Conflict Resolution Lab
The Boris Mints Institute Conflict Resolution Lab engages in several research projects, trying to bring new insight to the field of conflict resolution and learn from the success and failure stories of the past in order to build a toolbox for facing the conflicts of the future.
The Political Economy of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Amit Loewenthal, BMI Fellow
Academic Advisors: Dr. Sami Miaari, Department of Labor Studies, and Prof. Itai Sened, Head of the School of Social and Policy Studies and Head of BMI
This research provides insight into the role economic inequality and other economic conditions play in political conflicts. Many political conflicts, both violent and non-violent, from the Arab Spring to the Brexit, are attributed to economic grievance. A global phenomenon has developed: political radicalization in an environment of rising intra-country inequality and economic resentment by people who feel left behind. However, existing studies focus on cross-country analysis and do not study the effect of economic inequality on political radicalization. This is the first research project to address these issues. Mr. Lowenthal has analysed the conflict-inequality nexus within the scope of a single political entity, using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (IPC)-- one of the longest lasting political conflicts-- as a case study.
Gaza Marshall Plan
Jesse R. Weinberg, Carl Yonker, BMI Fellows
Academic Advisor: Professor Eyal Zisser, Vice Rector of Tel-Aviv University
Following the work of Mr. Loewenthal, BMI fellows were tasked with providing historical, geopolitical, and analytical perspectives on political violence, reconstruction, and post-conflict development. In addition, they have offered medium- and long-term policy recommendations for Gaza’s reconstruction. A draft of this so-called Gaza Marshall Plan was submitted in April and revised by May. A chapter on the history of political violence in the Palestinian national movement will be submitted shortly.
While German Shepherds were Sleeping: How Mainstream Parties Created a Fertile Ground for the Electoral Success of the German Radical-Right AfD
Karen Umansky, BMI Fellow
Academic Advisor: Prof. Itai Sened, Head of BMI
This research sheds light on the resurgence of radical populism in contemporary European democracies, focusing on the 2017 German elections. Umansky demonstrates the manner in which AfD mobilized voters and gained their support by presenting them with a ‘legitimate’ enemy alleged to pose an ethnic and cultural threat to the German people. The concept of a ‘legitimate’ enemy is advanced by Umansky and Spektorowski (2017) as a mass mobilization strategy of modern radical populists in Europe. By embracing the politics of conflict an enemy is created in the minds of voters.
Refugees in Town: Assessing the "Local Turn" of Forced Migrants’ Integration
Nora Meissner, BMI Fellow
Academic Advisor: Prof. Adriana Kemp, Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
This research project examines the political process which constitutes the “local turn” in migration policy-making. Ms. Meissner has carried out an analysis of the institutional relations between state and city and the local logics of intervention and incorporation in Tel Aviv. The project aims to offer an in-depth understanding of the dynamics that shape the particular process of rescaling. It focuses primarily on the education system, social services, health care provision, and legal advocacy. The findings suggest that the dynamics of urban restructuring in Tel Aviv made the city neither a sanctuary nor a subcontractor.
Resolving Intractable Conflicts
Dr. Nimrod Rosler and Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal
For the first time in the last 20 years support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has dropped below 50%. In tandem the alternative of a one-state solution is growing in popularity. It is clear that innovative approaches are needed in order to break the cycle of violence-- as past experience shows that intractable conflicts are in fact solvable. Dr. Rosner’s research suggests an innovative approach, looking at an often-ignored aspect of the conflict: gender. In doing so he also takes into account previous work by Prof. Bar-Tal who argues that there are two narratives concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which fight for dominance: one which sees the conflict as never-ending and unsolvable and one which values compromise and sees peace as possible. Using data collected as part of the monthly Peace Index surveys leads to the conclusion that women are more likely to support peace negotiations and political compromise. Regarding support for the Oslo Accords, the more Israel is entangled in conflict the more pronounced the difference between women and men becomes. In fact, after rigorous examination of each month’s data, including regression analysis to account for political and religious affiliation, it became evident that the difference between genders was much more frequent after 2001-- the period of the Second Intifada. The conclusion is that in intractable conflicts women support a peace agreement slightly more than men. Nevertheless, the socio-cultural and geopolitical context is tremendously important for fully understanding the correlation.