Barry Rubin

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Barry M. Rubin was an American Middle East expert who over the course of three decades was closely affiliated with the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, as well as being involved in a number of policy institutes within Israel itself. Since the early 1990s he has written a column for the Jerusalem Post and he also maintains a blog called The Rubin Report and was later based at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel. He died in February 2014.

Middle East expert and think-tanker

Georgetown University

In the first half of the 1980s Rubin was a fellow, and latterly a senior fellow at Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Rubin had studied his PhD at Georgetown - which he completed in 1978. His thesis, which was published in 1979, was called, 'American perceptions of great power politics in the Middle East, 1941-1947'. The earliest press reference to Rubin being at the Center for Strategic and International Studies was in the Wall Street Journal in November 1979. [1] During his time at Georgetown, Rubin was considered and expert on the Middle East and especially on Iran, and frequently commenting on the Iranian Revolution and the overthrow of the Shah - the US based dictator. [2]

In May 1981 Richard Kessler, a Research Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies wrote to the New York Times to complain its critical review of Michael Ledeen's and William Lewis's Debacle: The American Failure in Iran, which Kessler claimed contained, 'several unfair and unwarranted attacks'. Kessler retorted that CSIS was non-partisan and 'represent[ed] diverse viewpoints'. He cited Rubin's study Paved with Good Intentions as evidence. [3] The book, which explored American relations with Iran since the 19th century, received broadly positive reviews in the US press, [4] and argued that American policy on Iran was well intention but failed to properly understand Iranian history and culture; and especially, as the New York Times paraphrased Rubin, its 'tradition of xenophobia and distrust of foreigners'. [5]

Council on Foreign Relations and Johns Hopkins

In 1984 and 1985, whilst still at Georgetown, Rubin also worked as a Council on Foreign Relations fellow in the office of the Democratic Senator Gary Hart. [6] In May 1985 it was reported in the National Journal that Rubin was leaving Georgetown’s Center for Strategic and International Studies to advise Gary Hart on foreign policy. [7] At the same time Rubin was a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. [8]In 1989 John Hopkins Foreign Policy Institute published The Politics of Terrorism, Terror as a State and a Revolutionary Strategy. According to a review in the Washington Times, the book was 'is the first of a series of books from the Johns Hopkins Foreign Policy Institute, which will examine the entire phenomenon.' The review said that the 'key chapter' was Rubin's 'Political Uses of Terrorism in the Middle East'. [9]

Institute for Near East Policy

In 1988 Rubin was appointed a senior research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a spin-off from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee established in 1985 to expand the Israel Lobby's influence over policy.

Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies

In around 1994 Rubin joined the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, [10] a research institute founded in 1993 by Thomas O. Hecht, described by the Center as, 'a prominent Canadian Jewish community leader' and a 'long-time leader of the Canadian pro-Israel lobby and former president of Israel Bonds and the United Israel Appeal'. [11] Rubin became a senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center and was subsequently appointed its Deputy director.

Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya

Press reports suggest that Rubin left the Begin-Sadat Center in 2001 to head the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center at the Interdisciplinary Center (or IDC) in Herzliya, Israel. The Interdisciplinary Center is a private college with strong connections with the military and intelligence in Israel, particularly through hosting the annual Herzliya Conference [12] and providing a base for the Israeli propaganda operations Stand With Us and Rubin's GLORIA Center publishes a journal called the Middle East Review of International Affairs and amongst other projects houses the Project for the Research of Islamist Movements run by former Shin Bet head of Research Reuven Paz.

Notable editorial board members of Rubin's Middle East Review of International Affairs or MERIA journal include Fouad Ajami and Elliot Cohen of the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, and Lawrence Freedman of Kings College London. [13]


From January 1991 Rubin became a regular contributor to the Jerusalem Post. As of 18 September 2009 the newspaper database Lexis Nexis had 433 articles credited to Rubin in the Jerusalem Post. [14]


In the 1980s Rubin criticised Reagan's relationship with the Christian right. He was one of a number of figures at a seminar in Washington in 1984, held as part of the five-day international convention of B'nai B'rith. According to the Washington Post participants were 'almost universally critical of President Reagan's linking of religion and politics in a speech at the Republican National Convention'. Rubin said Reagan's statement on religion and politics was 'almost word for word the kind of statements that the Ayatollah Khomeini has made'. [15]

Following Israel's bombing of Tunisia in 1985, the Christian Science Monitor quoted Rubin as saying, 'Here's a clear case where international law has to catch up to new kinds of problems. If the US says it's against international law to retaliate against terrorist acts, the effect would be to foreclose the possibility for retaliation under any circumstances.' [16]

On Obama & the Middle East

Commenting on what he sees as Barack Obama's insistence on 'blaming both parties equally' for the break down of peace talks between Israel and Palestine, Rubin argues that:

This is a recognition of reality and about the most we can expect. Of course, it maintains a determined even-handedness, failing to hint at the easily demonstrable fact that it was the Palestinians who were not interested in making any compromises, even refusing to come to the table at all. But evenhandedness is welcome from an administration that originally seemed set to become the most anti-Israel presidency in history.[17]


Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East, Rubin's 2004 book co-authored with wife Judith Colp Rubin
  • (1987) Modern Dictators: Third World Coupmakers, Strongmen, and Populist Tyrants, Barry Rubin, McGraw-Hill
  • (1992) Cauldron of Turmoil: America in the Middle East, Barry Rubin, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich
  • (1994) Revolution Until Victory?: The Politics and History of the PLO, Barry Rubin, Harvard University Press
  • (1999) The Transformation of Palestinian Politics: From Revolution to State-Building, Barry Rubin, Harvard University Press
  • (2001) Turkey in World Politics: An Emerging Multiregional Power, Barry Rubin and Kemal Kirisci, Lynne Rienner Publishers
  • (2001) The Armed Forces in the Contemporary Middle East ,Barry Rubin and Thomas Keaney, Frank Cass
  • (2001) Crises and Quandaries in the Contemporary Persian Gulf, Barry Rubin, Routledge
  • (2002) The Tragedy of the Middle East, Barry Rubin, Cambridge University Press
  • (2002) Political Parties in Turkey,Barry Rubin and Metin Heper, Frank Cass
  • (2002) Islamic Fundamentalism in Egyptian Politics, Barry Rubin, Second Edition Palgrave Macmillan
  • (2002) Istanbul Intrigues Barry Rubin, Bosphorus University Press
  • (2003) Contemporary Islamist Movements in the Middle East, Barry Rubin, SUNY Press
  • (2003) Turkey and the European Union, Ali Carkoglu and Barry Rubin, Frank Cass
  • (2003) Turkey's Economy in Crisis, Barry Rubin and Ziya Öniş, Frank Cass
  • (2003) Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography, Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Oxford University Press
  • (2004) Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East, Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Oxford University Press
  • (2004) Hating America: A History, Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Oxford University Press
  • (2004) Loathing America, Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, GLORIA
  • (2005) Greek-Turkish Relations in an Era of Détente, Barry Rubin and Ali Carkoglu, Routledge
  • (2005) The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East, Barry Rubin, John Wiley Publishers
  • (2008) The Israel-Arab Reader, Barry Rubin and Walter Laqueur, Viking-Penguin
  • (2008) The Truth About Syria, Barry Rubin, Palgrave Macmillan
  • (2008) Chronologies of Modern Terrorism, Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin [18]




  1. Barry Rubin, Wall Street Journal, 23 November 1979
  2. e.g. Charles J. Hanley, 'Political Showdown In Iran', Associated Press, 3 June 1981,
  3. Richard J. Kessler, 'A Nonpartisan Institution', New York Times, 24 May 1981; p.22
  4. e.g. Christian Science Monitor, 24 December 1980; Washington Post, 23 November 1980
  5. 'For America, A Painful Reawakening', New York Times, 17 May 1981; p.114
  6. see contributor’s note in Barry Rubin, ‘Middle East: Search for Peace’, Foreign Affairs, 1985, America and the World, p.583
  7. Eileen V. Quigley, ‘Washington's Movers and Shakers’, National Journal, Vol. 17, No. 21; Pg. 1246, 25 May 1985
  8. see contributor’s note in Barry Rubin, ‘Middle East: Search for Peace’, Foreign Affairs, 1985, America and the World, p.583
  9. Sol Schindler, 'Where terrorists flourish', Washington Times, 13 July 1989
  10. 'Bombs pose threat for London - police', The Age, 28 July 1994
  11. Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, About Us [Accessed 18 September 2009]
  12. Herzliya Conference Series, Herzliya Conference, Accessed 23-July-2009
  13. Editorial Board, MERIA, accessed 2 May 2009.
  14. Lexis Nexis, All English Language News, (BYLINE(barry rubin)) Selected Group: The Jerusalem Post
  15. Marjorie Hyer, 'Reagan's Religion-Politics View Hit by B'nai B'rith Gathering', Washington Post, 4 September 1984
  16. George Moffett, 'US reaction to Tunisian raid reflects closeness to Israel', Christian Science Monitor, 4 October 1985
  17. Comment, As the world sees it..., The Independent, 2-February-2010
  18. Barry Rubin, Publications, The Gloria Center, Accessed 26-August-2009