About martin Sherman
- Early years
- Public Diplomacy
Over the years, I have articulated positions that many have characterized as distinctly hawkish. This has led many to categorize me as belonging to the "extreme right."
This classification is misleading. I aspire to many of the values to which those on the moderate left aspire. Indeed on several issues—particularly, but not exclusively, on the socio-economic sphere—my views are arguably closer to those on the moderate left than to those of the radical right.
Given the complexity of the issues on the national agenda, I believe that any attempt to designate people or positions as being either "left" or "right" is both overly simplistic and misleading.
Policy—whether domestic or foreign; whether security or social, whether economic or diplomatic—must contend with prevailing realities as they are and not as we wish them to be. As policy input, political correctness is a poor substitute for factual correctness. Similarly, good intentions are no guarantee of good policy. Indeed, often quite the reverse is true.
Even when the goal of one's policy is to transform an undesirable reality into a more desirable one, if this policy ignores the fundamental essence of the reality it is designed to transform, failure—often disastrous—is almost certain to result.
Nowhere is this more pertinent than in the Middle East. Here, decades of effort and billions of dollars invested in the vain hope of achieving some peaceable resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict in general, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular, have resulted in a string of precisely such disastrous failures.
For all those who genuinely desire a cessation to the violence and bloodshed, a fundamental reassessment of the validity of the conventional wisdom adopted so far is sorely needed.
About Martin Sherman...
"From my past acquaintance with him, I can testify that he has never sought conformity or consensus. There can, however … be little doubt that his ideas are challenging, provocative and carefully argued. Indeed, the very controversy they may stimulate is perhaps among their greatest merits. For they raise questions of substance as to the conceptual validity … of several major tenets of international relations policy assessment and deterrence"
Shabtai Shavit, former Head of Israel's Mossad
I grew up in South Africa, where I spent most of my childhood and adolescence. In 1970, I graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg with a B.Sc degree in Physics and Geology.
My extra-curricula activities were somewhat less cerebral and included athletics, martial arts and free-fall parachuting in all of which I attained reasonable levels of proficiency.
On completion of my university degree, I left South Africa for Israel. On arrival in Israel, I volunteered for service in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).
Recharging batteries against the backdrop of everest
israeli defense force
I spent almost seven years in operational capacities in the IDF and various other arms of the Israeli security establishment. During this time, I interfaced with some of the most senior decision-making echelons in the country.
My contribution to Israel's national security was recognized by the prime ministers and defense ministers under whom I served.
After obtaining my B.Sc degree in Physics and Geology from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, I completed a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) and my Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Political Science and International Relations at Tel Aviv University.
I have lectured at numerous universities in Israel on matters of national strategy and security, most recently at Tel Aviv University's Security Studies Program. My research has been published in academic journals such as:
Middle East Quarterly,
The Journal of Strategic Studies,
The Journal of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence,
The Journal of Theoretical Politics, Nations and Nationalism, and
Nationalism & Ethnic Politic.
I have also authored two books:
Despots, Democrats and the Determinants of International Conflict; and
The Politics of Water in The Middle East, (Macmillan).
Shabtai Shavit a former Head of Mossad provided the Introduction to the first book, and Nahum Admoni, Shavit's predecessor as Head of Mossad contributed some kind comments on the latter.
I am presently the 2009/2010 Visiting Israeli Shusterman Scholar at the University of Southern California and the Hebrew Union College.
A review of "The Politics of Water in the Middle East"
"Every analyst and policymaker dealing with Israeli-Palestinian water disputes should read Sherman's clear but detailed accounts of exactly how the aquifers in the West Bank and Israel function and are affected by wells. They should go on to read his analysis of the alternatives for resolving Israel's water disputes with its Arab neighbors."
Patrick Clawson, Deputy Director (Research),
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
From 1989-1992 I was actively involved in politics. I acted as the Secretary General of the TSOMET party headed by former IDF chief of staff Lt. General Rafael (Raful) Eitan. I was largely responsible for the strategy that brought the party its stunning success in the 1992.
When TSOMET joined the government, I was appointed as a ministerial advisor. In this capacity, and in the face of strong opposition of vested interest groups, I vigorously promoted the privatization of agricultural exports (then under government monopoly). I also advocated the initiation of large scale desalination projects to deal with the nation's emerging water crisis. Today, both these matters are accepted components of national policy.
I parted company from the TSOMET party after what I considered the inappropriate conduct of the internal party elections to determine the party candidates for 1992 parliamentary elections. My reservations were subsequently vindicated when the individual to whom I objected turned his back on the TSOMET party's platform, crossed the floor, and supported policies in total contradiction to the political principles he was elected to promote. Moreover, several years later the same individual, who was rewarded for his perfidy with a ministerial post in the Rabin government, was convicted and imprisoned for fraud and drug-smuggling.
This and other unfortunate instances brought about the eventual demise of TSOMET.
public diplomacy & pro-israel advocacy
Although I am not involved with party affiliated politics, I have been extremely active in engaging in pro-active public diplomacy and pro Israel activism at home and abroad.
I have published opinion pieces in most major newspapers in Israel (both in English and Hebrew) and have been interviewed on radio and TV including CNN and BBC. From 2000 to 2003, I held the position of the academic coordinator (2000-2003) of the internationally acclaimed Herzliya Conference.
I have interfaced with many prominent international authorities in wide range of disciplines. Moreover, both in a private capacity and in my current role as the academic director of the Jerusalem Summit I have been instrumental in bringing high level dignitaries from a variety of countries to Israel.
I am on the board of several organizations such as the HESEG foundation (which provided comprehensive study grants of lone soldiers serving in the IDF) and the Washington-based EMET, Endowment for Middle East Truth.
Recently, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), working with Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO), invited me to address a Capitol Hill briefing reevaluating the Arab-Israel Peace Process. A ZOA news release was issued after the briefing.
an example of a closed conference i was invited to attend
an example of a india-israel panel I participated in...
Left to right: Major-General (res) Giora Eiland (former head of the Israel National Security Council); Shabtai Shavit (former head of the Mossad), Major-General (res) Yaacov Amidror (former head of Staff and Command College of the IDF); Prof Moshe Arends (former Foreign Minister and Defense Minister of Israel); Vice Admiral Alex Tal (former head of the Israeli Navy) and Dr. Martin Sherman.