New Book: Pardo, Normative Power Europe Meets Israel

Pardo, Sharon. Normative Power Europe Meets Israel: Perceptions and Realities. Lanham and Boulder: Lexington Books, 2015.




The book draws on some of the scholarship in perception studies and “Normative Power Europe” theory. The study of perceptions, although dating back to the mid-1970s, is gaining renewed currency in recent years both in international relations, in general, and in European Union studies, in particular. And yet, despite the significance of external perceptions of the European Union, there is still a lack of theoretical forays into this area as well as an absence of empirical investigations of actual external role conceptions. These lacunae in scholarly work are significant, since how the European Union is perceived outside its borders, and what factors shape these perceptions, are crucial for deepening the theory of “Normative Power Europe.” The book analyzes Israeli perceptions towards “Normative Power Europe,” the European Union, and NATO through five themes that, the book argues, underscore different dimensions of key Israeli conceptions of “Normative Power Europe” and NATO. The book seeks to contribute to the existing research on the European Union’s role as a “normative power,” the Union’s external representations, and on Israeli-European Union relations more broadly.


Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Normative Power Europe Meets Israel
  • Chapter 1: Normative Power Europe in Israeli Eyes
  • Chapter 2: The Seventh Would-Be Member State of the European Economic Community
  • Chapter 3: Normative Power Europe and Perceptions as Cultural Filters: Israeli Civic Studies as a Case-Study, with Natalia Chaban
  • Chapter 4: When a Lioness Roars: The Union’s Guidelines Prohibiting the Allocation of Funds to Israeli Entities in the Occupied Territories
  • Chapter 5: An Elusive Desire: Israeli Perceptions of NATO
  • Conclusion: Normative Power Europe as Israel’s Negative “Other”

Sharon Pardo is Jean Monnet chair ad personam in European studies in the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

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).





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 Article: Ziv, Shimon Peres and the Israeli Nuclear Program

Ziv, Guy. “The Triumph of Agency over Structure: Shimon Peres and the Israeli Nuclear Program.” International Negotiation 20.2 (2015): 218-41.




This article advances the proposition that when the negotiator is empowered to reach an agreement on behalf of his or her government, agency has the potential to triumph over structure. The negotiator whose personal attributes include flexibility, sensitivity, inventiveness, tenacity and patience is more likely to meet this potential. Shimon Peres, the director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Defense in the mid-1950s, possessed many of these traits. He was also given virtually free rein by Prime Minister and Defense Minister David Ben-Gurion to pursue negotiations with France over the acquisition of a nuclear reactor. Despite significant structural hurdles – financial difficulties, domestic opposition, u.s. disapproval, and an unstable and divided French Fourth Republic – Peres’s unorthodox diplomacy allowed Israel to become a nuclear power. This case highlights the oft-overlooked role of agency in political science, in general, and in international negotiations, in particular.




New Book: Heimann, The End of a Beautiful Friendship (in Hebrew)

Heimann, Gadi. The End of a Beautiful Friendship. Israel-France Relations under de Gaulle’s presidency, 1958-1967. Jerusalem: Magnes, 2015 (in Hebrew).




Τhis book unfolds one of the most interesting chapters in the history of Israel’s foreign policy. Since the Sinai campaign (1956) France had been a friend and an ally of Israel. It supplied Israel with advanced weapons to maintain the balance of powers in the Israeli-Arab conflict, provided crucial political and economic aid, and assisted in building the nuclear reactor in Dimona. The return of Charles de Gaulle to power in 1958, against the background of the Algerian War, presented a challenge for Israeli leadership: in light of the new French president’s determination to renew the influence of France in the Arab world – could Israel preserve its friendly alliance? The book deals with the efforts of Israeli statesmen, politicians and officials to attain this goal. It also discusses the uncompromising policy of de Gaulle to regain a status of a world power for France and the implications for his relation to Israel. The book sheds new light on a puzzle that has occupied many commentators, and still remains very much unresolved: why did de Gaulle decide to give a cold shoulder to Israel in May 1967, as it faced one of the most difficult challenges in its history, and why did his reticent policy intensify after the Israeli victory in the Six-Day War.


New Article: Navon, France, Israel, and the Jews

Navon, Emmanuel. “France, Israel, and the Jews: The End of an Era?” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs (early view; online first).





The tragic events that shook France in January 2015 (the mass shooting in Paris of Charlie Hebdo journalists and of shoppers at a kosher supermarket) raised questions about the safety of French Jews and revived the age-old controversy about public statements by Israeli leaders calling upon French Jews to immigrate to Israel. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Jews are not safe in France and that Israel is their true home, he stirred the ire of French officials. Prime Minister Manuel Valls of France retorted, “Without its Jews, France would no longer be France, and the Republic would be considered a failure.” Was this just another controversy about Israel’s right (or lack thereof) to speak in the name of French Jews, or do the tragic January 2015 events mark the end of an era in the history of French Jews? One cannot address this questions without understanding the history of French Jewry and of the relations between France and Israel.


New Book: Rosman, France and Israel, 1947-1970

Rosman, Miriam. France and Israel, 1947-1970. From the Creation of the State of Israel to the Cherbourg Boats Affair. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2014 (in Hebrew).




Hebrew translation from French original: La France et Israël, 1947-1970 : de la création de l’État d’Israël au départ des vedettes de Cherbourg (Paris : Champion, 2009).

 רוסמן, מרים. יחסי צרפת-ישראל. מקום המדינה עד לפרשיית ספינות שרבורג. תרגום: הילה קרס. תל אביב: רסלינג, 2014.

בשנים 1947-1970 בלטו יחסי ישראל-צרפת בשילוב שבין כובד משקלה של השואה, צילה של המדיניות הצרפתית ביחס לערבים והמקרה הייחודי של מדינה שאך נולדה והמשך קיומה בלתי ודאי. ספרה של מירי רוסמן מבקש לרדת לשורשם של היחסים בין שתי המדינות ולבחון את המטען המורכב שביסוד מדיניות החוץ שלהן. לפנינו מחקר חדשני המבוסס על עדויות חדשות וארכיונים שלא היו פתוחים בעבר. המחברת הצליחה להגיע למסמכים נדירים כמו אוספים של מדינאים צרפתים, מסמכים של האו”ם ושל משרד החוץ הצרפתי. לאלה הצטרפו הארכיונים של חיל האוויר וצבא היבשה הצרפתים שבוַונסֶן, ארכיוני צה”ל, ארכיוני המדינה והארכיונים הלאומיים. את המסמכים הכתובים משלים מספר רב של עדויות מפי אישים מהשורה הראשונה, למשל רנה בלוך, קוב דה מורוויל, מוקה לימון ושמעון פרס.

הספר פותח בניצחון בעלות הברית ובמלחמה הקרה: צרפת כבר איננה מעצמה, ובמקביל היא מתמודדת עם קשיים כלכליים ופוליטיים מפנים ומחוץ. היא מסייעת לפעילות הציונית אך גם מהססת ביחס לתוכנית החלוקה, כמו גם ביחס לעצם ההכרה במדינת ישראל. חלקו השני של הספר עוסק בשנים 1953-1962, והוא מתאר כיצד עברו יחסי צרפת וישראל מנורמליזציה ל”אידיליה” אשר בשיאה שיתוף הפעולה במבצע קדש. החלק השלישי והאחרון מתאר את מדיניות החוץ הצרפתית בעקבות עצמאות אלג’יריה בשנת 1962, בעיקר חידוש קשריה עם העולם הערבי. פרשת ספינות שרבורג בשנת 1969 בראשות מוקה לימון וגירושו מצרפת מגלמים את סופה של הקרבה הייחודית בין המדינות.

Reviews: Debrauwere-Miller, I/P Conflict in Francophone World

Debrauwere-Miller, Nathalie (ed.). Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in the Francophone World. Routledge Studies in Cultural History. London and New York: Routledge, 2009.




  • Harrison, Olivia C. “Review.” Modern Language Review 106.3 (2011): 880-881.
  • Reader, Keith. “Review”. Modern & Contemporary France 19.3 (2011): 368-369.

Cite: Heiman, The French and Israeli Pursuit of the Bomb

Heiman, Gadi. "Diverging Goals: The French and Israeli Pursuit of the Bomb, 1958-1962." Israel Studies 15,2 (2010): 104-126.




The article investigates the considerations behind Charles de Gaulle’s decision to cancel French nuclear assistance to Israel. It argues that the decision was purely pragmatic and expressed French ambitions for U.S. assistance with France’s nuclear program and its fears that if discovered, nuclear aid to Israel would jeopardize such aims. It offers evidence that shows a clear but inverse relationship between the two nuclear projects.