FrontPage Mag (May 10) – As the modern state of Israel turned 66 this week, it is important to realize that, despite the dreary predictions to the contrary, Israel is not a pariah state, nor is it isolated. However, voices inside and outside of Israel continue to espouse their gloom and doom forecast that failure of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will increase Israel’s pariah status and/or lead them into isolation. Yet, we don’t need to search very far to find those voices and examine what constituency they represent – since Tzippi Livni, Israel’s Justice Minister and chief negotiator, repeatedly makes this assertion.
She has said, “peace negotiations are the wall stopping the wave [of international boycott pressure],” and in 2013, “we are at the last minute before isolation.” In 2010, “Israel is becoming isolated from the world,” and indicted PM Netanyahu saying, “since you took control, Israel has become a pariah country in the world.”
These statements, and other similar pronouncements, are never supported with data or backed up with facts. However, Livni, other ‘friends’ of Israel and like-minded pundits believe that these types of statements, combined with pictures of fringe groups around the globe supporting BDS, is enough to scare the public into buying into their vision.
But, is Israel really isolated? Even more so, what is the nature of the isolation which Livni, Kerry and others speak about? They certainly haven’t elaborated on what they mean since their pronouncements lack factual support. A country might be considered isolated when most other countries sever relations with them for an extended and indefinite period of time. This might include a cessation of economic, diplomatic, cultural ties and/or an arms embargo. This might also be coupled with UN Security Council sanctions (not to be mistaken for UNGA condemnations which carry absolutely no weight). Since policymakers have made statements warning of isolation, it is important to refute those claims, lest they spread.
Prior to his visit to Israel in 2013, senior Chinese Communist Official in charge of information, media and culture, Liu Qibao, discussed Chinese-Israel relations:
Our bilateral relationship has grown robust and mature over the past 21 years of diplomatic relations…exchange of visits between senior officials is frequent…trade and economic ties grow fast. China is now Israel’s largest trading partner in Asia…Cooperation in science and technology is fruitful. Cultural and people-to-people exchanges are more and more active…China-Israel relationship will undoubtedly embrace a bright future.
Throughout the whole interview the Israeli-Arab conflict was not mentioned once. And while there might be calls for boycott and divestment in Israel China not only hasn’t joined those calls, but is also going ahead with the Red-Med project to build a railroad from Eilat to Ashdod.
Israel-Indian ties also continue to grow stronger. Israel is India’s second largest supplier of arms after Russia with bi-lateral arms trade over the last decade estimated at $10 billion. India’s foreign minister Krishna visited Israel in 2012, and the visit of the Chief of Staff of India’s army, Maj. Gen. Bikram Singh, to Israel in March, 2014, focused on joint cooperation. Israel currently has more than 27 agricultural projects with India and will be sponsoring more than 100 post-doctoral scholarships for Indians in Israel. Additionally, Narendra Modi, head of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), and likely the next Prime Minister of India, has long courted political and economic ties with Israel.
Both India and China, as Professor Efraim Inbar wrote, “treat the Jewish State with reverence as they see in it a similar old civilization that reached remarkable achievements.”