Writing Fellows

Rafael Bardaji

Rafael Bardaji is executive director of Friends of Israel Initiative. He served in 1996-2004 as Spain's National Security Advisor for Prime Minister Jose' Mari'a Aznar. He is an advisor to the Special Operation Forces HQ at NATO and since 2004 has worked as director of Foreign Policy at the Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies. Mr. Bardaji has provided consultancy work for NATO military commands, the Spanish armed forces, the Spanish intelligence service and defense contractors. A member of the Atlantic Council of the United States Strategic Advisory Group, he is the author of books and articles. Follow Rafael Bardaji on Twitter @@rafael_bardaji


Burak Bekdil

Charles Wax Writing Fellow

Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based Turkish columnist for Hurriyet Daily News. He has covered Turkey for the U.S. weekly Defense News since 1997. Previously, Bekdil worked as Ankara Bureau Chief for Dow Jones Newswires and CNBC-e television. He is frequently quoted in international media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Economist, Los Angeles Times, and New York Times.


Todd Bensman

Todd Bensman is a Texas-based senior national security fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies. For nearly a decade, he led counterterrorism-related intelligence efforts for the Texas Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division. Previously, Bensman worked on staff for The Dallas Morning News, CBS, and Hearst Newspapers, covering the FBI, federal law enforcement and serving on investigative teams. He reported extensively on national security issues after 9/11 and worked from more than 25 countries in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

Bensman holds a master's degree from the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security. He also holds a master's degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and an undergraduate degree in journalism from Northern Arizona University.


A.J. Caschetta

Campus Watch and Ginsburg/Ingerman Writing Fellow

A.J. Caschetta is a principal lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology where he teaches English and Political Science. He holds a Ph.D. from New York University, where he studied the effects of the French Revolution and Reign of Terror on British society. After 9/11, he began focusing on the rhetoric of radical Islamists and on Western academic narratives explaining Islamist terrorism. He has written frequently for the Middle East Quarterly.


Phyllis Chesler

An analyst of gender issues in the Middle East, a psychotherapist and a feminist, Phyllis Chesler co-founded the Association for Women in Psychology in 1969, the National Women's Health Network in 1975, and is emerita professor of psychology at The City University of New York. She has published 15 books, most recently An American Bride in Kabul (2013) which won the National Jewish Book Award for 2013. Chesler's articles have appeared in numerous publications, including the Middle East Quarterly, Encyclopedia Judaica, International Herald Tribune, National Review, New York Times, Times of London, Washington Post and Weekly Standard. Based on her studies about honor killings among Muslims and Hindus, she has served as an expert courtroom witness for women facing honor-based violence. Her works have been translated into 13 languages. Follow Phyllis Chesler on Twitter @Phyllischesler


Mark Durie

A theologian, human rights activist and pastor of an Anglican church, Rev. Mark Durie has published on the language and culture of the Acehnese (a Muslim people of Indonesia), Christian-Muslim relations, and religious freedom, with a particular focus on human rights and Shari'a, violence and Jihad, and religious persecution and dhimmitude. He holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Australian National University and is a graduate of the Australian College of Theology. Durie, who has addressed the Middle East Forum, has held visiting appointments at the University of Leiden, MIT, UCLA and Stanford, was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1992, and was awarded an Australian Centennial Medal in 2001. Follow Mark Durie on Twitter @markdurie


Cynthia Farahat

As an Egyptian political activist, writer and researcher, Cynthia Farahat was under long-term surveillance by Egypt's State Security Intelligence Service before seeking political asylum in the United States in 2011. She was co-founder of the Misr El-Umm (2003-06) and the Liberal Egyptian (2006-08) parties, which stood for secularism, anti-Islamism, and peace with Israel. Farahat previously worked with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty in Cairo, the Center for Security Policy, and Coptic Solidarity. She has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and received an award from the Endowment for Middle East Truth and the Profiles in Courage Award from ACT for America. Farahat is co-author of two books in Arabic and, among other journals, has published in the Middle East Quarterly, National Review Online, and The Washington Times. Follow Cynthia Farahat on Twitter @cynthia_farahat


Tarek Fatah

Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow

Tarek S. Fatah is founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a group committed to fighting Islamism and promoting the separation between religion and state. A columnist at Toronto Sun and host of a Sunday afternoon talk show on Toronto's NewsTalk1010 AM Radio, he is the author of two award-winning books: Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism. Follow Tarek Fatah on Twitter @TarekFatah


Seth J. Frantzman

Ginsburg/Ingerman Writing Fellow

A journalist and analyst concentrating on the Middle East, Seth J. Frantzman has a PhD from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was an assistant professor at Al-Quds University. He is the Oped Editor and an analyst on Middle East Affairs at The Jerusalem Post and his work has appeared at The National Interest, The Spectator, The Hill, National Review, The Moscow Times, and Rudaw. He is a frequent guest on radio and TV programs in the region and internationally, speaking on current developments in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. As a correspondent and researcher has covered the war on ISIS in Iraq and security in Turkey, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, the UAE and eastern Europe.


Michel Gurfinkiel

A scholar of European Islamism, Turkey, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, Michel Gurfinkiel is founder and president of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute, a Paris-based think tank, and a former editor-in-chief of Valeurs Actuelles, France's foremost conservative weekly magazine. A French national, he studied history and semitics at the Sorbonne and the French National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations. Gurfinkiel is author of eight books and a frequent contributor to American media, including the Middle East Quarterly, Commentary, PJMedia, Wall Street Journal, and Weekly Standard.


Joseph M. Humire

Joseph M. Humire is executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS), a national security think tank based in Washington, D.C. He provides regular briefings and testimony to the U.S. Congress, Department of Defense, and intelligence community on Islamic terrorism, transnational organized crime, and emerging threats in Latin America. He is the author of Iran's Strategic Penetration of Latin America (2014) and a regular national security commentator for major Spanish-language media, including Univision, Telemundo, and CNN Espanol. Humire was previously the director of institute relations at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. He is a combat veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps with deployments to the Middle East and has a degree in Economics and Global Affairs from George Mason University.


Raymond Ibrahim

Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow

Raymond Ibrahim specializes in Islamic topics. His books include Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West (Da Capo, 2018); Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians (Regnery, 2013); and The Al Qaeda Reader (Doubleday, 2007). Among other media, he has appeared on C-SPAN, Al-Jazeera, CNN, NPR, and PBS; his writings have been published in the New York Times Syndicate, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Weekly Standard, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst. He guest lectures at universities, briefs governmental agencies, and testifies before Congress. Ibrahim has been a visiting fellow and scholar at a variety of institutes—from the Hoover Institution to the National Intelligence University—and is the Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


Efraim Inbar

Ginsburg/Ingerman Writing Fellow

An authority on Middle Eastern strategic affairs, Efraim Inbar is president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, a professor emeritus of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, and former director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (1991-2016). He earned his undergraduate degree in English literature and political science from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and his doctoral degree in political science from the University of Chicago. Inbar has held visiting posts at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown universities, the Woodrow Wilson International Center, and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He has contributed to the Middle East Quarterly. His books include Outcast Countries in the World Community (1985), War and Peace in Israeli Politics(1991), Rabin and Israel's National Security (1999), The Israeli-Turkish Entente (2001), and Israel's National Security (2008).


Alexander Joffe

Ginsburg/Ingerman Writing Fellow

A former director of the Forum's Campus Watch project, Alexander Joffe is a writer on Israel and Jewish affairs. Trained as an archaeologist and historian, he holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern studies from the University of Arizona and has participated and directed archaeological research in Israel, Jordan, Greece, and the United States. He has taught at Pennsylvania State University and the State University of New York. Joffe is co-author with Asaf Romirowsky of Religion, Politics and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief (2013). His work has appeared in leading national and international newspapers including the Middle East Quarterly, Forbes, Ha'aretz, Jerusalem Post, Jewish Ideas Daily, National Interest, Tablet, The Tower, Times of Israel, Wall Street Journal and Yediot Aharanot.


Gal Luft

Dr. Gal Luft is co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), a Washington-based think tank focused on energy security, and senior adviser to the United States Energy Security Council. He is also co-chairman of the Global Forum on Energy Security. He specializes in energy issues, including natural resources and economic warfare. Newsweek calls him a "tireless and independent advocate of energy security" and Esquire includes him in its list of America's Best and Brightest. Dr. Luft has published in the Middle East Quarterly, American Interest, Commentary, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Los Angeles Times, National Interest, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. He is co-author of Energy Security Challenges for the 21st Century (2009), Turning Oil into Salt: Energy Independence Through Fuel Choice (2009), and Petropoly: The Collapse of America's Energy Security Paradigm (2012).


Asaf Romirowsky

Asaf Romirowsky is the Executive Director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and an affiliate professor at the University of Haifa. Trained as a historian, he holds a PhD in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies from King's College London and has published widely on various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict and American foreign policy in the Middle East, as well as on Israeli and Zionist history. He is a fellow at the Middle East Forum.


Philip Carl Salzman

Philip Carl Salzman is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at McGill University. He is the author of Culture and Conflict in the Middle East (2008), a book that Stanley Kurtz called "the most penetrating, reliable, systematic, and theoretically sophisticated effort yet made to understand the Islamist challenge the United States is facing in cultural terms." His other works on the Middle East include Black Tents of Baluchistan (2000), Pastoralists: Equality, Hierarchy, and the State (2004), and Postcolonial Theory and the Arab-Israel Conflict (edited with D. R. Divine, 2008). He is a member of the Academic Board of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, as well as a member of the editorial boards of six academic journals about the Middle East and Central Asia.


Wolfgang G. Schwanitz

A historian of the Middle East, Wolfgang G. Schwanitz is a native of East Germany who was raised in Egypt. He holds a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Studies from Leipzig University, has taught at five German and American universities, and served as head of Middle Eastern history at the Academy of Science in Berlin. Schwanitz has been a visiting fellow at the French Center in Cairo, Princeton University, and the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. The author of nine and the editor of ten books, Schwanitz has published some 150 scholarly articles and over 500 newspaper and magazine pieces on modern Middle Eastern history and international relations. He is a fellow at the Middle East Forum.


Joseph Morrison Skelly

Joseph Morrison Skelly specializes in international terrorism, diplomatic history, military affairs, and the contemporary Middle East. His books include Ideas Matter: Essays in Honour of Conor Cruise O'Brien (1998), Political Islam from Muhammad to Ahmadinejad: Defenders, Detractors, and Definitions (2010). Skelly is an officer in the United States Army Reserve, where he served a tour of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He currently serves as the Executive Officer of the 405th Field Hospital, a unit of more than 400 soldiers prepared to respond to military contingencies worldwide. He is a 2015 recipient of the United States Army's General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award. Skelly is a professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at the College of Mount Saint Vincent and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.


Jonathan Spyer

Ginsburg/Ingerman Writing Fellow

Jonathan Spyer is a journalist and a Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the founder and executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis. Spyer is a regular contributor to Jane's Intelligence Review, and writes the 'Behind the Lines' column at the Jerusalem Post. and has also written for the Middle East Quarterly. He holds an M.A. from the University of London and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. He is the author of Days of the Fall: A Reporter's Journey in the Syria and Iraq Wars (2017), and has appeared on Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN, Fox News, and Sky News.


Raymond Stock

An expert on Middle Eastern cultural and political affairs, Raymond Stock lived in Cairo for 20 years (1990-2010). He has translated seven books by Egyptian Nobel laureate in literature Naguib Mahfouz, whose biography he is presently writing for Farrar, Straus & Giroux. He was denied re-entry and deported from Egypt by the Mubarak regime in December 2010 due to his Foreign Policy magazine article criticizing the bid by the explicitly anti-Semitic culture minister Farouk Hosni to head UNESCO. A former Guggenheim Fellow, with a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (including ancient through modern studies) from the University of Pennsylvania, he has taught Arabic and Middle East Studies as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Drew University. A frequent commentator in the media, his articles and translations of Arabic fiction have appeared in the Middle East Quarterly, Bookforum, The Financial Times, Foxnews.com, Foreign Policy Research Institute E-Notes, Harper's Magazine, International Herald Tribune, London Magazine, PJMedia and many other venues.


Michael Totten

Michael Totten is an American journalist and author who has reported from the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, Cuba, Vietnam, and the Caucasus. His work appears in various publications, websites, and on his blog. His first book, The Road to Fatima Gate, was published in 2011 and was awarded the Washington Institute Silver Book Prize. His most recent book is Tower of the Sun: Stories from the Middle East and North Africa.