Philosophy Professor Nir Eisikovits, writing for Cognoscenti, WBUR's ideas and opinion page, discusses the long-term ramifications of Israeli and Palestinian skepticism about Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to advance negotiations.
In the article “Is John Kerry Israel's Last Best Hope?” Eisikovits argues that Israel could lose its identity as a democracy if forced to form alliances with nations that are strangers to democracy.
As the United States becomes more energy independent, Middle East stability becomes less important strategically, he writes.
“With a reduction in the importance of Mideast oil, Israel, as a Western outpost in an oil rich region, is beginning to matter less. If current trends continue, it could find itself without the backing of its traditional ally. What would it do then? Since the threats Israel faces are unlikely to subside … it would need new friends. An alliance with Saudi Arabia could prove attractive. The Jewish state would also have to seek backing from a new super power. The leading candidate would be a resurgent Russia, which has, of late, been showing a great deal of interest in Middle Eastern politics. The Chinese, who are set to become the primary consumers of Persian Gulf oil, are also likely to offer patronage in exchange for technology sharing.”
Eisikovits calls the potential for these developments “a good reason to root for Kerry” in his efforts to broker a deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
In a previous Cognoscenti article, “The ASA Boycott of Israeli Universities Misses the Point,” Eisikovits contended that the American Studies Association boycott of Israeli academic institutions is wrongly directed at some of the most active critics of Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza.