The Six-Day War's Legacy in Sinai

The Six-Day War's 50th anniversary will generate an overabundance of commentary about the war's legacy on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Most scholarship will focus on the continued challenges of Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Jerusalem, however there are valuable lessons that Read more

Trump in Israel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  President Donald Trump was in Israel for all of twenty-eight hours, and yet even within that short window of time he managed to till a significant amount of discursive soil. Dozens of analysts and commentators will offer their thoughts Read more

Erdogan, Jerusalem, and the End of the Honeymoon

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statements at the International Forum on al-Quds Waqf (held in Istanbul) received international media coverage when he attacked Israeli policy in Jerusalem, compared the situation in the West Bank with Apartheid South Africa, and called for Read more

The Curious Case of Michael Flynn, Turkey, and Israeli gas

President Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn has been at the epicenter of an ongoing story for the last few weeks. While I don't want to rehash what has already been reported, I did find one particular nugget Read more

Turkey and Pope Francis: A Dangerous Game of Chicken

Posted on by Gabriel in Turkey |  


On Sunday, during a mass commemorating the 1.5 million Armenians who perished in the First World War (the 1o0th anniversary is on April 24th), Pope Francis referred to their deaths as a “genocide,” and caused a diplomatic uproar. Read more

Are relations between Israel and Turkey thawing?

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

At the conclusion of a busy month, one that included a policy dialogue between Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies and the Global Political Trends Center (GPoT) in Washington D.C., I have been busily working on a piece that reflected my thoughts on the state of Israel-Turkey relations. Taking a break to enjoy some spring air, I walked outside only to be interrupted by the following tweet: Read more

Between the lines of Rivlin’s genocide reversal

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey | 3 comments

Despite that Holocaust survivors constituted a significant portion of its founding generation, Israel finds it difficult to recognize the tragedies of other communities around the world. There may be good reason for this: the brand of genocide practiced by the Third Reich had never been seen before, nor has been seen since. The Nazis transformed murder into a mechanized enterprise. As a result, Israel has often refrained from qualifying other tragedies in the world as genocide – including Armenian genocide of 1915. Read more

US needs to find common ground to cooperate with Turkey

Posted on by Gabriel in Turkey |  
US President Barack Obama meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in September, 2014. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, cc-by-2.0)

US President Barack Obama meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in September, 2014. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, cc-by-2.0)

After Turkey declined the opportunity to play a central role in the coalition against ISIL last week, pundits openly debated the merits of America’s relationship with the longtime Middle Eastern ally.

President Barack Obama assured the American people that a broad US-led coalition would “roll back” ISIL, however Turkey’s hesitations cast doubts on the viability of this strategy. Perhaps it was natural that multiple media outlets sought storylines and editorials that castigated the Turkish government.

This is hardly the first time ink was spilled in order to criticize Ankara’s decision makers: There was a similar reaction in 2003, when Turkey’s parliament refused the US permission to launch airstrikes from the İncirlik airbase during the Second Gulf War and again in 2010, when Turkey voted against UN Security Council Resolution 1929 that imposed additional sanctions upon Iran for pursuing a nuclear program.

But this just underscores the disparity between the “Turkey America Wants” and the “Turkey That Is”. Read more

A Modern Reconquista?

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

The Mezquita of Cordoba

Back in the winter of 2009 I had the privilege of traveling to Spain as a part of Kivunim: New Directions. Coming by ferry from Morocco, we spent several days in the heartland of Sephardic Jewish history: Andalucia. Though few Jews remain today, the legacy of Spain’s Golden Age is visibly Semitic.

I was particularly fond of Cordoba, birthplace of the timeless Jewish scholar and philosopher Maimonides. There, in the narrow passages and alleyways, one can truly appreciate how medieval city life must have felt, and how an environment of religious coexistence could have been fostered by peoples with competing narratives. Read more

Four Years of Futility

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

Unbeknownst to most of the world, the 4th anniversary of the Gaza flotilla raid has come and gone. Even within Turkish society the affair has become a sideshow – May 31 is about Gezi Park, not what happened to some boat hundreds of miles away. And while events were held in Istanbul and Gaza to memorialize the nine (now ten) passengers who died aboard the Mavi Marmara in 2010, the international media barely gave it coverage.

This, of course, is a very good thing.*

The time has come to make amends. Read more

Turkey and the Holocaust

Posted on by Gabriel in Turkey |  

Jewish passengers on board the Salahattin, which carried 547 passengers from Romania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia to Istanbul where they then boarded trains to Palestine. (October 29th, 1944)

Turkey possesses two Holocaust narratives.

The first involves the tragic sinking of the MV Struma, a ship laden with hundreds of Jews fleeing Europe that, after being stranded in Istanbul’s port was towed out to see and summarily sunk – know doubt accidentally – by a Soviet submarine. 781 passengers and crew perished. It is a bitter tale of bureaucratic ineptitude causing the deaths of innocent refugees.

But there is another side to the coin. After all, the Struma was only one of dozens of ships that navigated the Bosporus passageway to the Mediterranean, and for most, Palestine. The overwhelming majority traversed this dangerous course with success. Read more

Interview with i24 News

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

Here is an interview I conducted with i24 news on Turkey’s recent municipal elections and it’s impact on Turkey-Israel relations.

Hope you enjoy.

For Netanyahu, security trumps rapprochement with Turkey

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

The ongoing drama between Israel and Turkey seems to be approaching its final act.

However, even though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Anadolu Agency (AA) that Israel desires positive relations with Turkey and hopes reconciliation will arrive in the near future, the circumstances under which those statements were given – while exposing an alleged Iranian arms shipment to the Gaza Strip – speaks volumes about his position toward rapprochement. For the two former partners to officially bury the hatchet, a creative solution must be found to solving Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s demand that Israel lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip. Read more

Don’t trip at the finish line!

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

Israel and Turkey seem so close to rapprochement, you can almost smell the baklava in the air.

Nearly four years have passed since Israeli commandos, while boarding the Turkish vessel MV Mavi Marmara, the flagship of a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying humanitarian aid and no small number of anti-Israel belligerents, killed nine passengers in their attempt to seize the ship. Four miserable years of disputed investigations, sober negotiations, and incendiary comments by Israeli and Turkish politicians alike followed.

Now it appears that an agreement, which calls for Israel to pay $20 million in compensation to the families of those slain on the ill-fated ship, has been drafted and is now waiting approval from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Read more