New Book: Herf, Undeclared Wars with Israel

Herf, Jeffrey. Undeclared Wars with Israel. East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967–1989. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

 
undeclared-wars

 

Undeclared Wars with Israel examines a spectrum of antagonism by the East German government and West German radical leftist organizations – ranging from hostile propaganda and diplomacy to military support for Israel’s Arab armed adversaries – from 1967 to the end of the Cold War in 1989. This period encompasses the Six-Day War (1967), the Yom Kippur War (1973), Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and an ongoing campaign of terrorism waged by the Palestine Liberation Organization against Israeli civilians. This book provides new insights into the West German radicals who collaborated in ‘actions’ with Palestinian terrorist groups, and confirms that East Germany, along with others in the Soviet Bloc, had a much greater impact on the conflict in the Middle East than has been generally known. A historian who has written extensively on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, Jeffrey Herf now offers a new chapter in this long, sad history.

 

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. East Germany and the Six-Day War of June 1967
3. An anti-Israel left emerges in West Germany: the conjuncture of June 1967
4. Diplomatic breakthrough to military alliance: East Germany, the Arab states, and the PLO 1969–73
5. Palestinian terrorism in 1972: Lod airport, the Munich Olympics, and responses
6. Formalizing the East German alliance with the PLO and the Arab states: 1973
7. Political warfare at the United Nations during the Yom Kippur War of 1973
8. 1974: Palestinian terrorist attacks on Kiryat Shmona and Maalot and responses in East Germany, West Germany, Israel, the United States, and the United Nations
9. The UN ‘Zionism is racism’ revolution of November 10, 1975
10. The Entebbe hijacking and ‘selection’ and the West German ‘revolutionary cells’
11. An alliance deepens: East Germany, the Arab states, and the PLO: 1978–82
12. Terrorism from Lebanon to Israel’s ‘operation peace for Galilee’: 1977–82
13. Loyal friends in defeat: 1983–9 and after
14. Conclusion.

 

JEFFREY HERFis a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of History at the University of Maryland, College Park. His publications on modern German history include Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich (Cambridge, 1984); Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys (1997), winner of the American Historical Association’s George Lewis Beer Prize; The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust (2006), winner of the National Jewish Book Award; Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (2009), winner of the bi-annual Sybil Halpern Milton Prize of the German Studies Association in 2011 for work on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. He has also published essays and reviews on history and politics in Partisan Review, The New Republic, The Times of Israel, and The American Interest.

 

 

 

New Article: Burton, Beijing’s Shift in Relation to the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Burton, Guy. “Explaining Beijing’s Shift from Active to Passive Engagement in Relation to the Arab-Israeli Conflict.” Sociology of Islam 4.2 (2016): 93-112.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/22131418-00402001

 

Extract

As a ‘rising power’, China is expected to play a greater global role. But current Chinese involvement in the long-running and internationalised Arab-Israeli conflict is limited. How to explain this? What does it suggest about China’s regional and global role? Studying Beijing’s involvement since the 1950s, I note Chinese military assistance to the Palestinians during the 1960s-70s and strong criticism of Israel. But from the 1980s Beijing adopted a more diplomatic approach and endorsed the two-state solution. The change was due to China’s broader regional and international relations. During the Cold War Beijing’s ‘active’ pro-Palestinian stance was associated with being ‘outside’ the superpower-dominated international system. By the end of the Cold War Beijing was ‘inside’ the international system and increasingly integrated into the global economy. Commercial considerations trumped political ones, emphasising diplomacy. This suggests China’s exercise of global power may be more nuanced and less overt than otherwise assumed.

 

 

 

New Book: Goldstein and Shichor, China and Israel from Discord to Concord (Hebrew)

יונתן גולדשטיין ויצחק שיחור, עורכים. סין וישראל – מאיבה לקרבה. ירושלים: מאגנס, 2016.

 

china

 

In January 1950, Israel was the first country in the Middle East and the seventh in the non-communist world who recognized the PRC. Israel did not promote the establishment of diplomatic relations, mainly because of pressure from the US and fears of Chinese communism, while China avoided their promotion because it favored relations with the Arab and Muslim world. Only 42 years later, in January 1992, the two countries established diplomatic relations. Despite the geographic, cultural, and political distance between Israel and China, today the ties between the two countries are flourishing, especially but not exclusively in the financial arena. This volume includes articles dealing with the connection between the two countries before the establishment of diplomatic relations and afterwards. Among other things, it discusses the historical and Jewish background, diplomatic aspects, Asian and the Middle Eastern contexts, the role of the Communist Party, the process of establishing relations, international, military, and economic dimensions of these relations, as well as the development of relations between Israel, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The authors reflect a combination of the academic world of research and the practical world of diplomacy.

The book deals with the relations between Israel and China and their dramatic change from enmity and lack of contact to friendship and closeness. The articles are based on documents and primary sources as well as personal experiences. In addition to the references in every article, the book includes a reading list of publications which do not appear in it. The book, which is a new version of a previous edition published in English in the late nineties, includes new sources and additional and updated articles that refer to relations between the two countries to this day. It is intended for students and a general readership, both professional and unprofessional.

 

New Article: Setton & Rein, Is an Embassy Really Necessary? Israeli–Spanish Relations in the 1960s

Setton, Guy, and Raanan Rein. “Is an Embassy Really Necessary? Israeli–Spanish Relations in the 1960s.” Diplomacy & Statecraft 26.4 (2015): 678-95.

 

URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09592296.2015.1096697

 

Abstract

Spanish–Israeli relations expanded across numerous fields throughout the 1960s despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties. For all practical purposes, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a legation in Madrid during the second half of the 1960s, including at least 3 semi-official representatives operating with the full knowledge of Madrid. Clandestinely, a Mossad station worked in liaison with the local intelligence services. Absence of a full-fledged Israeli embassy did not prevent advancing bilateral ties, normalising Jewish affairs in Spain, or preventing both Powers from engaging in official and public occasions or behind the scenes. Systemic pressure, most evident in Madrid’s ascension to GATT, and the need to abide with its rules by liberalising trade with Israel did much to advance Spanish–Israeli bilateral ties in the 1960s. A strong systemic external force also brought change in their relations in the 1980s. The diplomatic breakthrough of January 1986 and establishment of full formal diplomatic relations between the Powers was largely the inevitable result of Spain’s entry into the European Economic Community.

 

 

 

New Article: Heimann, France, Israel and the Former French Colonies in Africa, 1958–62

Heimann, Gadi. “A Case of Diplomatic Symbiosis: France, Israel and the Former French Colonies in Africa, 1958–62.” Journal of Contemporary History (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0022009415596059

 

Abstract

This article deals with the interesting three-way relationship between Israel, France, and the former French colonies in Africa located south of the Sahara during the years 1958–62. The main argument of the paper is that in French Africa Israel and France maintained a sort of symbiosis: by seeking its own self-interest, each side fulfilled a vital function for the other. France showed great patience with Israel’s attempts to penetrate its former colonies, more so than vis-a-vis any other countries. From Israel’s standpoint this was a great opportunity, since it granted Israel a kind of exclusivity over supplementing French aid in its former colonies: France removed possible competition and made the assistance that Israel could offer even more attractive to the Africans. For its part, Israel saw itself as being required, almost without exception, to obtain France’s consent of undertakings that it initiated in the African states. Therefore, if it was decreed that the new states in Africa were to receive assistance from other countries, then Israel was a convenient default, since it, more than any other country, showed sensitivity to the French interests there.

 

 

New Book: Ross, Doomed to Succeed

Ross, Dennis. Doomed to Succeed. The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.

 

9780374141462

 

When it comes to Israel, U.S. policy has always emphasized the unbreakable bond between the two countries and our ironclad commitment to Israel’s security. Today our ties to Israel are close–so close that when there are differences, they tend to make the news. But it was not always this way.
Dennis Ross has been a direct participant in shaping U.S. policy toward the Middle East, and Israel specifically, for nearly thirty years. He served in senior roles, including as Bill Clinton’s envoy for Arab-Israeli peace, and was an active player in the debates over how Israel fit into the region and what should guide our policies. In Doomed to Succeed, he takes us through every administration from Truman to Obama, throwing into dramatic relief each president’s attitudes toward Israel and the region, the often tumultuous debates between key advisers, and the events that drove the policies and at times led to a shift in approach.
Ross points out how rarely lessons were learned and how distancing the United States from Israel in the Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush, and Obama administrations never yielded any benefits and why that lesson has never been learned. Doomed to Succeed offers compelling advice for how to understand the priorities of Arab leaders and how future administrations might best shape U.S. policy in that light.

 

Table of Contents

Preface
1. The Evolution of US Policy toward Israel
2. The Eisenhower Administration and the Pursuit of Arab Allies
3. The Kennedy Administration: Breaking Taboos and Pursuing a New Balance
4. Lyndon Baines Johnson: Emotional Ties but Constrained by Vietnam
5. Nixon and Ford: Dysfunction, War, and Interim Agreements
6. The Carter Presidency: The Pursuit of Peace and Constant Tension with Israel
7. The Reagan Administration and the Policy of Duality
8. George H. W. Bush and Israel: Discord and Responsiveness
9. The Clinton Administration and Israel: Strategic Partners for Peace
10. Bush 43: Terror, Partnership, and Bureaucratic Divisions
11. Obama and Israel: Support for Security, Little Chemistry, and Constant Challenges
12. Lessons from the Past and Implications for the Future
Notes
Acknowledgements
Index
 

 

Dennis Ross is the Counselor and Davidson Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown. He was the director of policy planning in the State Department for George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton’s Middle East Peace envoy, and a special assistant to the president under Barack Obama.

 

 

Reviews: Jones & Petersen, eds., Israel’s Clandestine Diplomacies

Jones, Clive and Tore T. Petersen, eds. Israel’s Clandestine Diplomacies. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

 

9780199330669

 

Reviews

  • Eran, Oded. “Review.” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs 8.2 (2014): 103-105.
  • Rodman, David. “Review.” Israel Affairs 20.3 (2014): 442-444.
  • Inbar, Efraim. “Review.” Diplomacy & Statecraft 26.1 (2015): 201-202.

 
 
 
 
 

New Article: Siniver, Abba Eban and the Development of American–Israeli Relations

Siniver, Asaf. “Abba Eban and the Development of American–Israeli Relations, 1950–1959.” Diplomacy & Statecraft 26.1 (2015): 65-83.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09592296.2015.999625

 

Abstract

Abba Eban, Israel’s ambassador in Washington and representative at the United Nations from 1950 to 1959, had a central role in the transformation of American–Israeli relations during a period of frequent discord over key strategic issues. This analysis examines the influence of one prominent actor upon bilateral ties that would eventually become the American–Israeli “special relationship.” Eban’s oratory talent, linguistic skills, and effective style of diplomacy augmented both Israel’s image in the view of the American public and relations with official Washington. The article explores several critical elements of these relations during the 1950s, re-examining both Eban’s involvement in events such as Israel’s approach toward the problem of borders, its policy of military retaliation, and the response to severe American pressure following the 1956 Sinai campaign. Whilst not attributing the development of close relations between the two Powers solely to the works of a single individual, evidence suggests that Eban was the right man in the right place and time to provide the necessary foundations for the elevation of American–Israeli relations to “special” in the following decade.

 

 

 

 

New Article: Gat, Yitzhak Rabin, Ambassador to Washington

Gat, Moshe. “Yitzhak Rabin, the Ambassador to Washington, 1968–73: A Diplomat and Policy Maker.” Middle Eastern Studies 51.3 (2015): 489-507.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00263206.2014.978300

 

Abstract

Rabin differed considerably from the average ambassador – a representative receiving and issuing reports. He viewed himself not only as a diplomat, but as capable of shaping policy with respect to both the Arab–Israeli conflict and the relationship with the United States. During his term as ambassador to Washington he displayed sober realism with regard to the political, and to some extent the military, reality – the very realism that was absent from the government that sent him.

New Article: Podoler, Korean Culture in Early South Korea–Israel Relations

Podoler, Guy. “Enter the ‘Far East’: Korean Culture in Early South Korea–Israel Relations.” International Journal of Cultural Policy 20.5 (2014): 519-35.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10286632.2013.865728

 

 

Abstract

Diplomatic relations between South Korea and Israel were formed only in 1962. Furthermore, as the two countries from both ends of the continent cooperated in various areas during the 1960s and 1970s, relations were becoming more complicated and even officially rather cool in light of Korea’s evolving relations with the Arab world. Against this backdrop, and based on the reading of contemporaneous Israeli press, the study argues that culture mattered very much in the early stages of the relations. Cultural contacts between Koreans and Israelis started well before the establishment of full diplomatic relations, and cultural diplomacy played a significant role in maintaining them in the decades that followed. Like today, both parties often emphasized the cultural and historical affinities between the two peoples, and in the process, the Israeli public was exposed to early glimpses into Korean culture while images of Korea and its people were created as well.

New Article: Stanciu, Romania and the Six Day War

Stanciu, Cezar. “Romania and the Six Day War.” Middle Eastern Studies 50.5 (2014): 775-95.

 

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00263206.2014.913575

 

 

Abstract

In June 1967, when the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact partners decided to break off diplomatic relations with Israel following the outbreak of the Six Day War, it came as a surprise to many that Romania refused to do the same. This paper investigates previously unpublished documents in order to retrace the decision-making process in Bucharest and offer a rational answer to the question: why did Romania choose to ignore Moscow’s decision? Was it a demonstration of support for Israel as it appeared at the time and, if so, what were the reasons behind it? Archival insight demonstrates that Romania’s decision to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel can best be understood in the general framework of its relations with Moscow. Striving to gain autonomy in the Communist bloc and fight off Soviet domination, Romanian decision-makers preferred to engage in their own analysis of the events in the Middle East before assuming one decision or another. Their conclusions led them to believe that Moscow’s policy had been adventurous and to break relations with Israel would have implied confirmation and reinforcement of Moscow’s role in the Middle East.

Cite: Federbush and Muys, Israel and Water: Global Economic Growth and Diplomatic Relations

Federbush, Marjorie S. and Jerome C. Muys. “Israel and Water-(What’s Next for the) ‘Turn around Nation’: How Israel’s Leadership in Advanced Water Technologies Can Enhance Global Economic Growth and Diplomatic Relations.” American Foreign Policy Interests 34.6 (2012): 309-21.

 

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/uafp/2012/00000034/00000006/art00004

 

Abstract

In less than a decade, Israel has turned around from a perennially water-stressed society, facing serious challenges from climate change, drought, and depletion of water resources, to a technologically savvy innovator of advanced water technologies and management techniques. Having developed the systems, strategies, and technologies to successfully address its own water shortages, Israel now has moved aggressively to engage with other countries as they struggle with their own water deficits. Not only are developing economies seeking access to Israel’s technological know-how in the areas of water technology and management, but policy makers and the business community in developed countries have also taken note. In short, Israel has become a model of economic growth under adverse circumstances. In the process, Israel is increasingly welcomed as a member of the community of nations because of its efforts to promote technology transfer and offer humanitarian assistance to countries facing similar problems. By reaching out to the international community on water-related issues, Israel is creating mechanisms for both global economic growth and diplomatic gains.