Jerusalem Strategic Tribune brings out fresh US, Israeli perspectives

JST is a journal representing mainly Israeli and American views about world affairs, with occasional contributions from other figures of international standing

 Jerusalem Strategic Tribune (photo credit: Courtesy)
Jerusalem Strategic Tribune
(photo credit: Courtesy)

Within the last few months, a new publication, The Jerusalem Strategic Tribune, has gained a place in the highly competitive world of strategy and policy magazines. As it turns out, it has been able to draw some of the most impressive scholars and practitioners on both sides of the water – in Israel and in the United States – including the former National Security Advisers of both countries, and an impressive list of officers and ambassadors – as well as prominent writers from other nations, scholars and practitioners, such as the former Director general of the foreign ministry of Singapore. Moreover, this exciting new platform, which has the potential to significantly enrich the policy debates in both the United States and Israel, is also in itself a symbol of the new era in which we live. 

As it happens, the JST is the brainchild of Ahmed Charai, a Moroccan publisher and a longtime Middle East policy adviser in Washington, and a strong advocate of firm and friendly relations with Israel. His first "'letter from the publisher" (now available both online and in the hard copy of the magazine's first issue), he passionately lays out the rationale for this venture and its purpose: having come to know the American Jewish community and its role in American life, he asks, " "How can someone who loves America not value and admire the State of Israel?" If once upon a time such a sentiment from a proud Moroccan Muslim would have been astounding, in today's regional dynamics – with the Commander of the UAE Air Force visiting Israel for the Blue Flag exercise – Charai still stands out as a pathbreaker, but the path is now well-trodden.

JST is thus a journal representing mainly Israeli and American views about world affairs, with occasional contributions from other figures of international standing, and dedicated to further mutual understanding. Under the editorial leadership of Dr. Eran Lerman, former Deputy National Security Adviser in the Israeli government, the publication is committed to feature a range of opinions about the issues at the heart of each country’s policies and politics, reflecting the concerns of the mainstream, the perspectives of academics, and the experience of practitioners. 

Thus, the first issue included a debate on the Two State Solution between president Obama's first national Security Adviser, General James Jones, and one of Israel's prominent analytical voices on this matter, dan Scheuftan. It also carried what sadly turned out to be the last essay of a great scholar, Aharon Klieman, on the virtues of realism in world affairs, written literally days before his passing. The second issue, already largely available online, tends by necessity to focus on the fallout from the Afghani tragedy – and the gathering storm over Iran. 

Ultimately, this is not only about a Moroccan Arab Muslim creating a US/ Israeli-based journal about the state of world affairs with an Israeli editor-in-chief at the helm. It is also a serious contribution to the key disputes and debates of this dramatic point in history; and a reflection of the singularity of this moment in the US-Israel relationship, Israel’s relations with the wider Arab world, and the United States’ engagement with the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. But it also reflects a deeper desire to elevate the public discourse surrounding these three critical nodes of international security, ensure that the US-Israel relationship remains a force for good in the region, and ultimately inform the decisions of policymakers. As Charai adds in his opening letter, “Perhaps such a platform could help policymakers and civic actors alike better understand their own role in ensuring that this unique, time-honored relationship yields maximal benefit, both for them and their many allies". 

With regular columns on diplomatic practices, military affairs, intelligence challenges and more, the JST website offers thought-provoking insights on a wide range of current issues: and the circumstances of its creation add to its inspirational impact.  At the end of the day, it is also written in easily approachable style, an easy introduction to weighty matters for those who seek a good and balanced resource on regional and international affairs.