The 'Camp David Consensus': Ideas, Intellectuals, and the Division of Labor in Egypt's Foreign Policy toward Israel

Stein, Ewan
September 2011
International Studies Quarterly;Sep2011, Vol. 55 Issue 3, p737
Academic Journal
This paper explores the nature, background, and evolution of the 'Camp David consensus.' Under this consensus, Egyptian intellectuals and political movements broadly accept that the Egyptian regime must deal constructively and 'correctly' with Israel as a state, but insist that society has the right and responsibility to resist Zionism. The consensus rests on particular ways of understanding Israel, and the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict, that can be traced back to the formative years of the Egyptian republic under Nasser. This has served the interests of both regimes and opposition movements and in this sense represents a 'double instrumentalization' of foreign policy. The paper, which examines a range of regime and intellectual pronouncements during the Nasser and Sadat periods, as well as more recently, challenges the growing use within International Relations, particularly in the Middle East context, of the concept of 'identity' to explain state behavior.


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