Bernard Avishai

Avishai: Put Gaza Under a U.N. Mandate

In The New Yorker, Visiting Professor Bernard Avishai considers the possibility of U.N. peacekeeping to mediate Palestinian and Israeli interests in Gaza. Avishai writes, "There is only one way to advance both urgent purposes, and that is through the presence of an international force on the ground -- a force that both sides can trust without having to trust each other." 

The Jewish State in Question (The New Yorker)

In a New Yorker opinion piece, Bernard Avishai, a visiting professor of government at Dartmouth, discusses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state,” or as “the nation-state of the Jewish people.”

“Netanyahu’s demand has at least three layers to it,” Avishai writes. “The first is symbolic, without practical significance—understandable, but superfluous. The second is partly symbolic, but is meant to have future practical significance; it is contentious but resolvable. The third, however, is legal: it has great practical significance, and is, for any Palestinian or, for that matter, Israeli democrat, deplorable. We are no longer debating resolutions at fin-de-siècle Zionist congresses. Making laws requires settled definitions, and what’s being settled in Israel is increasingly dangerous. Netanyahu’s demand is a symptom of the disease that presents itself as the cure.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 1/2/14 by The New Yorker.

Envisioning a Peaceful Israel, Scientifically (The New Yorker)

In a story in The New YorkerProfessor Bernard Avishai, a visiting professor of government, writes about a method for determining the cost of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Israel’s economy.

“The problem is that it is difficult to determine the opportunity cost of the conflict,” Avishai writes. “How well might the Israeli economy have done if the conflict hadn’t taken place?”

Avishai’s colleague, Yusaku Horiuchi, imagines a “synthetic Israel”—a composite of countries similar to Israel in various respects, but without the conflict with the Palestinians—which can be tracked alongside the real Israel. Horiuchi, the inaugural Mitsui Chair in the Study of Japan and an associate professor of government, with the help of Asher Mayerson ’15, analyzed data from both Israeli and “synthetic Israeli,” Avishai writes.

“Cumulatively,” he writes, “from 2001 to 2010, Israel’s per capita G.D.P. was $25,513 less than that of synthetic Israel’s.