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Friday 29. April 2011

André Glucksmann: The End of Fatalism

“Revolution” and “freedom” don’t always mean democracy, respect for minorities, sexual equality, and good relations with neighbors. Such goods are gained as part of an ongoing struggle. Let us welcome the Arab revolutions, for they shatter the fatalists’ illusions. But let us not flatter them or delude ourselves: great risks and even worse dangers lie ahead. We know from our own history that the future holds no guarantees.

Category: Press
Friday 15. April 2011

The Mash of Civilizations

Social networks might promote democracy, but they also empower the enemies of freedom. The clash of civilizations would have been easy for the West to win if it had simply pitted the ideas and institutions of the 21st century against those of the seventh. No such luck. In the new mash of civilizations, our most dangerous foes are the Islamists who understand how to post fatwas on Facebook, email the holy Quran, and tweet the call to jihad.

Category: Press
Monday 04. April 2011

April 11, Berlin: “Strategic Overview of the Security Situation in the Middle East and the latest Developments”

Lectures and discussion with: Emmanuel Nahshon, First Envoy of the Israeli Embassy in Berlin; Oberst i.G. Michael Levinrad, Defense Attaché of the Israeli Embassy in Berlin;

Category: News
Friday 25. March 2011

April 20, Berlin: Bassam Tibi: Upheaval in the Middle East

Where is Egypt heading after Mubarak? How has the balance of power shifted in the region, and what can the West do to support democratic forces and developments? With Bassam Tibi, we will have on of the internationally most renowned experts on the Near and Middle East speaking about these and other questions. Chair: Matthias Küntzel.

Category: News
Monday 14. March 2011

Natan Sharansky: Why I'm hopeful about the Middle East uprisings

For decades, the free world's policy toward the Middle East was based on the desire for stability, purchased by deals struck with leaders. That the leaders were corrupt autocrats mattered little. To the contrary, tyranny was seen as guaranteeing stability, corruption as guaranteeing that tyranny's friendship could be bought. This was rationalized by considerations of realpolitik and the comforting assertion that we had no right to judge the moral standards of societies different from our own. That pact, however, has been definitively exposed as a sham, yielding not stability but its opposite. And it has been broken - not by us or the autocrats but by the peoples of the region.

Category: Press
Tuesday 01. March 2011

Gaza's Islamist rulers hounding secular community

After nearly four years of Hamas rule, the Gaza Strip's small secular community is in tatters, decimated by the militant group's campaign to impose its strict version of Islam in the coastal territory. Hamas has bullied men and women to dress modestly, tried to keep the sexes from mingling in public and sparked a flight of secular university students and educated professionals. Most recently, it has confiscated novels it deems offensive to Islam from a bookshop and banned Gaza's handful of male hairdressers from styling women's hair. The Hamas push toward religious fundamentalism is especially striking at a time of great change in the Middle East. With the Iranian-backed group firmly entrenched in power, Gaza seems unlikely to experience the type of pro-democracy unrest that has swept through much of the region.

Category: Press
Wednesday 23. February 2011

Gaddafi - The mad dog of the Middle East

Gaddafi learned, at the young age of 27, that he could do just about anything he pleased in the Arab world - and get away with it. Nothing stuck to Gaddafi, no scandal from eccentric behavior, no guilt because of bloodshed, and embarrassment because of poor leadership. That all explains why the "king of kings" did not even blink when mowing down protesters in Benghazi and Tripoli over the past week, whipping up a death toll of nearly 300 Libyan citizens. He hired African tribes to kill his own countrymen, fired at the unarmed demonstrators from airplanes, contaminated the waters of Benghazi, and cut off fuel to prevent opponents from commuting between Libyan cities. It was Gaddafi being Gaddafi, right until the apparent end.

Category: Press
Tuesday 15. February 2011

Egypt: The Distance Between Enthusiasm and Reality

We now face the question of whether the coup will turn into a revolution. The demonstrators demanded — and the military has agreed to hold — genuinely democratic elections and to stop repression. It is not clear that the new leaders mean what they have said or were simply saying it to get the crowds to go home. But there are deeper problems in the democratization of Egypt. First, Mubarak’s repression had wrecked civil society. The formation of coherent political parties able to find and run candidates will take a while. Second, the military is deeply enmeshed in running the country. Backing them out of that position, with the best will in the world, will require time. The military bought time Feb. 13, but it is not clear that six months is enough time, and it is not clear that, in the end, the military will want to leave the position it has held for more than half a century.

Category: Press
Monday 07. February 2011

Yossi Klein Halevi: Egypt's Upheaval Means that Palestine Must Wait

With peace with Egypt suddenly in doubt -- a peace for which Israel withdrew from territory more than three times its size -- Israelis are wondering about the wisdom of risking further withdrawals for agreements that could be abrogated with a change of regime. Such a dilemma is all the more pressing when the territory in question borders Israel's population centers. For Israelis, this is a time of watching and waiting. Despite conventional wisdom in the West that a Palestinian state needs to be created to contain the Islamist threat, Israelis believe the reverse to be true. Only in a Middle East able to contain the Iranian contagion can Israel afford to take the risk of entrusting its eastern border to a sovereign Palestine.

Category: Press
Saturday 05. February 2011

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Get Ready for the Muslim Brotherhood

Why are the secular democratic forces in Egypt so much weaker than the Muslim Brotherhood? One reason is that they are an amalgam of very diverse elements: There are tribal leaders, free-market liberals, socialists, hard-core Marxists and human rights activists. In other words, they lack common ideological glue comparable to the one that the Brotherhood has. And there is a deep-seated fear that opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood, whose aim is to install Shariah once they come to power, will be seen by the masses as a rejection of Islam. What the secular groups fail to do is to come up with a message of opposition that says “yes” to Islam, but “no” to Shariah — in other words, a campaign that emphasizes a separation of religion from politics.

Category: Press
Friday 28. January 2011

Obama's Risky Path in Egypt

Some U.S. diplomats and intelligence officers have long harbored the view that corrupt, inept, and inefficient Arab friends simply cannot retain power forever. They believe President Carter should have trusted his initial instincts and pushed the Shah of Iran toward reforms. But those officials who think this way forget their history. When President George W. Bush made his push for democracy in Arab lands, he ended up with Hamas terrorists winning a democratic election and ruling the Gaza Strip. And this “democratic” thinking also overlooks that Bush’s pressing for democracy in Lebanon helped open the doors to power for the radical Hezbollah group. And yes, the anti-shah revolution in 1979 started out with moderates in power, only to be pushed aside by the clerical radicals who still rule today. In rotten regimes that fall to street mobs, the historical pattern has been moderates followed by new dictators

Category: Press
Thursday 27. January 2011

The selling of the 'Palestine Papers'

Palestinians helped to create their predicament. For years they have systematically failed to prepare their public opinion for the concessions that will have to be part of any two-state settlement. Is it really conceivable that Israel would or could tear down East Jerusalem neighborhoods where 190,000 of its citizens now live, or allow hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees to move inside its pre-1967 borders? No one seriously engaged in Middle East diplomacy -- American, Arab or European -- thinks so. But that has never been explained to most Palestinians.

Category: Press
Wednesday 19. January 2011

Israel regional network meetings in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart and Leipzig

Invitation to the network meetings following the 1. German Israel congress in Frankfurt (Jan. 23, 2011), Hamburg (Jan. 23), Berlin (Jan. 30), Munich (Feb. 6), Stuttgart (Feb. 13) and Leipzig (Feb. 20).

Category: News
Monday 17. January 2011

Analysis: Tunisia - first popular uprising in Arab world

Whatever the final outcome, the spontaneous revolution of the Tunisian people has forever changed the Arab world. They have shown that a grassroots revolution can happen everywhere.

Category: Press