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Shai Feldman

Shai Feldman

Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

 

Experience

Shai Feldman is the Judith and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and Professor of Politics at Brandeis University.  Prof. Feldman is also a Senior Fellow and a member of the Board of Directors of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.  He is also an Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute in London.  In 1997-2005, he was Head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University and in 2001-2003, he served as a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters.

Prof. Feldman is the author of numerous publications.  These include six books: Israeli Nuclear Deterrence: A Strategy for the 1980s (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982); The Future of U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation (Washington D.C.: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1996); Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control in the Middle East (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997); Bridging the Gap:  A Future Security Architecture for the Middle East (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997 – with Abdullah Toukan (Jordan)); and, Track-II Diplomacy: Lessons from the Middle East (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003 – with Hussein Agha, Ahmad Khalidi, and Zeev Schiff).  His new book (with Abdel Monem Said Aly and Khalil Shikaki), Arabs and Israelis: Conflict and Peacemaking in the Middle East, was published in December 2013 by Palgrave Macmillan.

 

 

By Date

 

2014

July 14, 2014

"Five Early Lessons from the Israel-Hamas War"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Shai Feldman, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Israel and Hamas are currently locked in an escalating violent confrontation neither sought. As the clash is still ongoing, with no end currently in sight, it is way too early to reach any definitive conclusions about it. The following should therefore be considered as some very preliminary and tentative comments regarding the new crisis and its possible ramifications. Also, as these comments are focuses more on the Israeli side than on Hamas, they cannot be considered “balanced.” Their purpose is merely to point to some possible lessons which will require further elaboration and examination once the guns are silenced.

 

 

March 28, 2014

"Resetting U.S.-Egyptian Relations"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Shai Feldman, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Abdel Monem Said Aly

In the four decades since U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Egypt’s president Anwar Sadat ended Egypt’s two decades of close relations with the Soviet Union, U.S.-Egypt relations have never seen a more negative trajectory than that experienced during the past eight months. News this week that a court in Egypt has sentenced 528 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death will likely further exacerbate the crisis. Increasingly, the reaction of U.S. opinion and decision makers to this downturn in Egypt-U.S relations is a mix of despair and abandonment. Thus, many in DC—in the administration, in Congress, and in the media—seem to have “given up” on Egypt.

 

 

March 8, 2014

"Iran Deal: Keeping Israel On Board"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Shai Feldman, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Oren Setter, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program

"The Obama administration is fully cognizant of Israel's concerns and greater stakes in the nuclear talks. It is also aware that influential circles in Washington may have even greater sensitivity and sympathy for Israel’s worries. Especially important is the U.S. Congress, whose approval of any agreement reached with Iran will be crucial. This is because almost all that Iran seeks to achieve in any agreement reached—namely, significant sanctions relief—cannot be implemented without the Congress's consent. For the Obama administration, therefore, the Israeli-alliance-management challenge has an important U.S. domestic dimension as well."

 

2013

January 18, 2013

"Israel's Election and the Iran Crisis"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Shai Feldman, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Shai Feldman writes: "Israel’s January 22 elections will produce a new government. The extent to which it will differ from the outgoing government remains to be seen. But efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons might be affected. Could the composition of a new Israeli government indirectly impact the Israeli-U.S. discourse on Iran's nuclear program?"

 

 

AP Photos

January 16, 2013

"Bibi’s Choice After Election Will Set Course for Israel"

Op-Ed, Al-Monitor

By Shai Feldman, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"In the aftermath of next week’s Israeli elections, Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu will face the decision of his political life," Shai Feldman writes. "What kind of governing coalition he chooses to form will affect Israel for years to come. One option will effectively end hopes of a two-state solution to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians and deepen its isolation. The other could open the door to negotiations and better relations with Europe and the United States."

 

2012

AP Images

December 10, 2012

"The Coming Clash Over Iran"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School and Shai Feldman, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Graham Allison and Shai Feldman write that while the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government were largely on the same page during the Gaza crisis, "much greater turbulence in their relations can be expected by the middle of next year when the issues associated with Iran’s nuclear project will likely reach another crescendo."

 

 

AP Photo/Gali Tibbon

October 12, 2012

"Why Netanyahu Backed Down"

Op-Ed, New York Times

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School and Shai Feldman, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

FOR three years Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, seemed to be united in urging an early military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. But last week that alliance collapsed, with Mr. Netanyahu accusing Mr. Barak of having conspired with the Obama administration, in talks behind his back.

 

 

AP Photo

March 7, 2012

"Netanyahu, Churchill, and Iran"

Op-Ed, The Times of Israel

By Shai Feldman, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"It has been said that when it comes to the looming Iranian threat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees his role in Jewish history in Churchillian terms," writes Shai Feldman, "As Israel’s newly recycled prime minister, Netanyahu could make sure that the regime in Tehran, which he regarded as the modern-day Middle East parallel to Nazi Germany, would never obtain the capacity to obliterate the Jewish state."

 

 

(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

January 30, 2012

"A Real Debate About Iran"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Shai Feldman, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Shlomo Brom and Shimon Stein

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested recently that Israel's moment of decision on Iran would come not when it obtained nuclear weapons but, instead, how close Iran is to entering what he called "a zone of immunity." Barak's concern was that beyond this threshold it would no longer be possible to halt Iran's nuclear program.

 

2009

AP Photo

August 19, 2009

"The Grand Bargain that is the Mideast’s Best Hope"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Shai Feldman, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Gilead Sher

The Obama administration should persuade the Arab states formally to reaffirm and revive the API. Given their domestic fragmentation, the Palestinians are limited in what they can provide Israel in exchange for the concessions it is being asked to make. By contrast, the promise of peace with the Arab world is a more enticing context, justifying Israeli down payments such as in settlement construction.

 

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