- Editor's Note
After 19 years as Editor of The Middle East Journal, I am pleased to announce my retirement with this issue. When I accepted the job in 1998, I did not envision such a long run, but I must say it has been a rewarding experience. I have watched The Middle East Institute grow enormously under three presidents, Roscoe Suddarth, Edward Walker, and Wendy Chamberlin; and I believe the Journal today has been greatly strengthened while remaining true to its serious scholarly mission. We have benefited from the digital revolution in order to bring the publication into the new century that began two years after my arrival, and is now no longer new. I have certainly made mistakes, especially in the early years, but I hope I have learned from them. My longtime Managing Editor, Jacob Passel, will be taking the helm, and I can assure you that I leave our readers in the ablest of hands. John Calabrese continues, as he has for many years, as our Book Review Editor, and Assistant Editor Lillian Judge completes the team I leave behind.
With this issue as well, the Journal begins its 72nd year.
In the wake of the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, two of our articles relate to Israeli-Palestinian subjects. Ronnie Olesker, Associate Professor at St. Lawrence University, applies securitization theory to the conflict and particularly to the question of Israel's Jewish identity and the country's recent increasing insistence on Palestinians recognizing it specifically as a Jewish state.
Somewhat related, Jamie Levin, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, looks at the motivation for weapons proliferation by the Palestinian Authority during the Oslo process. He argues the real purpose was neither to be a spoiler or to "coup-proof" the leadership, but rather to ensure survival in the event of collapse of the process.
Positioned between these two articles is one that is ideally timed for the opening of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang: a rare article (for us) ostensibly on sports, though really on the politics thereof. Danyel Reiche, Associate Professor of Comparative Politics at the American University of Beirut, explores Lebanon's sporting boycott of Israel, its history, its limitations, and its impact on other contexts. At a time when the once-widespread Arab boycott has much weakened but when the international BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement is growing, it offers a case study of a limited boycott.
Jason Brownlee of the University of Texas at Austin addresses the thorny and controversial question of Christian-Muslim relations in Egypt through a comparative study of two incidents of intercommunal clashes in 2010 and 2013. By looking closely at the political context of the two incidents, Brownlee challenges the essentialist narratives that underpin many accounts of intercommunal violence and sectarianism in the region.
Finally, Seda Demiralp, of Işık University in Istanbul, considers Turkish urban development under the Justice and Development Party (AKP). She examines how the AKP's urban policies helped strengthen its core constituency and thus reinforce its consolidation of its political strength.
In addition you will find our usual wide range of Book Reviews and our quarterly Chronology. Between issues, be sure to follow the MEI website at www.mei.edu.
With that, I say farewell, confident that I leave the Journal in good hands. [End Page 1]