Publications

Books:

Michael Sharnoff, Nasser’s Peace: Egypt’s Response to the 1967 War with Israel (New York: Routledge, 2017). https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315110967

Drawing on recently declassified primary sources, the author closely examines Nasser’s post-war strategy, which he claims was a four-tiered diplomatic and media effort consisting of his public declarations, his private diplomatic consultations, the Egyptian media’s propaganda machine, and Egyptian diplomatic efforts.


Journals and Magazines:

Michael Sharnoff, “
Changing Attitudes Toward the West Bank in Jordan,” Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 46, No. 1 (Fall 2022), pp. 44-70. doi: 10.1353/jsa.2022.0022.

Changing Attitudes Toward the West Bank in Jordan (PDF)

This article aims to explain the changing attitudes toward the West Bank in Jordan from 1948 until the present. It will expand on Abu-Odeh’s remarks about the fluidity and evolving perceptions of Jordan’s attitude toward the West Bank and explain why some Jordanians espouse views toward the West Bank which challenge official Hashemite policy.


Michael Sharnoff, “Maps of the West Bank in Jordanian Postage Stamps, 1952–1985,” Contemporary Review of the Middle East, Vol. 9, Issue 1 (March 2022), pp. 51-69. ISSN 2347-7989. https://doi.org/10.1177/23477989211053177.

Maps of the West Bank in Jordanian Postage Stamps, 1952-1985 (PDF)

This article examines Jordanian postage stamp depiction of the West Bank as part of the Hashemite Kingdom from 1952 to 1985. The ambiguous representations of the West Bank as Jordanian territory, disputed territory, and Palestinian territory reinforce Hashemite sovereignty claims to the West Bank while also supporting Palestinian rights and acknowledging Jordanian rule of the West Bank was conditional upon settlement of the Palestinian issue.


Michael Sharnoff, “Why Jordan Will Not Reannex the West Bank,” Foreign Policy, November 10, 2021.

An FP essay provoked a strong response because it brought international attention to a controversial issue that has historically only been debated internally.


Michael Sharnoff, “Nasser and the Palestinians,” Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Summer 2021), pp. 1-13. ISSN 1073-9467.

Nasser and the Palestinians (PDF)

Some dissenting voices notwithstanding, Nasser’s popularity among Palestinians seems to live on because of fond recollections of his fiery pledges to destroy Israel and refusal to make peace with the Jewish state. Yet recently-declassified documents reveal that Nasser’s championing of the Palestinian cause was largely driven by ulterior motives of personal aggrandizement and pan-Arab leadership.


Michael Sharnoff, “Five Domestic and Regional Security Challenges for Jordan in 2021,” Strategic Assessment, Vol. 24, No. 2 (April 2021), pp. 129-133. ISSN 0793-8942.

Five Domestic and Regional Security Challenges for Jordan in 2021 (PDF)

As 2021 continues to unfold, Jordan has five major security challenges, some new and some lingering from the Cold War of the 20th century.


Michael Sharnoff, “Don’t Pursue Saudi-Israeli Peace at Jordan’s Expense,” Foreign Policy, January 26, 2021.

The Hashemite Kingdom views custodianship of Jerusalem’s holy sites as a core national interest. Rumors that Riyadh is seeking to displace Amman would humiliate and weaken the Jordanian monarchy and endanger regional security.


Michael Sharnoff, “Does Jordan Want the West Bank?Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 4 (Fall 2020), pp. 1-11. ISSN 1073-9467.

Does Jordan Want the West Bank? (PDF)

In the past decade, some prominent Jordanian officials and commentators have increasingly called for a renewed Jordanian role in the West Bank. Some advocate negotiating alongside the Palestinians or in their place. Others push a more controversial position and insist on the return of the West Bank to Jordan, a clear repudiation of Hussein’s disengagement policy and the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty. Here, Sharnoff discusses Jordan’s renewed claim to the West Bank.


Michael Sharnoff, “Can Palestinian Third Parties Make A Difference?Palestine–Israel Journal of Politics, Economics, and Culture, Vol. 18, Issue 2/3 (2012), pp. 121-125. ISSN 0793-1395.

Can Palestinian Third Parties Make A Difference? (PDF)

Wasatia, Palestine Forum and PNI could one day play a role in Palestinian affairs with the proper combination of Western support and domestic backing.


Michael Sharnoff, “Defining the Enemy as Israel, Zionist, Neo-Nazi or Jewish: The Propaganda War under Nasser’s Egypt, 1952-1967,” (Jerusalem: The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Hebrew University, 2012). Posen Papers in Contemporary Antisemitism, Issue 14, pp. 1-26.

Defining the Enemy as Israel, Zionist, Neo-Nazi or Jewish (PDF)

Between 1952-67 Nasser’s Egypt was primarily anti-Zionist, but at times also antisemitic. As president, Nasser tried to avoid antisemitic motifs in his speeches, limiting himself to anti-Zionist and anti-Israel pronouncements; privately, he admired antisemitic texts, including the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” The editor of al-Ahram, Muhammad Hassanein Heikal, who was Nasser’s de facto spokesman, expressed more radical antisemitic views, e.g. that American Jews wielded a disproportionate amount of power and controlled the Congress.


Michael Sharnoff, “Nasser’s Inter-Arab Rivalries: 1958-1967,” Middle East Observer, Vol. 2, Issue 4 (March-June 2011), pp. 88-92.

Throughout much of the 1950s and 1960s, Nasser wanted to unite the Arab world under his leadership. However, his espousal of secular, radical Arab nationalism, his proxy war in Yemen and his close ties to the Soviet Union, placed him in direct confrontation with pro-Western and conservative leaders who also vied for Arab supremacy including Saudi King Faisal, Jordanian King Hussein and Tunisian President Bourguiba.


Michael Sharnoff, “The Syria-Soviet Alliance,” inFOCUS Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Spring 2009).

The animosity that exists between Syria and Washington is not a result of recent policies. Rather, it is the product of a series of Syrian decisions to ally with U.S. foes.


Articles:

Michael Sharnoff, “Jordanians Start to Discuss Reclaiming West Bank Rule,” The Jewish Chronicle, September 18, 2020.

The Trump peace plan and Netanyahu’s annexation threats have reenergized debates in Jordan over resuming its former role.


Michael Sharnoff, “How Big is Russia’s Win in Syria?” Russia Matters, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, November 6, 2019.

While Russia has clearly surpassed the United States in exerting influence in Syria, it must now at times cooperate with—and compete against—Iran and Turkey, the two other primary external actors in Syria. Russia will also have to contend with fundamental economic and security challenges.


Michael Sharnoff, “Russia and the U.S. have Common Interests in Syria. But it may not Matter,” The Washington Post, July 9, 2018.

Syria’s leadership will do what suits it, not what the United States —or Russia —demands. Success may be possible as long as U.S. policymakers have clear expectations of the limited parameters involved in achieving this goal.


Michael Sharnoff, “Why Russia will Prevail in Syria,” The Washington Post, February 27, 2018.

While U.S. policy toward Syria has been ambiguous, Russia has spent decades bolstering an alliance that includes financial and military cooperation.


Michael Sharnoff, “Iran has Driven Israel and the Gulf Arab States Together,” The Washington Post, January 3, 2018.

Since the Shah was overthrown in 1979, Iran has sought to export its Islamic revolution, extend its influence in neighboring nations and support Shiite communities and the “oppressed” outside its borders.


Michael Sharnoff, “The Pervasiveness of anti-Semitism in Jordanian Media—And Prospects for Change,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, September 20, 2017.

The Pervasiveness of anti-Semitism in Jordanian Media—And Prospects for Change (PDF)

Although there has been some progress, the Kingdom’s toleration of anti-Semitic propaganda violates the spirit of the 1994 peace treaty and actually harms Jordanian and Israeli interests.


Michael Sharnoff, “A Humiliated Arab World Turns to Islamism,” The Jewish Chronicle, June 6, 2017.

After the Six Day War Pan-Arabism’s decline created a vacuum that was filled by Islamists — Muslims who advocate an Islamic state governed by Islamic law.


Michael Sharnoff, “Nasser’s Legacy on the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 War,” Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, No. 472, May 21, 2017.

Nasser’s Legacy on the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 War (PDF)

Nasser’s Egypt showed how a developing country with a large population could persevere despite tremendous economic, political, and military challenges. As the 50th anniversary of the 1967 War approaches, Egyptians and Arabs of that generation might reflect with nostalgia on a bygone era when Cairo dominated the Middle East.


Michael Sharnoff, “Arab Decline and Iran’s Rising Influence,” Your Middle East, January 31, 2016.

In his 1954 memoir, The Philosophy of the Revolution, Nasser claimed that Egypt’s unique geography and historical legacy enhanced its ability to influence Africa, the Muslim world, and the Arab world. Of these three significant regions, it was the Arab world which captivated Nasser’s attention the most.


Michael Sharnoff, “Egyptian Attitudes toward the Yemen War,” Your Middle East, April 17, 2015.

The author explores recent editorials from major Egyptian newspapers that can provide a glimpse of Cairo’s attitudes toward the war in Yemen.


Michael Sharnoff, “Anticipate Greater Jordanian Role in the West Bank,” Your Middle East, July 4, 2013.

For Israel, a Palestinian union with Jordan offers security guarantees. For Jordan, the United States and European Union would likely provide economic incentives including a generous aid package.


Michael Sharnoff, “Palestinian Attitudes Toward Israel,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, May 2012.

Palestinian Attitudes Toward Israel (PDF)

A survey of attitudes from secularists, Hamas, Fatah and the general public suggests that Palestinians will continue to embrace what they describe as “popular, nonviolent resistance” to gain concessions.

Reviewed by Norvell B. DeAtkine, “Palestinian Attitudes Toward Israel,” American Diplomacy, June 20, 2012. ISSN 1094-8120.


Michael Sharnoff, “Reexamining the Arab Peace Initiative,” Huffington Post, January 24, 2012.

While the Middle East Quartet may extend this deadline to continue negotiations, it appears this would have little effect in formulating any comprehensive agreement. Neither side genuinely believes a breakthrough will occur.


Michael Sharnoff, “Post-Mubarak Egyptian Attitudes Toward Israel,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, October 2011.

Post-Mubarak Egyptian Attitudes Toward Israel (PDF)

There is no doubt that Egyptian attitudes towards Israel are at their lowest point in over thirty years. Egypt’s unwillingness or inability to enforce security along its border with Israel, its failure to prevent a mob from ransacking the Israeli Embassy, and the gradual trend of reducing trade should be a concern for the United States, which has vested interests in a strong Egypt that maintains diplomatic relations with Israel as part of its broader vision of stabilizing the Middle East. 


Michael Sharnoff, “Looking Back: Nasser’s Inter-Arab Rivalries: 1958-1967,” Al Arabiya News, July 30, 2011.

Even with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict aside, Nasser’s political and ideological differences between Faisal, Hussein, and Bourguiba were so profound and the enmity between these Arab leaders ran so deep that Nasser’s vision of uniting the Arab world under his leadership would remain unfulfilled.


Michael Sharnoff, “Academic Perspective: Revisiting Nasser and Palestine after the 1967 War,” Al Arabiya News, June 11, 2011.

A closer study of Nasser’s Palestine policy after the 1967 War challenges his historical legacy as champion of Palestinian rights and calls for greater introspection and more honest debate in academic discourse.


Web-Based Writing:

Michael Sharnoff, “Covid-19 and Sustainability in the Arab Region,” Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, May 6, 2020.


Michael Sharnoff, “A Double Humanitarian Crisis in Syria,” Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, April 15, 2020.


Michael Sharnoff, “The Coronavirus Impact on Israel, Palestine and Jordan,” Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, March 30, 2020.


Book Review:

Michael Sharnoff, “A Review of Yehuda U. Blanga’s ‘The US, Israel, and Egypt: Diplomacy in the Shadow of Attrition, 1967-70’,”  Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa, March 23, 2020.

Yehuda Blanga should be commended for his meticulous use of primary source material which enhances our understanding of the War of Attrition, a much neglected yet significant topic in Middle Eastern Studies. The nuance and objectivity he brings makes this one of the most comprehensive accounts of the War of Attrition and probably the finest work on the subject.


Michael Sharnoff, “A Review of Oroub El-Abed’s ‘Unprotected: Palestinians in Egypt since 1948’,”  Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa, May 18, 2010.

Treatment of Palestinians in Egypt remains largely a marginal topic in Middle East studies, but thanks to Oroub El-Abed’s solid work, a better understanding is now available. Unprotected is recommended to those interested in gaining a more in depth grasp of the relationship between Palestinian and Egyptian history, politics, and human rights.