What drives Israel’s foreign policy? This course looks at how Israel’s foreign relations emerged from Israel’s Jewish origins, geographic location, and its relations with countries in the region, as well as superpowers. Furthermore, the course examines how does trauma, a lack of security, and Israel’s quest for regional recognition influence the country’s foreign policy positions. In its first part, the course reviews the evolution of Israel’s foreign policy. It looks at how past events, domestic environment, and security challenges inform the formation of Israel’s foreign policy. In the second part, the course focuses on the evolution of Israel’s foreign policy towards several actors in the international arena, including the Middle Eastern countries, the EU, the USA, China, and Russia. Furthermore, the course focuses on topical issues like Israel’s relations with the Jewish diaspora in Europe and the US, and more.  

Course Description

A territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is a small piece of land claimed by two people, Jews and Arabs, and revered by three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. During the 20th century, it became a place of conflict which has become one of the most contentious conflicts of the last 80 decades. Even though the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian conflict has been relatively a low-intensity conflict with a number of causalities much lower compared to many other post-WWII conflicts, it attracts global attention. The course is focused on the causes of the conflict, the main issues which define it, the personalities that shape it, and the role of the international actors which influence it. We will look at the conflict through various perspectives and interpretations. Special attention in this course is given to conflicting Israeli and Palestinian narratives. The course also focuses on the most recent news from the region.

Lecturer: Dr. Elai Rettig (Bar-Ilan University)
Email: elairettig@gmail.com
Timetable: Lecture 1 on Zoom will take place on February 28 at 5pm CET (https://wustl.zoom.us/j/94394126350). Lectures 2-6 will take place in-person between 19-22 April 2022, exact time of each class will be specified

How does oil wealth affect democracy and human rights in the Middle East? How did the Israeli-Arab conflict shape our global energy markets? How can we promote renewable energy in the Middle East, and how will the oil-rich regimes of the region survive the transition away from fossil fuels?

This course examines how the global energy markets operate and how they affect the politics and economics of the Middle East. Students interested in working in the energy/environmental industry or in the policy world will gain a deeper understanding of the profound impact that energy has on the security, growth and foreign policy of Israel, Iran, and the Arab countries of the region. Students will examine how these countries secure their energy markets and suppliers, how they (mis)manage their oil revenue, how they use energy resources as a foreign policy tool to advance either conflict and cooperation, and what role do renewables and nuclear energy have in the future of the Middle East. Students will then be tasked with writing their own policy papers to try and influence the process of energy policymaking in the region. While the course focuses on Israel and the Middle East, it is widely relevant to students interested in energy policy formulation in Europe, the United States and elsewhere.

Grand strategy is in vogue, in both academic and in policy circles. In the scholarly world, centres for the study of grand strategy are multiplying. Commentators and academics frequently debate how and if states should pursue a ‘grand strategy’, whilst businesses and nations alike prioritise thinking ‘strategically’. But what does ‘grand strategy’ actually entail? How is grand strategy helpful? How is it difficult to implement? Understanding and explaining these vital concepts are therefore useful in the world of business, politics and academia alike. Grand strategy is all about how a state defines its goals and how it allocates resources to pursue them. Grand strategy is therefore inherently ‘big picture’ and focuses on the long-term advancement of the national interest, by employing multiple and diverse tools of statecraft to pursue a delineated objective. Thus, this course covers diverse tools and forms of statecraft – spanning warfare, diplomacy and more – and measures their effectiveness.

Israel’s conflicts with its Arab neighbours are diverse and varied, but are consistently underlined by one commonality: the struggle for territory. Concurrently, Israeli security policy has always been closely linked to predominant understandings of the strategic utility of territory. Nevertheless, how the Israeli public and decision-makers frame territory is fluid and has evolved over time. Sometimes, Israel has withdrawn from territory; on other occasions, policy-makers have deemed territorial control an existential issue that will determine Israel’s survival. Thus, by focusing on territorial withdrawals and non-withdrawals, this course traces the perceived and actual link between security and territory, in Israeli policy-making and society. This course is recommended for students seeking a deeper immersion in the Israel-Arab conflict. Additionally, this course will be particularly useful for students who seek to better understand a prolonged conflict that still shapes the Middle East and persistently captures the attention of audiences and decision-makers, across the globe.

Course Description

A territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is a small piece of land claimed by two people, Jews and Arabs, and revered by three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. During the 20th century, it became a place of conflict which has become one of the most contentious conflicts of the last 80 decades. Even though the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian conflict has been relatively a low-intensity conflict with a number of causalities much lower compared to many other post-WWII conflicts, it attracts global attention. The course is focused on the causes of the conflict, the main issues which define it, the personalities that shape it, and the role of the international actors which influence it. We will look at the conflict through various perspectives and interpretations. Special attention in this course is given to conflicting Israeli and Palestinian narratives. The course also focuses on the most recent news from the region.

The year 1968 marked the beginning of what became known as ‘international terrorism’. For the next two decades German, Palestinian, Italian, Venezuelan or Syrian perpetrators staged deadly terrorist attacks directed at West European and American targets. Hijackings, kidnappings, assassinations, and bombings became commonplace. Washington was quick to blame the Soviet Union – arguing that Moscow and KGB were directing and supporting an international network of terrorists. Today, thanks to recently-declassified documents, we know more about this era than ever before and can begin to answer fundamental questions:

- What triggered Cold War-era ‘international terrorism’?

- Where do governments draw the line between ‘revolutionaries’ and ‘terrorists’?

- Who do they decide to liaise with and why?

- What kind of support are states willing to provide?

- And what role do their security and intelligence services play in managing these complicated liaisons?

While seeking to answer these questions, this course zooms in on Middle Eastern violent non-state actors: the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its key factions; the Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO); and Carlos the Jackal, one of the Cold War’s most notorious terrorists. The course draws on recent findings from Eastern and Western European archives. As such, it will be of interest to students intrigued by the history of terrorism and counterterrorism; security and intelligence; as well as Cold War international history.