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Can We Settle This? Israeli Settlements as an Issue in US-Israel Relations

Photo for Can We Settle This? Israeli

Photo: Israeli Settlements on the West Bank. Libertinus via Flickr, 2016; cropped.CC BY-SA 2.0.

Dr. Shaiel Ben Ephraim will discuss the role of settlements in U.S. policy making towards Israel, and how strategic considerations - rather than the pursuit of peace or the “Israel lobby” - have been the major driver in U.S. policy in both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Thursday, October 17, 2019
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Bunche Hall, Room 10383
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About the Talk

The United States is both the main patron of Israel and the traditional mediator on the conflict. As such it is the outside actor with the greatest amount of potential influence on settlement construction policies. What has guided its policies on the issue? Analysis of American documents reveals that there never was a coherent policy towards the settlements. Rather policy is made based on considerations pertaining to wider regional developments, such as the need to maintain alliances with the most powerful actors in the region in order to shut out global competitors to American ascendancy in the Middle East. As a result of the primacy of strategic considerations, neither the pursuit of peace nor the “Israel lobby” have ever been particularly important in the formulation of U.S. policy. The various American administrations from Johnson to Trump have formulated their policies based on similar considerations despite very different rhetoric.

About the Speaker

Dr. Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is a political scientist and Visiting Lecturer with the Center for Fall 2019. During the quarter, he will teach the course, "US-Israel Relations: Anatomy of a Special Relationship" in the Political Science Department.

He also served as the Center's Postdoctoral Fellow during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years, and taught several courses, including "US-Israel Relations" and "Modern Israel: Politics, Society, Culture."

Ben-Ephraim completed his PhD in Military and Strategic Studies at the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary in 2017, and MA and BA in International Relations and History from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research interests include U.S.-Israel relations and the foreign policy of both states, Israeli settlement policy and strategic studies.


Sponsor(s): Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies