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Dr. Josef Olmert
Dr. Josef Olmert offers a rare combination of talents: a top Middle East scholar, former peace negotiator, political insider, published journalist and author, as well as a seasoned public speaker. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at USC-University of South Carolina. As Director of the Government Press Office and Advisor to then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir during the first Gulf War and the International Peace Conference in Madrid, he secured press relations for Israel with the Soviet Union and China, and represented the Prime Minister in numerous conferences and appearances in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, China, Russia, Japan and South Africa, among others. His media experience has included penning a political column for Israel’s largest circulation daily, Yediot Aharonot, as well as The Jerusalem Post, and numerous appearances on radio and TV programs at home and abroad. Dr. Olmert was a member of the Israeli delegation for peace talks with Syria in the Madrid Peace Conference and subsequent Washington, DC talks (1991-92). In addition, he was a frequent participant in United Nations-sponsored conferences on the Middle East. His fluency in Hebrew, Arabic and English, as well as command of Russian and French, added value to his role. In 1999, Dr. Olmert served as policy advisor to former Defense Minister Moshe Arens. In this capacity, he participated in official talks with the U.S. Departments of Defense and State as well as with counterparts in other countries. As to Israeli politics, Dr. Olmert played a significant role, particularly as a director and founding member of the Council for Parliamentary Democracy that spearheaded the successful campaign to repeal direct elections for Prime Minister. Dr. Olmert, who holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics in Middle East History, headed the Syria and Lebanon desks at Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies -– where he served on the faculty. In addition, for eight years he authored chapters on Syria and Lebanon for the book, The Middle East Contemporary Survey. He has authored three books on the Middle East, as well as numerous articles in academic and popular journals. Dr. Olmert was a visiting professor at Cornell University, York University in Toronto and City College New York. As a speaker, Dr. Olmert’s reach has extended nationally and internationally, from colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada, to major Jewish and civic organizations. Dr. Josef Olmert, scion to one of the most prominent political families in Israel, is a son of former Knesset member, the late Mordechai Olmert, and a brother of the former Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert. He resides in Washington, DC.

Entries by Dr. Josef Olmert

Israel and Turkey -- It Is Netanyahu By Points

(2) Comments | Posted June 27, 2016 | 8:18 AM

After years of protracted negotiations, Israel and Turkey have finally settled the Havi Marmara incident, which was initiated by a Turkish Islamist organization. The longevity of the negotiations in itself indicates, that their outcome cannot be defined in absolute terms, as if a zero sum approach, or a boxing knock...

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Netanyahu chose politics over statemanship

(0) Comments | Posted May 31, 2016 | 8:20 AM

Avigdor Lieberman, P.M Netanyahu's pick as Israel's new Defense Minister is not exactly the wet dream of PR guys, and he earned this dubious reputation by a long history of militant , sometimes outright silly and irresponsible statements. Yet, contrary to conventional wisdom about him, he is also NOT the...

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Netanyahu Between Al Sisi, Herzog and Lieberman

(1) Comments | Posted May 18, 2016 | 9:23 AM

PM Netanyahu is not the only or even the most famous example of a politician who runs away from big decisions, as if attacked by a snake. The devil you know is nearly always preferable to the one you do not. This careful approach to politics may be in a...

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Yom Hashoah and what Israel is all about

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2016 | 9:36 AM

One picture is worth a thousands words, what a cliche. What a correct statement though when one watches an entire nation coming to a standstill for two minutes, in memory of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust . This day is THE day which gives us a very clear clue...

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The Saudi-Egyptian Axis -- It Is Iran in the Background

(2) Comments | Posted April 11, 2016 | 8:31 AM

King Salman of Saudi-Arabia is rumored to be suffering from dementia but none of it was in display when visiting Cairo, speaking to the Egyptian Parliament and signing a series of agreements with his host, President Al-Sisi of Egypt. That in itself was an important signal by the Saudis, that...

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Does President Obama encourages BDS in his legacy year

(18) Comments | Posted March 24, 2016 | 1:30 PM

President Obama is currently engaged in his legacy year time, and the visit in Cuba , which may defy nearly all rules of conventional International Relations wisdom may be the best evidence of that. Statements like how the US can learn from Cuba on human rights. Also, that ''personally I...

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March 8th: The Day That Doomed Syria

(0) Comments | Posted March 8, 2016 | 1:28 PM

Under different circumstances, 8 March would have been celebrated with a lot of fun fare in Damascus and every where else in Syria. This is the day when officers loyal to the Ba'th Party committed yet another military coup d'etat and installed in power the party of ''Unity, Freedom, Socialism'',...

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Syria Five Years Later: Personal Reflections

(1) Comments | Posted February 9, 2016 | 8:00 AM

It has lasted already for five years in Syria, and still no light in the end of the tunnel. A lot of talk about a political solution, though on the ground the carnage just intensifies by the day. A civil war long becoming a regional conflict, and recently a worldwide...

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On Interests and Ideology -- Alexis Tsipras and Bibi Netanyahu in Action

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2016 | 8:28 AM

One picture is worth a thousand words, what a cliche, but one which is ''even'' right on occasions. Alexis Tsipras, Greece's extreme left-wing PM, Nicos Anastasiades , the Cypriot center-right president and Benjamin Netanyahu, the right-wing Israeli PM were broadly smiling after signing a document, which by all accounts is...

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The Christians of the East Celebrate Christmas and Where Is the West?

(1) Comments | Posted January 7, 2016 | 12:32 PM

Today is the day, according to the old Julian calendar [introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC], when millions of Christians belonging to the old churches of the East celebrate Christmas. Millions do in the Middle East, particularly the Copts in Egypt [9 millions!], and many other millions do it...

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The Saudi-Iranian Crisis Is Another Regional Powder Keg

(0) Comments | Posted January 4, 2016 | 5:35 AM

Saudi Arabia and Iran, two "benevolent" pillar states of the world of Islam, trade barbs over the execution of 47 suspected terrorists in one day in the desert kingdom, among them a Shi'ite preacher, Nimr Al Nimr. Choosing sides between the two when human rights are concerned is like choosing...

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Israel, the Politics of Gas, and the Winds of Change in the Mediterranean

(5) Comments | Posted December 22, 2015 | 9:24 AM

It is a tale of five countries, four that are directly involved, one that is in the background and casting a huge shadow about it all. Israel, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus are the main actors, Russia is very much in the background, and the US, well, where is the US?...

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Are We Facing a Realignment in Syria?

(10) Comments | Posted December 11, 2015 | 8:55 AM

According to reports leaked to the press by American officials, the Islamic Republic of Iran has started to shrink the size of its military presence in Syria, as the casualty toll among them became too high, and in the aftermath of the injury [or even possible death] of...

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Erdoghan and Putin: The Bully Is Bullied

(0) Comments | Posted December 1, 2015 | 9:33 AM

President Erdoghan's policy of zero problems, so far as Turkey's regional policy is concerned, was a plausible idea. From being surrounded by enemies, to being the friendly, benign big old responsible actor in such traditionally turbulent regions like the Balkans and the Middle East could have been a model for...

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They Talk in Vienna and Kill in Syria

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 11:32 PM

On the face of it, it may seem that we are close to a diplomatic solution in Syria, surely if we are to believe the reports coming out of Vienna, after the talks there on the 14th of November, with regard to the tormented country. I hate to be the...

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Is All Really Quiet on the Obama-Netanyahu Front?

(1) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 8:08 AM

There were smiles, there were statements, there was a visible sense of relief. Almost an ideal setting, but just almost. Lest we get the wrong impression about the TRUE state of the US-Israel relations, let us get some useful background. Just days before going to DC, PM Netanyahu appointed a...

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Some Bright Spots Amid the Darkness of the Palestinian-Israeli Situation

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2015 | 12:10 PM

While it is the case that the current wave of indiscriminate knife attacks by incited Palestinians against Israelis, and some of the reactions of the former, lead to the inevitable doom and gloom projections of the situation, which is still far from being out of control, there are some other...

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Why Does Abbas Lie?

(44) Comments | Posted October 15, 2015 | 11:40 AM

Ahmad Mansra is a 13 year-old Palestinian kid who is a victim of vicious, hateful brainwashing, leading him to try and stab to death Israeli Jews in Jerusalem, only because of who they are. Luckily enough for him and his family, including his uncle, who condemned his action, he was...

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For Russia, Syria Is Not Afghanistan, But It's Bad Enough

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 2:56 PM

It is almost a Pavlovian reflex to compare one foreign military intervention to another, particularly if involving the same foreign interventionist power. So, the reaction of many in the West is that so far as Russia in Syria is concerned, it is Afghanistan all over again for the Russians. There...

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Abbas Speech -- On Drama and Melodrama

(0) Comments | Posted September 30, 2015 | 12:49 PM

The build-up was near perfect, as if devised by an experienced Hollywood director. The headlines were all about war-like scenarios, a ''bombshell'' and whatnot, somewhat strange considering the fact that Mahmoud Abbas is presented as a man of peace, contrary to the ''belligerent'' Israelis. Near, but not really perfect, because...

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