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Center for Policy Studies
Public Affairs Discussion Group

The Israeli Election

Peter J. Haas, Ph.D. - Abba Hillel Silver Professor of Jewish Studies and Chair, Department of Religious Studies at Case Western Reserve University
Friday March 20, 2015
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

March 17's Israeli Election must be followed by Selection of who will try to assemble a government and Collection of some combination of parties into a 61-seat ruling coalition. Before the election it seemed quite possible that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party would lose its plurality of seats. It was much harder to see how the largest opposition group, the Zionist Union, could assemble 61 seats even if it outpolled Likud. But it also wasn't easy to see how a Likud-led coalition could agree on policies to address Israel's economic problems, or the controversy over the place of the ultraorthodox in Israeli society, which helped break up Netanyahu's previous coalition.

By the 20th we'll know which parties got how many seats and it will be possible to at least speculate on what government may form and what on earth its policies could be. Professor Haas will join us to report on the latest information about the post-election negotiations, what messages (if any) Israeli voters seemed to be sending, and whether any possible government could agree on a program of policies. One possibility might be reform of the political system itself.

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest

Peter Haas received his Bachelor of Arts in ancient Near East history from the University of Michigan in 1970, after which he attended Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, receiving ordination as a Reform rabbi in 1974. After ordination, he served as an active U.S. Army chaplain for three years and then remained in the Army National Guard for another 19 years.

Upon completion of active duty, Rabbi Haas enrolled in the graduate program in religion at Brown University, earning a Ph.D. in Jewish studies in 1980. He joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University in 1980, where he taught courses in Judaism, Jewish ethics, the Holocaust, Western religion, and the Middle East Conflict.

Dr. Haas moved to Case Western Reserve University in 2000 and was appointed chair of the Department or Religious Studies in 2003. During this time he also was a visiting professor at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago, Ill.

Professor Haas has published several books and articles dealing with moral discourse and with Jewish and Christian thought after the Holocaust. He has continued to teach courses on Western Religion (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and on the religious, historical and social context of the current Middle East crises. He has lectured in the United States, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Israel. His most recent book is on human rights in Judaism.

Where We Meet

The Friday Public Affairs Lunch convenes each Friday when classes are in session, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. We usually meet in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library. The Dampeer Room is on the second floor of the library. If you get off the elevators, turn right, pass the first bank of tables, and turn right again. Occasionally we need to use a different room; that will always be announced in the weekly e-mails.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. You can get from the Severance garage to the library without going outside. Near the entry gates - just to the right if you were driving out - there is a door into a corridor. Walk down the corridor and there will be another door. Beyond that door you'll find the entrance to an elevator which goes up to an entrance right inside the doors to Kelvin Smith Library.

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

March 27: Talking Turkey: Some Personal (and Historical) Perspectives on Turkish Politics and Society. With John Grabowski, Krieger-Mueller Associate Professor in Applied History; Senior Vice President for Research and Publications, Western Reserve Historical Society.

April 3: Origins and Prospects of the Islamic State. With Karl C. Kaltenthaler, Professor of Political Science, University of Akron.

April 10:
Obama's White House and Management Style: A Recipe for Success or Failure? With David B. Cohen, Professor of Political Science, University of Akron.

April 17: Is It Time For A New U.S. “Grand Strategy?” With Patrick C. Doherty, Co-director, Strategic Innovation Lab at Case Western Reserve University.

April 24: Avoiding Vaccinations: Reasons and Consequences With Irena L. Kenneley, Associate Professor, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.
March 16, 2015

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Upcoming Events

The Democracy Establishment

A discussion with Sarah Bush Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science, Temple University, Tuesday March 31, 2015, 12:15 p.m.-1:45 p.m., Tinkham Veale University Center, Senior Classroom A, Case Western Reserve University, 11308 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106. Sponsored by the generosity of Ms. Eloise Briskin and the Center for Policy Studies.

When U.S. government democracy assistance was launched three decades ago, it fostered real change, as in Poland and Chile, by supporting dissidents. Since then, democracy promotion has grown into an international industry. But assistance from both the U.S. and other donors normally finances programs that are not in the least threatening to authoritarian regimes. Instead, it finances technical assistance programs that considerable evidence suggests are ineffective. Or, it focuses on quantitative outcomes, such as the number of women in parliament, on which it is easy to show success but that do not threaten autocratic governments. Professor Bush argues that these results fit the incentives for organizations that must have permission to operate in countries in order to be funded, and that must compete with each other for donor support. In short, the rise of a "Democracy Establishment" has "tamed" democracy promotion.

Professor Bush's talk will be based on the research for her book with Cambridge University Press, The Taming of Democracy Assistance: Why Democracy Promotion Does Not Confront Dictators, scheduled for release on the day of her talk at CWRU. Dr. Bush earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from Princeton University and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the International Security Program of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

March 2015







































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