Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Jerusalem Center Initiatives and Impact
Summer-Fall 2016

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs is one of Israel’s leading think tanks in the fields of national security, regional diplomacy, and international law. This periodic activities report reviews the Center’s applied research and diplomacy in response to critical threats to Israel and the Jewish world as we develop new models and opportunities in a rapidly shifting, unstable Middle East.

In the course of the last six months, the Jerusalem Center’s intelligence and national security experts exposed and assessed the core threats destabilizing the Middle East today. Jerusalem Center experts continue to expose and place in context the terror strategies and tactics of ISIS, Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria, and Iran. Our analysts have uncovered the political forces competing in the Palestinian realm on the eve of municipal elections on the West Bank.

The Jerusalem Center also led strategy and public diplomacy initiatives with high-level Iranian dissidents, Syrian opposition leaders, Kurdish leaders from Syria and Iraq, and other figures from neighboring countries. Our analysts briefed visiting foreign delegations, including a Chinese think tank and U.S. Members of Congress. The Center’s research and assessment on delegitimization, boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS), and assaults against Israel have set the pace and helped both Israeli government and private initiatives to combat the political and economic warfare against Israel and the Jewish world.

The Jerusalem Center operates one of the largest Israel advocacy/Middle East analysis website networks in the world, with 1,800,000 monthly page views across websites in four languages. Facebook and Twitter are today major components in the Center’s communication strategies.

The Center undertook a major new initiative in recent months to exploit digital video and multi-media platforms to maximize distribution of our analyses and policy recommendations via social media. Our success in expanding the viewership and messages is exemplified by this video adaptation of one printed study, The Knife and the Message: The Roots of the New Palestinian Uprising. Within weeks, this video was seen by more than 75,000 YouTube and Facebook viewers.


Jerusalem Center Experts
New Publications
BDS Unmasked: Radical Roots, Extremist Ends
By Dan Diker
The Fraying Palestinian Political Entity in the West Bank
By Pinhas Inbari
The Knife and the Message, The Roots of the New Palestinian Uprising
By Hirsh Goodman and Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, editors
International Law
Amb. Alan Baker, the Jerusalem Center’s expert on international law, analyzes the myriad issues of Palestinian incitement, Jews as the indigenous people, land ownership, boundaries, the International Criminal Court, and delegitimization of Israel.
Work in Progress
Outreach – Applied National Security and Diplomacy
In recent months, the Jerusalem Center has met with leaders, dissidents, and military officials from Israel’s immediate neighbors, including Iranian, Kurdish, Syrian, and Palestinian figures. Jerusalem Center experts have briefed delegations from China, the U.S. Congress, and Iranian dissidents/exiles.
Discussions on the Jewish World
The Jerusalem Center has hosted scholars and leaders to discuss European Jewry, anti-Semitism, and the assassination of Argentine prosecutor Roberto Nisman.
Student Leadership Program in Arab-Israel Studies
Social Media Initiatives – Websites, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
Jewish Political Studies Review
Jerusalem Center's Experts
Fiamma Nirenstein

Newly Appointed Fellow: Fiamma Nirenstein was a member of the Italian Parliament (2008-2013) where she served as Vice President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies and established and chaired the Committee for the Inquiry into Anti-Semitism. A founding member of the international Friends of Israel Initiative, she is the author of Israel Is Us (2009). She heads a Jerusalem Center project on “What Europe Can Learn from Israel’s War on Terrorism.”

Dr. Harold Rhode

Newly Appointed Fellow: Dr. Harold Rhode studied at Ferdowsi University in Mashhad, Iran, in 1978 during the early and middle stages of the Islamic Revolution. In 1979, he received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in Islamic history. He joined the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense in 1982 as an advisor on Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. Since then he has served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and as advisor on Islamic affairs on the Pentagon's policy planning staff. He is currently a Senior Advisor at the Gatestone Institute in New York.

Amb. Alan Baker
Amb. Alan Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs and the head of the Global Law Forum
Amb. Freddy Eytan
Amb. Freddy Eytan, Head of Israel-Europe Project
Dan Diker
Dan Diker, Director of the Political Warfare Project
Dr. Jacques Neriah
Dr. Jacques Neriah, Senior Advisor, Arab Affairs
Pinhas Inbari
Pinhas Inbari, Researcher, Middle East and Palestinian Affairs
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments
Hirsh Goodman

Hirsh Goodman established the program on media strategy at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. He was a former military correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Report, and a strategic fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. His Jerusalem Center publications include The Gaza War 2014: The War Israel Did Not Want and the Disaster It Averted (2015) and The Knife and the Message: The Roots of the New Palestinian Uprising (2016).

Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi

Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center. He is a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.

Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall

Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall has provided ground-breaking analysis of Iranian military strategy and tactics for the Jerusalem Center, and has written extensively about Iranian penetration of Latin America and Africa.

Ambassador Zvi Mazel

Ambassador Zvi Mazel served as Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden between 2002-2004. From 1989 to 1992 he was Israel’s Ambassador to Romania and from 1996 to 2001 Israel’s Ambassador to Egypt. He has also held senior positions in Israel’s Foreign Ministry as Deputy Director General in charge of African affairs, director of the Eastern European division, and head of the Egyptian and North African department.

Nadav Shragai

Nadav Shragai served as a journalist and commentator at Ha’aretz between 1983 and 2009, and is currently a journalist and commentator at Israel Hayom. His books include Jerusalem: Delusions of Division (2015); The “Al-Aksa Is in Danger” Libel: The History of a Lie (2012); and the ebook Jerusalem: Correcting the International Discourse – How the West Gets Jerusalem Wrong (2012).

Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center and former Director General and Chief Editor of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

Dr. Avi Davidi

Dr. Avi Davidi, Senior Iran analyst for the Jerusalem Center, is former Iran Director and Senior Advisor at the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Times of Israel Persian.

New Publications
BDS Unmasked: Radical Roots, Extrimist Ends
Many believe BDS is a progressive, nonviolent movement to boycott Israeli goods produced in the disputed West Bank. This is a deception.

The BDS leadership’s publicly stated goal is to delegitimize and isolate Israel internationally with the strategic objective of causing its implosion.

There is a sharp point of intersection between anti-Semitism and the BDS and delegitimization campaigns. In the Palestinian view, Zionism cannot be countenanced as the national movement of the Jewish people because the Jews are not a people and possess no national or sovereign history in Palestine/the Land of Israel.

The Fraying Palestinian Political Entity in the West Bank
The Palestinian Authority is failing to control extensive parts of the West Bank.

As a result, some districts of the West Bank are developing in different directions, thereby accelerating the process of the PA’s disintegration. The tearing of the Palestinian political and social fabric will only increase as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas nears the end of his tenure.

The fragmented Palestinian West Bank will be a weaker entity than the weak states that collapsed in the Arab Spring. When the Palestinian entity collapses, the vacuum will be filled by the negative forces that have become the nightmare of the world.

The Knife and the Message: The Roots of the New Palestinian Uprising
Are there really lone-wolf terrorists? The Jerusalem Center’s study, written in early 2016, remains the groundbreaking analysis of the forces at play in the latest round of Palestinian violence. A video version, released in July 2016, has been seen by tens of thousands of viewers.

The latest wave of Palestinian violence against Jews is a new phenomenon, an insidious wave of seemingly unorchestrated attacks, perpetrated by unlikely assailants, and generally untraceable to any particular organization. This Jerusalem Center study reveals that the Palestinian president and those under his authority are indeed instructing young Palestinians what to do; not sending them into battle as soldiers, but goading them into action through deliberate incitement-driven messaging, distortion and fabrication.

Between Rabin and Arafat: A Policy Advisor's Diary, 1993-1994 (Hebrew)

Jacques Neriah

Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center, served as foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and deputy head for assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.

His new book focuses on Rabin’s decision-making during the Oslo process and details the effort the prime minister made to achieve peace with Jordan, as well as the dilemmas in the face of U.S. pressure to reach an agreement with Syria.

Book cover
Islamic Eruptions in the Middle East and Israel’s Need for Defensible Borders

In January 2016, the Jerusalem Center released a video, As the Mideast Descends into Chaos, Israel Must Have Defensible Borders, which reviewed military and terrorist developments in the region, interviewed military experts, and filmed locations along Israel’s border. British Colonel (ret.) Richard Kemp joined Center experts to discuss Israel’s vital need for defensible borders, even in this age of ballistic missiles and Islamic State terror encroaching on Israel's borders.

Protecting the Status of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

By Nadav Shragai

The impact of the two waves of terror instigated by the Palestinians in 2014 and 2015 on the status quo on the Temple Mount is the major focus of this study.

In July 2014 and October 2015, the Temple Mount issue was used to spark two waves of severe Palestinian violence. The 2014 “Jerusalem Intifada” centered primarily within the boundaries of the capital. The 2015 wave – graver and more extensive than the previous one – was labeled the “Third Intifada” or the “Lone-Wolf Intifada,” and it spread across Israel. The wave of violence and terror was accompanied by public discussion in Israel and around the world regarding the status of the Temple Mount and the status quo that prevailed there.

International Conference – “100 Years since the Sykes-Picot Agreement: Lessons for the Middle East”

The Jerusalem Center and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Israel conducted a one-day international seminar in Jerusalem on May 18, 2016, on the lessons learned from the Sykes-Picot Agreement with the participation of diplomats, military analysts, scholars, and an audience of several hundred people including journalists.

The conference was the opportunity to release the Center’s study by Amb. Freddy Eytan, The Failures of the International Community in the Middle East since the Sykes-Picot Agreement, 1916-2016.

Sykes-Picot Map
Original Sykes-Picot map signed by the two negotiators

A century after the Sykes-Picot Agreement was signed in 1916 by France and Britain, the Middle East remains a political powder keg and the battlefield for successive armed conflicts. The boundaries drawn just a century ago by Western powers are evaporating. This study reviews historical facts and sheds new light on the many failures of the Sykes-Picot agreement and its implementation during the past century.

Conference Speakers
Conference Agenda
Conference Agenda
Videos from the Sykes-Picot Conference
Martin Kramer
Sykes-Picot Agreement Was Actually an Obstacle to Zionist Ideals
Martin Kramer
Itamar Rabinovich
How Resilient Is the Current Middle Eastern State System?
Itamar Rabinovich
Shlomo Avineri
The Requirements of Nation-States Then and Today
Shlomo Avineri
Prof. Efraim Karsh
How the Middle East Views Sykes-Picot: Then and Now
Prof. Efraim Karsh
Dr. Ahmet K. Han
Turkish Foreign Policy and the Specter of Sykes-Picot
Dr. Ahmet K. Han
Alexey Drobinin
Russian Policy in the Middle East
Alexey Drobinin
International Law

In light of the unprecedented attempts by Israel’s detractors to turn virtually every issue of the Israel-Arab conflict, generally, and Israeli-Palestinian relations, in particular, into a question of legitimacy, international law issues have become major components of the activities of the Jerusalem Center.

Legal questions regarding the BDS campaign, the wave of stabbing attacks in Israel, and the selective and hypocritical European reticence to describe them as acts of terror, as well as the ongoing incitement by the Palestinian leadership and media, have been analyzed and addressed by Center experts. Clearly, and pending any return to a mode of negotiations, legal questions and issues will continue to serve as a central factor in the present realities faced by Israel, and in the day-to-day research of the Jerusalem Center.


The Jerusalem Center has published the acclaimed “Ten False Assumptions Regarding Israel” by Amb. Alan Baker, responding to widely held and mistaken assumptions regarding Israel, its leaders, government, policies, and positions held by the vast majority of the Israeli public. A video version of the publication is being prepared, and a second set of “False Assumptions” is on the drawing board.

In August 2016, Baker released, “The Curious State Department Announcement on Israeli Settlements.” He wrote, “The terminology used and the biting and incisive verve of the statement raise some serious questions as to the basic knowledge, seriousness, professionalism and responsibility of the writer and of whoever approved the issuance of the statement.”

In July 2016, Amb. Baker published a legal analysis on “International Funding for Salaries and Benefits to Terrorists”. He argued, “The direct and indirect channeling by the Palestinian official bodies of international donor funding to pay salaries of Palestinians imprisoned for acts of terrorism raises serious legal and moral issues that must be addressed.”

Work in Progress
Why “Unilateralism” Is a Flawed Policy for Israel

By Hirsh Goodman

The idea of a “unilateral withdrawal” from the West Bank has been proposed, arguing that Israel should take control of its future by creating a new reality on the ground and changing the status quo to Israel’s advantage. “Constructive unilateralism,” as it is termed, entails a unilateral withdrawal from some 80-85 percent of the West Bank, including dozens of villages in east Jerusalem; enticing, through incentives and legislation, 80-100,000 Israeli residents to give up their homes in the areas to be vacated and move to Israel proper or the settlement blocs; the completion of the security barrier; and maintaining a military presence on the Jordan River.

Ruins of Gaza synagogue

Gaza synagogue after Israel’s withdrawal in 2006

The proposal endangers Israel. Today, only by standing firm and not running away in the face of adversity, Israel controls its own destiny, maximizes its security, and fully maintains the only cards it has with which to negotiate its future. Maintaining the present is the path to the future, not repeating the mistakes of the past.

Video (in Hebrew): The Impossibility of Dividing Jerusalem, Facts and Figures

By Nadav Shragai

White arches illustrate mortar ranges from east Jerusalem neighborhoods

The demographic and geographic realities of the municipality of Jerusalem preclude the division of the city, as it was between 1949 and 1967. Dividing the city would create economic and security crises and endanger the viability and security of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities in Jerusalem.

Outreach – Applied National Security and Diplomacy
Visit to the Jerusalem Center by Iranian Dissidents and Exiles

One year after the Iran nuclear deal, a group of Iranian dissidents met with researchers at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs to discuss Iran in the post-agreement era. While the dissidents who visited Israel cannot be identified, two Israeli experts who met with them – Dr. Avi Davidi, Director of the Jerusalem Center's Iran Project, and Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of research of IDF Military Intelligence – described the outcome of the meeting in a special interview published at

Visit to the Jerusalem Center by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS)

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), established in 1977, is an institution directly under the State Council and is the highest academic research organization in the fields of philosophy and social sciences as well as a national center for comprehensive studies in the People's Republic of China. It was described by Foreign Policy magazine as the top think tank in Asia.

Discussions on the Jewish World
Anti-Semitism in the British Labour Party against the Background of Brexit

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

In recent months, a large number of extreme anti-Semitic expressions by elected representatives of the British Labour Party have come to light. The publicity has forced Labour, which is under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, to investigate anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and racism in the party.

Student Leadership Programs in Arab-Israel Studies
Jerusalem Center interns, Summer 2016

Together with the Jerusalem Center’s successful year-round intern program for students from around the world, the Student Leadership Program is a high-level, advanced academic program designed for the elite college-bound student interested in the various issues surrounding the Israel-Arab conflict. It provides an intensive, demanding, and often emotional immersion into the historical, cultural, and political aspects of the Middle East from a variety of experts. Throughout the year, students visit important sites in the area and meet with individuals and groups that are active in Israel-Arab affairs. Students who returned to the United States have been active on campus responding to challenges to Israel’s legitimacy.

Here are samples of one graduate’s recent articles:

Over the last few months, Jerusalem Center interns have been involved in researching BDS, Arab political culture, cooperative Arab-Israeli economic programs, and Iranian infiltration and corruption of states outside of the Middle East. One student worked closely with staff to produce the film version of the much-viewed video, “The Knife and the Message.”

Social Media Initiatives – Webpages, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter

The Jerusalem Center is devoting great efforts to provide information via the new media networks. All articles, analyses, videos, and interviews are featured on the Center’s dedicated sites:

Since May 2002, the Jerusalem Center has published the highly-acclaimed Daily Alert – a daily news digest designed for the leadership of organized American Jewry (sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations). All back issues of Daily Alert are available from its website, together with a searchable data base of over 60,000 Daily Alert articles. Daily Alert is also available in mobile format.

The Jerusalem Center offers websites in English, Hebrew, French and German.

The Jerusalem Center operates one of the largest Israel advocacy/Middle East analysis website networks in the world, with 1,853,850 page views registered across our websites in August 2016 by 212,284 unique visitors. The Jerusalem Center’s English website offers more than 4,000 full-text articles.

The Center’s Twitter followers now number more than 20,200, among them many of the leading Middle East experts, journalists, and diplomats. Likewise, the Center’s Facebook followers now number 15,000, along with 8,600 subscribers to the Jerusalem Center’s YouTube channel with its more than 800 videos.

Recent Videos
Jewish Political Studies Review
Recent editions of the JPSR have been devoted to articles on the “Tenth Anniversary of the Disengagement from Gaza” and the influence of Arab leaders, specifically Haj Amin al-Husseini, on Nazi Germany's war against the Jews.

After the exposé of donations and money-laundering for Hamas by a major international non-governmental organization, World Vision, the Jerusalem Center widely circulated its 2015 analysis in the JPSR: “World Vision: Strategies for Fund-Raising and Support for Hamas.”

Written by Dexter Van Zile, the 6,500-word analysis provided the history, background, and record of World Vision support for Hamas. Van Zile writes, “World Vision helps Hamas in its use of what Alan Dershowitz refers to as ‘the dead baby strategy.’”

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