Book review : Expat-ing Democracy: Dissidents, Technology and Democratic Discourse in the Middle East

Nir T. Boms, Expat-ing Democracy: Dissidents, Technology and Democratic Discourse in the Middle East, (Bern: Peter Lang Publishers, 2017), 246 pp.

The upheavals throughout the Middle East in 2010-2011, popularly known as the “Arab Spring,” changed the political paradigm throughout the region. For several decades, gradual political and economic changes were the norm and the political paradigm seemed to be fixed. The sudden regime changes in Tunisia and Egypt, however, reverberated in Syria, Iran, Bahrain and elsewhere. Nothing has remained the same. Hence, the importance and timeliness of Dr. Nir T. Boms’s study, Expat-ing Democracy.

A research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University and the vice president of the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), Dr. Boms offers both academic and scholarly expertise and an approach of practical application. His book presents a penetrating analysis of the nature of the events and causes which led to the upheaval and the political and social consequences of these transformations in the Middle East. He discusses aspects of the “Arab Spring” which have not appeared in other scholarship on the subject. This is the result of his unique selection of sources which includes surveys conducted by the author over a period of several years and interviews with individuals active in attempting to implement the democratic process in the region. As both an observer and a participant, Boms encouraged the activists whom he interviewed. His initiatives in humanitarian projects, such as assistance to people stranded in Southern Syria, provided him with a rare opportunity of building a network of activists who are directly involved in social and civic initiatives for democracy. Ex-pating Democracy not only presents the content of the interviews but also describes the circumstances under which they were conducted. Therefore, the book is informative, original and exciting. View full post…

Read More Leave comment

1967 in Focus

1967 in Focus

This week marks the 50th anniversary to the war of 1967, six days that have changed the Middle East as we know it. I was proud to participate in a special project that attempted  to recapture the dramatic moments occurred 50 years ago today and I hope that you will enjoy the results, a series of short –  three  minutes videos – that captures one of the most dramatic periods in Israeli history.  You will also find a special addition on the subject in the below link.

Read More Leave comment

Book Review Expat-ing Democracy: Dissidents, Technology, and Democratic Discourse in the Middle East

Book Review Expat-ing Democracy: Dissidents, Technology, and Democratic Discourse in the Middle East by Nir T. Boms (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2016), 246 pages

Reviewed by Patrycja Sasnal Director, Middle East and North Africa Project, Polish Institute of International Affairs, Warsaw

Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, 2017

Looking at events around the world, one can not escape the impression that despite the monumental leap forward in communications technology and its availability, politically, we have taken a step into the unknown: the world of post-truth politics where information may no longer hold the central place of importance it once did. Disseminators of “alternative facts” meddling in elections; auto-censorship in private, yet government-friendly media; ideological wars fought via social media—these are phenomena whose political consequences we must face without fully understanding them. Meanwhile, since the 2011 upheavals in the Arab world, counterrevolutionary forces have reconquered most states in the region (but for the bright exception of Tunisia), with terrifying results in war torn Syria, Libya, and Yemen. 

View full post…

Read More Leave comment

Syria’s New Map and New Actors: Challenges and Opportunities for Israel

Memo pic

The civil war underway in Syria since March 2011 has changed the Syrian nation beyond recognition, and the shockwaves caused by the war have made a very strong impact,  both  in the Middle East and beyond. Following four decades of relative stability, Syria has become an arena marked by internal, regional, and international conflict. The weakening of the central government in Damascus, along with the transformation of Syria into a battlefield featuring many actors with different and often conflicting interests, poses new challenges for Israel. In the uncertain reality marked by the multiplicity of hostile actors, there are also opportunities for Israel to strengthen and possibly forge ties with pragmatic Sunni opposition and minority groups with whom it shares specific interests. This memorandum surveys the main actors currently operating in Syria, especially in the southern portion of the country; analyzes their attitudes toward Israel; and formulates recommendations for a new, proactive Israeli policy in the dynamic Syrian arena. It proposes modes of military, political, economic, and humanitarian action likely to serve Israel’s strategic interests. Chief among these interests are the need to maintain tranquility on the Golan Heights and the need to prevent the entrenchment of “negative” players on the Syrian side. For the full report, click here.
Read More Leave comment