The Duck of Minerva

Understanding Israel

16 April 2019

This is a guest post from Brent Sasley, Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. He tweets at @besasley.

Israel holds a prominent place in the American popular imagination. It’s a major source of news reports, as well as an increasingly partisan issue in American electoral politics. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that American journalists and western journalists more generally seek out American and western analysts and academics for commentary on Israeli politics, such as the recent election.

On Twitter I suggested that western journalists look beyond western academics and analysts for insight into the Israeli election results, and in particular toward women, Arab, Mizrachi, and Ethiopian specialists. Someone then suggested that I compile a list for journalists to access, since most of these scholars and analysts are not likely to be known to western reporters. Below is a list I’ve put together that I hope can be useful. It is surely not a complete list, and the boundaries between the categories are not hard and fast; an analyst of Palestinian-Israeli politics can of course provide effective commentary on Israeli politics more broadly.

This list is meant to highlight excluded communities of scholars, and so should be considered as a starting point for the collection of different viewpoints that can shed new light on political developments.

On public opinion:

Tamar Hermann, Israel Democracy Institute.

Lilach Nir, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Dahlia Scheindlin, +972.

On general Israeli politics:

Amal Jamal, Tel Aviv University.

Tal Schneider, journalist.

Michal Shamir, Tel Aviv University.

On identity in Israeli politics:

Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Becky Kook, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Esther Meir-Glitzenstein, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Yehouda Shenhav, Tel Aviv University.

Tanya Zion-Waldoks, Princeton University.

On the Arab minority:

As’ad Ghanem, University of Haifa.

Nasreen Hadad Haj-Yahya, Israel Democracy Institute.

Ahmad Sa’di, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

On rights and legal issues and their political implications:

Sharon Abraham-Weiss, Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

Hassan Jabareen, Adalah.

On Ethiopian politics:

Tsega Melaku, journalist.

Rabbi Sharon Shalom, Or Me’Ophir