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The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas

11th July 2017 - 12:00 PM

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies hosted a lunch conversation to mark the release of The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas. The authors, Grant Rumley, research fellow at FDD, and Amir Tibon, chief Washington correspondent at Haaretz, were joined in conversation by Aaron David Miller, former Middle East peace negotiator and Vice President for New Initiatives and a Distinguished Scholar at the Wilson Center. Susan Glasser, chief international affairs columnist at Politico, moderated the discussion.

The Last Palestinian, drawing from interviews with key figures in the West Bank, Israel, and Washington, is the first English biography of Abbas. The conversation addressed the inside story of Abbas's complicated multi-decade relationship with America, Israel, and his own people.

Experts discussed questions including: What are the prospects for peace in the Trump administration? What is Abbas’s role and legacy in the peace process? Why did Abbas twice walk away from peace offers from Israel and the U.S. in 2008 and 2014? And what’s next for Palestinian politics in the post-Abbas era?


The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas
A Conversation with Aaron David Miller, Grant Rumley, and Amir Tibon
Moderated by Susan Glasser

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
12:15pm – 1:30pm

Susan Glasser is Politico’s chief international affairs columnist and host of its weekly podcast, The Global Politico. Ms. Glasser, who served as founding editor of the award-winning Politico Magazine and went on to become editor of Politico throughout the 2016 election cycle, has reported everywhere from the halls of Congress to the battle of Tora Bora. The former editor in chief of Foreign Policy magazine, she spent four years traveling the former Soviet Union as The Washington Post’s Moscow co-bureau chief, covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and co-authored “Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin and the End of Revolution,” with her husband, New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker. They’re now working on a biography of former Secretary of State Jim Baker. Ms. Glasser joined Politico in 2013 after several years as editor-in-chief of the award-winning magazine Foreign Policy, overseeing its relaunch in print and as a daily online magazine. During her tenure, the magazine was recognized as a finalist for 10 National Magazine Awards and won three of the magazine world's highest honors.

Aaron David Miller is the Vice President for New Initiatives and a Distinguished Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Between 2006 and 2008, he was a Public Policy Scholar when he wrote his fourth book The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace (Bantam, 2008). His other books include The Arab States and the Palestine Question: Between Ideology and Self Interest; The PLO and the Politics of Survival; and The Search for Security: Saudi Arabian Oil and American Foreign Policy. For the prior two decades, he served at the Department of State as an advisor to Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State, where he helped formulate U.S. policy on the Middle East and the Arab-Israel peace process, most recently as the Senior Advisor for Arab-Israeli Negotiations. He also served as the Deputy Special Middle East Coordinator for Arab-Israeli Negotiations, Senior Member of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and in the Office of the Historian. He has received the department's Distinguished, Superior, and Meritorious Honor Awards.

Grant Rumley is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where he focuses on Palestinian politics. He is the co-author of The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas. Mr. Rumley has published in leading media outlets including Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, and contributed commentary to The New York Times, Reuters, and Newsweek. He is the author of the 2015 FDD report "The Race to Replace Mahmoud Abbas: Understanding and Shaping Palestinian Succession." Prior to joining FDD, Mr. Rumley was a visiting fellow at Mitvim, The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, where he authored, “Back to Basics: The Evolution of the Palestinian UN Campaign.” While in Jerusalem, Mr. Rumley also founded and edited The Jerusalem Review of Near East Affairs. Previously, he served as a consultant in Washington on issues related to counter-terrorism, the Middle East, and war-gaming strategies.

Amir Tibon is an award-winning Israeli journalist and current chief Washington correspondent for Haaretz, Israel’s paper of record. Prior to that, he was a diplomatic correspondent for a leading Israeli news website where he extensively covered the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Mr. Tibon is the co-author of The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas. His writings on Israel, the Palestinians, and US foreign policy in the Middle East have been published in The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Politico, the New Republic, Tablet Magazine, and other leading U.S. publications.

This event was made possible through a grant from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.