San Diego Jewish World
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Sharkansky is a professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He writes the "Letter from Jerusalem" for San Diego Jewish World





San Diego Jewish World Author


To view more recent columns by Ira Sharkansky, please click here

2010-01-05—An Israeli columnist’s 2010 predictions

2009-12-31-U.S. health care bill–like most medicines–may have some side effects
2009-12-27—Incrementalism the political norm in U.S. and Israel
2009-12-24--Comparing and contrasting Gilad Shalit and Rachel Corrie
2009-12-24-- There are times in politics when doing nothing is the best option

2009-12-20—--Israel is a magnet for hyperbole
2009-12-20--- Is Israel overly preoccupied with Iran’s nuclear goals?

2009-12-17—Abbas copies Syria in making unreasonable demands
2009-12-13—Settlers demonstrate power of a religiously driven minority
2009-12-13- Middle East inertia the product of Palestinian intransigence, U.S. naivete

2009-12-10—All or nothing solutions are unrealistic in Middle East
2009-12-08—Afghanistan may notch the American empire on its belt of failed conquerors
2009-12-08-A comparison of U.S. and Israel -- and their democracies
2009-12-03—Obama could learn from Israel's mistakes with Palestinians, Lebanese .
2009-12-01—Inertia, rather than conscious policy, often influences the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
2009-11-29—Middle East peace process reduced to a charade
2009-11-29—Some hard realities of negotiations and politics

2009-11-26—Israel has image problems; anti-Israel professors have scholarship problems
2009-11-26--Unlike the United States, Israel clearly discerns identity of its enemies
2009-11-24 -- Cessation of Israeli construction not very probable
2009-11-15 (21)—Is President Obama the new George McGovern?

2009-11-15(21)—Israeli commentary on Obama increasingly views him in Palestinian camp ... by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
2009-11-15 (21)—State Department bias favoring Palestinians shows in report on international religious freedom
2009-11-15(21)--Peace recedes as Obama policies harden Palestinian positions
2009-11-15-Trying to understand Palestinians and Haredim
2009-11-15—Washington Post chooses wrong commentators on the Middle East Read more
2009-11-15—Obama's policies seen as 'childish' by some Israelis Read more
2009-11-12—Nidal Hasan and American multiculturalism.... Read more
2009-11-10—Who killed the Middle East peace process? ... Read more
2009-11-08—Keeping the Fort Hood massacre in perspective ... Read more
2009-11-05—Let's stop predicting Mideast future and focus on present ..Read more
2009-11-03-Another glitch in America's Middle East diplomacy Read more
2009-11-01—Israel uncooperative with those who wish its annihilation... Read more
2009-10-29—'Action or deliberation?' is eternal question in world affairs Read more
2009-10-27—Moderation seemingly a rarity in the Holy Land Read more
2009-10-27—P.C. Guardians at the doors of UC Berkeley Read more
2009-10-22—J-Street follows some familiar Jewish avenues... Read more
2009-10-20—Some obvious flaws of the Goldstone Report Read more
2009-10-18-'Goldstone' prompts bashing of Israel, but not of Hamas ... Read more
2009-10-13—Nobel Prize winners on the left and right of Israeli politics Read more
2009-10-11—Oct. 8: Succoth often heightens Temple Mount controversy ... Read more
2009-10-11--Oct. 9: Will Obama's Nobel Prize further heighten expectations? ... Read more
2009-10-12-Oct. 10: Obama arouses passionate loyalty, extremist opposition ... Read more
2009-10-08—Are we on the eve of the Third Intifada? Read more
2009--10-08--Palestinians goading each other to violence Read more

2009-10-04—Israel and U.S. must both be wary of its extremists Read more
2009-10-04--U.S. health care debate fueld by extremism Read more
2009-10-04--Is Ahmadinejad a Muslim converted from Judaism? Read more
2009-10-01—Tit-for-tat, low-level confrontations in Arab-Israeli arena .Read more
2009-09-29—Should Israel be ashamed of its politicians, or should it be proud it prosecuted them? Read more
2009-09-29—Obama the orator captivates U.N. with his style, but Read more
2009-09-24—The many defeats and frustrations of President Obama Read more
2009-09-22—Beware big egos that keep grasping failed policies .Read more
2009-09-17—Goldstone report lived down to Israel's expectations Read more
2009-09-15—Simple solutions and other sewage Read more
2009-09-13—Israel has some unique educational challenges ... . Read more
2009-09-13--Calculating the death toll of Saddam Hussein's regime ... Read more
2009-09-13--The United States and its hot button issues ... Read more
2009-09-09—Settlement dispute: Israeli arrogance, American naivete?Read more
2009-09-09—Is Lieberman simply a figurehead foreign minister? Read more
2009-09-06—Why police respond differently to Haredi and Arab riots Read more
2009-09-06—Bibi's reversal on settlements creates hard feelings abroad Read more

2009-09-03—Moral purists have far more luxury than Israel does . Read more
2009-09-01—Olmert indictment, Katsav trial: Oy Gevalt! . Read more
2009-08-30—Mideast meetings make leaders look busy when they're not ... Read more
2009-08-30Mired in Afghanistan, U.S. may find Mideast even tougher Read more
2009-08-30-Ike and Powell knew when to disengage; will Obama? Read more
2009-08-23—Israel has learned to cope with unresolved conflicts .Read more
2009-08-20—New version of the 'blood libel' surfaces Read more
2009-08-20—Parallels of the Johnson and Obama presidencies Read more
2009-08-18—Murders around Israel grabbing headlines Read more
2009-08-16—Persecution in Iran, factionalism in Gaza ... Read more
2009-08-16—U.S. health care debate fragmented by many emotions ... Read more
2009-08-16—Persecution in Iran, factionalism in Gaza ... Read more
2009-08-13—Note to innocents abroad: Don't make things worse Read more
2009-08-11—Fatah convention vague on Palestinian 'right of return' Read more
2009-08-09—What do we find on President Obama's scorecard? ... Read more
2009-08-09—If U.S. pressures Israel, it should make sure Palestinians are reasonable in their demands ... Read more
2009-08-09—Is it better to kill a sacred cow ... or a human patient? ... Read more
2009-08-06—People are getting roiled over U.S.-Israel relations . Read more
2009-08-04—Israel's neighborhood is quiet, at least for now Read more
2009-08-04—Obama naive and heading for his predecessors' pitfalls Read more
For Israelis, Tisha B'Av is a day of warning ... Read more
2009-08-02—Obama's backfiring settlements campaign in Israel.. Read more
2009-08-02--Israel's 'undocumented workers' issue parallel's U.S.'s .. Read more
2009-07-30—Compared to Middle East, U.S. politics a cake walk ... Read more
2009-07-28—As Obama's domestic problems grow, pressure on Israel on the settlements issue eases Read more
2009-07-26—Obama's leftward policies change moderates to rightists Read more
2009-07-23—Another 'Neverland' demand from Mahmoud Abbas Read more
2009-07-21--Israel's coping ability more useful than U.S. urge to solve Read more
2009-07-21—U.S. 'benign neglect' better than 'tough love' for Israel Read more
2009-07-19--If secular and haredi Jews can't find common meeting grounds , how can we expect Jews and Arabs to do so? Read more
2009-07-17—Until Palestinians accept Israel, peace is illusory Read more
2009-07-17—'Ghetto' haredim revolt against Jerusalem municipality Read more
2009-07-15—Palestinians waiting in vain for U.S. to deliver more and more concessions from Israel...Read more
2009-07-14—Solana encourages Palestinians to make no concessions Read more
2009-07-12—Sometimes a father can be a politician's big problem ... Read more
2009-07-10—Alas, Israel has its share of con artists ... Read more
2009-07-07—Obama's call for stopping settlements only a distraction ... Read more 
2009-07-07—Tension between Israel and Iran ratcheting up ... Read more
2009-07-05—Some NGO's raise money by appealing to anti-Israel bias ... READ MORE
2009-07-02-As U.S. foreign investments go, Israel has been a bargain READ MORE
2009-07-01—Rhetorical war on settlements appears to be easing READ MORE
2009-06-30—Some ideologue columnists well worth ignoring READ MORE
2009-06-28—Obama wrong on Israel's settlements; Carter et al mislabel the position of Arabs in Israeli society READ MORE
2009-06-25—'Paternalism': the latest form of great power meddling ... READ MORE
2009-06-23—Growing suspicions between Americans, Israelis .... READ MORE
2009-06-21—Deepening perception gap between Israel, rest of west READ MORE
2009-06-19—Obama and Netanyahu may rue arousing sleeping dogs READ MORE
2009-06-17—Critics often hear what they fear, not what was said READ MORE
Netanyahu's speech mends alliance with United States but Middle East peace process probably is no further along ... READ MORE

2009-06-10—In defending against Islamist terror, Israel has been more successful than the U.S. in keeping casualties down
2009-06-09—Obama's Middle East assumptions, though quite different, are as simplistic as those that guided George W. Bush
2009-06-07—Too Pro-Arab, Too Pro Israeli—No unanimity on Obama
2009-06-05—Much of what Obama told Muslims was not flattering
2009-06-04—Stopping settlements won't change the Islamists' ambitions
2009-06-02—U.S. too globally overcommitted to effect Mideast peace
2009-05-31—North Korean nuclear test makes Israel edgier about Iran
2009-05-29—Israel, like U.S., has its emotional wedge issues ... by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
2009-05-27—Obama's kind rhetoric is trumped by world reality
2009-05-26—Strained relationship of Israel, Turkey noticeable in Istanbul
2009-05-18—When Mideast rhetoric has minimal relationship to reality
2009-05-17—Suppose Israel agreed to demands of the Economist
2009-05-15—Will Netanyahu's White House visit be better this time?
2009-05-13—Parallels between old Cold War and modern Islamist War
2009-05-12—An Israeli professor offers a critique of American society
2009-05-11—U.S. must factor possibility that Israel will feel forced to take independent action against Iran .
2009-05-10—Obama's folly will rival Bush's if U.S. seek to impose its will on Israel, other Mideast powers
2009-05-07Are Israel, U.S. playing good cop, bad cop with each other?
2009-05-06—The nuanced relationships among Israeli Arabs and Jews
2009-05-04—Jewish descendants who make aliyah from countries of Asia and Africa becoming a factor in demographic race
2009-05-03—Economist paints grim picture of Gaza life under Hamas
2009-04-30—Death penalty for Palestinian who sold land to Jews
2009-04-29—The hazy line between Mideast war and politics
2009-04-27—If world situation ever improves, it will be incrementally .
2009-04-26—Former U.S. professor forges a new identity as an Israeli
2009-04-23—Israel's security fence comes to my French Hill window
2009-04-21—Times are better for Jews to feel chronic uncertainty
2009-04-15—Til now, Mideast 'peace' process has been smoke, mirrors
2009-04-13—U.S. may come to prefer reprisal raids to occupation
2009-04-10—Tallying positives, negatives in quest for Mideast peace
2009-04-06Responding to random violence in Israel and U.S.
2009-04-03—Israel has new political drama, unfortunately not on stage
2009-04-01—Can it really be? A porkbarrel Cabinet in Israel??
2009-03-29—Bibi Netanyahu has his slogans and his realities
2009-03-27—The bricks and mortar of Netanyahu's coalition
2009-03-25—Demographic trend lines no cause for panic in Israel
2009-03-23—Intense history, politics frame an Israeli weekend
2009-03-20—Can Israel's worldwide image problem be corrected?
2009-03-18—Deal for Schalit's return crumbles amid finger-pointing
2009-03-15—The political self-immolation of ex-President Moshe Katsav
2009-03-13—Israel democracy no more 'distorted' than others
2009-03-11—Coalition-building, Katsav show Israel's seamier aspects
2009-03-08—Election results may mean Israelis are tired of being pushed into unilateral concessions by world opinion
2009-03-05—Posturing, not reality, characterizes Mideast peace search
2009-03-04—'Change' a watchword for new U.S. and Israeli governments
2009-03-01—As a campaign issue, corruption has been corrupted
2009-02-13The indecisiveness of Israel's election process
2009-02-12Antipathy between SHAS and Israel Beitenu may
complicate Netanyahu's task of coalition building

2009-02-11—The politics of the fearful and the secure
2009-02-08—Some old realities of Israel's election politics
2009-02-06—Obama has a P-R problem with Gazans
2009-02-04—Israel electorate has moved to the right
2009-02-02—With friends like 60 Minutes' Bob Simon
2009-02-01—Israel endures the propaganda war
2009-01-30—Proposal dreams of a revived Palestine
2009-01-29—Besides Hamas terrorism, Mitchell will find PA corruption a barrier to Middle East peace
2009-01-27—A primer on Israel's Feb 10 elections
2009-01-26—Symbolism of new Obama administration won't necessarily result in major changes
Newest U.S. Middle Eastern efforts may prove to be Obama's great embarassment
2009-01-23—Some Israelis credit matriarch Rachel in Gaza
2009-01-21—Hamas posturing attempts to portray death and destruction into victory
2009-01-20—Assessing the Gaza War's international and internal Israeli electoral aftermath
2009-01-19—Did Gaza War end chance of a Palestine?
2009-01-18—So what has the Gaza War accomplished?
2009-01-16—Olmert throws his political chestnuts back into the fire with attack on Condy Rice
Americans should let Gaza dust settle before making new peace proposals
2009-01-14—How Israeli TV covers ... and covers the war
2009-01-13—Pitfalls for U.S. presidential peacemaking
2009-01-11—The Gaza War and the propaganda war
2009-01-08—Remember those who urged moderation towards Hitler? Some say same for Hamas
'U.N. sources' in Gaza are Hamas spokesmen
2009-01-06—Assessing the war's future political impact
2009-01-05—Keeping the hell of war within bounds
2009-01-04—Who, if anyone, wants to rule Gaza?
2009-01-01—The great debate in Israel: how much more warfare before Hamas learns its lesson?

—War should impress Hamas that rocket attacks on Israel have a very heavy price ... by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
2008-12-30—Has Israel's response been proportional?
World economic meltdown may have less impact on Israel's trade than on America's
2008-12-25—Coping—or not—with the Gaza rockets
2008-12-21—Many parties compete in Israel but usually the same ones actually win Knesset seats
2008-12-19—Madoff scandal illustrates inefficiency of institutions created for our protection
2008-12-16—Coping with rockets in the fog of a demiwar
2008-12-14—Peace proposals often just ritual exercises
2008-12-12—Moshe Feiglin gets onto Likud's list, causing Bibi ideological embarassment
Bush's accomplishments in the Middle East merit, at best, some 'polite applause'
2008-12-08—Afghanistan and Palestine are two areas of the world where Obama must be cautious
In Mumbai, and in Hebron, there are differences in Jewish beliefs and loyalties
Labor party just doesn't work anymore
2008-12-03—Battling terrorists a Sissyphean task
2008-11-30—Olmert ouster Livni's only chance
Olmert politically embarrasses Livni
Some Jewish internet material is bizarre
Compared to West Bank, Gaza may be the lesser of Israel's strategic problems.
Israel's underworld comes into prominence with mob hit
The conundrum of Gaza
Jewish roots of Israel's democracy
2008-11-12—Juicy details of Israel's municipal elections
2008-11-10—Is the American empire in decline?
2008-11-09—Political team building in U.S., Israel
2008-11-06—Obama's victory and U.S. race history
Israeli elections on simmer as the world awaits the results of the American one
2008-10-30—Israel: the land of abiding controversy
2008-10-28—Local religious customs should be observed at the Western Wall
Livni's call for new elections puts peace with Palestinians on back burner
2008-10-23U.S. election, Israel coalition building again in Jewish spotlight as holidays end
Arab-Jewish coexistence at the gym
2008-10-17—Beware politicians' promises—in any nation
2008-10-13—Authorities try to calm Acco, rest of Israeli nation in wake of Arab, Jewish rioting
Second intifada not officially over, but clearly it has lost almost all its steam
Israel's justice ministry in disarray about what to do about the Katsav scandal
Analyzing Olmert's stunning turnaround
U.S election more a spectacle for voters than an opportunity to deliberate
What Israelis learn from U.S. elections
2008-09-09—How much of a criminal is PM Olmert?
2008-09-08—Israeli professor worries over course his native United States is taking in world
Are olim more prone to child-murder?
2008-09-04—Unlike Americans, Israeli families of politicians usually stay out of limelight
Problems in U.S., Israel known; likely responses of leading candidates aren't
Their limited knowledge does not prevent 'intellectuals' from Middle East punditry
Do missile defense systems really defend?
Former American, now an Israeli, finds faults with both Obama and McCain
2008-08-15Russian-Georgian conflict reverberates through Israel; chills its FSU relations
Georgia appears to have provoked war with Russia; Jewish agencies aid refugees
2008-08-10—Rocky political future for prisoner deal
2008-08-07—The clowns who make policy in Palestine and the U.S. embarrass both governments
Bush hopes to salvage Mideast success unrealistic with decline in Olmert's power
Peace negotiations produce little news
2008-07-25—Israel's embarassments: Katsav, Olmert
U.S. should heed Israeli lesson in Lebanon
2008-07-20Olmert's fingers on levers of power make those who would oust him quite cautious
Bodies of Goldwasser and Regev return to Israel in post-Lebanon II war exchange
Israel's national guessing game: Can Olmert last? If not, who will succeed him?
Gabriel's Revelation' may alter Jewish, Christian concepts of interrelationships
Peres: Peace with Palestinians not possible
2008-07-04—Few parallels between U.S. operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel-Palestine
2008-07-01Israel's painful deal with Hizbollah
Olmert, every crafty, may survive again
Possible attack on Iran, negotiating for hostages prompt many ethical questions
2008-06-20—Wars among the Jews heat up in Israel
2008-06-19Skepticism over Israel-Hamas ceasefire
2008-06-15—The political math of a Gaza invasion
2008-06-10—Middle East theme song: Send in the Clowns?
Hamas acknowledges its responsibility for rocket attacks that killed 26 Israelis
Weighing Obama and McCain from an Israeli perspective, each has drawbacks
2008-06-02—Ehud Olmert, does clock tick for thee?
2008-05-30Olmert probe may trigger government crisis
2008-05-23Are peace talks Olmert's diversion?
2008-05-18—Retaliation in Gaza may be a matter of political timing after Bush, Pelosi visits
2008-05-14—Intolerable situation on the Gaza border
2008-05-11—Olmert inquiry focuses on dealings with American fundraiser Moshe Talansky
2008-05-05—Independence Week brings its tensions
2008-04-28—Palestinian choice: delusions or own state
2008-04-27—Political smoke in the Israeli winds
2008-04-22—Clarity is a casualty of Mideast conflict
2008-04-17—Notes from ever-changing Haggadot
2008-04-13—Should Palestinians be rewarded for seven years of violence and intransigence?
2008-04-08Ultra-Orthodox face challenge of policing deviants and miscreants
2008-04-03—Violence, not settlements, blocks peace
2008-03-30Why cynicism abounds in Middle East
2008-03-26U.S. economy, Mideast tensions respond to their own cycles of emotion and excesses
2008-03-21Palestinian-Israeli friction points range from cell phones to the right of return
2008-03-16—Is Mahmoud Abbas 'a Dead Man Walking?'
Israel's response in Gaza: long in coming
2008-03-02Kicking up a fuss over Jonathan's sexuality
2008-02-27—Gazans' protest on Israel border fizzles
2008-02-24—Shas minister blames quakes on gays
2008-02-20The more Palestinians and Israelis talk, the more a real peace agreement recedes
2008-02-17U.N., Hamas are blaming Israel for Palestinians' self-inflicted problems
2008-02-15— Is terrorist's assassination worth price?
2008-02-12Most Israelis favor strong retaliation against Gaza for rocket attacks
2008-02-07—Why Israel prefers to just muddle through
2008-02-05Palestinians, Labor have penchant for self-inflicted political damage
2008-02-03—Which zealots block Middle East peace?
2008-01-31Winograd report providing grinding surface for many different political axes
2008-01-28—Modern day Isaiahs and Hoseas find plenty in Israel worthy of their denunciations
2008-01-24Yaalon plan ignores Palestinian realities
—Suffering for its public relations value
Fatah to end ceasefire. Are they kidding?
—Baroque music lovers brave Bush security
—Olmert's 'illegal settlement' problem
2008-01-07Pay no heed to ' junk' on the internet
2008-01-02What about Israeli-on-Israeli violence?

Palestinians' violence threatens the establishment of their state, not Israel
An Israeli view of the 'settlements'
2007-12-23Want better health care? Make aliyah!
2007-12-18—The conundrum of the Gaza rockets
—'Apologies' as presidential campaign tactics
—Do Jews have a gene for excess conscience?
—Shock and disbelief in Israel over U.S. latest estimate on Iran's nuclear program
2007-11-29No need to sell his apartment in Jerusalem
The pros and cons of Annapolis
Jewish shtetl mentality is understandable but dangers to Jews often exaggerated
2007-11-12—'Right of return' and 'undivided Jerusalem' jeopardize any bargain at Annapolis
2007-11-08 —U.S. policy-makers have a record of mistakes in U.S.; is Israel next?"
2007-11-04—Olmert's optimism on the eve of the Annapolis conference mystifies 'realists'
2007-11-03—Breakthrough in Annapolis? Don't hold your breath that anything will happen



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