This paper differs from previous studies in arguing that sectarianism has overwhelmingly been created consensually by/or as a result of the elites’ behavioral patterns. Religious or communal pluralism does not categorically lead to political sectarianism; The development of pluralism into political sectarianism can thus be adduced as dependent upon other factors—first and foremost the behavioural patterns of the elite. While the imperial legacy, theological controversies, and socioeconomic gaps feed political sectarianism, in and of themselves they are insufficient to cause it. A survey of the history of Egypt and the other countries in the Fertile Crescent reveals that the development of political sectarianism or sectarian violence has been organically linked to elites' political behaviors and interests. sectarianism takes the form of the instrumental exploitation of a religious or communal identity or framework in order to enable political organization, the gaining of political legitimacy, the promotion of political change, or the preservation of the control held by interest groups. While in the eyes of many critics, sectarianism forms a striking example of the elites' intrinsic weakness, sectarianism is first and foremost a product of the elites’ quest for power.
Until recently, Jakarta, the hub of Indonesian politics, was caught in the eye of a storm marked by two recent events. The first involved Jakarta’s ethnic Chinese Christian Governor Basuki Tjahaja “Ahok” Purnama, who was charged in November 2016 and later convicted of a criminal act of blasphemy against Islam. There followed three massive protests — organized by a coalition of hardline Islamic groups. and calling for the governor’s prosecution — that paralyzed the city center and threatened to drive a wedge between the country’s Muslim majority and its three million ethnic Chinese citizens. The second event was Ahok’s crushing defeat in a bid for reelection in April following a divisive campaign that gave hardliners the national stage, while those moderate Islamic organizations with far larger followings appearing, according to some commentators, as having essentially remained on the sidelines.
This article examines a strategy of peace activism that gained visibility in the last decades: memory activism. Memory activists manifest a temporal shift in transnational politics: first the past, then the future. Affiliated with the globally-circulating paradigm of historical justice, memory activist groups assume that a new understanding of the past could lead to a new perception of present problems and project alternative solutions for the future. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and discourse analysis among memory activists of the 1948 war in Israel since 2001, the article examines the activist production of counter-memory during active conflict. Using Coy et al.’s typology of oppositional knowledge-production, the article shows how the largest group of memory activism in Israel produced ‘new’ information on the war, critically assessed the dominant historical narrative, offered an alternative shared narrative, and began to envision practical solutions for Palestinian refugees. However, the analysis raises additional concerns that reach beyond the scope of the typology, primarily regarding the unequal power relations that exist not only between the dominant and activist production of oppositional knowledge, but also among activists.
The Islamic republic provides an important model to assess the stability of hybrid regimes. This case demonstrates the durability of competitive authoritarianism if the system allows flexibility, adjustments and maneuvering between multiple forces, creating dynamism and even evolutionary change. Hybrid regimes are naturally vulnerable, but by combining the strengths of different types of authoritarianism, they can persist over years. Stabilization requires meticulous balancing between legitimization, cooption, coercion, informal networks and economic growth. While the Islamic Republic appears to be steady regardless of its particular president, Hassan Rouhani further is stabilizing the system due to his broad support-base, his leadership style, his economic policy and his national agenda. With a growing debate over the republican-revolutionary axis, Iranian nationalism buttresses state legitimacy but also may re-shape its theocratic essence. Rouhani probably will take small steps to provide limited freedoms, while maintaining equilibrium between the country’s diverse political forces.
The article addresses the tension between nation-state memory and the law through “memory laws.” In contrast to laws that ban genocide denial or a positive perception of a violent past, I focus on laws that ban a negative perception of a violent past. As I will show, these laws were utilized for a non-democratic purpose in the last decade or more: They were proposed in order to limit public debate on the national past by banning oppositional or minority views, in contrast to the principles of free speech and deliberative democracy. Their legislation in such cases also stands in opposition to truth-telling efforts in the international arena. I compare two cases of memory legislation, in contemporary Russia and Israel, and evaluate their different impacts on democratic public debates in practice. A third case of “failed legislation” in France compliments the analysis by demonstrating not only the capacity but also the limitation of state power to silence or control public debate using the law. Although national laws often reflect majority culture and memory, I propose that memory laws in Russia, Israel, and France present an escalating degree of minority exclusion—from omission to active banning.
Al-Wefaq's complex nature led to ambiguity over the relationship between religion and politics and over the balance between Islamic ecumenism and sectarianism. While the Shici uprising presented a national and democratic agenda, questions remain over the party's full commitment to democracy and its loyalty to the national framework in the current regional turmoil with the empowerment of Shicis and disintegration of nation-states. There could be a discrepancy between the declared aims of an oppositional movement and its actions once it assumes power. The problematic legacy of minority–majority relations in Bahrain, the country's political culture and the difficult example of post-2003 Iraq, are further barriers to advancing full democracy. If the Shici majority gains power the party may become less democratic and more sectarian. Yet, it will also have much to lose given Bahrain's strategic alliance with the US and its position as a financial services hub in the region.
Israel's relations with Austria have experienced many vicissitudes in the sixty years that have elapsed since the two countries inaugurated formal ties. Austria recognized the State of Israel on March 5, 1949, nearly ten months after the Jewish State declared independence. In 1950, both countries established mutual representations on a consular level, Israel in Vienna and Austria in Tel Aviv. In 1956, they established mutual diplomatic relations on the level of legations, and in 1959 the legations were raised to the rank of embassies. (Read more in the text attached)
Countries often attempt to establish regional electricity grids. However, whereas research on natural resources frequently seeks to understand policy outcome through a geopolitical prism, when it comes to electricity studies the prism is always economic or technical. Hence, this study is a first attempt to identify the geopolitical dimension of cross-border electricity grids. The study argues that success in establishing electricity grids requires identifying how the geopolitical dimension interplays with the physical dimension. To examine the role of these geopolitical bottlenecks, the study examines negotiation protocols, spanning over 15 years, on establishing ten grid connections between Israel and its Arab neighbors. It finds that electricity geopolitics has been used both as a platform for deeper international cooperation and as a stick against neighboring states. When policies are driven by a peace dividend, proposals for grid connection appear to evolve and overcome the dependency and the security-economy bottlenecks. When relations deteriorate, proposals for grid connections appear to undergo reconsideration and to be held hostage by higher politics. If, when and how electricity grids materialize is a function of the nature of the electricity network as a twofold package and of the ability of the planning process to accommodate geopolitical uncertainty.
Targeting messages on sensitive, conflict-related issues while mediating between disparate audience expectations presents a significant risk to the image and interests of political actors. This study provides a basis for understanding the factors that impact a politician’s choice between using message consistencies or gaps and discusses their consequences for conflict resolution processes. Based on quantitative and qualitative analysis of 644 messages presented by Israeli officials with respect to the Israeli–Arab conflict and Israeli–Palestinian conflict over three different periods (1967‒73; 1993‒2000; 2009‒12), the study points to foreign relations defined by the existence of negotiations rather than mediatization processes as the significant factor that impacts the rhetorical dynamics of conflict resolution negotiations, due to the amplified pressures of a two-level game during periods of rapprochement.
On February 27, 2017, Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the diaspora, as well as the Palestinian citizens of the State of Israel, sat captivated by the broadcast of the finale of the fourth season of the reality television show, "Arab Idol." Held in Beirut, the final round of the Arab Idol competition featured two Palestinian contestants, Yacoub Shahin of Bethlehem in the Palestinian Authority and Ameer Dandan from the Galilee town of Majd al-Krum in Israel, along with a third finalist from Yemen.
Like a weathervane, the recent visit to China by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman points to changing strategic directions in the Middle East–Asia security architecture. The significance of the Saudi monarch’s meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other top officials goes well beyond the hefty US$65 billion in economic and trade deals signed between Riyadh and Beijing. The visit confirmed the nascent strategic partnership developing between China and Saudi Arabia as Beijing seeks to promote stability on its 21st century Maritime Silk Road (MSR). (press Publisher Version to continue reading)
The results of Jakarta's first round of gubernatorial elections might be confusing to many casual observers of Indonesian politics - the Christian and ethnically Chinese governor, Bauska Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, came first. This happened even though Ahok has been, during recent months, in the eye of a storm that saw him facing a high-profile criminal trial - accused of breaking blasphemy laws by insulting the Quran, in a country dominated by a Muslim majority. The serial massive protests in Jakarta against Ahok, full of hatred and marked by religious and ethnic overtones that preceded his trial, could create an impression that zealous Islamists control the public sphere and significantly threaten Indonesia's democracy and the national maxim of "unity in diversity". In the face of this public storm, the outside observer could be forgiven for believing that Ahok's fate was sealed... (press Publisher Version to continue reading)
This book presents pioneering research on the impact of new media on the Palestinian Diaspora, and is the result of unprecedented access to the Palestinian community in the United Kingdom. It explores issues of politics, conflict resolution, new media and daily life experiences of the dispersed Palestinian people.
The research is linked to the contemporary phenomenon of the large immigration wave from the Middle East and Africa to Europe, and the increasing use in internet and smart phone applications by immigrants.
As the book shows, new technology empowers the Palestinian people, enables their global visibility, and strengthens democratic values in this society. It deals with the impact of new media on the Palestinian Diaspora, from the emergence of satellite television channels and the internet to the development of social networks and smart phone applications.
During the research period, internet and smart phone usage of Palestinians in the UK was higher than the usage in Gaza and the West Bank. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the use of digital and information technology in Gaza and the West Bank.
The book will primarily appeal to international scholars specializing in media, the Middle East, diaspora and migration, political science, and peace and conflict studies. It will also be of interest to those involved in politics and new media, as well as government decision- makers, and legislators.
How can irregular political situations, which impact the lives of millions, become normalized? Specifically, within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how can 50 years of Israeli control over the Occupied Territories become accepted within Israeli society as a normal, possibly even banal phenomenon? Conversely, how can such a situation be estranged from daily reality, denied any relation to who "we" are? This volume explores these questions through the lens of two central discourses that dominate the Israeli debate regarding the future of the Occupied Territories: 1) Occupation Normalization Discourse, which portrays Israeli control of the territories as a "normal" part of life; 2) Occupation Estrangement Discourse, which portrays this situation as distant from Israeli reality. In addressing these discourses, the authors develop a new methodological tool, Dialectic Discourse Analysis, which examines discourse as a process of perpetual positing and synthesis of oppositions through the discursive construction, differentiation and mediation of self and other.Through this approach, the authors illustrate that these discourses are dialectically constituted in opposition to one another, feeding off one another, each enabling the other to exist. This dynamic has resulted in a fixed discourse, preventing any progress towards a synthesis of oppositions.