New Blue Review – Interview on Syria and beyond

 

In the first episode of the New Blue Review we talk to Prof Nir Boms of the Dayan Centre at the University of Tel Aviv. We look at the subject of Syria and what is happening with the war there. Topics covered include, Russia, President Donald Trump, Iran, Hezbollah, Jordan and Palestinian. It also looks at new humanitarian aid initiatives coming out of Israel.

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Israel’s regional standing

Jerusalem Studio – Israel’s regional standing – YouTube

With the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, and a recent wave of violence that has contaminated the one country which relatively succeeded in staying-clear of the regional instability; Israel has encountered new challenges it hoped to avoid since the Arab spring of 2011.

Guests:

1. Mr. Zvi Mazel, Former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt, Romania and Sweden and a Research Fellow at the Jerusalem center of public affairs
2. Dr. Nir Boms, Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center – Tel Aviv University

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Review of “The Journey to the Arab Spring:  The Ideological Roots of the Middle East Upheaval in Arab Liberal Thought”

Spring is always too short, it seems, yet it is always awaited. “Is the spring coming?” asks Robin, the locked child in Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.

“What is it like?”

“Well,” answers Mary, “it is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine, and things pushing up and working under the earth.”

Four years into the Arab Spring, we have indeed seen the sun shining on the rain, the rain falling on the sun, and much movement beneath the soil and sands of the Middle East. With Islamist powers on the rise, a bleeding Syria, a crumbling Iraq, and a growing Islamic State, it might be considered brazen for someone to write yet another book on the Arab Spring. However, Govrin’s work is important and useful exactly because of this complicated context and “things working under the earth.”

The Arab Spring, Govrin argues, certainly did not occur in a vacuum. Although it was triggered by a certain sequence of events, he maintains that it was very much influenced by some two decades of liberal discourse. That discussion, enhanced and propagated by the developments of new means of media and technology, is one of the factors that led to the events that brought down so many Arab regimes and destabilized others.

Adapted from Govrin’s PhD dissertation at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, this book takes us on a journey with a unique group of Arab intellectuals, who have been working from inside and outside the Middle East since the 1990s to liberalize and modernize the Arab political reality. These individuals, often referred to as the “New Arab Liberals,” are characterized by their (often controversial) work, which offers a different understanding of core issues, including governance, morality, civil rights, and the role of religion in state and society. Govrin, a senior Israeli diplomat who served in Cairo and New York and who currently directs the department of Jordan and North Africa at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presents a view that is mostly academic, although his perceptions had to have been influenced by the fact that he is a resident of the region and has experienced the turmoil up close. View full post…

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