[Freemanlist2] Israel: More Formidable Than Ever -Joseph Puder
Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
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Thu Mar 10 08:47:49 CST 2016
FREEMAN CENTER BROADCAST - MARCH 10, 2016For Zion's sake I will not hold my peaceand for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest." Isaiah 62.FREEMAN CENTER FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES
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Israel: More Formidable Than Ever
An evaluation of the Jewish state’s geopolitical situation.
March 7, 2016 Joseph Puder 18 111106 Last week, opposition figures Avigdor Lieberman, leader of Yisrael Beytenu and Yair Lapid, leader of Yesh Atid, convened an emergency conference in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) under the banner “Fighting for Israel’s International Status.” Lieberman charged that, “Netanyahu (Israel’s Prime Minister) is trying to take the Israeli Foreign Service and destroy it by force.” He added, “The Foreign Ministry is no one’s private property, including the Netanyahu family, you can’t take it and destroy it completely.” Lieberman served as Foreign Minister in Netanyahu’s previous government as did Lapid, who served as Finance Minister. Both could have received the Foreign Ministry portfolio had they joined Netanyahu’s coalition government. The conference did not include the leader of the opposition and chairman of the Zionist Camp, Yitzhak Herzog. Both Lapid and Lieberman seek to replace Netanyahu as prime minister.
Lapid’s criticism was less personal and more issue oriented. He stated that, “The deterioration of the situation is dramatic. The BDS Movement is gaining power, the international institutions and the UN as well, are leading an anti-Israel line. There is a crisis with the American administration, there is a crisis with the European Union, the world media is leading a serious slanderous anti-Israel line, aided by anti-Israel organizations.” Lapid added, “Our international standing has never, throughout the state’s history from 1948 until today, been so bad. What makes the situation worse is the fact that the Israeli government won’t admit it.”
One point made by Yair Lapid is clearly valid. He pointed out that “The Foreign Ministry is divided between six ministers and none of them knows what the others are doing. Israel’s hasbara (public relations) is divided between five government ministries, and none of them knows what the other is doing.” The Israeli government has to speak with one voice, and preferably, allow hasbara overseas to be handled by qualified PR and advertising experts, and led by a reputable NGO.
PM Netanyahu responded to the criticism leveled by Lieberman and Lapid by saying that while he is busy strengthening Israel’s international alliences, the opposition is busy “rattling on.” He pointed out that, “there are those who choose to prattle and hold political gatherings, and there are those who rebuff the pressures on Israel and strengthen Israel’s international alliances to ensure our future here.”
Netanyahu cited a January, 2016 study by the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, US News & World Report and BAV Consulting called Best Countries Rankings, which attempted to rank countries much the way universities are graded. The study ranked Israel as the eighth most powerful country in the world. Israel ranked 25th in the overall “Best Countries Ranking.”
Viewed in the midst of the chaos experienced throughout the Middle East, Israel appears as an island of tranquility. Nevertheless, the current spate of knifings and car rammings by individual Palestinian terrorists has had a deleterious effect on the mood in the country. It did not in any way stop the flow of life, and people’s daily routines, but it has put Israelis more on guard. It is time for the Israeli government to pressure friendly European governments, and especially the U.S. administration to condition aid to the Palestinians on the transformation of the Palestinian educational system from one that spews hatred and intolerance for Jews and Israel to one that teaches the young the value of peace with Israel, and the humanity of Jews. The Oslo Accords never sought to transform Palestinian hate education, which is detrimental to the Palestinian acceptance of peace. Israel cannot solve this problem, but the U.S. and its EU allies have financial leverage.
Israel’s best weapon against the BDS (Lapid complained about) is to expose the BDS’ lies. Many NGO’s are doing it, but it requires the U.S. and its European allies to help expose the bias and vicious anti-Semitism embedded in the nature of the BDS movement, originated by Omar Barghouti- a Palestinian born in Qatar, and educated at Tel Aviv University.
There is little Israel can do at the UN, or with the world media. The 57 states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) dominates the UN General Assembly and 1.5 billion Muslims are going to dwarf 15 million Jews. To expect the UN or the media to be fair is to ask the impossible. What is possible perhaps is to have a more proud Israeli media that shows less of Israel’s blemishes, and takes more pride in the Jewish state’s accomplishments and values. This is true especially with a news outlet such as Ha’aretz.
Lapid may be right about the shortcomings of Israeli hasbara, but he is wrong about Israel’s geopolitical situation. Lord Palmerston, the 19th Century British Prime Minister, exclaimed that “There are no permanent friends or allies, only permanent interests.” Today, for the first time in 68 years, Israel has a common interest with the Moderate Sunni-Muslim states such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf States. There is an unwritten strategic alliance among these states and Israel. Iran’s hegemonic drive, its overriding influence in the Arab capitals of Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, and Sanaa, and its quest for a nuclear bomb has made the Sunni states realize that Israel is not their enemy – the mullahs of Tehran are.
The Wall Street Journal reported on January 14, 2016 that “Netanyahu fought the nuclear deal with Iran for fear it would encourage Iran to further support military proxies in Yemen and Syria, a concern shared by Sunni Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies.” Yaakov Amidror, former Israeli national security advisor to PM Netanyahu explained, “What we have with the Sunni countries is based on two common interests - they don’t like the Iranians and they are afraid of Islamism.”
Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic wrote in 2009, “Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, recently told me that he has sensed an oncoming revolution in Sunni thinking. For the first time, the majority of the Arab world thinks that Iran is the real danger, not Israel. Seventy percent of the Arabs are Sunnis. The Sunnis look upon us, whether they say it or not, not as a problem but as a hope.”
It is ironic that from the early days of the Jewish State, Ben Gurion, Israel’s “founding father,” and first prime minister charted the “Periphery doctrine.” It meant establishing alliances of sorts with the non-Arab peripheral states of Iran, Turkey, and Ethiopia as a way to ameliorate its isolation from its immediate Arab neighbors. Today, under PM Netanyahu, the reverse is occurring. Israel and its immediate Sunni-Arab neighbors find common interest against Iran, while at the same time Israel is close to patching up its problems with Turkey. President Erdogan of Turkey, like the Arab leaders, are not “in love” with Israel, but self-interest motivates them. The old saying “one’s enemies enemy is one’s friend” has never been truer. Iran is the enemy of both Israel and the Sunni-Arabs, and it is increasingly true about Turkey as well. Ankara sees economic benefits from a relationship with Israel, too.
Avigdor Lieberman and Yair Lapid are wrong about Israel’s international status. BDS may win some battles on campuses or in liberal Protestant churches, but Asian giant government like China, India, and Japan are flocking to Israel and investing in its hi-tech industries. Even a European nation previously hostile to Israel - Greece (led by a hard left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras), is now recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s historical capital. PM Netanyahu may have his faults, but he is leading an Israel that is more formidable than ever.============= Please contribute to The Freeman Center's essential educational activities. Mail check to address above or by paypal: http://www.freeman.org/paypal.htm
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