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4371 Syllabus - Spring 2013

4371 Syllabus - Spring 2013

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Published by bsasley
The Politics and Foreign Policy of Israel
The Politics and Foreign Policy of Israel

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Published by: bsasley on Sep 08, 2013
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1
4371-001:
 
P
OLITICS AND
F
OREIGN
P
OLICY OF
I
SRAEL
 
U
NIVERSITY OF
T
EXAS AT
A
RLINGTON
,
 
D
EPARTMENT OF
P
OLITICAL
S
CIENCE
 S
PRING
S
EMESTER
2013C
OURSE
O
UTLINE
 
Professor: Brent E. Sasley Class location: 254 Business Building (COBA) Office: 412 University Hall Class time: Mon/Wed/Fri, 10:00-10:50amPhone: 817-272-3980E-mail: bsasley@uta.eduOffice hours: Wednesdays, 11:00-12:00, or by appointment
Please note: The best and fastest way to reach me is by email.C
OURSE
C
ONTENT AND
D
ESCRIPTION
:
 Albert Einstein argued that the purpose of a university education is not to teach students just facts, but to teach them to think. Within this framework, this course will introducestudents to the domestic politics and foreign policy of Israel. To this end it is divided intofive sections: Section A focuses on the historical ideas and processes, particularlyZionism, that led to the creation of Israel in 1948. Section B explores Israeli society andthe various social groups that interact and contest with each other. Section C examinesthe main structures and processes in Israeli politics, including its political institutions.Section D considers the shape and objectives of Israeli foreign policy. Section E delvesinto questions about what it means to be Isra
el, and how ―Israel‖ is interpreted.
Students will note that the underlying thread tying all these sections together is thequestion of identity: What is Israeli identity (or, what is Israel)? Where does this identitycome from? How do different groups perceive and interpret Israeli identity? How do theywork to make their preference the dominant one?It is advisable that students keep up with current developments in Israeli politics. Although this is not a course on current events per se, these will of necessity be part of the class discussions. Students should follow developments by reading on-line Israelinewspapers
such as
Ha’aretz 
,
The Jerusalem Post 
, and ynetnews.com. All can befound in English. Other on-line media sources include:
The New York Times
, the BBC,and CNN.
 
2
OURSE 
O
BJECTIVES
:
By the end of the course students will be familiar with the various processes and thenorms of interaction within Israeli politics. To meet these goals the course has thefollowing objectives:
 
Identify 
key concepts used for investigating Israeli society and politics. These willequip us with the appropriate tools for a deeper exploration of contemporary Israel.
 
Describe
the historical and contemporary structures, processes, and important actorsin Israel. This will provide us with the necessary foundation to develop the rest of thediscussion.
 
Explain
why current political, security, social, and economic interactions play out theway they do. Building on the previous objective, this takes us into a more in-depthunderstanding of modern Israel.
 
Think critically 
about Israeli politics and policy. It is easy to take a stance on a givenissue, but more difficult to defend that stance in a logical manner that rests on a judicious, nuanced, and open-minded foundation of understanding. Learning to thinkcritically allows us to do so.
 
Connect 
this knowledge to a better understanding of politics in general, in any regionof the world. By sharpening our critical thinking and analytical skills, we can moreeffectively take on the problems faced by societies everywhere.
F
ORMAT
:
The course is conducted within a lecture framework. But class time will be used for general discussions, in order to give students more time to discuss their own ideas andto understand the material through dialogue. Because this is a university course,students are expected to actively participate in class discussions, and are encouragedto question and debate with the instructor and each other on the various issues. Thismust be done in a productive and civil manner. Personal attacks and polemics will notbe tolerated. The purpose of a freer flow of dialogue is to better understand and absorbthe materials covered in class, and offensive actions and ideological or political agendasimpede this process. Students who engage in such activities will have to leave theclass.PowerPoint will be used, but only to provide a skeletal outline of the lectures; studentsmust pay attention to and take notes on what is discussed in class. Otherwise, they willnot learn what is necessary for the course and the assignments.The lectures are based in part on the readings, but will not necessarily directly discussthem; it will be assumed that students have done the readings.Both the professor and the students have obligations and responsibilities in this course.
 
3
My responsibilities include making clear the objectives and material of the course;training students to think critically; returning assignments within a reasonable period of time with adequate comments and suggestions for improvement; treating students withrespect and a willingness to hear their opinions and ideas; and keeping my ownpersonal politics out of the classroom.
Students‘ responsibilities include taking seriously the purposes and assignments of the
course; preparing themselves adequately for the lectures; handing their assignments inon time; treating each other and the professor with respect and a willingness to hear other opinions and ideas; and a readiness to think about the material with an open mindwhile keeping their own personal politics out of the classroom.Students are also responsible for their own attendance and participation in class.Students who do miss class are responsible for obtaining the material discussed inclass from their colleagues. I will not provide notes from lectures or discussions, but Iam happy to discuss the material with a student who has already obtained theinformation. Poor attendance and poor participation will reflect on your final grade. All cell phones, gadgets for listening to music, playing games, or contacting other people, and all similar devices must be turned off prior to the beginning of class.Students who engage in such activities will have to leave the class. Laptops and other electronic devices are acceptable for taking notes, but I reserve the right to prohibit their use if I determine they are being used for other activities.Please note that the syllabus and course content may change, depending onunforeseen circumstances. Any such changes are at the instr 
uctor‘s discretion. If there
are any changes, they will be announced in class; students then are responsible for knowing whether and when any changes have been made.
Communicating by E-mail:
 Outside of class, email is the best way to reach me. Note that students must use their UTA MavMail account when communicating by email with me. I will
not
respond to anycorrespondence sent by a non-UTA email account. Students are responsible for regularly checking their UTA accounts, for information and correspondence both fromthe university and from me regarding course matters.Please use standard polite greetings and address me not as a close friend but as your professor. Please note that one-line comments or questions are not enough for me toknow what you are trying to say: be sure your email provides enough detail andexplains the context of your comment or question, including which course you areemailing about.

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