A new opportunity has emerged to roll back generations of antisemitic and rejectionist messaging in Arab media, mosques, and schools. It stems from the convergence of interests between Israel and Arab powers, a youthful Arab grassroots trend in favor of a “peace between peoples,” and new Israeli and American Jewish capacities to engage Arab public discussions from the outside in. But prospects for change remain severely constrained: In addition to the effects of the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate, the legacy of antisemitic brainwashing endures in many Arab institutions and draws further energy from Iranian and jihadist information operations. Meanwhile, proponents of a positive shift lack coordination, planning, and adequate support.
In Reclamation: A Cultural Policy for Arab-Israeli Partnership, Joseph Braude documents the opportunity as well as the obstacles, and then proposes a strategy to accelerate progress. He explains how to engage Arab allies in a coordinated communications reform effort, support independent Arab champions of civil relations with Israel and Jews, expand the “outside-in” capacities, and degrade Iranian and jihadist channels of indoctrination within the region.
Joseph Braude is an expert on the nexus of culture and politics in Arab societies and an active presence in the region’s media and policy debates. A senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and senior advisor to the Al-Mesbar Center for Studies and Research in Dubai, he studied Near Eastern languages at Yale and Arabic and Islamic history at Princeton. He developed his Arabic to broadcast quality over a seven-year stint on Moroccan national radio and added Persian to his Arabic and Hebrew as a graduate student at the University of Tehran.
Braude’s four books include a prescription for post-Saddam institution building in Iraq (The New Iraq, Basic Books, 2003), a study of crime and punishment in Casablanca (The Honored Dead, Random House, 2011), and an assessment of prospects to foster liberal social trends through Arab media (Broadcasting Change, Rowman & Littlefield, 2018). This publication marks the author’s first step in establishing the Center for Peace Communications.