New Article: Niv-Solomon, An Application of Prospect Theory to the Israeli War Decision in 2006

Niv-Solomon, Anat. “When Risky Decisions Are Not Surprising: An Application of Prospect Theory to the Israeli War Decision in 2006.” Cooperation and Conflict (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0010836716640837

 

Abstract

On 12 July 2006, Hezbollah operatives crossed into Israel and attacked a military patrol, killing three soldiers and kidnapping two more. In retaliation to this incident Israel launched a military operation that resulted in 34 days of fighting between Hezbollah and Israel. The Israeli retaliation has been deemed to be severe and surprising. Furthermore, a public investigation commission established by the Israeli government implicated key decision-makers, and especially Prime Minister Olmert, as guilty of hasty and irresponsible decision-making. This article views this case through the lens of prospect theory, showing how the decision was made at the framing stage, and suggesting that this decision was not hasty but, rather, was consistent with the logic of loss-aversion.

 

 

 

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New Article: Machold, ‘26/11’ and the Anti-Politics of Urban Security Governance

Machold, Rhys. “Learning from Israel? ‘26/11’ and the Anti-Politics of Urban Security Governance.” Security Dialogue (early view; online first).

 

URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0967010616645019

 

Abstract

This article calls for a greater emphasis on issues of politics and anti-politics within critical debates about transnational security governance in the metropolis. While scholars have documented the growing popularity of policy ‘models’ and ‘best practices’ in policing and urban security planning, we know little about what makes these schemes attractive to the officials who enroll in them. I take the government of Maharashtra’s decision to ‘learn from Israel’ following the 2008 Mumbai attacks (26/11) as an invitation to re-evaluate the relationships among policymaking, politics, and depoliticization. Focusing on references to Israeli security know-how as a ‘best practice’ by Maharashtra state officials, I explore how an association with Israel was used to negotiate the conflicts and controversies that followed 26/11. The article has two aims: first, it addresses how transnational policy schemes work anti-politically within particular local contexts. Second, it locates counter-terrorism policy as a form of performative politics, which is generative of policy problems. In doing so, the article helps to reclaim the political contingency of policy responses to terroristic violence and addresses the agency of policy actors in the global South.

 

 

 

New Article: Watkins & James, The Sophisticated Tunneling Network of Hamas

Watkins, Nicole J., and Alena M. James. “Digging Into Israel: The Sophisticated Tunneling Network of Hamas.” Journal of Strategic Security 9.1 (2016): 84-103.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5038/1944-0472.9.1.1508

 

Abstract

By the end of Operation Protective Edge in August 2014, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) claimed to have discovered and destroyed more than 30 tunnels spanning from beneath Gaza into Israeli territory. Hamas officials have praised these tunnels as an innovative approach to fighting an asymmetric war with a far more conventionally powerful Israel. The purpose of this case study is to examine the complexity of Hamas’ vast tunneling network by assessing the motivations behind the group’s decision to construct the network, to identify the factors that enabled Hamas to engage in such a complex engineering task, and to assess the level of effectiveness of the tunnel network both strategically and tactically against the IDF.

 

 

 

New Article: Pardo, Israeli Views of NATO

Pardo, Sharon. “An American Military Organization or a European Political Alliance? Israeli Views of NATO.” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23739770.2016.1158445

 

Extract

In a January 2016 national survey of Israeli attitudes toward Europe and the European Union (EU), 45 percent of those surveyed supported the idea of Israel joining NATO as a full member, simply because NATO countries would help Israel defend itself. Yet, despite this wide public support, NATO has never obtained a central place in Israeli foreign policy, security, political, and social discourse. one of the reasons for this lack of centrality has to do with Israeli perceptions of the Alliance, the three most salient of which are explored in this article. By providing empirical findings concerning the attitudes of Israel public opinion, and that of the political and military elites, this article offers insights into the overall assessment on the part of key Israeli stakeholders of NATO’s global and regional actorness.

 

 

 

New Article: Tziarras, Israel-Cyprus-Greece: a ‘Comfortable’ Quasi-Alliance

Tziarras, Zenonas. “Israel-Cyprus-Greece: a ‘Comfortable’ Quasi-Alliance.” Mediterranean Politics (early view; online first).

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URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13629395.2015.1131450

 

Abstract

By adopting a neorealist approach to alliance formation this paper examines the trilateral partnership of Israel, Cyprus and Greece. It argues that since its inception in 2011 it has developed into a (‘comfortable’) quasi-alliance – a less formal and more flexible form of alliance than the traditional ones – driven by profit and threat-related individual and collective motivations. The primary motivations behind the formation of the quasi-alliance have been the common perceptions of Turkey as a security threat and energy-related interests. Moreover, it is suggested that the ‘comfortable’ and quasi nature of the alliance could allow the three states to manoeuvre politically so as not to exclude future and parallel relations with Turkey. This means that the transformation of the quasi-alliance into a more formal alliance is a rather unlikely scenario and that it could fade out should Turkish‒Israeli relations improve.

 

 

 

Dissertation: Condron, The Nixon Administration between Cairo and Jerusalem

Condron, Aidan. The Nixon Administration between Cairo and Jerusalem, 1969-1974: Concepts, Strategies, and Implementation, PhD thesis. Aberystwyth, Wales: Aberystwyth University, 2015.
 
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2160/30577
 
Abstract

This thesis traces the origins of the Egypt-Israel peace process begun in the immediate aftermath of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War. This American-brokered process led to the restoration of Egyptian land seized by Israeli in 1967 in exchange for a bilateral peace treaty, the first between Israel and an Arab state. Formal US-Egypt diplomatic relations were restored in 1974. By the time of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty in 1979, Egyptian defection from Soviet to American was complete, and Egypt had become estranged from the remainder of the Arab world, which refused to recognise, negotiate, or make peace with Israel. Recontextualising wartime and post-war strategic realignments with reference to developments during the first four and three-quarter years of the Nixon administration, from January 1969 – September 1973, this thesis sets presents a thoroughgoing revisionist account of the origins of this process. Tracing concepts and strategies implemented during and after the war in the antebellum period, the work demonstrates that the concepts implemented during the peace process were developed in negotiations involving Egypt, Israel, the Soviet Union, and the United States from early 1969, and forged into a coherent strategy by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat during the period from October 1970 – September 1973. Reversing the usual interpretation that Sadat conformed to an American grand design in the aftermath over the October War, this thesis demonstrates instead that the United States collaborated and colluded in implementing an Egyptian strategy for a new regional order, premised on peace between Egypt and Israel and partnerships both between Washington and Jerusalem and between Washington and Cairo.

 

 

 

New Article: Riccardelli, U.S. Grand Strategy: Should America Come Home?

Riccardelli, Joseph. “U.S. Grand Strategy: Should America Come Home?” Political Analysis 16, article 7 (2015): 92-118.

 
URL: http://scholarship.shu.edu/pa/vol16/iss1/7/
 
Abstract

The United States needs to re-evaluate its relationship with Israel. Presently, Israel does what it wants and the U.S. constantly stands by to defend it. While Israel is the most important relationship in the Middle East for the United States, it needs to give back to the United States what it receives. Israel is a major reason why the United States is hated by those in Middle Eastern states; they see Israel as a relic of Western Imperialism since Middle Easterners had very little say in its formation.

Regardless of Israeli’s aggressive nature, the United States should also focus on Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two of the largest and most influential states in the region next to Israel. Egypt’s future, because of recent events, is still uncertain. Many posit that regardless of the outcome of nation’s changes, there will be less U.S. influence, and more contention with Israelas Egypt heads towards Islamist populism. This means that the United States must try to show its ability to cooperate with the new regime regardless of their ideological differences.

 

 

 

New Article: Mitrani & Press-Barnathan, ‘Economic Peace’ Strategies in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Mitrani, Mor, and Galia Press-Barnathan. “The (De)Construction of ‘Economic Peace’: ‘Economic Peace’ Strategies in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Between Theory and Reality.” In Regional Peacemaking and Conflict Management: A Comparative Approach (ed. Carmela Lutmar and Benjamin Miller; Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2016): 200-18.

 
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Extract

Our review of the several economic policies that Israel considered and partially pursued regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the years, as well as their overall failure, demonstrated not only the Gordian knot between the Commercial and Capitalist Peace, but also the need to think about the scope conditions that enable the Economic Peace arguments to play out. This case suggests that such arguments are less likely to be relevant for the resolution of asymmetric conflicts. In terms of power asymmetry, as we explain before economic interaction generates either concern and fear in the weaker party, or a temptation to be used as leverage by the powerful party. Such broad disparities also mean lack of significant mutual economic gains that may push both parties toward an agreement. In terms of actor asymmetry, the Palestinian case demonstrates that for a non-state actor fighting for recognition, economic considerations will always be trumped if and when they imply cooperation with the other side at the expense of the broader political-national goal of achieving political independence.

 

 

 

New Article: Sandler, The Impact of a Transformed US Global Stance on Israel’s National Security Strategy

Sandler, Shmuel. “The Impact of a Transformed US Global Stance on Israel’s National Security Strategy.” In US Foreign Policy and Global Standing in the 21st Century: Realities and Perceptions (ed. Efraim Inbar and Jonathan Rynhold; Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2016): 267-83.

 
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Extract

A reduced US presence in the Middle East would lead to regional instability and upset the balance of power between Israel and its neighbors. Accordingly, Jerusalem may have to reconsider its national security doctrine. Each pillar of Israel’s national security strategy would be affected.

[…]

Finally, without a committed United states to prevent a nuclear Iran, Israel may feel more compelled and less restrained than ever to strike, in order to prevent the nightmare of a potential Iranian “breakout,” and/or the emergence of several threshold Middle Eastern nuclear states.

 

 

 

New Article: Kober, Arm Races and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Kober, Avi. “Arm Races and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.” In Arms Races in International Politics: From the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century (ed. Thomas Mahnken, Joseph Maiolo, and David Stevenson; Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2016): 205-23.

 
Cover: Arms Races in International Politics
 

Extract

The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate the dynamic nature of the Arab-Israeli arms race, to identify the external and internal factors that have affected it, to discuss the role played by technology in this arms race, to point to the linkage between conventional and unconventional arm races in the Middle East, and to assess the connection between arms racing and the outbreak of Arab-Israeli wars.

 

 

 

New Article: Salem, The Arabs and the Confrontation with Israel

Salem, Walid. “The Arabs and the Confrontation with Israel: A Contribution to Crystallizing the Interim Goal and Determining Strategy.” Contemporary Arab Affairs (early view; online first).

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URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17550912.2015.1118914

 

Extract

This article may contribute to clarifying the Palestinian-Arab interim goal regarding the issue of Palestine and reduce its ambiguities. This is a goal that cannot use the erosion of time and the facts that Israel has created on the ground as excuses to say the goal has come to an end. The history of the world and current experiences in it demonstrate that there are no unchangeable events given the availability of a capable transformative agent and a clear and gradual plan in this direction.

Palestine has seen a violent conflict between the Israeli action, on the one hand, and the Palestinian-Arab action, on the other hand. The results of this conflict will determine the fate of 1967-occupied Palestine. This will either put Palestine on the global map due to the success of the Palestinian-Arab transformative action, or it will give rise to a greater Israel and achieve a new expulsion of the Palestinian people if the other transformative action succeeds.

 

 

 

New Article: Ben-Dror & Ziedler, Israel, Jordan, and UN Resolutions to Internationalise Jerusalem

Ben-Dror, Elad, and Asaf Ziedler. “Israel, Jordan, and their Efforts to Frustrate the United Nations Resolutions to Internationalise Jerusalem.” Diplomacy & Statecraft 26.4 (2015): 636-58.

 

URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09592296.2015.1096685

 

Abstract

From 1948 to 1950, the United Nations (UN) endeavoured to promote the internationalisation of Jerusalem, which had been a key element of the 1947 Palestine “Partition Plan.” Even though the war that erupted in Palestine in 1948 put paid to partition, 2 UN resolutions re-affirmed the decision to place the city under international auspices. On the opposite side stood Israel and Jordan, both of which ruled the city and were interested in frustrating the attempt to remove it from their control. This identity of interests stirred them to try to reach agreement to divide Jerusalem and make internationalisation superfluous. Unlike other studies that examine the contacts between Israel and Jordan during this period, this analysis examines the Jerusalem question as an independent issue and focuses on the moves made by Israel and Jordan during their covert negotiations in light of the UN decision to internationalise the city.

 

 

 

New Book: Tabansky and Ben-Israel, Cybersecurity in Israel

Tabansky, Lior, and Isaac Ben Israel. Cybersecurity in Israel. New York: Springer, 2015.

Cybersecurity in Israel

This SpringerBrief gives the reader a detailed account of how cybersecurity in Israel has evolved over the past two decades. The formation of the regions cybersecurity strategy is explored and an in-depth analysis of key developments in cybersecurity policy is provided.
The authors examine cybersecurity from an integrative national perspective and see it as a set of policies and actions with two interconnected goals: to mitigate security risks and increase resilience and leverage opportunities enabled by cyber-space.
Chapters include an insight into the planning and implementation of the National Security Concept strategy which facilitated the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) agreement in 2002, (one of the first of its kind), the foundation of the Israeli Cyber-strategy in 2011, and details of the current steps being taken to establish a National Cyber Security Authority (NCSA).
Cybersecurity in Israel will be essential reading for anybody interested in cyber-security policy, including students, researchers, analysts and policy makers alike.

 

Table of Contents

Introduction
Pages 1-8

Geopolitics and Israeli Strategy
Pages 9-14

The National Innovation Ecosystem of Israel
Pages 15-30

Mid-1990s: The Prequel for National Cybersecurity Policy
Pages 31-34

The Israeli National Cybersecurity Policy Focuses on Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP)
Pages 35-41

Seeking Cyberpower: The National Cyber Initiative, 2010
Pages 43-48

The National Cyber-Strategy of Israel and the INCB
Pages 49-54

Towards Comprehensive National Cybersecurity
Pages 55-61

Striking with Bits? The IDF and Cyber-Warfare
Pages 63-69

Conclusion: From Cybersecurity to Cyberpower
Pages 71-73

 

 

New Article: Morag, The Strategic Impact of an Iranian Nuclear Weapons Capability on Israel

Morag, Nadav. “The Strategic Impact of an Iranian Nuclear Weapons Capability on Israel.” In Nuclear Threats and Security Challenges, NATO Science for Peace and Security series (ed. Samuel Apikyan and David Diamond; Dordrecht: Springer, 2015): 135-46.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JRME-09-2014-0023

 

Abstract

This paper will address the likely strategic impact of an Iranian nuclear weapons capability on Israeli security, both in terms of the country’s regional standing within the Middle East, and in terms of its homeland security issues. It should be emphasized that an Iranian capacity to produce and deploy nuclear weapons in a fairly short period of time will have largely the same strategic impact on Israel as an already existing Iranian nuclear weapons capability because Iran will be able to claim that, by developing this capacity, it will be able to counter Israeli “aggression” in the Middle East, thus enhancing its prestige in the region and beyond. Moreover, an Iranian capability to develop and deploy nuclear weapons may embolden Iran to risk further confrontation with Israel, the United States, and America’s Arab allies because a nuclear weapons capability is likely to be perceived in Teheran, particularly by regime hardliners, as an insurance policy against a catastrophic attack on Iran that could threaten the regime’s hold on power. Finally, even if Iran does not actually build nuclear weapons, once it has the capacity to build them in a short period of time, Israel will need to think about the implications of their use against Israeli cities and what this means for its homeland security.

 

 

Research in Progress: Scoping Study of U.S.-Israel Dialogue (Chen Kane, Middlebury Institute of Int’l Studies)

Scoping Study of U.S.-Israel Dialogue
Performer: Middlebury Institute of International Studies
Project Lead: Chen Kane
Project Cost: $70,000
FY15-16

URL: http://calhoun.nps.edu/handle/10945/45427

Objective:
Over the last twenty years, there has been an increase in security-related Track 2 dialogues in the Middle East. Yet, with Israel, one of the region’s most important states and a nuclear power, few Track 2 dialogues addressing mutual security concerns have been held. They are needed to foster a more open exchange and discussion of emerging mutual security issues. This study will evaluate the feasibility and scope of a future Track 2 dialogue between the United States and Israel within the 2016 timeframe.

Approach:
This project involves background research and analysis, including of past attempts to establish Track 1.5 strategic dialogues and the reasons they have failed. Additionally, researchers will conduct in-depth consultations with current and former U.S. government and non-government personnel. They will also travel to Israel to discuss the project’s objectives with a select group of Israeli government and non-government interlocutors. Subjects for discussion will include Iran’s nuclear program, Syria’s civil war, a Middle East WMD-free zone, extended deterrence, missile defense, and other emerging security issues.

Click here for PDF.

New Article: Sachs, Why Israel Waits. Anti-Solutionism as a Strategy

Sachs, Natan. “Why Israel Waits. Anti-Solutionism as a Strategy.” Foreign Affairs 94.6 (Nov/Dec 2015): 74-82.

 

URL: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/israel/2015-10-20/why-israel-waits

 

Extract

In the absence of a final-status agreement in the near or medium term, banishing anti-Israeli and anti-Palestinian incitement from public rhetoric will also become more important. During negotiations for peace in previous years, Israel’s demands for a halt to such talk among the Palestinians often seemed like a play for time. But today, with so much time likely to pass before peace is reached, calls for violence from either side can have a pernicious effect well beyond their apparent scope by encouraging terrorist attacks against both Israelis and Palestinians.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders are unlikely to take serious interim steps toward peace in the near term. Yet the conflict has had many ups and downs over the years, and there will be opportunities for creative policy before long. And because a full resolution is not likely soon, it is all the more important in the meantime that Israel, the Palestinians, and the United States devise coherent policies that are at once realistic about the immediate future and consistently committed to longer-term objectives.

Israel’s anti-solutionism is not absurd, especially in the context of the country’s current geopolitical situation. Yet Israeli leaders can nevertheless be blind to the long-term effects of their actions, and there is much that could be done to improve them. For the Israeli-Palestinian issue, as for many others, 
it is in the pragmatic middle ground between cynicism and idealism that the best policies can be found.

 

 

New Article: Paikowsky et al, Trends in Space Activities in 2014: The Significance of the Space Activities of Governments

Paikowsky, Deganit, Gil Baram, and Isaac Ben-Israel. “Trends in Space Activities in 2014 The Significance of the Space Activities of Governments.” Acta Astronautica (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actaastro.2015.10.007

 

Abstract

This article addresses the principal events of 2014 in the field of space activities, and extrapolates from them the primary trends that can be identified in governmental space activities. In 2014, global space activities centered on two vectors. The first was geopolitical, and the second relates to the matrix between increasing commercial space activities and traditional governmental space activities. In light of these two vectors, the article outlines and analyzes trends of space exploration, human spaceflights, industry and technology, cooperation versus self-reliance, and space security and sustainability. It also reviews the space activities of the leading space-faring nations.

 

 

ToC: Israel Affairs 21.4 (2015)

This new issue contains the following articles:

Articles
The journalist as a messiah: journalism, mass-circulation, and Theodor Herzl’s Zionist vision
Asaf Shamis
Pages: 483-499
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1076188

The debate between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Mandatory Palestine (1920–48) over the re-interment of Zionist leaders
Doron Bar
Pages: 500-515
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1076180

Development of information technology industries in Israel and Ireland, 2000–2010
Erez Cohen
Pages: 516-540
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1076183

Israel’s nuclear amimut policy and its consequences
Ofer Israeli
Pages: 541-558
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1076185

She got game?! Women, sport and society from an Israeli perspective
Yair Galily, Haim Kaufman & Ilan Tamir
Pages: 559-584
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1076184

The origin of globalized anti-Zionism: A conjuncture of hatreds since the Cold War
Ernest Sternberg
Pages: 585-601
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.984419

The Diaspora and the homeland: political goals in the construction of Israeli narratives to the Diaspora
Shahar Burla
Pages: 602-619
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1076181

India–Israel relations: the evolving partnership
Ashok Sharma & Dov Bing
Pages: 620-632
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1076189

The design of the ‘new Hebrew’ between image and reality: a portrait of the student in Eretz Yisrael at the beginning of ‘Hebrew education’ (1882–1948)
Nirit Raichel
Pages: 633-647
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1076187

The evolution of Arab psychological warfare: towards ‘nonviolence’ as a political strategy
Irwin J. Mansdorf
Pages: 648-667
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1076186

Militancy and religiosity in the service of national aspiration: Fatah’s formative years
Ido Zelkovitz
Pages: 668-690
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1076191

Book Reviews
The historical David: the real life of an invented hero/David, king of Israel, and Caleb in biblical memory
David Rodman
Pages: 691-693
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1083700

Britain’s moment in Palestine: retrospect and perspectives, 1917–48/Palestine in the Second World War: strategic plans and political dilemmas
David Rodman
Pages: 693-696
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1083701

Israeli culture on the road to the Yom Kippur War
David Rodman
Pages: 696-698
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1083702

The one-state condition
Raphael Cohen-Almagor
Pages: 698-701
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1083699

Globalising hatred: the new Antisemitism
Rusi Jaspal
Pages: 701-704
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1083703

Psychological Warfare in the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Rusi Jaspal
Pages: 704-707
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1083704

Editorial Board
Editorial Board

Pages: ebi-ebi
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1109819

New Article: Jahn, Israeli, Jewish and German Sensitivities

Jahn, Egbert. “‘With What Ink Remains’: Stabbing a Pen into the Hornet’s Nest of Israeli, Jewish and German Sensitivities.” In his World Political Challenges (trans. Anna Güttel-Bellert; Heidelberg and Berlin: Springer, 2015): 187-203.

 

world political challenges

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-47912-4_11

 

Abstract

Once again, a prominent member of public life in Germany has been the brunt of serious accusations of anti-Semitism, and is now likely to be ostracised both in Germany and abroad. This time, it is Günter Grass who with his brief political declaration on the foreign and military policy of Israel has been greeted with fury and condemnation from almost all sides and rejection elsewhere, while attracting support only from the margins of the political establishment. However, there are some sharp critics of the declaration by Grass who defend the author against the accusation of being anti-Semitic in general. And as always in such cases there are mumblings in the hidden corners of society that it is not permitted in Germany to say anything critics about Jews or Israel without immediately being battered by the political and moral bludgeon of the ruling German political class and being branded a social pariah. And so the most prudent reaction was to say nothing on the subject of Israel and the Jews, since unlike Günter Grass, not everyone can afford to break their silence on this subject and present their political declaration in the form of a poem, with the special protection of artistic expression. However, the German chattering classes are once more in full agreement with Grass; only the outsiders of the Easter March movement had the courage to say so in public.
As in the cases of Jenninger, Möllemann, Walser, Hohmann and Sarrazin, the Grass affair has its own particular features. What is common to all of them, however, is bare, overarching condemnation and labelling as “anti-Semitic”, guaranteed to ruin any reputation, instead of dealing with the opinions set out in the text itself and to disagree with them individually on a factual basis, something that would also be entirely possible in the case of Grass. Above all, nobody in Israel and in the world would claim that Israel has a “right to a first (nuclear) strike” that “could eliminate the Iranian people”, a ridiculous conjecture that in the context of the public threat by Israel, however, to potentially make a conventional air strike on Iranian nuclear power facilities adopts a highly explosive tone. The downplaying of the repeated official Iranian threat to destroy the state of Israel, referring to it as “loudmouthery”, fails to recognise the dangerous potential power wielded by ideologues who currently (as yet) have no potential for gaining real political power, not least due to the military strength of Israel and its de-facto alliance partners, the USA. Grass is right only in stating that in Germany (unlike in Israel and the USA) there is no political discussion regarding the attitude of Germany to the Israeli threat of an offensive war against the Iranian nuclear power stations. There is much evidence to support the fact that rather than triggering it, the Grass affair will probably make such a debate less likely since it merely mobilises traditional, indiscriminate thought patterns rather than challenging them.
Since this lecture was given on 16 April 2012, relations between Iran and the west have improved enormously at a fundamental level following the election of Hassan Rohani as President on 14 June 2013. He initiated a far more cooperative foreign and atomic policy in Iran. As a result, the risk of war has been considerably reduced.

 

 

Events: Jewish Review of Books, Conversations on Jewish Future (Oct 18, 2015)

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JRB-future