I specialize in the field of modern Middle East studies, concentrating on the region's politics and international relations (history and theory), foreign policy analysis, and diplomatic history. As a historian of international relations I have developed special research interests in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and in state-society relations under authoritarian regimes.
Fields of interest
My research agenda builds on a two-year project that was awarded a pump-priming grant by the John Fell OUP Fund. The grant enables me to develop an interdisciplinary program of research into the problem of Israel’s founding and existence as perceived by Arab states and societies.
Even though the Arab-Israeli conflict is one of the most extensively analyzed international conflicts of our time, only a handful of academic studies contend with what constitutes the Arab party to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Over the past century the frontline Arab states have formulated a range of solutions to the ‘Israel Problem’ and have worked to advance their aims, both separately and collectively, formally and informally. It has been widely observed that the strategy guiding their actions has gradually shifted from steadfast rejection to tacit accommodation, yet the precise nature of this shift—its scope, durability, and drivers—is subject to controversy among policymakers and scholars.
The study takes a historical-sociological approach and asks whether rejectionism is still considered a viable solution to the ‘Israel Problem’, or has this deeply entrenched notion been relinquished. To meet its key analytical challenge the study develops ways of gauging the credibility of international commitments made by autocratic states, where policy-making lacks transparency and accountability. It suggests that when deeply entrenched core values, such as Palestine, are at stake societal pressures place clear constraints on autocrats’ room-for-manoeuvre in the international arena.
Grants and awards
2014-2016 John Fell OUP Fund, Pump-Priming Grant (£16,000) for the project “Beyond Rejectionism? A Historical-Sociological Inquiry into Arab States’ Strategy towards the Israel Problem”
2012 Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) Teaching Award by student nomination
2008 The Colonel Nachman Karni Fund, affiliated to the Ben-Gurion Memorial Association
2006 Süleyman Demirel Scholarship, Tel-Aviv University, Turkish language course
2005 Avi Fellowship, Geneva
2004-2006 Overseas Research Student (ORS) Award, Universities UK
2004 Yad Hanadiv Doctoral Fellowship, Hanadiv Charitable Foundation, London
2003 Chevening Scholarship, The British Council, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
DPhil, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, UK (2010)
MA, Magna Cum Laude, Department of Middle Eastern and African History, Tel-Aviv University, Israel (2005)
BA, Department of Middle Eastern and African History and Department of Political Science, Tel-Aviv University, Israel (1998)
2016 Stipendiary Lecturer in Politics, Pembroke College, University of Oxford
2011-2015 Departmental Lecturer, five-year appointment at the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR), in conjunction with a Fellowship at Pembroke College, University of Oxford
2009-2010 Departmental Teaching Associate, DPIR, University of Oxford
2006-2010 College Lecturer for Princeton Visiting Students, Hertford College, University of Oxford
Israel's Phantom Pact: Foreign Policy on the Periphery of the Middle East. London: I.B. Tauris, forthcoming.
“Fortitude at Stake: The Accidental Crisis in American–Israeli Relations, August 1958.” Manuscript under editorial consideration (Israel Affairs, 2017)
“Backdoor Diplomacy: The Mistress Syndrome in Israel’s Early Relations with Turkey.” In Israel's Clandestine Diplomacies, edited by Clive Jones and Tore T. Petersen. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
- Schonmann N. (2017), Fortitude at Stake: The Accidental Crisis in American–Israeli Relations, August 1958, Israel Affairs 23(4): 626-649.
- Schonmann N. (2013), Backdoor Diplomacy: The Mistress Syndrome in Israel’s Early Relations with Turkey. In: Jones Clive, Petersen Tore T. (Eds.) Israel's Clandestine Diplomacies. New York: Oxford University Press. 85-102.
No relevant ancillary activities