Strategic Analysis

Israel Unwrapped Alumni Briefing: Integration

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Fentahun Assefa Dawit on the Integration of Ethiopian Israelis: On March 15, 2016, the director of Tebeka, an organization that works for justice and equality for Ethiopian Israelis, discussed the successes and challenges of the integration of Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society.

The full conference call can be heard here:

Israel Unwrapped Alumni Briefing: Israel and Global Terror

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Amichai Magen on Israel and Global Terror: On January 13, 2016, counterterrorism expert Amichai Magen discussed the global fight against violent extremism, highlighting the methods Israel is using to reduce terrorism within its own borders.

The full conference call can be heard here:

Israel Unwrapped Alumni Briefing: Future of Christianity in the Middle East

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Rabbi David Rosen on the Future of Christianity in the Middle East: On February 18, 2016, Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s International Director of Interreligious Affairs, discussed existential threats to the survival of Christianity in the Middle East, especially the at-risk populations in Syria and Iraq.

The full conference call can be heard here:

Israel Unwrapped: Implications and Outcomes of President Obama’s Visit to Israel featuring Aluf Benn

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Aluff Benn, editor-at-large for Haaretz, discusses the the outcome of President Obama’s historic visit to Israel in this frank and timely brief to our Project Interchange alumni on March 22nd.  Of particular note is the breaking news that occurs mid conference call, discussing the call from Israel to Turkey, which took place that morning.

The full conference call can be heard here:

Israel Unwrapped: Israel Voted–Now What? featuring Gil Hoffman

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Shortly after the Israeli Elections in January 2013, Project Interchange convened an alumni conference call on February 6th featuring Gil Hoffman.  Mr. Hoffman is the chief political correspondent and analyst for the Jerusalem Post and discussed the impact of the Israeli elections with alumni. Mr. Hoffman spent considerable time discussing the come-from-no-where, second place showing by the newcomer Yesh Atid party headed by former news anchor Yair Lapid.

The full conference call can be heard here:

Israel Unwrapped: Playing Israeli Politics with Dr. Reuven Hazan

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Dr. Reuven Hazan, professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, delivers a sweeping overview of the Israeli political system.  In this recording of a conference call to PI Alumni on December 18th, 2012, Dr. Hazan tells who is what, what is what, and why does it matter.  Hear the full call here:

Israel Unwrapped: Situation in Israel and Gaza with Dr. Jonathan Spyer

Monday, November 19th, 2012

On November 16th, 2012, Dr. Jonathan Spyer, Senior Research Fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), discussed the situation in Gaza and Israel in a conference call to Project Interchange Alumni. The call occured midway through what is now known as Operation Pillar of Defense.  Hear the full call here:

Israel Unwrapped: Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout with David Makovsky

Friday, October 19th, 2012

David Makovsky, Senior Fellow and Director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy Project on the Middle East Peace Process, was the featured speaker of a PI Alumni conference call on October 17th, 2012.  You can hear a recording of the call here.

Mideast Commentary: Long Live The Republic of South Sudan!

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Ed Rettig, Director, AJC-Jerusalem

We saw history in the making as the crowds in Juba celebrated the declaration of independence of the new Republic of South Sudan. This independent state the size of Texas creates a precedent for the continent of Africa to break the bondage of boundaries imposed by colonial empires.

We in Israel and Palestine need to view developments in South Sudan with humility and a willingness to learn. Certainly, thoughtful leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah might find that the freshly minted South Sudan Republic throws into stark relief some of the dysfunctions that afflict their own national struggles.

The odds against independence for South Sudan were much greater than those facing the Palestinians. The barbarity with which the Sudanese regime repressed opponents got President Omar al-Bashir indicted at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. South Sudan paid an exorbitant price for independence: one and half to two million people dead in decades of fighting against the North.

The new nation faces daunting development challenges. Illiteracy is rampant, running at about 75%. Most of its people live in stark poverty on less than a dollar a day. Politically, its borders are not yet fully delineated. Despite a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the division of the Abyei region remains contested. The Nuba people continue to oppose the North, which responds with military violence. The country is flooded with refugees, some 300,000 repatriates from the North and another 270,000 internally displaced persons. And internal security is threatened by tribal strife over matters like cattle disputes and longstanding blood feuds. Reuters reports a UN estimate that in the current year, 2,300 people lost their lives in such violence.

This should provide a reality check for Palestinians and their supporters who obsess about a “humanitarian crisis” in Palestine that requires flotillas and “flytillas.” Compared with South Sudan, Palestine is the French Riviera. This raises serious questions about the moral justification for the Palestinians to take extreme stands that make compromise so difficult, while they continue to act as a bottomless drain on the ultimately limited resources the developed world can provide in aid. The ongoing conflict with Israel is the greatest impediment to weaning the Palestinians off international financial support. Their intransigence diverts funds that would be better spent on much poorer populations that, unfortunately, have less political clout.

Israel can learn an equally humbling lesson from the South Sudan experience: that the international community can sometimes bring resolution to seemingly intractable conflicts. Just a decade ago, few saw a chance for the emergence of an independent South Sudan. Many in the Muslim world considered the very idea of the largely Christian and animist south asserting sovereignty as an act of aggression against Muslim hegemony. And yet the South Sudanese leadership, working through the international community and with the support of the United States, hammered out a deal with the violent regime in the North.

Many Israelis have lost faith in the UN and its agencies, and for very good reasons (witness the latest outrage - the UN Human Rights Council’s rapporteur on the Palestinians posted an anti-Semitic caricature on his blog). But the celebrations in Juba suggests that despite the system’s vicious abuses, under the right conditions the international community can get the job done.

Mideast Commentary: U.S.-Israel Multilateral Cooperation

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Ed Rettig, Director, AJC-Jerusalem

The Washington institute for Near East Policy is one of the more important American think tanks on Middle East Affairs. Generally seen as pro-Israeli, indeed founded in the 1980s by AIPAC, the unique candlepower of WINEP made it a natural venue for Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer for her speech on “Multilateral Cooperation between The United States and Israel.” Read more »