Yael S. Aronoff is the Michael and Elaine Serling and Friends Chair of Israel Studies and Associate Professor at James Madison College. She is also the Director of the Jewish Studies Program at Michigan State University. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University in 2001. She also holds an M.I.A. in international affairs from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (1992), and a B.A. in international relations from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs and Public Policy (1990). She has taught in the Government Department at Hamilton College, and has served as Assistant for Regional Humanitarian Programs in the Pentagon's Office of Humanitarian and Refugee Affairs and in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as a Jacob K. Javits Fellow. She was Senior Associate at Columbia University’s Institute of War and Peace Studies. Professor Aronoff served as Associate Director of Jewish Studies spring 2013 and spring 2014. She is Book Review Editor for Israel Studies Review and on the Board of Directors of the Association for Israel Studies.
Dr. Aronoff is a 2011 recipient of the MSU Teacher-Scholar Award which is awarded to faculty who early in their careers have earned the respect of students and colleagues for their devotion to and skill in teaching and who have shown scholarly promise.
Yael Aronoff’s book, The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers: When Hard-Liners Opt for Peace, was published by Cambridge University Press May 2014. This book examines leaders of the seemingly intractable conflict between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. It takes as an intellectual target of opportunity six Israeli prime ministers, asking why some of them have persisted in some hard-line positions but others have opted to become peacemakers. This book argues that some leaders do change, and above all it explains why and how such changes come about. This book goes beyond arguing simply that “leaders matter” by analyzing how their particular belief systems and personalities can ultimately make a difference to their country's foreign policy, especially toward a long-standing enemy. The differences in ideology and personality among the six Israeli prime ministers analyzed had a significant impact on their image of the enemy, their perception of and reaction to the intifadas, the Gulf War, and the uprisings in the Middle East starting in December 2010, and ultimately on their ability to reach an agreement with the PLO and the Palestinian Authority.
Dr. Aronoff’s current book project, The Dilemmas of Asymmetric Conflicts, is being supported by a Michigan State University Humanities and Arts Research Program grant of $26,000 which was awarded in February 2014. The book project that will contribute to new understandings of the tensions faced by democracies fighting long-standing asymmetric wars, as they juggle traditional doctrines with the restraint needed to maintain domestic and international legitimacy. Focusing on two state actors who have struggled to confront the challenge of asymmetric warfare -- Israel and the United States -- it will be the first comparative study of the two countries that examines the evolving norms of asymmetric warfare, particularly with regard to state actors and the force of international humanitarian laws, the pressures of accountability to international and national audiences, and the need to project legitimacy in the media wars surrounding these conflicts. The experiences of Israel and the United States in the past decade exemplify the complex calculations undertaken by democracies in an age of asymmetric warfare, as new strategies and norms have developed to negotiate these tensions.
Dr. Aronoff has published in Foreign Policy, Israel Studies, Israel Studies Forum, Israel Studies Review, and Political Science Quarterly. Recent book chapters in peer reviewed books include, “Predicting Peace: The Contingent Nature of Leadership and Domestic Politics in Israel,” in Democracy and Conflict Resolution: the Dilemmas of Israel’s Peacemaking eds. Hendrik Spruyt, Miriam F. Elman, and Oded Haklai (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2014) and “Bordering on Peace: Spatial Narratives of Israeli Border Crossings with Jordan and Egypt.” Co-author: Eric Aronoff in Frontiers: Topographies of Surveillance and Flows. Eds. Carolyn Loeb and Andreas Luescher, (New York: Ashgate, forthcoming). Yael Aronoff’s most recent review essay is of Daniel C. Kurtzer, Scott B. Lasensky, William B. Quandt, Steven L. Spiegel, and Shibley Telhami The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013) and Daniel C. Kurtzer, ed. Pathways to Peace: America and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), entitled "Making the Next Peace Process Succeed," Israel Studies Review Vol. 29, No.1 Summer 2014..
At James Madison College, Dr. Aronoff teaches MC220, “International Relations I: World Politics and International Security,” MC335 “Israeli Politics, Cultures, and Society,” MC324a, “Regional Politics, Cooperation, and Conflict in the Middle East,” MC326 “U.S. Foreign Policy,” and MC492 senior seminars which have focused on “Israeli Foreign Policy,” “The Dilemmas of Asymmetric Wars,” and “Leadership, Political Psychology, and Foreign Policy.” She also rotates participating in teaching MC202, “Introduction to Public Affairs II: Democracy and Globalization.”
Yael Aronoff has led the MSU Jewish Studies Study Abroad program to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem during the summers of 2007, 2010, and 2013.
Professor Aronoff has given over 50 public lectures on university campuses and to various communities
Professors Yael Aronoff and Eric Aronoff published, “Bordering on Peace: Spatial Narratives of Border Crossings Between Israel, Jordan and Egypt,” in The Design of Frontier Spaces: Control and Ambiguity. Eds. Carolyn Loeb and Andreas Luescher (New York: Ashgate, July 2015).
Professor Aronoff participated in the Annual Meeting of the Association of Israel Studies in Montreal, Canada in June, 2015, presenting a paper, “The War of Media Narratives: Deterring Deterrence?,” and participating in a roundtable on “The Israeli Elections of March 2015: Assessing the Consequences.”
Professor Aronoff co-authored an op-ed with Saliba Sarsar, “Two-state resolution of Israeli-Palestinian conflict would solidify volatile Middle East.” March 29, 2015 in the Star Ledger: http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/03/two-state_resolution_of_the_israeli-palestinian_wo.html#incart_2box_opinion_index.ssf
Professor Aronoff was chosen to receive the MSU John K. Hudzik Emerging Leader in Advancing International Studies and Programs Award in March 2015. This award, established in 2006 to honor John K. Hudzik, former Dean of International Studies and Programs and Acting Provost of Michigan State and current Vice President for Global Engagement and Strategic Projects, recognizes a faculty member early in his/her career who is making a significant impact on the advancement of international scholarship, teaching, and/or public service and outreach at Michigan State University. The selection committee for this award may select one recipient annually and only if it deems there is a worthy recipient. The award includes $1000 for professional activities.
Professor Aronoff gave public lectures on campus and in the surrounding community:
"Israel's Path Forward: Domestic and Foreign Policy Implications of the Israeli Elections," Kehilat Israel Synagogue, East Lansing, Michigan, April, 2015.
Scholar in Residence giving four lectures, hosted by Beth Tikvah Congregation, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, April, 2015.
“The Implications of the March 17th Israeli Elections,” James Madison College, Michigan State University, March, 2015.
"The Implications of the Israeli Elections,” Temple Israel, West Bloomfield, Michigan, March, 2015.
Participant on panel “Violence, Resistance, and Identity Politics from Ferguson to Paris,” Michigan State University, February, 2015.
“The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers: When Hard-Liners Opt for Peace,” Michigan State University, December, 2014.
“Teaching About Israel Today in Higher Education,” Jewish Studies-Hadassah Brunch, University Club, East Lansing, October, 2014.
Professor Aronoff was appointed Director of the Jewish Studies Program at MIchigan State University in August 2014.
Professor Aronoff’s book The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers: When Hard-Liners Opt for Peace was published by Cambridge University Press, May 2014.
Professor Aronoff contributed the chapter “Predicting Peace: The Contingent Nature of Leadership and Domestic Politics in Israel,” in a manuscript, Democracy and Conflict Resolution: the Dilemmas of Israel’s Peacemaking eds. Hendrik Spruyt, Miriam F. Elman, and Oded Haklai, Syracuse University Press, January 2014.
Professor Aronoff contributed a review essay of Daniel C. Kurtzer, Scott B. Lasensky, William B. Quandt, Steven L. Spiegel, and Shibley Telhami The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013) and Daniel C. Kurtzer, ed. Pathways to Peace: America and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), called "A Call for Diplomatic Action that Matches the Determination of Military Operations," published in Israel Studies Review July 2014.
Professor Aronoff gave a lecture sponsored by the The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan Great Decisions Series on “US-Israeli Relations in a Changing Middle East” in February, 2014 in Grand Rapids.
Professor Aronoff participated in the Association of Israel Studies conference in Israel June, 2014: presenting a paper, "Bordering on Peace: Spatial Narratives of Israeli Border Crossings with Jordan and Egypt;" and was on a panel discussing Joel Migdal's book, Shifting Sands: The United States in the Middle East (Columbia University Press, 2014).
Professor Aronoff presented a paper entitled, "Democratic Processes and Peace Negotiations in the Israeli-Palestinian Context," at the 44th Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, Chicago, December 16-18, 2012. She participated in the Academic Conference at American University in the session, “Israel Studies and Jewish Studies in America,” March 3, 2013 in Washington D.C. She gave a lecture entitled “An Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement by the end of President Obama’s second term?” during the Coffee with the Professors Series sponsored by the MSU Alumni Association, on April 1, 2013 at the Kellogg Center at MSU.
Professor Aronoff participated in an outside review of Dartmouth College’s Jewish Studies Program in May 2013, helping to write a report in August. She participated in the Second International Workshop on Contemporary Challenges to the Law of Armed Conflict at the IDC (Interdisciplinary Center) Herzliya, sponsored by the IDC Herzliya Radzyner School of Law, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Marc Rich Foundation, Switzerland, from June 10 to 12, 2013, in Herzliya, Israel.
Professor Aronoff presented a paper entitled “Israeli Leaders, the Arab Spring and the Palestinian Peace,” at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology in Herzliya, Israel, from July 8 to 11, 2013. She also was a discussant for a panel on “Leadership Personality in Authoritarian Regimes” at the same conference. She chaired a panel on war and violence in Israeli culture at the symposium on Israeli literature at Michigan State University, on April 10, 2013.
Professor Aronoff is giving a lecture entitled, “An Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement by the end of President Obama’s second term?” for the Coffee with the Professors Series sponsored by the MSU Alumni Association, Kellogg Center, April 1, 2013.
Professor Aronoff will be chairing “Panel on War and Violence in Israeli Culture,” for the Symposium on Israeli Literature at Michigan State University, April 10, 2013.
Professor Aronoff presented the paper, "Democratic Processes and Peace Negotiations in the Israeli-Palestinian Context," at the 44th Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, Chicago, December 16-18, 2012.
Professor Yael Aronoff published "From Warfare to Withdrawal: The Legacy of Ariel Sharon," in Israel Studies 15:2, Summer 2010.
Professor Aronoff wrote a book review of The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Contested Histories by Neil Caplan, forthcoming in Review of Middle East Studies.
Professor Aronoff presented "Benjamin Netanyahu: Battling the World," at the Association for Israel Studies Annual Meeting in May 2010 in Toronto.
Professorl Aronoff published an article entitled "From Hawks to Peacemakers: A Comparison of Two Israeli Prime Ministers," forthcoming in Israel Studies Forum 24:1, summer 2009. She reviewed the book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges, forthcoming in Peace and Change. She presented a paper entitled, "Predicting Peace: The Domestic Contingencies for Reaching an Israeli-Palestinian Agreement," by invitation to the "Democracy, Religion, and Conflict: the Dilemmas of Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking" Conference and panels to a broader audience as well as workshops to prepare papers for edited book, sponsored by the Project on Democracy in the Middle East, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Maxwell School at Syracuse University, March 26-27, 2009.
Professor Aronoff wrote a book review of "Anti-Americanisms in World Politics", eds. Peter J. Katzenstein and Robert Keohane, for Political Science Quarterly, spring 2008. She presented a paper, "Pursuing Peace to Achieve Security," and participated in a roundtable discussion, "Arabs and Israelis after Annapolis: Is the Peace Process Headed Anywhere?," at the American Political Science Association, August, 2008.
Professor Aronoff presented a paper, "Predicting Peace: IR Theory and the Annapolis Peace Process," at the Association for Israel Studies Annual Meeting, New York, May, 2008.
Professor Aronoff Published "In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lion: The Political Conversion of Jimmy Carter," Political Science Quarterly (Fall 2006): 425-449.