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Superpower rivalry

Four questions stand before the historian of the cold war and the Arab-Israeli conflict: 1) Did Israel and the US have a 'special relationship'? 2) Were Soviet-Israeli relations destined for failure from 1948? 3) Was the Arab-Israeli conflict insoluble because of the cold war or in spite of it? 4)Was detente between the superpowers the key to solving the Arab-Israeli conflict? Israel failed to get a security guarantee from the US because if it were granted ally status the Arab states would turn to the Soviets. Instead of a security guarantee Kennedy used the nebulous term 'special relationship', which did not bind America politically or militarily. Relations with the USSR looked promising at first, but the Zionist ideology of the Jewish state made it inevitable that relations with would worsen , since the Kremlin rejected the notion that Soviet Jews were by definition part of the Jewish nation, and therefore candidates for emigration to Israel. As for the Arabs, they were adamant that the Palestinian refugees return en mass, which meant the destruction of of Israel. No compromise suggested by the US was acceptable to to the Arabs , who were always supported by the USSR.The Soviets demanded detente cover not only the Arab states and Israel, but Turkey and Iran as well. Consequently the Middle East remained a no-man's-land between the superpowers' spheres of influence, inexorably paving the way for the wars in 1956 and 1967.

Arabs, Israelis, and the limits of military force

The Arab–Israeli conflict has been at the centre of international affairs for decades. Despite repeated political efforts, the confrontation and casualties continue, especially in fighting between Israelis and Palestinians. This new assessment emphasizes the role that military force plays in blocking a diplomatic resolution. Many Arabs and Israelis believe that the only way to survive or to be secure is through the development, threat, and use of military force and violence. This idea is deeply flawed and results in missed diplomatic opportunities and growing insecurity. Coercion cannot force rivals to sign a peace agreement to end a long-running conflict. Sometimes negotiations and mutual concessions are the key to improving the fate of a country or national movement. Using short historical case studies from the 1950s through to today, the book explores and pushes back against the dominant belief that military force leads to triumph while negotiations and concessions lead to defeat and further unwelcome challenges. In The sword is not enough, we learn both what makes this idea so compelling to Arab and Israeli leaders and how it eventually may get dislodged.

This text aims to fill a gap in the field of Middle Eastern political studies by combining international relations theory with concrete case studies. It begins with an overview of the rules and features of the Middle East regional system—the arena in which the local states, including Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Israel and the Arab states of Syria, Jordan and Iraq, operate. The book goes on to analyse foreign-policy-making in key states, illustrating how systemic determinants constrain this policy-making, and how these constraints are dealt with in distinctive ways depending on the particular domestic features of the individual states. Finally, it goes on to look at the outcomes of state policies by examining several major conflicts including the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Gulf War, and the system of regional alignment. The study assesses the impact of international penetration in the region, including the historic reasons behind the formation of the regional state system. It also analyses the continued role of external great powers, such as the United States and the former Soviet Union, and explains the process by which the region has become incorporated into the global capitalist market.

James Baldwin’s Radicalism and the Evolution of His Thought on Israel
Nadia Alahmed

This article traces the evolution of James Baldwin’s discourse on the Arab–Israeli conflict as connected to his own evolution as a Black thinker, activist, and author. It creates a nuanced trajectory of the transformation of Baldwin’s thought on the Arab–Israeli conflict and Black and Jewish relations in the U.S. This trajectory is created through the lens of Baldwin’s relationship with some of the major radical Black movements and organizations of the twentieth century: Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, and, finally, the Black Power movement, especially the Black Panther Party. Using Baldwin as an example, the article displays the Arab–Israeli conflict as a terrain Black radicals used to articulate their visions of the nature of Black oppression in the U.S., strategies of resistance, the meaning of Black liberation, and articulations of Black identity. It argues that the study of Baldwin’s transformation from a supporter of the Zionist project of nation-building to an advocate of Palestinian rights and national aspirations reveals much about the ideological transformations of the larger Black liberation movement.

James Baldwin Review
Constructing security in historical perspective
Jonathan B. Isacoff

and why this is the case, the chapter examines the specific discourses of security employed by opposing political groups during key periods in the history of the Arab–Israeli conflict. Turning to the Israeli case, it is striking how little the State of Israel in 2001 resembles the nascent state declared during May of 1948. Most of the goals of the first generation of state-builders – territorial

in Redefining security in the Middle East
Abstract only
German–Israeli relations between past and future
Lorena De Vita

the Jewish state, and not East Berlin and Israel; and how and why it was achieved against the backdrop of the German Cold War and the intensifying Arab–Israeli conflict. By doing so, this study has placed the origins of the entente between West Germany and Israel, and the estrangement between the GDR and the Jewish state, within the context of the global Cold War. The Cold War or, rather, invocations of its importance for German Israelpolitik , influenced Bonn’s and East Berlin’s stance towards Israel in complex ways. In the wake of the enunciation of

in Israelpolitik
Jeremy Pressman

Chapter 6 CHANGING THE DOMINANT IDEA When do actors shift between ideas about the effectiveness of the different means or policies available to them? In the ArabIsraeli conflict, the dominant idea has been that force is the best way to achieve state aims, while negotiations and concessions are a poor choice. What makes that idea hard to change? At the same time, sometimes a secondary idea, that negotiations and concessions are the best available means and military force is counter-productive, has prevailed in this conflict. What leads to a change in the

in The sword is not enough
Abstract only
Contextualising reconciliation
Lorena De Vita

conflict along East–West lines, and vice versa that Middle Eastern actors, too, fueled the bipolar rivalry. This book takes the early 1950s as a starting point to analyse the overlap between Cold War dynamics and Arab–Israeli conflict, and it argues that the overlap between Cold War tensions and Arab–Israeli hatreds started earlier than has thus far been understood. It points to the relevance of mutual interconnections and entanglements of political dynamics in diverse regional theatres – in this case, the Middle East and Europe. 19 By examining the debates sparked

in Israelpolitik
Peter Barry

, Rorty, and Lyotard, seeing that kind of thing as typical of postmodernist relativism (see his books What's Wrong with Postmodernism? , Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990, Quantum Theory and the Flight from Realism , Routledge, 2000, and Truth Matters: Realism, Anti-Realism and Response-Dependence , Edinburgh University Press, 2005). Finally , a new kind of cultural critique has arisen in response to extreme events such as 9/11, and the global pessimism which is the product of apparently intractable problems such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Afghanistan

in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
Testing the Memorandum of Understanding (1965–67)
Joseph Heller

recognize South Vietnam before the planned elections there. Eban equivocated, saying that the United States had to understand Israel’s delicate efforts to reach an understanding with the Soviet Union regarding its Jews and the Arab–Israeli conflict. Eban also argued that political instability in the United States made Israel reluctant to get involved in Vietnam. There would be no Knesset majority for such a

in The United States, the Soviet Union and the Arab– Israeli conflict, 1948– 67