Middle Eastern, Comparative, and International Law and Politics
U.S. Foreign Policy
David Mednicoff's research deals with broad connections between legal and political ideas and institutions at the national and transnational levels, particularly as these relate to current issues in the Middle East. His articles and book chapters analyze the rule of law, human rights issues, Western legal aid, US policy, migrant worker law and policy, political liberalization and constitutionalism in the Middle East, especially Morocco, Qatar, Tunisia and the UAE. He is currently completing a book manuscript on the meanings and politics of the rule of law in five Arab societies.
Harvard University: Ph.D., Political Science and Government
Harvard University: J.D., International Law and Legal Studies
Harvard University: A.M., Political Science
Princeton University: B.A., International Relations and Affairs
Select Media Coverage (3)
American universities in the spotlight over reaction to Israel-Gaza war – podcast
The Conversation online
In a podcast, David Mednicoff, chair of the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies and associate professor of Middle Eastern studies and public policy at UMass Amherst, discusses the campus reaction to the Israel-Hamas war.
Judicial Changes and Politics in Israel
Busan English Broadcasting online
David Mednicoff, Middle Eastern studies and public policy, is interviewed on a Korean broadcast about judicial changes and politics in Israel. Mednicoff says this matters because, “When we see democracy challenged anywhere in the world, it is important.”
Israel: Passage of Netanyahu's judicial coup law Ignites mass protests
Al Jazeera online
In an interview with Al Jazeera English, David Mednicoff, Middle Eastern studies and public policy, says Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is following “the authoritarian playbook, where democratically-elected leaders use various tactics to erode the checks on their power and move their country away from democracy.”
Select Publications (6)
Defending space for free discussion, empathy and tolerance on campus is a challenge during Israel-Hamas warThe Conversation
At the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, scholar David Mednicoff chairs the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies. He spoke with The Conversation’s senior politics and democracy editor, Naomi Schalit, about how he and his colleagues and university leadership have tried to deal – as an educational institution and a community – with a highly charged situation on campus in which there is pain, anger and anguish on both sides.
As contentious judicial ‘reform’ becomes law in Israel, Netanyahu cements his political legacyThe Conversation
2023 Israel’s parliament passed a law on July 24, 2023, that limits the Supreme Court’s ability to rein in government actions, part of a broader proposal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to strengthen the power of the country’s executive branch.
The World Cup puts the spotlight on Qatar, but also brings attention to its human rights record and politics – 4 things to knowThe Conversation
2022 With the start of the World Cup on Nov. 20, 2022, soccer teams from 32 countries and tens of thousands of fans have converged on Qatar, a tiny Arab country on a peninsula in the Persian Gulf. But search “Qatar 2022” online, and the first nonsport results are about the country’s human rights issues.
How the JDA can and cannot advance Palestinian rightsAl Jazeera
2021 On April 21, before the latest escalation in violence in Israel-Palestine, Professor Mark Muhannad Ayyash offered a creative reading of the Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism (JDA) on this website. He cherry-picked several phrases of this document to infuse it with opprobrium, hidden marginalisation, or assumed irrationality of Palestinians or pro-Palestinian political speech.
Making peace between Israelis and Palestinians – is now the time for a different approach?The Conversation
2021 The violence in May 2021 between Israelis and Palestinians was the latest deadly eruption of a decadeslong conflict that has proved immune to attempts at forging a comprehensive peace. We asked two Middle East experts to assess what can be done now to promote peace. Scholars Raslan Ibrahim, assistant professor of political science and international relations at the State University of New York at Geneseo, and David Mednicoff, chair of the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, both imagine there’s a way forward, though their scenarios are very different.
The US-Iran conflict and the consequences of international law-breakingThe Conversation
2020 Iran’s missile attack on a U.S. base in Iraq in retaliation for the Trump administration’s killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani has dramatically escalated global tensions. Dozens of questions have swirled around the events. Beyond the politics, international law and Middle Eastern scholar David Mednicoff from the University of Massachusetts Amherst addresses five key points about the legal status of those attacks and the larger conflict