refugees’ (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Dr Ziegler’s areas of research interest include International Refugee Law, Electoral Rights and citizenship, Comparative Constitutional Law, and International Humanitarian Law.

Dr Ziegler holds DPhil, MPhil, and BCL degrees from the University of Oxford; LL.M. with specialisation in Public Law from Hebrew University; and a joint LLB and BA from the University of Haifa.

Date:               Wednesday 10 October 2018, 4.20pm – 6.30pm

Venue:            Lecture Room 26, Wilberforce Building

All are welcome to attend.



Wednesday 7 November 2018, 4.20pm – 6.30pm

Lecture Room 13, Wilberforce Building

 The Threat of the Use of Force in WMD Counterproliferation:  Comparing the cases of Syria, Iran and North Korea

Professor Christoph Bluth

Professor of International Relations and Security

University of Bradford

The proliferation of WMD has been conceptualized as one of the most serious threats to global security. With respect to so-called “rogue states”, such as Syria, Iran, Iraq and North Korea this threat has been articulated as particularly serious on the basis that these states cannot be trusted to safely maintain such arsenals, that their power ambitions, their defiance of international regimes and their support for terrorism as an instrument of policy means that the use of force can be justified to prevent the acquisition or the use of such arsenals. This lecture compares the cases of Syria, Iran and North Korea and uses the lessons of the Iraq war as an example of the use of force for the purpose of counterproliferation. It looks at the legal and moral justifications for the threat of or the use of force and argues that the threat analysis used to justify it is flawed and that a different approach is likely to be more appropriate and successful.

Bluth-The threat of the use of force in WMD counterproliferation


Christoph Bluth is Professor of International Relations and Security at the University of Braford. He previously held positions at the University of Leeds, the University of Reading, the University of Essex and King’s College London. He completed a PhD at King’s College London under the supervision of Sir Lawrence Freedman. He is the author of numerous books and articles on international security, focusing on nuclear weapons policy and non-proliferation.

Date:               Wednesday 7 November 2018, 4.20pm – 6.30pm

Venue:            Lecture Room 13, Wilberforce Building

All are welcome to attend.








Wednesday 21 November 2018, 4.20pm – 6.30pm

Lecture Room 13, Wilberforce Building

Herod the Great: Statesman or Tyrant or …?

Professor Lester Grabbe

Emeritus Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism

University of Hull, UK


Herod the Great is notorious among moderns, up there with Genghis Khan or the emperor Nero. According to the New Testament, he was the “Slaughterer of the Innocents”. Yet when we read about him in ancient sources, he was clearly a remarkable individual. Evaluating him and his reign is not easy, but this will be one of the main aims of this session. He also serves as a model for many ancient rulers, and understanding him gives a handle on other Hellenistic and Roman rulers.



Lester L. Grabbe is Emeritus Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism at the University. His main interest is in the history of ancient Israel and the Jews of the Second Temple period. He founded the European Seminar on Methodology in Israel’s History, and published the proceedings in the sub-series European Seminar in Historical Methodology (Bloomsbury T & T Clark. In addition, he has authored more than a dozen volumes, as well editing or co-editing a total of 21 volumes. He is also series editor of T & T Clark International monographs, Library of Second Temple Studies. Currently he is working on a four-volume History of Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period, including the Persian period and the early Hellenistic period. He is now working on vol. 3, which includes the Hasmonaeans (Maccabees) and Herod the Great.

Date:               Wednesday 21 November 2018, 4.20pm – 6.30pm

Venue:            Lecture Room 13, Wilberforce Building

All are welcome to attend.


Wednesday 12 December 2018, 4.20pm – 6.30pm

Lecture Theatre 12, Wilberforce Building

US-Israel Relationships 1947-2001

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Chair in Politics

University of Hull, UK


The aim of this lecture is to explain the development of US-Israel relationships from the 1947 UN partition plan until the end of the Clinton presidency in 2001. The presentation analyses the interests of the relevant American administrations (no. 33-42), from Harry S. Truman to William J. Clinton, and how they manifested themselves vis-a-vis Israel. The lecture explains the slow buildup of relationships, the ups and downs, the key factors that played a part in shaping the American perspective, and the reasons for the close alliance between the two countries, as is clearly evident today.

Cohen-Almagor Flyer – Dec 2018



Raphael Cohen-Almagor, DPhil Oxford, is Chair in Politics, and Founding Director of The Middle East Study Group, University of Hull. He has founded several other organizations, including “The Second Generation to Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance” Organization (1982-1987); The Van Leer Medical Ethics Think-tank (1995-1998), and The Center for Democratic Studies, University of Haifa (2003-2007). Raphael was Fulbright-Yitzhak Rabin Visiting Professor at UCLA School of Law (1999-2000), Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins University (2003-2004), and Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2007-2008). To date he has published seventeen books and more than 200 articles in the fields of political science, philosophy, law and ethics, including The Boundaries of Liberty and Tolerance (1994), The Right to Die with Dignity (2001), Speech, Media and Ethics (2001, 2005), The Scope of Tolerance (2006, 2007), and Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side (2015). Presently he is writing two books: one on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and another on multiculturalism. He is also completing his third book of poems.

Israel-PLO Peace Process- Interview with Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer

Date:               Wednesday 12 December 2018, 4.20pm – 6.30pm

Venue:            Lecture Theatre 12, Wilberforce Building

All are welcome to attend.










Thursday 19 October 2017, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Wilberforce Lecture Room 30


“Mill’s Absolute Ban on Paternalism”

Professor Jonathan Riley

Tulane University




John Stuart Mill is commonly said to prescribe an absolute ban on paternalism. But this is true only if paternalism is understood as coercive interference with a competent person’s conduct solely for his own good. While he has multiple arguments for his view, Mill says that his most important argument is what may be called the provisional epistemic argument, according to which a competent individual, though not always prudent, is the best judge of her own good as she conceives it, and should be permitted to choose any self-regarding action which she judges is needed to attain it, provided she is in possession of any readily available public information (which others may need to supply through advice and warning) about the condition of external objects (such as a public bridge but also her own body and reputation) so that she can do as she wishes in accord with her feasible intentions. My main claim is that this epistemic argument is sound. Moreover, Mill never abandons it, despite claims to the contrary in the literature. He does insist that society should not enforce by law or stigma so-called contracts-in-perpetuity, that is, long-term irrevocable contracts such as a voluntary slavery contract or a no-divorce marriage contract. But this does not entail any coercive interference with self-regarding conduct.




Jonathan Riley is Murphy Professor of Philosophy and Political Economy, Tulane University, and a founding Editor of the Sage journal Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He has published extensively on Mill’s philosophy. He has also received several major awards, including Killam, NEH, NHC, and Rockefeller fellowships, and has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, the University of St. Andrews, Princeton University and the University of Hamburg. His most recent publications are Mill’s On Liberty (Routledge, July 2015), which is an expanded version of Mill on Liberty (Routledge, 1998), and Mill’s Radical Liberalism: A Study in Retrieval (forthcoming from Routledge). jonriley@tulane.edu



Date:               Thursday 19 October 2017, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Venue:            Lecture Theatre

Please RVSP


All are welcome to attend.








Middle East Study Group (MESG) Program 2017 – 2018


25 October 2017, 16:20, WILB-LT29


Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Director, Middle East Study Group (MESG)


Discrimination against Women in Jewish Law (Halacha) and in Israel


Democracy is supposed to allow individuals the opportunity to follow their conception of the good without coercion. Generally speaking, Israel gives precedence to Judaism over liberalism. This paper argues that the reverse should be the case. In Section I it is explained what the Halachic grounds for discrimination against women are. Section II concerns the Israeli legal framework and the role of the family courts. Section III considers Israeli egalitarian legislation and ground-breaking Supreme Court precedents designed to promote gender equality. Section IV analyses inegalitarian manifestations of Orthodox Judaism in Israeli society today, especially discriminatory practices in matters of personal status. It is argued that Judaism needs to adapt gender equality because of Israel’s commitment to human rights. Israeli leaders should strive to close the unfortunate gap between the valuable aims and affirmations voiced in the 1948 Deceleration of Independence and the reality of unequal political and social rights for women.


Discrimination against Jewish Women in Halacha Jewish Law and in Israel 


Raphael Cohen-Almagor received his DPhil in political theory from Oxford University. He is Chair in Politics at University of Hull, UK. He was the Director of the Center for Democratic Studies, University of Haifa, Fulbright-Yitzhak Rabin Visiting Professor at UCLA School of Law, Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins University, and Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Author of more than 200 publications, among his more recent books are Speech, Media and Ethics (2005), The Scope of Tolerance (2006), Voyages (2007, poetry, Hebrew), and Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side (2015). Blog: http://almagor.blogspot.com


Please RSVP G.Dag@hull.ac.uk



The MESG Annual Lecture for 2017


8 November 2017, 16:20, WILB-LT15


Dr Emile Chabal

University of Edinburgh


A Multicultural Problem: immigration and the legacy of France’s colonial past in North Africa and the Middle East

Over the past two centuries, France has played host to a huge variety of immigrants. So much so that even the most insular visitor to France quickly realises that it has become a veritable melting-pot of cultures, languages and ideas. Why, then, does the concept of multiculturalism cause such trouble? And why does the French state persist in denying the existence of ethnic communities? This paper will address these questions by looking at the relationship between French republicanism, contemporary patterns of immigration, and the legacy of France’s colonial past in North Africa and the Middle East. It will suggest that, while France’s resistance to multicultural ideas has deep roots in French political culture, it has nevertheless become a uniquely postcolonial problem.


Chabal-A Divided Republic – Nation, State and Citizenship


Emile Chabal is a Chancellor’s Fellow in History at the University of Edinburgh. He is a specialist on postwar French politics, with a particular interest in French political culture, Franco-British relations and the legacies of the French empire. He has published widely in this field, most notably his book A Divided Republic: nation, state and citizenship in contemporary France (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He is currently working on an intellectual biography of Eric Hobsbawm and the history of global Marxism.

Website: http://www.homepages.ed.ac.uk/echabal/
Please RSVP G.Dag@hull.ac.uk







MESG Ambassador Forum


6 December 2017, 16:20, WILB-LT29


Ambassador Peter Ford


Lessons to be drawn from the Syrian Conflict


This lecture aims to draw some lessons from the recent Syrian conflict. It discusses the role of experts, the power of hubris and wishful thinking, geopolitics, and the relevant lessons from Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The lecture will also analyse US policy and the role that secular leaders in the Middle East play.


Lessons to be drawn from the Syrian Conflict – Ford 


Peter Ford is an expert on the Middle East. An Arabist, he served as British Ambassador to Syria (2003-2006) and Bahrain (1999-2003) and also held positions with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Beirut, Cairo, Singapore, Paris and Riyadh before joining the UN to work on refugee issues. He is a frequent commentator on Syria in the media. Presently he is Adviser to the Bahrain Royal Charity Organisation and Co-Chairman of the British Syrian Society.


Please RSVP G.Dag@hull.ac.uk










14 March 2018, 16:20, Venue to be announced


Mr Samuel Passow

Founder & Managing Director, The Negotiation Lab

Successful Strategies for International Mediation

Why are some attempts at international mediation successful while others fail? Is it the process or the players? Is it the scope of the issues covered or the political will to deliver? Is the trade-off between transparency and secrecy expediency? Is success in the resolution of one conflict necessarily transferrable to another? This lecture will explore these questions specifically through the lens of the three Middle Eastern conflicts, the Israel-Palestinian peace talks, the Iran nuclear deal, and attempts to resolve the civil war in Syria and more broadly through conflict mediations in Northern Ireland, the Balkans and North Korea.

 Passow Lecture






Samuel Passow was trained as a negotiator and mediator in the United States at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School of Government (1995-1997) where he received a Masters Degree in Public Administration and was a Research Fellow and case writer at the Harvard Center for Business and Government.

Samuel headed the consultancy and training program of the Conflict Analysis Research Centre in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent where he created the Negotiation Lab in 2006. To date, the Negotiation Lab has trained over 1,400 government officials, business executives and post-graduate students from 135 countries in the Harvard method of “Principled Negotiations”.

Samuel is the author of numerous books and articles on negotiation, mediation, crisis management and international trade.
Please RSVP G.Dag@hull.ac.uk








Wednesday 2 May 2018, 4.20pm – 6.30pm

John Lyndon

Executive Director of Alliance for Middle East Peace






How to create the conditions for conflict resolution: youth attitudes in Israel/Palestine


It’s Time to Establish an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace


Israelis and Palestinians currently find themselves more polarised— and leading more parallel existences— than perhaps at any other point in this conflict’s hundred year history. 

This is only more pronounced amongst the young, with levels of mistrust, hatred and ignorance that, if left unaddressed, promise a future that could conceivably be much worse than the already dystopian reality inhabited by Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land. 

With the two-state solution’s very viability now open to question, and no signs of a diplomatic process worth its name, what can be done to create more viable conditions for genuine conflict resolution? And what is our responsibility, here in the UK and Europe, to help Israelis and Palestinians out of this morass?












John Lyndon

John brings over a decade’s experience in conflict resolution and not-for-profit leadership to ALLMEP’s new European office.

John has served as Executive Director of OneVoice Europe during 2008-2018, growing the organisation’s size, fundraising base and influence as part of its mission to support grassroots activists in Israel and Palestine. Presently he serves on The Alliance for Middle East Peace.

Prior to his time at the helm of OneVoice, John ran Ethiopiaid Ireland, and has written and worked extensively on international affairs and conflict resolution, appearing in media outlets such as the BBC, CNN, Newsweek, Sky News and TIME Magazine. He holds a BA in English Literature and History from University College Dublin, and an MA in International Relations from the University of Sheffield, where he won the 2007 Bethan Reeves Prize for his research on the Middle East.

A former member of the Under 35s Steering Committee at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, John is also a Visiting Fellow at King’s College London’s Department of Middle Eastern Studies, and a member of Sandbox’s London Hub.


Please RSVP G.Dag@hull.ac.uk


All are welcome to attend.




MESG Program 2015 – 2016

9 November 2016, 16:20, Wilberforce LR29

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Director, MESG, University of Hull

The Roots of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

7 December 2016, 16:20, Lecture Theatre 12, Wilberforce Building


Professor Sammy Smooha

University of Haifa and SOAS

The Challenge of National Minorities to Ethnic Majority Hegemony: A Comparative Perspective


15 February 2017, 16:20, Wilberforce Lecture Theatre 29

Dr Jacob Eriksson

York University

The limitations and possibilities of US mediation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the 2007 Annapolis Conference and the Olmert‐Abbas negotiations

15 March 2017, 16:20, Lecture Theatre 29, Wilberforce Building

His Excellency Mr. Abdurrahman Bilgic,
Turkish Embassy
Turkey’s Role in the Changing Middle East

22 March, 16:00, 16:20, Lecture Theatre 15, Wilberforce Building

Sir Vincent Fean

Former British Ambassador to Libya

Britain’s ambivalent relationship with Libya, a country of contradictions

9 November 2016, 16:20

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Director, MESG, University of Hull

The Roots of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The aim of this lecture is to explain the roots of the conflict. It will trace it since the establishment of the Zionist movement in 10th Century Europe, the wave of immigration to Palestine, the creation of the Yishuv, the Jewish settlements and their relationships with the local Arab population. I will also discuss the complex situation during the British mandate, leading to the UN Partition Plan in November 1947 which increased the tensions between the two sides and led to the war which the Jews call War of Independence and the Palestinians call The Naqba (The Catastrophe). It will be argued that the conflict is so bloody and protracted because both the Arabs and the Jews have legitimate and justified claims on a small piece of land which they are unable to share jointly, and also unable to divide in a way that is acceptable to both.


Raphael Cohen-Almagor received his DPhil in political theory from Oxford University (1992). He is Professor/Chair in Politics, and Director of Research, School of Law and Politics, University of Hull. He published extensively in the fields of political science, philosophy, law and ethics. Among his more recent books are The Right to Die with Dignity (2001), Speech, Media and Ethics (2001, 2005), The Scope of Tolerance (2006, 2007) and Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side (2015). Webhttp://weber.hull.ac.uk/rca.Bloghttp://almagor.blogspot.com/

7 December 2016, 16:20

Professor Sammy Smooha

University of Haifa and SOAS

The Challenge of National Minorities to Ethnic Majority Hegemony: A Comparative Perspective

The lecture discusses the response of national minorities in Israel, Estonia, Slovakia, Macedonia, and Northern Ireland, to the hegemony of the ethnic majorities in these states. All these countries see themselves as Western and democratic and at the same time the exclusive homeland and property of their ethnic majorities. The inherent contradiction in their structure raises many questions, including how these deeply divided societies keep internal peace and stability, whether or not the acquiescence of their minorities is fragile and temporary, if their regimes are sustainable and resilient, and how the domestic conflict impacts the region and is impacted by it.



Dr. Sammy Smooha is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Haifa. He served as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and President of the Israeli Sociological Society and won the 2008 Israel Prize for Sociology. Smooha studies Israeli society, with a focus on ethnic relations, in comparative perspective. He has published widely on the internal divisions and conflicts in Israel, and has authored and edited several books on Arab and Jewish relations. He is the Israel Institute Visiting Professor at the University of London-SOAS for the academic year 2016-17.


15 February 2017, 16:20

Dr Jacob Eriksson

York University

The limitations and possibilities of US mediation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the 2007 Annapolis Conference and the OlmertAbbas negotiations

Although the USA is the most prominent third-party mediator of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as Malley and Agha (2009) argue, they have achieved relatively little success. This paper will use the 2007 Annapolis Conference and the resulting Olmert-Abbas negotiations in 2008 as a case study to argue that American mediation should follow a broadly similar model in the future, although with some important adjustments. Analysis of the historical record suggests that an overt US presence at the negotiating table diverts attention from the parties themselves and creates unrealistic expectations given their power. Like the Madrid Conference in 1991 and the ensuing Oslo process, Annapolis and the Olmert-Abu Mazen negotiations shows the strengths and limits of US mediation. The US undoubtedly has a role to play in the resolution of the conflict, but it is a role best limited to organisation and sponsorship of conferences, mobilisation of political support, and ensuring accountability by enforcing the implementation of agreements reached. The coercive strategy that the US is best suited to pursue cannot produce the concessions required for lasting peace in an identity-based conflict. These must come from within the parties themselves, built on mutual understanding and a move away from the zero-sum nature of such conflicts.


Dr Jacob Eriksson is the Al Tajir Lecturer in Post-war Recovery Studies in the Department of Politics at the University of York. He holds BA and MA degrees from the War Studies Department at King’s College London, and a PhD from the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS). Jacob’s research focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, conflict resolution and mediation, and the wider Arab-Israeli conflict. He has contributed to edited collections in these fields, and his first book, Small-state Mediation in International Conflicts: Diplomacy and Negotiation in Israel-Palestine was published by IB Tauris in 2015. His broader research interests include Middle Eastern politics and security, particularly in the context of post-war recovery.


Wednesday 15 March 2017, 4.20pm – 6.30pm

Lecture Theatre 29, Wilberforce Building

Turkey’s Role in the Changing Middle East

Mr Sercan Evcin,
Political Counsellor, Turkish Embassy, London


One of the main parameters that define our century is the “change”. Not “change” in itself, but the scope and pace of it. Both economically and politically, paradigmatic shifts are taking place around the world. Unfortunately, with the inability of global governance structures to cope with these changes, the intensity and frequency of conflicts have been showing an upward trend, once again. Turkey is geographically located at the heart of hotspots that span from the Middle East to the Balkans, Central Asia to the Caucasus. Turkey feels direct impact from every development in its wider neighbourhood. Turkey as a net security and stability contributor to its region and beyond, will continue to be an important global actor for peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East.



Kerim Sercan Evcin was born in Ankara in 1982. He is a graduate of Istanbul, Bogazici University, Political Science and International Relations Department and holds MA Degree in European Integration and Public Administration from the Catholic Leuven University. Mr Evcin entered the Foreign Service in 2006. He served in Belarus and Vienna prior to his present role as Political Counsellor in the Turkish Embassy in London.


All are welcome to attend.

RSVP G.Dag@hull.ac.uk


22 March, 16:00, 16:20

Sir Vincent Fean

Former British Ambassador to Libya

Britain’s ambivalent relationship with Libya, a country of contradictions


Under the Ottoman Empire, Libya was formed of three provinces – west, east and south. Italy invaded in 1912. British and Commonwealth troops evicted the Italian colonisers from Libya in 1943. Britain acquired the UN Mandate to bring Libya to independence in 1952, and stuck around until the Arab Nationalist Colonel Qadhafi ousted the King of Libya in 1969.

The troubled British relationship with Qadhafi included his extensive support for the IRA and a 15 year break in relations 1984-99, sparked by the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy in 1984, and ending after Qadhafi paid compensation for the Lockerbie bombing and sent two Libyan suspects for trial. Prime Ministers Blair, Brown and Cameron each had a different approach to Qadhafi’s Libya.

British/French air strikes helped to disable Qadhafi’s armed forces in 2011, when he threatened mass killings in Benghazi, and contributed to his fall.

2011 to the present

Initial Libyan euphoria at the fall of the dictator has evaporated as Libyan militias and warlords fought for money and power, with an Islamic State presence in the lawless country. People smuggling across the Mediterranean to Libya (and Malta) is lucrative. The international community’s continuing search for Libyan political consensus has failed several times. Some blame Britain and her allies for not disarming the militias after the Revolution.

Arab states have intervened, supporting Libyan factions and increasing division.

The future

Libya needs to reunite if she is to survive economically and politically. Her only source of income – oil and gas – makes Libya dependent on world markets. International investors need stability and the rule of law to be restored if they are to resume long-term investment in the country. Neither is there, now.

Whatever comes, Britain has strategic interests in Libya, on Europe’s doorstep – and many Libyan young people will want to learn English, completing  their education here. They may seek to shape their own future drawing on their experience of the British health and education systems and other institutions. It is in Britain’s interest to help.

Born in Burnley, Lancashire, in 1952, Vincent Fean joined the Diplomatic Service straight from Sheffield University, where he studied French and German. He learned Arabic in Britain and Lebanon thanks to the Foreign Office, and was posted to Iraq, Syria, Brussels (EU), France, Malta, Libya and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Jerusalem). He was Ambassador to Libya (2006-10), witnessing the 40th anniversary of Colonel Qadhafi’s coup bringing him to power. He left before the 2011 Revolution, to go to Jerusalem as Consul-General. Now retired, Vincent chairs the Libyan British Business Council, a body with over 60 companies as members focused on trade with Libya and two-way investment.



Two State Solution Debate

The Oxford Union


  • Event name: Two State Solution Debate
  • Start date: 19/05/2016 20:30


This House Believes A Two-State Solution in the Middle East is Unattainable

Speakers in Proposition:

  • Gideon Levy  –  Award-winning columnist for Haaretz whose writing focuses on the Israeli occupation of the Wet Bank and Gaza.  Some consider him a heroic journalist, and others a propagandist for Hamas
  • Salma Karmi-Ayyoub  –  Criminal barrister and external consultant for Al Haq, a Palestinian human rights organisation.  She is also Co-Chair of the British legal charity, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights
  • Prof Padraig O’Malley  –  A specialist in divided societies, he was instrumental in the North Ireland peace process.  He recently published ‘The Two-State Delusion : Israel & Palestine – A Tale of Two Narratives’

Speakers in Opposition:

  • High Profile Israeli Official  – To be announced
  • John Lyndon  –  Executive Director of OneVoice, an international grassroots movement which supports a two-state solution by amplifying the voices of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians
  • Prof Raphael Cohen-Almagor  –  An Israeli academic, he has vocally expressed his support for a two-state solution, and was involved with the campaign which exchanged the captured Gilad Shalit for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners

This debate will be preceded by the Emergency Debate to be held at 7.45pm


MESG Program 2015 – 2016

4 November 2015, 16:20, WI-LR13

Ruth Wodak

Professor in Discourse Studies

Lancaster University/University Vienna        


About the Book

The Politics of Fear: The Discursive Construction of ‘The Stranger

Inclusion and exclusion of migrants and refugees are renegotiated in the European Union (and beyond) on almost a daily scale: ever new policies defining and restricting immigration are proposed by European member states. A return to more local policies and ideologies can be observed, on many levels: traditions, rules, languages, visions, and imaginaries are affected. I claim that we are currently experiencing a re/nationalisation in spite of (or perhaps because of) multiple globalising tendencies. Moreover, recent heated political debates across Europe, about citizenship, language tests related to citizenship and immigration, and the construction of the immigrant as ‘the post-modern stranger’, coincide with the global financial crisis and the crisis of the welfare state. We are dealing with global and glocaldevelopments.  Post-nationalism and cosmopolitanism have become utopian concepts.

Such tendencies are reinforced and reproduced by right-wing populist parties such as the Austrian Freedom Party, the French Front National, the Hungarian Jobbik, and the British UKIP in election campaigns and in everyday politics; the success of these parties seem to influence mainstream parties in a shift to the ‘right’: a normalisation of ever more exclusionary rhetoric (and related policies) can be observed.

In my lecture, I will analyse these recent developments in respect to immigration policies across Europe from a discourse-historical perspective, and will try answering the question why such right-wing populist parties and their slogans seem to be so successful: I focus on the discursive construction of national and transnational identities, and on the analysis the ‘politics with a new face’. The data – analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively – consist of a range of genres (party programmes, TV documentaries, citizenship tests and language tests, and election campaign materials).

 Ruth Wodak is a Distinguished Professor of Discourse Studies at Lancaster University, UK, while she has remained affiliated to the University of Vienna (as full professor of Applied Linguistics). Besides many other prizes, she was awarded the Wittgenstein Prize for Elite Researchers in 1996. In 2008, she was awarded the Kerstin Hesselgren Chair of the Swedish Parliament and an Honorary Doctorate from University of Örebro in Sweden in 2010. In 2011, she was awarded the Grand Decoration in Silver for Services for the Austrian Republic. She is Past-President of the Societas Linguistica Europea, and member of the British Academy of Social Sciences and the Academia Europea.

Recent books include The Politics of Fear. What Right-wing Populist Discourses Mean(Sage 2015); The discourse of politics in action: ‘Politics as Usual’ (Palgrave 2011); Migration, Identity and Belonging (with G. Delanty, P. Jones, LUP 2011), The Discursive Construction of History. Remembering the Wehrmacht’s War of Annihilation (with H. Heer, W. Manoschek, A. Pollak, Palgrave 2008), Gedenken im Gedankenjahr (with R. de Cillia, Studienverlag 2009); The SAGE Handbook of Sociolinguistics (with B. Johnstone and P. Kerswill; Sage 2010); Critical Discourse Analysis (2013; 4 Volumes; Sage Major Works), Analysing Fascism: Fascism in Talk and Text (with J. Richardson, Routledge 2013), and co-editor of Rightwing Populism across Europe: Politics and  Discourse (London: Bloomsbury, 2013).

See http://www.ling.lancs.ac.uk/profiles/Ruth-Wodak for more information on on-going research projects and recent publications.

16 December 2015, 16:20, WI-LR13

Mr Paul Giannasi OBE

Head of the Cross Government Hate Crime Programme, Ministry of Justice

Hate Speech and Hate Crime in the UK, Including Crimes That Target Muslims

Paul Giannasi has lead the cross-Government programme in the UK since 2007 and leads the development of hate crime policy for the police, authoring the 2014 national police Hate Crime Strategy and Guidance (http://www.report-it.org.uk/strategy_and_guidance). He will outline the emergence of hate crime as a policy area and compare the UK response to other states. He will discuss some of the particular challenges in balancing the often competing rights to free speech and protection form targeted abuse and talk about the operational challenges this brings to law enforcement, particularly since the proliferation of social media.

Paul will also examine how the impact of Middle East conflicts play out on the streets of the UK will argue that the single most important policy decision is to follow a human right approach, protecting all citizens equally and protecting the individual rather than any theology or characteristic, he will argue that this approach protects all but that officials must understand the nature of hostility to be able to deliver this equitable protection. He will also give his view of the current level of hostility towards Muslims in the UK.

Paul works in the Ministry of Justice in the United Kingdom. He leads the cross-government Hate Crime Programme which brings all sectors of government together to coordinate efforts to improve the response to hate crime across the criminal justice system.

Paul is the UK National Point of Contact to the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights on hate crime and has worked to share good practice within the OSCE region and within Africa.

Paul has 30 years experience as a police officer and is a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Hate Crime Group. He manages True Vision (www.report-it.org.uk) on behalf of the police and is the author of the 2014 Police Hate Crime Manual which offers guidance to all UK police officers and partners. He is the co-editor of the 2014 ‘Routledge International Handbook on Hate Crime’.

Paul was awarded an OBE in the 2014 New Years Honours list for services to policing, equality and human rights.

17 February 2016, 16:20, WI-LR13

Book Celebration

MESG Members


Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh

Debating India: Essays on Indian Political Discourse (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Debating India traces the origins and development of the Indian tradition of public debate and the various forms it took at different times in Indian history. It examines some of the major debates that occurred during the independence struggle and the ways in which they structured the conceptual and moral parameters of the Indian political imagination. The debates involved Gandhi, Tagore, Nehru, Ambedkar, and Hindu militants, and centred on the kind of country India was and should aspire to be.

Gandhi’s non-violent struggle claims to provide an answer to deep differences of views and conflicts of interest. Presenting riveting accounts, such as of Einstein’s views on Gandhi’s philosophy of Ahims? or of Gandhi-Tagore debates, and through an imaginary dialogue between Gandhi and Osama bin Laden, Parekh critically examines the strengths and weaknesses of Gandhian philosophy. In the process, the book points to a richer and politically more realistic approach to public debate than are currently on offer.


Professor Jo Carby-Hall

Jo Carby-Hall (ed.), Essays on Human Rights: A Celebration of the Life of Dr Janusz Kochanowski(Warsaw: Jus et Lex Foundation, 2014)

This book of essays is different to the “normal” books which treat human rights. The authors were required to treat the notion of human rights in its widest sense. The consequence resulted in a rich tapestry being woven on such unusual topics as tax havens and international human rights norms, the right to water in the Palestinian territories, the rights of the deceased, the EU Ombudsman’s role in promoting ethical behaviour of European civil servants, the ILO’s decent work concept, the British Parliament and human rights, human rights in South Africa and Israel, prophylactic measures on safety and health at work and a host of other scholarly essays each of which deals with unusual topics which have a human rights element therein. In that respect this book is somewhat of an innovation when compared to what is included in human rights books.


Dr Gary Edles

Independent Agencies in the United States: Law, Structure, and Politics(NY: Oxford University Press, 2015).

The book is a full-length study of the structure and workings of American independent government agencies, which are occasionally referred to as the “headless fourth branch of government.”  Independent agencies are those government units that are set up to provide freedom from some of the usual control of government ministries by the elected branches.  The book also addresses similarities and differences among U.S., EU, and U.K independent agencies.  It analyses the general conflict between political accountability and the need for independent expertise in administering government programmes.  It is designed to be both a scholarly work and a practical guide for those who deal with independent agencies.


Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side: Moral and Social Responsibility on the Free Highway(Washington DC.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Cambridge University Press, 2015).

The book aims to strike a balance between the free speech principle and the responsibilities of the individual, corporation, state, and the international community. This book brings a global perspective to the analysis of some of the most troubling uses of the Internet: cyberbullying, cybercrime, terrorism, child pornography, hate and bigotry. It urges net users, Internet service providers, and liberal democracies to weigh freedom and security, finding the golden mean between unlimited license and moral responsibility. This judgement is necessary to uphold the very liberal democratic values that gave rise to the Internet and that are threatened by an unbridled use of technology.

2 March 2016

Professor Caroline Kennedy, 16:20, WI-SR294

Chair, PPIS, Hull

Reflections on the War on Terror in Afghanistan

Caroline Kennedy is Professor of War Studies and Head of the School of Politics, Philosophy and International Studies. She is currently working on IEDs, Drones and the effects of Drone Strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. She is also working on the future maritime security implications of the High North as well as leading on the University India and South East Asia Project.

9 March 2016

His Excellency AmbassadorMazen Kamal Homoud, 16:20, WI-LT15

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Jordan and the challenges in the Middle East 

Before entering the Foreign Service in 1986, the Ambassador completed two years army conscription. His first posting was at Jordan’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. He was then seconded to the Royal Hashemite Court where he was Deputy Chief of Royal Protocol until December 1999. Between 2000 and 2007, the Ambassador became involved with economic sectors of the government. He was Deputy CEO of the Jordan Investment Board and General Manager of the Jordan Tourism Board. In 2007 he took up the position of CEO of a major public shareholding company in the real estate development field in the port city of Aqaba.

The Ambassador carries several decorations: The Grand Cordon of the Order of Independence (Jordan); Commander of the Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands); Officer of the National Order of Merit (France); Knight of the Grand Cross (Austria); Grand Officer of Legion of Honor (France).

Born in 1962, he received school education in several cities such as New Delhi, Baghdad, Cairo, and Moscow. He later attended boarding school at Dover College and Greylands College in the Isle of Wight. He graduated Political Science and Sociology from the University of North Alabama in 1984 and completed Senior Executive Education from Harvard Business School in 2003, and is a 2004 Eisenhower Fellow.

The Ambassador is married to Alia Mohammad Armouti since 1988, and together they are blessed with a son and daughter.



13 April 2016

Dr Sophia Dingli, 16:20, WI-LR13



Obama’s Arabian debacle? Re-examining US policy in Yemen amidst the rule


Intent on mitigating the threat posed by the Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), while strengthening the Yemeni state, Obama’s policy in Yemen consisted in the utilisation of unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance and to attack AQAP targets, the strengthening of the Yemeni military’s counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency capacities and the provision of some aid through USAID to help build the state’s governance and development capacities. In September 2014 Obama declared that Yemen was emblematic of the USA’s successful policies. A few days later a northern militia force took over Sanaa and by March 2015, a mere five months after Obama’s triumphant statement, the state was mired in several all-out conflicts. In retrospect, Obama’s press statement in September resembles Bush’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment, making Yemen Obama’s personal Arabian debacle.


This paper argues that in light of these events, we need to re-examine US policy in Yemen. It does so in three parts. The first analyses how we read and perceive US intentions and policies in Yemen, especially questioning the assumption that strengthening the Yemeni state was and remained an imperative. It examines the presuppositions driving the assumptions found in the literature and provides an alternative reading of US policy goals and actions. It then proceeds to analyse how we can interpret US policy if we assume that the Yemeni state became largely disposable for the US. In its third part the paper moves to reread the story of US policy in Yemen in recent years not in isolation but as part of larger movements in the international arena and their implications. In its conclusion, the paper returns to its original question, whether Obama’s policy in Yemen has indeed been a debacle, examining other possible courses of action for the US and offering a tacit reading of future developments.



Dr. Sophia Dingli is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Hull. She holds a BA in history and Politics, an MA in International Law and Politics and a PhD in Politics. Her research is driven by the question of ‘silence’ and its implications for the theory and practice of international politics with a special focus on its implications in the Middle East. Among her publications: Prudence and the Politics of (Re)Unification: Lessons from Yemen for Cyprusand Is the Failed State Thesis Analytically Useful? The Case of Yemen.








4 May 2016, 16:20, WI-LT15

MESG Annual Lecture

Lord Williams of Baglan, Ph.D

Search for a Diplomatic Solution to the Syrian Conflict


Raised in South Wales, Lord Williams aspired to an international career from an early age. He studied at University College London and the School of Oriental and African Studies in London where he gained his Ph.D. and M.Sc. before starting his career with Amnesty International. In 1984 he joined the BBC World Service as an editor, where he formed a lifelong bond with the corporation – its people and its ethos.

Following his time at the World Service, he moved to the United Nations where he was based in Cambodia as Deputy Director for Human Rights; in former Yugoslavia as Director for Information; Geneva as Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and New York as Director, Office for Children and Armed Conflict. Lord Williams was involved in peace processes in Cambodia and the Balkans in 1990’s and was Director for Middle East and Asia in UN secretariat, New York 2004-8. Between 2000 and 2005 he was Special Adviser to two Foreign Secretaries: Robin Cook, and then Jack Straw. During that time he also continued his contribution to the BBC as a board member of the BBC World Service Trust.

More recently he has worked once again for the United Nations and returned from Beirut in 2011 after three years as Under-Secretary General, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon.

He was appointed to the House of Lords in October 2010 and joined the BBC Trust in December 2011.

Meetings 2014-2015

15 October 2014

While the World Was at War: The Birth of the Middle East

Staff house, conference room 2

4-8 pm

This symposium proposes to address the implications of World War One by looking at the events that occurred and resulted whilst the world was at war. The event will provide alternative perspectives on three areas of focus: The formation of Turkey, an examination of the way in which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s magnanimous 1934 speech has had a significant impact on relations between Australia, New Zealand and Turkey in the commemoration of the Gallipoli campaign, and conflict and peace in Palestine and Syria. The event promises to present important shifts in the global map that have resonated into contemporary international relations. It shall highlight the key events and factors that have led to the basis of modern day Middle East.


Professor James Connelly, MESG

Death Rattle of an Empire; Birth Pangs of a Republic


Dr Jenny Macleod, Department of History

“Those heroes that shed their blood … you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country”: friends and enemies, and the commemoration of the Gallipoli campaign’


Professor John Friend, MESG

Conflict and Peace in Palestine and Syria









22 October 2014, 16:15, WI-SR294

Professor Lester L. Grabbe, MESG

KING DAVID AND EL CID: Two ‘APIRU in myth and history


One of the main problems we have with extracting history from the biblical text is that many personages and events are attested in no other source. This applies to the seminal period of the Israelite monarchy’s beginnings, with the reigns of David and Solomon. Not only are there no other written sources, but the archaeology is currently disputed. Without other reliable sources we are thrown back on trying to evaluate the biblical account, with all its problematic features. I propose here to use the story of the medieval Spanish hero known as El Cid to illumine the historical process involved in appraising the biblical account.

Lester L. Grabbe is Emeritus Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism at the University of Hull. As the academic title indicates, his main interest is in the history of ancient Israel and the Jews of the Second Temple period. He founded and convenes the European Seminar on Methodology in Israel’s History, and publishes the proceedings in the sub-series European Seminar in Historical Methodology (T & T Clark International). 9 volumes are available and 2 more are in the process of editing. In addition, he has authored a dozen volumes, as well editing or co-editing a total of 16 volumes. He is series editor of the T & T Clark International monograph series, Library of Second Temple Studies. Before retirement, he established and taught for several years a module, Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, and another module, Religious Sectarianism in History and the Modern World.







19 November 2014, 16:15, WI-SR294

Dr Bhumitra Chakma, MESG

South Asia’s Nuclear Security

South Asia has two sets of nuclear danger. First, the possibility of deterrence failure between India and Pakistan is conceived to be high. Second, the region is a probable source of nuclear terrorism. My talk based on a forthcoming book seeks to explain these two sets of nuclear danger in South Asia. In particular it evaluates the robustness of the Indo-Pakistani mutual deterrence by analysing the strength and weaknesses of the competing arguments regarding the issue. It also analyses the causes and consequences of nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan, the nature of deterrence structure in the region and the challenges of confidence building and arms control between the two countries in order to assess the robustness of South Asia’s nuclear deterrence. Furthermore, it assesses the safety and security of the nuclear assets and nuclear infrastructure of India and Pakistan. Finally, my talk attempts to extrapolates the future of South Asia’s nuclear security and what needs to be done to strengthen it.


Bhumitra Chakma is Senior Lecturer in Security Studies in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Hull. He is also the founding director the Department’s South Asia Project. Chakma’s research interests include: politics of nuclear weapons, ethnicity and nationalism, South Asian strategic politics. He has published three books on South Asia’s nuclear weapons: Strategic Dynamics and Nuclear Weapons Proliferation in South Asia (Bern and New York: Peter Lang, 2004); Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons (London and New York: Routledge, 2009; paperback edition, 2010); (ed.) The Politics of Nuclear Weapons in South Asia (London: Ashgate Publishing House, 2011).


27 November 2014, 17:00, Wilberforce LR8

Lord David Trimble

The First MESG Annual Lecture:

Peace Negotiations and Mediation: what lessons can we learn from Northern Ireland?


William David Trimble, Baron TrimblePC (born 15 October 1944), is a British politician who was the First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2002, and the Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party from 1995 to 2005. He was also the Member of Parliament for Upper Bann from 1990 to 2005 and Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Upper Bann from 1998 to 2007. In 2006, he was made a life peer in theHouse of Lords and a year later left the UUP to join the Conservative Party. Lord Trimble was instrumental in the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, and (along with John Hume) won theNobel Peace Prize that year for his efforts.











18 February 2015, 16:20, WI-LR14

Sir Richard Dalton

Understanding Iranian Aspirations

Security, independence, freedom, and respect, with cultural and material progress; all to be obtained through strength at home and influence overseas – it is easy to state what Iran and its people want. Decision-making is much the same as in any other state – the government led by the President (in effect a Prime Minister like the French PM, though directly elected) draws in the views of the Agencies concerned and takes decisions in its areas of competence referring other matters – especially security ones – to the Supreme Leader. But Iran’s religious mission lends this familiar picture a particular character. The speaker will explore what this character is and suggest how Iran’s fortunes will develop, within an uncertain international, regional and domestic context.

Sir Richard Dalton was a British diplomat from 1970 to 2006, serving mainly in the Middle East. He was Consul General in Jerusalem from 1993-1997, and Ambassador in Libya from 1999-2002. From 2002-2006 he was Ambassador in Tehran where he played a role in European negotiations with Iran.


He is an Associate Fellow of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House, working primarily on Libya, Iran and the Gulf.



18 March 2015, 16:20, WI-SR294

Professor Derek J. Penslar

Theodor Herzl on Three Continents: Africa, Asia and South America

Theodor Herzl was the founder of political Zionism, but he was also the father of Territorialism, a now-forgotten movement that sought to obtain a secure territory for Jews in any part of the world. This talk will explore Herzl’s attitudes towards territory and how it was to be obtained, settled and developed. This approach will throw new light on Herzl’s relationship with European colonialism as well as the Jewish milieu in which the Zionist movement crystalized at the fin de siecle.

Derek Penslar is the Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies at Oxford and the Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History at the University of Toronto. He is a comparative historian with interests in the relationship between modern Israel and diaspora Jewish societies, global nationalist movements, European colonialism, and post-colonial states. Penslar is author or editor of ten books, including Israel in History: The Jewish State in Comparative Perspective (2011), The Origins of the State of Israel: A Documentary History (with Eran Kaplan, 2011), and Jews and the Military: A History (2013). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Academy for Jewish Research.


15 April 2015, 16:20, WI-SR294

Professor Clive Jones

Fragmented Sovereignty and the use of Air Power: The Case of South Arabia and Yemen

From reconnaissance missions and intelligence gathering, through to their use as platforms for targeted killings, few technological developments in how states now prosecute wars have provoked such fierce debate as the use of airpower and in particular Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or Drones. For many, they represent the vanguard of a new way of war, efficacious in their reach and precision, relatively cheap to operate and in an era of conflict defined by Thomas Hammes as ‘post-heroic’, able to monitor and reach areas where the level of threat or indeed geographic locations denies the use of more conventional troops.


Such casualty aversion it has been argued has seen the use of Drones increase exponentially in conflict zones, a function of technological innovation combined with remote control that removes all physical risk to those controlling its operational use. In turn, moral constraints over the delivery of lethal force from on high are diluted, the analogy to a video game where the player can switch off and walk away from the consequences of their action providing the most common, if at times ill-informed critique.


Others go further. Critics of a Liberal world order see the sue of drones as indicative of a West who, having been unable to subdue the ‘other’, now look at least to contain it at its margins, an act of neo-imperialism in the very best traditions of formal empires of the past. Indeed, putting aside for one moment the reductive antipathy towards a West that continues to champion the ‘repressive essence of Global Capitalism’, the analogy with empires of the past is not so misguided. The use of airpower to subdue ‘restive natives’ was indeed part of the aerial policing strategy developed by British Colonial officials and openly embraced by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the aftermath of World War One as it looked to secure its future and thwart the avarice designs of a British Army who saw its independence as a financial drain on an already diminishing defence budget.


Debates over the use of air power back then have a clear resonance today. The extent to which RAF planes could and should control the hinterlands of Empire – most notably across the tribally based entities across the Middle East – certainly has echoes over how Drones should be similarly employed against comparable targets albeit with a longer global reach. Equally, the moral issues of remoteness stand comparison – the dropping of bombs on restive tribesman from 3000 feet was as remote as it could get in the 1920s with similar comparisons over moral rectitude to be drawn.


However, International Humanitarian Law (IHL) has increasingly been used to criminalise military operations – and not just those restricted to the use of air power alone – as a means of a liberal constraint focusing on civilian harm. Human rights lawyers such as Clive Stafford-Smith have highlighted the use of Drones over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia as being in total violation of IHL, not least in terms of the civilian casualties inflicted and sovereignty infringed. Undoubtedly such accusations carry weight, not least when seen as of a piece with a continuing ‘War on Terror’ long sullied by the use of rendition and torture in the popular imagination. However, IHL is about moderating use of violence but NOT prohibiting the use of proportionate, discriminate and necessary force in the pursuit of military operations. In short, IHL recognises that civilians do die in armed conflict and that accordingly, those that see IHL as mechanism of imposing absolute restraint on military operations either misunderstand the remit of IHL or have wilfully looked to politicise its implementation.


This concentration on individual human rights and state sovereignty that now dominates debate over the use of airpower (and drones in particular) has however obscured other lines of enquiry that offer alternative perspectives on the impact – militarily, legally and morally – over the use of airpower in and among tribally based societies. The most obvious is how effective are such strikes and do they necessarily alienate the target populations – not least when collateral damage and deaths to civilians ensue – thereby driving support, for the rebellion or insurgency? The obvious answer, and in some cases the correct one – might be an unambiguous yes. Equally however, our implicit understanding of the political context in which such attacks take place are informed by a Weberian construct of the State. The proposition put here is this might offer an inaccurate assessment over how airpower has been perceived and indeed utilised among peoples where a sense of identity is parochial or at best regional and where the means and mechanisms of social cohesion, identity and legitimacy are more clan or tribally based than any overt loyalty to state structures. In short, allegiance to a sovereign authority remains fragmentary at best.


What emerges therefore is perhaps a ‘tribal political field’ in which the internal balance between ruler and ruled is rarely static; rather it is constantly renegotiated or indeed contested amid a patrimonial order that 1) has privileged particular tribes to ensure regime longevity 2) extended or withheld material largesse to actors, both tribal and political, to ensure immediate gains. Amid such complex arenas in which state structures might run parallel with, but also be challenged by a shifting tribal landscape, air power as part of a wider conflagration might act to enhance the power of one tribal grouping over another, or one actor over another. Accordingly, while the use of airpower might be a necessary condition in alienating a targeted group, it might equally empower others whose interests, be they fleeting or longer term, accord with those of the intervening actor.


Clive Jones holds a Chair in Regional Security (Middle East) at the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University. He was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society in 2011, and is currently the Chairman of the European Association of Israel Studies (EAIS). Between 2007 and 2010 he was co-editor of the journal Civil Wars and is currently an editorial board member of the SSCI ranked journals Mediterranean Politics and Studies in Conflict and Terrorism.

Clive’s research interests lie in three related areas: International Relations (particularly with regard to foreign and defence policy decision-making), Middle East studies (with a clear emphasis upon Israel and Gulf Security) and security studies (with emphasis upon low intensity conflict and the political and operational use of intelligence as it relates to the Middle East). His book Britain and the Yemen Civil War 1962-1965 (2004/2010) as well as recent articles in peer reviewed journals such as The Middle East Journal, Middle Eastern Studies, International Affairs and Studies in Conflict and Terrorism have explored many of these themes. In 2010, his work on British covert involvement in the Yemen civil War during the 1960s was the subject of a BBC documentary








6 May 2015, 16:20, WI-SR294

Charlie Hebdo: Testing the Limits of Freedom of Expression and Islamic Blasphemy Law

Dr Niaz A Shah

This paper aims to test the permissible limits on the right to freedom of expression contained in Article 10 of the European Court of Human Rights 1950 and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1996. The attack on Charlie Hebdo will serve as a case in point to analyse whether publications of the Prophet Muhammad images can be restricted. In turn, the paper also critically examines the Islamic blasphemy law in Pakistan and the extent to which it complies with international human rights standards. Finally, the paper explores whether Islamic blasphemy law allows the concept of self-help, i.e. taking Islamic law into one’s own hands as the attackers of Charlie Hebdo did.

Dr Shah completed in PhD, in June 2005, in the area of Islamic and International Human Rights Law from Queen’s University, Belfast. Currently, he is Reader in Law at the University of Hull, UK. He teaches human rights law, refugee law and Islamic law. Dr Shah has published three monographs and several peer reviewed articles in the areas of Islamic and public international law.


Dr Shah has worked for the European Union on their Rule of Law and Human Rights Programme in Pakistan. Dr Shah is a Lead Trainer for training judges on human rights in the administration of justice in Pakistan since December 2013. Dr Shah has also worked for UNDP, Somalia on their restorative justice and alternative disputes resolution programme.


Dr Shah was called to the Bar in England and Wales in 2014 and is practicing from Nexus Chambers, Lincoln’s Inn.



Meetings 2013-2014

All meetings begin at 4.15pm (unless it is stated otherwise) and are held in Wilberforce room 210-0 at the University


Dr Rusi Jaspal, “Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism in Iran”
8 January 2014

Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism constitute two important ideological building blocks of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Yet, there is no existing research into the psychosocial motives underlying the manifestation of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism at the institutional level in Iran or in the Iranian general population. Here it is argued that there is much heuristic and predictive value in applying tenets of Identity Process Theory (IPT), a socio-psychological model of identity threat and action, to the primarily socio-historical literature on anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in Iran.

In the first half of the paper, the author provides a summary of anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and ‘new anti-Semitism’ and IPT. It is argued that (i) anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism may restore feelings of belonging in the Muslim world and beyond; (ii) there are important inter-relations between ingroup and outgroup self-efficacy; (iii) there is a psychological motivation to maintain Shiite ideology and Khomeini’s legacy; (iv) Jews and Israel are constructed and perceived in terms of a threat to group continuity. In the second half of the paper, quantitative survey data, qualitative interview data and qualitative visual and media data are presented in support of these assertions. It is suggested that insights into the motivational principles underlying anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism may inform further empirical research into social representations of Jews and Israel in Iran and potential interventions for mitigating anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. More broadly, this paper highlights the potential contribution of social psychology to existing work on anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in political science and the humanities.

Dr Rusi Jaspal (M.A., Cambridge; M.Sc., Surrey; Ph.D., London) is Lecturer in Psychology at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. Dr. Jaspal has published widely on identity, intergroup relations and the media, with a particular focus on anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in Iran and the Muslim world. His work in this area has appeared in journals such as Israel Affairs, The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs and The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. Rusi Jaspal is co-editor (with Prof Dame Glynis Breakwell) of Identity Process Theory: Identity, Social Action and Social Change (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and the author of Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism: Representation, Cognition and Everyday Talk (Ashgate, 2013).


Mr Dan Meridor, “The Arab Spring and Its Impact on the Middle East and World Order
18 December 2013, 4.00pm

Dan Meridor was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intelligence in the Government of Israel from 31.3.2009 until 18.3.2013.

In the years 2003 – 2008 Dan Meridor practiced law at Haim Zadok & Co Law Offices.

At that period Dan Meridor served as Chairman of The Jerusalem Foundation.

In 2001-2003 Mr Meridor served as a Minister in the Israeli government, in charge of strategic affairs, and was a member of the Inner Cabinet.

In 1999-2001 Mr Meridor served as the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset.

In 1996-1997 Mr Meridor was the Minister of Finance of Israel. As Minister of Finance, Mr. Meridor initiated sweeping reforms in the economy through massive budget cuts, liberalization and privatization.

In 1988-1992 Dan Meridor was the Minister of Justice of Israel. He promoted human rights legislation, and Israel’s first (and so far – only) human rights constitutional laws were enacted during his term, creating the “constitutional revolution”, empowering the Supreme Court with judicial review over Knesset laws.

In 1982-1984 Mr Meridor served as the Secretary of the Cabinet under Prime Minister Menahem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir.

In 1984 he was elected to the Knesset and he served as a member of the Knesset until 2003. He was elected to the Knesset again at 2009. In the Knesset, Mr Meridor served on the Committee of Foreign Affairs and Defense, the Committee of Constitution, Law & Justice and the Ethics Committee.

Mr Meridor is a graduate of the Faculty of Law in the Hebrew University and practiced law in Jerusalem for many years.

Dan Meridor is a captain (res.) in the I.D.F. He fought as a tank commander in the Six Days War and in the Yom Kippur War.

Mr Meridor was the Chairman of the Public Council of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Earlier he served as Chairman of the Board of the Israel Museum and as a member of the Board of the Gesher Theatre.

Dan Meridor was born in Jerusalem in 1947, where he lives ever since.

He is married to Dr Leora Meridor, with four children and seven grandchildren.

Ambassador Prof Manuel Hassasian, “The Peace Process – where to?”
20 November 2013

Born in Jerusalem and educated at the College des Frères, Professor Manuel Hassassian left his homeland for brief periods after his high school years to pursue his higher education, earning his BA in Political Science from the American University of Beirut in 1975, his MA in International Relations from Toledo University, Ohio,

U.S.A. in 1976 and his PhD in Comparative Politics from University of Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A. in 1986.

Professor Manuel Hassassian served Bethlehem University and the Palestinian people with distinction for twenty five years. He is a dynamic professor of political science and has demonstrated brilliant leadership in several key administrative roles at the University: Dean of Students, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Chair of the Humanities Department and for the past nine years as the Executive Vice President, during which time he also served as the President of the Rectors’ Conference of the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education and President of the Palestinian-European-American Cooperation in Education (PEACE) program.

Professor Hassassian has been a superb representative of the University at the Ministry of Higher Education, at the Association of Arab Universities, and among other international academic organizations. He has also been a visiting scholar at the University of Reims, France; Villanova University, USA; University of Maryland at College Park, USA; University of Vermont, USA; Earlham College, USA; and the University College, Dublin, Ireland.

In addition to the many demands on his time with senior administrative responsibilities at Bethlehem University, during his tenure at Bethlehem University Professor Hassassian made significant scholarly contributions in the field of political science with the publication of over 100 reviews, articles and chapters, including Palestinian Political Culture, Civic Society and the Concept of Citizenship, The Transformation of Palestinian Civil Society and its Role in Developing Democratic Trends in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Historical Justice and Compensation for Palestinian Refugees. Professor Hassassian also served the Palestinian people as a consultant to the Higher Ministerial Committee for Church Affairs, the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, UNESCO, the Palestinian Negotiating Team on Refugee Final Settlement, the Orient House P.L.O. Office in Jerusalem as Chief Political Advisor to the late Mr. Faysal Husseini, Minister of State Affairs – Head of the Jerusalem File, and the Ministerial Commission on Refugees, among others.

Among his academic awards and honours, Professor Hassassian was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Docteur Honoris Causa) by the University of Reims, France, and nominated by the Center of International Development and Conflict Management, University of Maryland, for the Gleitzman Middle East Award.


Prof Eric Barendt – “Is it legitimate to ban hate speech?”
21 November, 4.00-6.00pm

The legitimacy of hate speech bans is one of the hardest questions for liberal democracies to resolve. Can extreme hate speech be restricted without interfering with free political discourse?

Eric Barendt, Emeritus Professor of Law, UCL, is an internationally renowned expert on media law. He was Goodman Professor of Media Law at UCL from 1990 until 2010. Before coming to UCL, he lectured law at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. Professor Barendt is the author of many important books and articles on media law, the laws of libel and privacy, and freedom of expression, most notably Freedom of Speech(2ndedition: Oxford University Press, 2005). His most recent book is Academic Freedom and the Law (Hart, 2010). Professor Barendt is also the editor of the Journal of Media Law.

Prof Lester Grabbe, MESG, “The Manipulation of History for Ideology: Pro-Palestinian and Pro-Zionist Examples
16 October 2013

My aim in this paper is to discuss how both sides in the debate have attempted to manipulate history to support their own ends. The focus will be on examples mainly from ancient history to illustrate the point. The pro-Zionist examples include Masada and Bar-Kokhva; the pro-Palestinian examples will include Keith Whitelam’s Invention of Israel and Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People.


Dr Ahron Bregman, King’s College, “The Yom Kippur War”
8 May 2013

Dr Ashraf Marwan, President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s son-in-law and later President Anwar Sadat’s close advisor was recruited by Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Agency, in 1970, and went on to provide his Israeli handlers with startling information on Egypt’s preparations for war. Within Israel’s intelligence community he was regarded as “a miraculous source”. But a growing school of thought maintains that Marwan was a double agent, planted by Egyptian intelligence to feed Israel false information – the jewel in their crown and crucial to Egypt’s plan of deception in the lead up to the 1973 Yom Kippur war. This article analyses the role Marwan played in the years leading up to the war, assesses his contribution to Israel’s intelligence failure before the war, and argues that whether Marwan was loyal to Israel, or an agent planted by Egypt, the result was the same, namely that Israel fell into the trap of raising his status to such an extent that he became a “super-source”, blinding Israel to those other intelligence sources that could have saved her from being caught by surprise on 6 October 1973.

Ahron (Ronnie) Bregman was born in Israel in 1958. After six years of army service, during which he took part in the 1978 Litani Campaign and the 1982 war in Lebanon, reaching the rank of Captain, he began work as a parliamentary assistant at the Knesset. He studied in Jerusalem and London, completing a doctorate in War Studies at King’s College, London in 1994. He is the author of The Fifty Years War: Israel and the Arabs (1998, with Jihan el-Tahri), the companion book to a six-part BBC / PBS television documentary; Israel’s Wars: A History since 1947 (2000, 2002, 2009); A History of Israel (2003); and Elusive Peace: How the Holy Land Defeated America (2005), the companion book to a three-part BBC / PBS television documentary. His book Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories will be published by Penguin in 2013. Ahron teaches at the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London.

Dr Ahron Bregman
Department of War Studies,
Kings College London,
tel: 07535 483929



Dr Conny Beyer, “The Middle Eastern Eagle. How the MENA Region can Rise”
10 April 2013

The MENA region has the potential to rise if it puts the recent changes to good use. Political changes in some countries might have opened the way for liberalization, which in turn again might facilitate democratization. Both will benefit the economic development of the region. So far, economic growth is hindered by excessive and ineffective public sectors, which do not provide sufficient opportunities for the growing young populations. Privatization of some services and a general liberalization of the markets might help bring the young workforce into employment and in the long run will fuel an economic upswing.


Dr Athina Karatzogianni, “A Cyberconflict Analysis of the 2011 Arab Spring Uprisings”
6 March 2013

This paper employs the cyberconflict perspective to offer a critical analysis of the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, situating their digital elements within a historical, geo-socio-political and communications context. The media context of the Arab uprisings is discussed to identify the role of social media activism within the digital development and e-governance environment specific to each country. Social media activism is examined in relation to the history of digital activism and resistance: digital resistance within wider networks of discontent and protest against a neoliberal capitalist order in a time of a global financial crisis; the effect of ICTs on mobilization structures, organizational forms, participation, recruitment, tactics and goals of protesters; changes in framing processes; the impact of the political opportunity structure on resistances; and hacktivism, cyberattacks in support of the protesters, and crackdowns over Internet dissents by the authorities.


Dr Alan Craig, Leeds University, “Why Change the Law? UK-Israel relations in the shadow of the Universal Jurisdiction”
27 February 2013

In the light of the 2011 changes in the UK universal jurisdiction law restricting the right of the UK citizen to prosecute war crimes, this article examines the tension between the apparently competing principles of ending impunity for war crimes on the one hand and sovereignty and the demands of stable international relations on the other. The argument is advanced that the politics of the UK Israel bi-lateral relationship generated a common interest between the two states in increased UK government control of the prosecution process. The article examines the UK universal jurisdiction regime both before and after the 2011 reforms and concludes that, despite this apparent coincidence of interest, government control remains incomplete, with the possible arrest of visiting Israeli elites constituting a continuing unresolved tension between the processes of UK human rights law and the demands of international relations.


Sophia Dingli, “The Politics of (Re)Unification: Lessons from Yemen for Cyprus”
30 January 2013

Through a comparative engagement with the histories of division and the politics of (re)unification in Yemen and Cyprus this article draws tentative lessons for Cyprus from the experience of Yemen’s (re)unification and its aftermath. It argues that the Yemeni case provides Cypriots with strategies for the de-legitimization of narratives of intractability. However, despite some positive lessons, the greatest lesson the experience of Yemen should teach Cyprus is to avoid engaging in the politics of (re)unification under the guidance of opportunism and without any vestiges of prudence. Therefore, this article argues that for now, in light of the lessons Yemen has taught us, (re)unification should be avoided. It should only be revisited when prudence prevails on both sides.

Key words: Yemen, Cyprus, (re)unification, intractability, natural gas, prudence.

Sophia Dingli is a PhD Candidate at the Politics Department of the University of Hull. Her thesis is concerned with the marginalisation of the post-colonial in International Relations Theory and Yemeni politics


Dr Bhumitra Chakma, “Escalation Control, Deterrence Diplomacy and South Asia’s Nuclear Crises”
5 December 2012

This paper assesses the significance of American diplomatic intervention in the de-escalation of two South Asian nuclear crises – the 1999 Kargil conflict and the 2001–2002 military standoff. The American role in those crises is often referred to as crisis manager or secondary in the context of the region’s strategic and crisis stability. A careful analysis of American diplomatic interventions, however, reveals that the role is much greater, conceptualized here as deterrence diplomacy, meaning intense, focused diplomatic activity specifically to forestall crisis escalation and the outbreak of large-scale Indo-Pakistani war. More than is commonly realized, the United States was integral in the crisis strategies of both countries. It played a pivotal role preventing crisis escalation and the outbreak of large-scale conflict between India and Pakistan in both confrontations. And the American role was instrumental in the termination of those confrontations, particularly the Kargil conflict. Without America’s effective deterrence diplomacy, any of the past South Asian crises could have escalated to the nuclear level. No global generalization can be made from this analysis because it is mostly South Asia specific. However, it is plausible to argue that the United States, as the key systemic power, will have an important role in future regional deterrence.



MP Diana Johnson, “The Middle East and the Arab Spring – Personal Reflections”
23 November 2012 at 12 pm

Diana Johnson MP for Kingston Upon Hull North

Diana Johnson MP is Labour Member of Parliament for Hull North. She has been Shadow Home Office Minister since October 2010; Shadow Health Minister (May 2010 to October 2010); Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children Schools and Families (June 2009 to May 2010); Assistant Government Whip (July 2007-June 2009); Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP as Chief Secretary to the Treasury (2006-07), and as Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (2005-06). Her political interests include employment rights, crime and policing, health, education, and animal welfare. MP Johnson is Member of the Fawcett Society 2000, Amnesty International, the Fabian Society, the Co-operative Party, and the Labour Women’s Network. Her hobbies include cinema, dog walking, theatre and football (Hull City FC).

Please view Diana’s biography:

Prof Raphael Cohen-Almagor – “Just and Unjust Wars – A Study of the Israeli Wars”
31 October 2012

The debate over what constitutes a just war is ancient. Just war theories stem from philosophical, religious and military thinking. Christian religious thinkers, like St. Augustine (354-430), and Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) spoke of laws of war and peace, reflecting on the reasons that bring about war (jus ad bellum) and the means employed in the conduct of war (jus in bello). A contemporary thinker who has developed a liberal theory on just and unjust wars that accentuates moral considerations is Michael Walzer. He used Clausewitzas a point of departure, aiming to construct an interdisciplinary liberal theory that brings together political theory, ethics and international relations. In this paper, I employ Walzer’s theory to assess the justifications for all Israeli wars from the day of its establishment until the present. Section (I) provides historical-philosophical background and context. Section (II) accentuates the underpinning principles of Walzer’s theory. Section (III) explains Israel’s precarious position in the Middle East and its defence policy. Section (IV) employs Walzer’s theory to analyse the wars. I argue that while the 1948 Independence War, the 1956 Suez War, the 1967 Six Day War, and the 1973 Yom Kippur War were justified, the 1982 Lebanon War, the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War, and the 2008-2009 War on Gaza were not.

Key words: Israel, Arab-Israeli conflict, just wars, jus ad bellum, jus in bello, Michael Walzer, proportionality

Raphael Cohen-Almagor (D. Phil., St. Catherine’s College, Oxford) published extensively in the fields of political science, philosophy, law, media ethics, Internet studies, medical ethics, business ethics, sociology, history and education. He was Visiting Professor at UCLA and Johns Hopkins, Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Co-Founder and Chairperson of “The Second Generation to the Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance” Organization in Israel; Founder and Director of the Medical Ethics Think-tank at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute; Chairperson of Library and Information Studies, and Founder and Director of the Center for Democratic Studies, University of Haifa; Member of The Israel Press Council, and (Acting) Deputy Dean for Research, University of Hull. Raphael won many grants and scholarships, including Fulbright, the British Council, the Canadian government, the Italian Foreign Office, Volkswagen, Rich, Rothschild, Rockefeller and Yigal Alon. Among his recent books are Speech, Media and Ethics (2001, 2005), The Scope of Tolerance (2006, 2007), The Democratic Catch (2007), and his second poetry book Voyages (2007). His sixteenth book concerning public responsibility in Israel was published in July 2012. Further information http://weber.hull.ac.uk/rcahttp://immediacy.hull.ac.uk/fass/me-study-group.aspxhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raphael_Cohen-Almagor and http://almagor.blogspot.com/


Meetings 2011-2012

Councillor Colin Inglis, Lord Mayor of Hull – Middle Eastern Immigration to Hull
6 June 2011






Prof Colin Shindler – Israel and the European Left: Between Solidarity and Delegitimisation
23 May 2012

Why has the European Left become so antagonistic towards Israel?
Is such antagonism in opposition to the policies of successive Israeli governments? Or, is it due to a resurgence of anti-Semitism? The answer is far more complex. Shindler argues that the new generation of the European Left was more influenced by the decolonization movement than by wartime experiences, which led it to favour the Palestinian cause in the post 1967 period. Thus the Israeli drive to settle the West Bank after the Six Day war enhanced an already existing attitude, but did not cause it.

Starting with Lenin and Trotsky and finishing in 2012, this is a historical overview and analysis of the changing attitudes towards Zionism and Israel.

Colin Shindler is Emeritus Professor and Pears Senior Research Fellow at SOAS, University of London, UK. He is also the founding chairman of the European Association of Israel Studies. The first professor of Israeli Studies in the UK, he has written 7 books on Israeli history and Jewish affairs. His History of Modern Israel was published in 2008 to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel.



Prof Mervyn Frost – War, Ethics and Foul Play in Contemporary International Relations
25 April 2011

Professor Mervyn Frost , BA (Stellenbosch), MA (Stellenbosch), B.Phil. (Oxford), D.Phil. (Stellenbosch) is Head of the Department of War Studies at King’s College, London. He was educated at the University of Stellenbosch and subsequently, as a Rhodes Scholar, he read Politics at Oxford. He held lectureships at the University of Cape Town and at Rhodes University. He was appointed to the Chair of Politics at the University of Natal in Durban in 1986. In 1996 he was appointed Professor of International Relations at the University of Kent in Canterbury. His research interest is in the field of ethics in international relations. His publications include: Towards a Normative Theory of International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 1986), Ethics in International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 1996), Constituting Human Rights: Global Civil Society and the Society of Democratic States (London, Routledge, 2002) and Global Ethics: Anarchy, Freedom and International Relations (Routledge, 2009). He has published in Political Studies, The Review of International Studies, International Relations, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Theoria andMillennium:Journal of International Studies.


Prof Lester Grabbe – “New Historian” School of Israeli Historians and Their Take on the Founding of the State
21 March 2012

The focus of this paper will be the so-called Israeli “New Historians”, but it will spill over more broadly into the inner-Jewish debate about Israel and Palestine. It will consider the main findings of the New Historians but also their critics and the main elements of the debate that arose in the late 1980s and continues to the present. Also others outside these groups will be commented on, including Shlomo Sand and Norman Finkelstein.


Dr Adi Kuntsman, “Politics of Digital Suspicion: Notes from Israel-Palestine”
15 March 2012

Adi Kuntsman graduated with a PhD in Sociology from Lancaster University in 2007. Before joining RICC in 2009 she worked as lecturer in Internet and Communication Studies at Liverpool John Moores University. Her research interests include: migration and diaspora; nationalism, racism and coloniality; Israel/Palestine; queer migrations; cybercultures; gender, sexuality and class in Soviet Union and post-Soviet émigré diaspora; sexual politics of Gulag historiography.

Dr. Kuntsman’s current research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, continues her long-term interest in the relations between violence, affect, transnationality and the Internet. An Ethnography of Cyberhate: Internet, Transnationalism and Affect explores the relations between technology, politics and diasporic connections and ruptures that are formed at the time of mass migration, nationalised and globalised ‘wars on terror’, fanatism, extremism, and the increasing use of information-communication technologies within and across geo-political borders. Addressing mediated horizons of violence, conflict and cosmopolitan anxieties, Dr. Kuntsman’s research explores the way digital media shapes our affective responses to wars, dehumanisation and death.

Email: Adi.Kuntsman@manchester.ac.uk

This talk, based on on-going collaborative work with Rebecca Stein from Duke University, offers a rethinking of the digital and the assumptions that have been popularly advanced in its name following recent political events in the Middle East – in particular, the so called ‘digital democracy’ perspective. The talk is based on our research on Israeli digital cultures and communities as they intersect with the Israeli military occupation of Palestine, a context in which the narrative of digital democracy is widely embraced as a means to explain activist triumph in the face of repressive state military campaigns. The unproblematic framing of the digital as inherently anti-hierarchical and empowering is troubling, because it stills the hermeneutic operation within the digital sphere and assumes rather than interrogates the nature of the digital itself. This essay , instead, explores the recurrent narratives of suspicion and disbelief that circulate within this Israeli digital context, calling digital evidence into question.


Dr Asaf Siniver – Assessing Success and Failure of Third Party Mediation in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1948-2008
29 February 2012

Asaf Siniver is Senior Lecturer in International Security in the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham. His research interests include conflict resolution, international mediation and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and his work has appeared in various academic journals. He is the author of Nixon, Kissinger and US Foreign Policy: The Machinery of Crisis (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008 & 2011), and the editor of International Terrorism post 9/11: Comparative Dynamics and Responses (London: Routledge, 2010). He is a Leverhulme Research Fellow (2011-13) and an Associate Editor of the journal Civil Wars.

This article investigates the links between mediation determinants and mediation outcomes in the Arab-Israeli conflict between 1948 and 2008. We identify the most substantive and most researched cases of mediation in the conflict, as well as the most pertinent theoretical determinants of mediation as they appear in the literature, to present several hypotheses about the significance of such factors to mediation outcome. Using bivariate correlation analysis and various multiple regression models, we find that in the context of this conflict, Arab-Israeli mediation has been most successful when used by high-status third parties who employed manipulative strategies and focused on limited objectives, as opposed to pursuing a comprehensive settlement to the conflict or tackling its core issues.


Prof Sir Adam Roberts, President of British Academy – The Arab Spring
16 February 2012

Professor Sir Adam Roberts is Senior Research Fellow, Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford University, and an Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. From 1986 to 2007 he was Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at Oxford University, and before that held appointments at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and St Antony’s College, Oxford.

He has held visiting appointments at New York University, Tokyo University, the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington DC.

Member, UK Defence Academy Advisory Board since 2003. He was knighted (KCMG) in 2002. Sir Adam became President of the British Academy in July 2009. He was elected to the Fellowship of the Academy in 1990.


Sir Adam Roberts Lecture “Revolution and Crisis in British Academia” 15-02-12.
L-R: Prof Raphael Cohen-Almagor (Politics and International Studies), Dean of FASS Prof Alison Yarrington, Sir Adam Roberts and Vice Chancellor Prof Calie Pistorius.

Prof Rafi Cohen-Almagor – Two-State Solution – The Way Forward
1 February 2012

In November 2011, I launched my fourth campaign which is arguably the most difficult of all but like the former three is much needed. This campaign calls for a two-state solution. I believe this is the only true option for both Israel and Palestine. I believe it is a just and necessary solution. Only a fair solution for both sides will be successful. A partial solution, or a solution that favours one side over another would leave the other side frustrated and angry. It won’t work.


Dr Athina Karatzogianni – WikiLeaks Affect: Ideology, Conflict and the Revolutionary Virtual
14 December 2012

This work focuses on the public feelings over WikiLeaks and demonstrates how affect and emotion, in conjunction with digital culture and the social media, enabled shifts in the political. The starting point is the WikiLeaks controversy, and the storm of public feelings it generated, to demonstrate how affective flows can snowball into a revolutionary shift in reality. The order of theoretical sampling and analysis begins with a philosophical discussion of the role of affective structures in mediating the actual and the digital virtual. It then moves on to the interface between ideology and organization in WikiLeaks, as an example of ideological tensions producing affect in relation to that organisation. Further discussed is the interface between hierarchy and networks, such as activist networks against states and global institutions, in order to examine the interfaces between emotion and affect, as the expressive causes and the driving engine behind revolts and uprisings.


Dr Conny Beyer – Reflections on 10 Years after 9/11
23 November 2011

This article argues that the US-led policies of countering terrorism have created a new area of global governance. While this is a positive development per se, problems persist with the military and intelligence focus of global counterterrorism policies. Rather, for addressing the underlying conditions which contribute to the emergence of terrorism long-term, economic and social development policies are needed. For this purpose, global counterterrorism policies need to be better integrated with other areas of global governance. This would aid both the effectiveness of counterterrorism and other foreign policies.


Dr Alan Craig – The Palestinian Strategy for State Recognition
26 October 2011


Meetings 2008-2010

Dr Cornela Beyer

Prof Jo Carby-Hall

Dr Bhumitra Chakma

Prof Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Prof Jan Czaga, Warsaw University, Poland

Prof Lester Grabbe

Prof Jack Hayward

Dr Athina Karatzogianni

Prof Asa Kasher, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Prof Menny Mautner, Law, Tel Aviv University