Doron Ben-Atar (born 25 May 1957) is an Israeli-born American historian and playwright. He is a Professor of History at Fordham University in New York City.


Doron Ben-Atar was born in Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel. His father, Arye Ben-Atar, immigrated to Palestine from Turkey in 1936. He was a basketball player for Maccabi Tel Aviv.[1] His mother was a Holocaust survivor from Poland.[2] In 2006, Ben-Atar wrote a play based on his mother's experiences, Behave Yourself Quietly. [3] In the 1970s, Ben-Atar, who is two meters tall, followed in his father's footsteps and began to play basketball. He studied at Tichon Hadash high school in Tel Aviv and joined Peace Now, taking part in left-wing demonstrations.[4] In 1988, he worked for Israel's Meretz party. He went to the United States to study American history at Brandeis University and completed his doctorate at Columbia University in 1990. He taught at Yale University before moving to Fordham University.[5]

Ben-Atar is married to an American Jew and has three children.[6] His oldest son, Assaf Ben-Atar, also a Brandeis graduate, currently attends Fordham University Law School and is an Associate Editor for the Intellectual Property, Media, and Entertainment Law Journal.[7] Prior to enrolling in law school, Assaf was a prominent high school tennis player,[8] and child actor in Yale University Theatre productions.[9] Unfortunately, Assaf suffered a debilitating knee injury his senior year, ending his promising tennis career. After abandoning the game he loved, Assaf became a passionate supporter for student rights at Brandeis University, opposing the University's cancellation of the annual Modfest festivities.[10] Additionally, Assaf received praise in the Brandeis school newspaper for his heroic efforts when, as a bystander, he utilized prior EMT training at the scene of an automobile accident.[11]

Academic career

Ben-Atar is a noted expert on intellectual property piracy, "where he has "rocked the current patent debate by saying that piracy is not only inevitable, it may even be beneficial."[12] He claims U.S. economic development was founded on the illegal misappropriation of intellectual property.[13]

Business World India calls him "a genial giant from the world of academia" who has undermined conventional arguments in the hotly debated question of who owns intellectual property by looking at the issue through the prism of the past.[14] Ben-Atar maintains that "it is impossible to contain the abuse of technology without undermining the free flow of knowledge that is the prerequisite for innovation."[15] Christine MacLeod of Bristol University wrote "Doron S. Ben-Atar wears his heart on his sleeve. It's a good heart, but historically the wrong sleeve."[16]

His work on intellectual policy builds on his earlier work on Thomas Jefferson. He criticized Jefferson for vacillating between viewing commerce as a threat to republican virtue and recognizing the necessity of promoting prosperity. As a result, Jefferson "failed to recognize America's larger stake in defeating Napoleonic France."[17][18]

Playwrighting career

After Behave Yourself Quietly, Atar wrote Peace Warriors about the demonization of Israel in the academic world.[19] He says that writing plays is a way of grappling with the issue of Jewish identity and its significance in the 21st century.[20][21]

Published works


  • Trade Secrets: Intellectual Piracy and the Origins of American Industrial Power (Yale University Press, 2004)
  • What Time and Sadness Spared: Mother and Son Confront the Holocaust together with Roma Nutkiewicz Ben-Atar (University of Virginia Press, 2006)
  • The Origins of Jeffersonian Commercial Policy and Diplomacy (Macmillan, 1993)
  • Federalists Reconsidered, co-edited with Barbara B. Oberg (University Press of Virginia, 1998)

Selected articles

  • "Pirates of the Potomac," Legal Affairs (2004)
  • "Pride, Ambition and Resentment: The American Revolution Revisited," for the Oxford History of the British Empire (2000)
  • "The Jewish American Question," Journal of Urban History (1999)
  • "Nationalism, Neo-Mercantilism, and Diplomacy: Rethinking the Franklin Mission," Diplomatic History (1998).


  1. ^ Of Nazis and watermelon
  2. ^ "Playwright bases play on his mother's Auschwitz experience Archived September 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.," Howard Blas, Jewish Ledger, April 10, 2007
  3. ^ Of Nazis and watermelon
  4. ^ Of Nazis and watermelon
  5. ^ Of Nazis and watermelon
  6. ^ Of Nazis and watermelon
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2010-01-22.  IPLJ
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2] Yale Herald
  10. ^ [3][permanent dead link]
  11. ^ [4][permanent dead link] Brandeis Justice Online
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  13. ^ Trade Secrets: Intellectual Piracy and the Origins of American Industrial Power Archived January 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  15. ^ Doron Ben-Atar, Hollywood Profits v. Technological Progress, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 1, 2005
  16. ^ Trade Secrets, Christine MacLeod, Technology and Culture, Vol. 46, No. 2. (Apr., 2005), p. 443.
  17. ^ A Companion to American Foreign Relations, By Robert D. Schulzinger, 2003, p. 52
  18. ^ Thomas Jefferson: Reputation and Legacy by Francis D. Cogliano, 2006, Page 250
  19. ^ Of Nazis and watermelon
  20. ^ Of Nazis and watermelon
  21. ^ [5]