Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Help GLORIA to Continue Prof. Barry Rubin’s Work

The late Barry Rubin and wife Judith Colp Rubin
As the one-year anniversary of the death of my husband, Professor Barry Rubin, approaches, I am reaching out to you, his loyal readers, to help continue his important work.

Barry was one of the most prolific Middle East scholars of our time. He believed strongly in fighting for the security of America and Israel and worked tirelessly for this cause, literally up to his death. Even while hooked up to an IV dispensing chemo, Barry was dictating his famous Rubin Report to his assistant. He also finished three books, which were published posthumously: Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Yale, 2014, co-authored with Wolfgang G. Schwanitz), Silent Revolution: How the Left Rose to Political Power and Cultural Dominance (Harper Collins, 2014), and The Military History of the Modern Middle East (Routledge, 2015).

I know Barry would be proud as to how GLORIA, the research institute he founded at the Interdisciplinary Center and which I always referred to as the “other woman in his life,” continues to thrive.

The  Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center is now under the directorship of Dr. Jonathan Spyer--Barry’s longtime deputy and hand-picked successor--who has reported from across the region, including several trips to war-torn Syria. Dr. Spyer is recognized as one of the world’s leading Middle East analysts, appearing on and writing for major media outlets as well as doing speaking events worldwide.

The Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA), which Barry pioneered in 1997 as the first online Middle East journal, maintains its high level of scholarship, with a circulation of over 25,000. In addition, GLORIA continues to publish Turkish Studies, founded by Barry and listed in the prestigious Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). Thirteen of Barry’s books are available now for free on the GLORIA website, including The Arab States and the Palestine Conflict, The Truth About Syria, and more.

In addition to these projects, Barry’s longtime dream of helping develop the next generation of Middle East scholars has become a reality. In October, Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi became the first recipient of the Rubin Fellowship. Al-Tamimi has already emerged as one of the world’s leading experts on the Islamic State (IS), recently testifying before the British parliament on the subject.


As Barry’s widow and co-author, I ask for your help in ensuring the GLORIA Center continues these ongoing activities. Funds are especially needed to expand the Rubin Fellowship. Please consider making a donation in Barry’s memory and for the values for which he dedicated his life.  Make your tax-deductible donation today from the United States, the UK, or Israel.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review: Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East


“The enemy of your enemy is your friend,” wrote the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini, about his reverence for Nazi Germany that had fought his enemies, the (British) colonialists and the Zionists. While this may have been an understatement, it is common knowledge that the Palestinian Arab leader ruined his reputation by collaborating with the Nazis. The exact nature and extent of his collaboration and the solidity of its ideological foundations, however, were not fully explored until the publication of this study. It is to the credit of these two fine scholars, the late Israeli historian Barry Rubin and his colleague Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, that they discovered documentary proof in German, Yugoslav, Israeli, British and Russian archives of how the Grand Mufti made maximal efforts to provide the Nazis—who were notoriously short of allies—with as much assistance as he could.

Goebbels and Himmler were grateful to the Grand Mufti for his support. With his usual self-gratulatory tone, Goebbels wrote in his diary that al-Husaini was “intelligent and had good judgment.” With the help of the Mufti, the Nazis hoped that they could win the support of four hundred million Muslims. As late as May, 8, 1944, Himmler gave the Mufti an entire afternoon of his precious time. During this meeting the two men discussed horses, Arabic poetry and the achievements of the Muslim units that the Mufti had helped enlist and which fought for the Third Reich. These included the Hanzar (Khanjar) division which “had participated in the murder of thousands of Bosnian Jews, Christian Serbs and Roma (“Gypsies”).”...

Professor Johannes Houwink ten Cate, co-author of “In het puin van het getto: het concentratiekamp Warschau,” Jewish Political Studies Review 25(Fall 2013)3-4, 26 November 2014.



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Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2014, xiii plus 340 pp.

Reviewed by Johannes Houwink Ten Cate

“The enemy of your enemy is your friend,” wrote the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini, about his reverence for Nazi Germany that had fought his enemies, the (British) colonialists and the Zionists. While this may have been an understatement, it is common knowledge that the Palestinian Arab leader ruined his reputation by collaborating with the Nazis. The exact nature and extent of his collaboration and the solidity of its ideological foundations, however, were not fully explored until the publication of this study. It is to the credit of these two fine scholars, the late Israeli historian Barry Rubin and his colleague Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, that they discovered documentary proof in German, Yugoslav, Israeli, British and Russian archives of how the Grand Mufti made maximal efforts to provide the Nazis—who were notoriously short of allies—with as much assistance as he could.

Goebbels and Himmler were grateful to the Grand Mufti for his support. With his usual self-gratulatory tone, Goebbels wrote in his diary that al-Husseini was “intelligent and had good judgment.” With the help of the Mufti, the Nazis hoped that they could win the support of four hundred million Muslims. As late as May, 8, 1944, Himmler gave the Mufti an entire afternoon of his precious time. During this meeting the two men discussed horses, Arabic poetry and the achievements of the Muslim units that the Mufti had helped enlist and which fought for the Third Reich. These included the Hanzar (Khanjar) division which “had participated in the murder of thousands of Bosnian Jews, Christian Serbs and Roma (“Gypsies”).”

After the defeat of the Third Reich, al-Husseini wanted to persuade the world that he had collaborated out of opportunistic motives, essentially because other Middle Eastern leaders accommodated the British and French colonial powers, and Nazi Germany fought against those countries. During the war, however, and especially before Nazi audiences, al-Husseini quoted the Quran as proof that the Jews were terrorists, the bitterest enemies of the Muslims, and haters of Muhammad. Second on his list of worst enemies were the British. The Mufti added that he did his utmost to convince Muslims to join the Waffen-SS, the elite army of Nazi Germany. Thousands followed the call of the Mufti, although the contingent of Dutchmen outnumbered the Muslims among the foreign volunteers in the SS. According to the Mufti, Nazi Germany was the natural ally of the Muslims. He added that Germany was fighting against “World Jewry,” England and Communism which oppressed forty million Muslims and wanted to destroy Islam. However, there was much more to his collaboration. According to the Mufti, the most important feature of their alliance was the fact that Nazism and Islamism shared a common ideological basis.

The title of this seminal book, Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East is appropriate because Rubin and Schwanitz document these ideological similarities. Indeed, Rubin and Schwanitz not only have written a study of the collaboration of the Mufti with Nazi Germany but also a study of the “making of the modern Middle East.” Both Islam and Nazism preached the necessity of a community living in a single state under a single, all-powerful leader [i.e., Das Führer Prinzip]. Furthermore, redemptive anti-Semitism was central to the worldview of the Nazi religion. Both Islam and Nazism glorified armed conflict and martyrdom as well as the notion of the common good (as opposed to individual liberty), the family, motherhood, physical labor and hatred of Jews. According to the Mufti, an Allied victory would mean the triumph of the Jews and a disaster for Muslims and Islam. If Germany and Islam would win the war, the Arabs would be united under their new leader, namely the Grand Mufti, and the Jews would be destroyed. Despite the setback of the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, Haj Amin al-Husseini remained the historic Palestinian Arab leader until Yasser Arafat succeeded him in 1968.

Rubin and Schwanitz have produced an extremely well-researched and documented book, both on the Mufti and on the common ideological ground shared by Nazi doctrine and political Islam in its radical form. However, some of the authors’ assertions are not entirely convincing. Along with Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, they state that the Mufti visited Nazi death camps. Nazi leaders usually did not show these camps to foreign sympathizers. They also note that the Mufti supported an “accelerated policy of genocide that the Axis’ partner intended to spread to the Middle East” (160). Had the Nazis been victorious in the Middle East, it is plausible that in planning the most universal of genocides (to paraphrase Professor Yehuda Bauer), they would have murdered the Jews there as well, since that was their policy toward all Jews, even in territories that they had not yet conquered. However, it is not likely that Hitler and his henchmen needed the support of the Mufti in making their genocidal decision to kill the Jews. In their discussion of the role of Haj Amin in the decision-making process of implementing the Holocaust, Rubin and Schwanitz are skating on thin ice. They repeat the common error of over-estimating the importance of the Wannsee Conference (20 January 1942). In fact, 1,100,000 million Jews had perished prior to that meeting. In addition, they appear to have ignored much of the recent scholarship on this decision-making process, particularly the works of Christopher R. Browning on the origins of the Final Solution.

In any case, the above is but a minor criticism. The main point is that Rubin and Schwanitz have provided a work based upon excellent original research and have produced a well-written and seminal book on the collaborationist policies of the Grand Mufti, who strove to become the most important Arab leader of his time. It is always important to remember that it was the Mufti himself who emphasized the ideological common ground of Nazism and radical political Islamism. Rubin and Schwanitz have demonstrated its continuity.


Johannes Houwink ten Cate is Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The GLORIA Center needs your help to continue its ground-breaking Middle East reporting


Last week, MERIA Journal's exclusive Special Report Did ISIS Use Chemical Weapons Against the Kurds in Kobani?, by new GLORIA Center Director Jonathan Spyer, caught the world’s attention with its shocking unprecedented photos of Kurds killed by apparent Islamic State (ISIS) use of chemical weapons in northern Syria. The story has been reprinted and/or cited in major media outlets, including:
·        U.S.:  New York Times, Huffington Post, New York Post, FOX News, Buzzfeed, Middle East Forum
·        Europe:  Bild-Zeitung, Russia Today
·        Israel:  Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, Channels 9 and 10.

In the same week, GLORIA's Rubin Research Fellow Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi testified before the British House of Commons on the threat represented by the Islamic State, drawing on his own unique information sources and field data collection.

At a time of unprecedented crisis within the Middle East and far beyond, the world needs this information now more than ever.


Click to make a tax-deductible donation in the U.S., Israel, or the U.K.

Click to donate quickly & easily in the United States via Paypal.



Founded by the late Professor Barry Rubin in 2000, the GLORIA Center produces up-to-date, insightful analysis and reporting on modern Middle East affairs, using primary sources and exclusive on-the-ground contacts throughout the region.

Professor Rubin was a prolific analyst of Middle-East politics.  Since his untimely death in February 2014, new Director Dr. Jonathan Spyer has visited Iraq and Syria, witnessing developments first-hand and interviewing participants.

With its dynamic leadership and contributors, GLORIA remains one of the most versatile and active Mid-East research centers in the world.

GLORIA Center Highlight Accomplishments in 2014:
  • ISIS Chemical Weapons: Ongoing exclusive coverage and its implications for the region
  • Iraq and Syria: Frontline reporting, including exclusive on-ground interviews
  • Media and Consultancy: For government, news media, and academic research, including testimony about ISIS before the British House of Commons and elsewhere
  • Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal: Covering the latest developments in the region from a wide variety of viewpoints, including U.S. policy, radical movements and minorities, MERIA is the most widely read journal of its type in the world, with a circulation of over 25,000.  MERIA is available free of charge.
  • Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East: One of Prof. Barry Rubin's final books, co-authored by Visiting Fellow Prof. Dr. Wolfgang G. Schwanitz and published by Yale University Press in 2014, this acclaimed book focuses on the political alliance forged among Third Reich leaders, Arab nationalists, and Muslim religious authorities during the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Silent Revolution: How the Left Rose to Political Power and Cultural Dominance: Published in April 2014 by Harper Collins and among Barry Rubin's last books, the book is an exposé of the radicalism masquerading as liberalism today and its unchecked rise to cultural and political power in the United States.
  • The Military History of the Modern Middle East: Forthcoming in January 2015 (Routledge), this collection, edited by Barry Rubin, covers the military history of the past hundred years, including such topics as both world wars, the Turkish-Greek conflicts, Arab nationalism, the Arab-Israeli conflicts, and the post-2003 fighting in Iraq.
  • Israel: An Introduction in Chinese: Barry Rubin's (ed.) book, originally published by Yale University Press in 2012, will soon be available in Chinese, thanks to SIGNAL and the China University of Petroleum (CUP). This is the first book to provide a comprehensive picture of modern Israel and will be used in Israel Studies programs across China.
  • Free Books: 13 full-text books by Barry Rubin on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Syria, U.S. policy, Jewish assimilation, and more
  • Turkish Studies: In a crucial geographical and political location, Turkey’s importance is growing rapidly throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Caucasus. With an upsurge in interest in its history, politics, and foreign policy, Turkish Studies quarterly offers scholarly discussion on these topics and more.

Click to make a tax-deductible donation in the U.S., Israel, or the U.K.


Click to donate quickly & easily in the United States via Paypal.


For more information or to pledge support, please contact info@gloria-center.org

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Logic of the Middle East, a prescient analysis by Prof. Barry Rubin

In light of the current situation in Israel and Gaza, the GLORIA Center is reposting Prof. Rubin's prescient analysis of the likely situation that would emerge in Gaza following the Disengagement.  

This article is, if anything, even more relevant today than when it was first published in 2005:

By Barry Rubin
August 2005

                It cannot be repeated often enough that Middle East politics are not like those of other places. They make sense once one understands the region’s history, politics, and institutions, but they defy the logic that uninformed or semi-informed outsiders expect.
                Consider, as the most recent example, Palestinian politics and the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Here is what might be expected to happen:
                “This is a step forward by Israel showing that this country is ready to make peace,” the Palestinian leader would tell his people. “We must now make the most of this opportunity in two ways.”
“First, we must encourage Israel to agree to a comprehensive deal by proving to its leaders and people that we really do accept their country’s existence and security. The best way to do this is by stopping all incitement to hate Israel and portray it as illegitimate in our media and textbooks, while showing our determination to prevent terror attacks. We will demand all of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip in a Palestinian state but we will simultaneously show we are true nationalists by making it clear that all Palestinian refugees should be resettled in our own state in order to make it prosperous and successful.”
“Second, we must show the world that we are worthy and ready for a state by governing the Gaza Strip well. We will put all security forces under political control and disband the extremist militias. A stable government will be established that will not permit anarchy. We will fight corruption and use the aid money well. And we will show our commitment to democracy. We may not succeed completely but everyone will know that we have done our best and made real progress. ”
“Critical in this effort is to show our people that this great day was brought about not by murdering Israeli civilians but as an outcome of the negotiations process begun with the Oslo agreement.”
Indeed, many people in the West no doubt think that this is what already is happening. But what, in fact, is the most likely course of events in the Palestinian debate and politics?
--There will be no decline in incitement or change in the public rhetoric of Palestinian officials speaking to their own people. Thus, of course, Israeli suspicions regarding their intentions will be reinforced.
--The Palestinian movement will continue to be oriented toward conquest and revenge rather than nation-state nationalism.
--No stable government with real control over the territory will be created in the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Authority will not even try too hard to do that. On the contrary, it will ignore the Road Map’s provisions about stopping terrorism and disarming radical groups and simply keep insisting on getting a state right away without preconditions or concessions.
--The Israeli withdrawal will be claimed as a victory for terrorism (under the phrase revolutionary violence) thus laying the basis for more of the same.
--Palestinian security forces will stand by most of the time and do nothing as not only Hamas and Islamic Jihad but also Fatah gunmen try to attack Israel. Then the Palestinian leadership will scream when Israel retaliates. The big losers here will be the Palestinians themselves since this continuing war will destroy any chance for development.
--Anti-corruption efforts will remain tiny even in the context of modest expectations. The new aid money being offered by the West will disappear without a trace.
--The Palestinian leadership will do everything possible to avoid power-sharing, wider democracy, or fair elections. There is some good reason for this since Hamas will benefit the most if people are given a choice but a large part of the reason for that situation is precisely the current leadership’s failure to do more for the masses’ welfare.
In short, there is every reason to believe that the Palestinian leadership and movements will throw away this opportunity. If you don’t think so, let’s talk about it again in six months’ time.
Does this analysis mean Israel should not withdraw? Actually, one could argue the exact opposite. For if nothing is going to change any way why should it be bound to the status quo? Take away the excuse of “occupation” and let the world—and far more importantly the Palestinians themselves—see the real cause of their problems. Let Israel determine its best deployments and use of security resources rather than have to be permanently tied down to being in the whole Gaza Strip.
Of course, one should quickly add, that Israel largely withdrew from the territory eleven years ago when it was turned over to the tender mercies of Yasir Arafat. The presence of 7500 settlers and Israeli control over certain roads had very little effect on the Palestinian situation there. On my many trips to the Gaza Strip in the second half of the 1990s, I never saw Israeli settlers, soldiers or road blocks. It was like being in Jordan or Lebanon, a Palestinian state in all but name.
The idea at the time was that he would have to deal with schools and sewage, jobs and housing. The problem was that he and his colleagues had no interest in anything other than fighting Israel. Some of his top successors have better intentions but lack the power or determination to do better.  As a substitute, they will complain about inadequate international support, blame Israel for everything, and urge more militancy. Which side will be better off after the withdrawal? Watch the material realities, not the rhetoric to find out.
 
Barry Rubin was director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC).  He was the author and co-author of many books on history, politics and the Middle East.  He passed away in 2014.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Washington Institute Memorial Event: Prof. Barry Rubin

THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 2014
3:00 PM
 photo


Please join the family, friends, and colleagues of Dr. Barry Rubin as we gather together to celebrate his life, work, and legacy. Dr. Rubin succumbed after a long battle with cancer in February.

Those paying tribute to Dr. Rubin will include Washington Institute director of research Dr. Patrick Clawson, Institute Program on Arab Politics Program director David Schenker, Middle East scholar and coauthor of Barry's final book Dr. Wolfgang Schwanitz, and Lee Smith of the Weekly Standard and the Hudson Institute. The program will include a special written contribution by Professor Walter Laqueur.

A brilliant scholar, prolific author, and fearless advocate for historical accuracy, Dr. Rubin had a long association with The Washington Institute, serving as a senior fellow from 1988-1993 and as a visiting fellow frequently thereafter. He was the author of numerous Institute studies on a broad cross section of subjects including Arab-Israeli relations, Syria, Jordan, and the Gulf.

Dr. Rubin served as director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the journal Middle East Review of International Affairs. His many books include The Truth about Syria (2007), The Long War for Freedom (2006), Hating America: A History (2004), and Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography (2003).
This event will be held in the Stern Library and Conference Room at The Washington Institute, 1828 L Street NW, Suite 1050, Washington, DC, 20036. 
It will also be broadcast live on the Washington Institute website.
To register for this event, please use the
ONLINE EVENT REGISTRATION FORM
or call 202-452-0677.

Click here to request a broadcast reminder.
Members of the media wishing to cover the event with cameras should call 202-230-9550.
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