Josef Olmert

Josef Olmert is a Middle East scholar, former Israeli peace negotiator, political insider, published journalist and author, as well as a seasoned public speaker. He is an Adjunct Professor at USC-University of South Carolina. Olmert was a member of the Israeli delegation for talks with Syria in the Madrid Peace Conference and subsequent Washington, DC negotiations. In 1999, he served as policy advisor to then-Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens. Olmert holds a PhD from the London School of Economics in Middle East History. He is a son of former Knesset member Mordechai Olmert and a brother of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Kerry and UN Resolution Are Irrelevant

January 04, 2017

Secretary Kerry’s speech was pointless at a time when it is simply too little too late. Timing is perhaps the most crucial part of diplomacy and international relations. It is in this context that we must view the latest flurry of anti-Israel activity, as shown by United Nations Security Council...

Is President Sisi the Next Egyptian Reformer?

May 07, 2016

The international community should support Sisi if they want to see a more stable Middle East, says Josef Olmert. Since the 1952 coup d’état by the Free Officers Movement, Egypt has had six presidents. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the incumbent president, is in the same league with at least two seminal...

Israel’s Challenge is Becoming An Active Actor in Middle East Politics

February 16, 2016

Can Israel take advantage of new political openings in the Middle East? At best, politics in the Middle East is shifty to the point of anarchy, but since the events of 2011, erroneously called the “Arab Spring,” the region has become completely chaotic. Whatever the basic causes of this volcanic eruption...

Religious Warfare in Jerusalem… and It’s Getting Dangerous

October 25, 2015

With yet more unrest between Palestinians and Israelis, both sides are stuck in limbo, says Josef Olmert. Alphonse de Lamartine, a 19th century intellectual, politician and a noted scholar of the Middle East, said the French Revolution of 1848 occurred because his countrymen “were bored.” Well, Mahmoud Abbas, the president...

Negotiating With Terrorists: Pros and Cons

July 30, 2014

Despite the slogan “never negotiate with terrorists,” sometimes it is clever to negotiate. From Nigeria via China and Afghanistan to Israel, the world is preoccupied with the question of whether or not it is useful and justified to negotiate with those who are responsible for some of the most heinous crimes of all: terrorism directed...

The UN, War Crimes and Israel’s “Right to Defend Itself”

July 23, 2014

Every country would have done what Israel is doing now; it is called self-defense, according to Josef Olmert. Violence in Gaza has escalated. Operation Protective Edge, which began on July 8, has transformed into an Israeli ground invasion in one of the most densely populated areas in the world. At...

Jewish Settlements and the Peace Talks (Part 2/2)

June 12, 2014

In order to solve the issue of Jewish settlements, the primacy of the narrative has to be overcome. [Read part one here.] It is a central Palestinian argument that settlements are the main obstacle for peace. However, the factual record does not prove this point. Israel, by its own decision,...

Jewish Settlements and the Peace Talks (Part 1/2)

May 25, 2014

In order to solve the issue of Jewish settlements, the primacy of the narrative has to be overcome. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a multi-faceted and historically protracted conflict, the origins of which can be traced back to the late 19th century. It can be argued that such a complicated conflict...

Ariel Sharon: A Complicated Career and Legacy

January 16, 2014

Josef Olmert looks back at the life of one of Israel’s most important leaders. A famous Zionist poet, Saul Tschernichovsky (1875-1943), wrote in one of his songs that "the human being is a reflection of his childhood landscape." If there was one Israeli leader of recent time whose life story...

The Yom Kippur War: 40 Years Later

October 07, 2013

The Yom Kippur War ended the Israeli attitude of disrespect towards Arab capabilities. Mark Twain, ever a source of infinite wisdom, once remarked that "God created war, so that Americans will learn geography" — whereas wars for Israel were about survival, saving the home, and preventing collective extinction.

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