On the map

Source: On the map – Opinion – Jerusalem Post

Sudan, together with Chad, is key to making a direct way to fly from Israel to Brazil, a major world economy.

 NOVEMBER 26, 2018 20:45
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Chad President  Idriss Déby in Jerusalem in November 25

This is another successful week for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s foreign policy. Chad’s President Idriss Déby’s visit marks stronger ties between Israel and the central African Muslim state. And the Czech Republic’s President Miloš Zeman’s visit is a step toward having his country become the first European Union member state to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

On the heels of these visits came reports that Israel is working on expanding ties with other Muslim countries, like Bahrain and Sudan. And this comes after Netanyahu’s historic visit to Oman.

Sudan, together with Chad, is key to making a direct way to fly from Israel to Brazil, a major world economy. And Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, may visit Israel and would like to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, as well.

Much is said about what Israel is doing for many of these countries, whether it’s sharing cybersecurity, agricultural know-how, or intelligence and training to fight terrorism. Debby, for example, visited Netafim to see Israeli drip irrigation technology.

It’s true that few of these newly friendly countries have translated into pro-Israel UN votes, but Israel still benefits greatly from these ties, economically as well as in matters of security and international diplomacy.

Chad is also reportedly interested in Israeli military technology. This is where Netanyahu must tread more carefully. We should not allow some of the world’s most abusive regimes to take advantage of their new or stronger ties with Israel to further harm innocent people. Myanmar, which has ethnically cleansed its Muslim minority, is another example of this. Israel does not comment on where it sells weapons, but Myanmar’s military says that it has bought from Israel.

Still, it is important to note that no country in the world cuts ties with all human-rights violators, and Israel should not be held to an impossible double-standard.

Countries like Germany may turn up their noses, but they have continued working to circumvent sanctions on Iran, one of the world’s most prolific invokers of the death penalty, and a country that continually threatens Israel with genocide.

It’s hard to take someone like Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström seriously. She claims to have a “feminist foreign policy” while veiling herself in Tehran and continually condemning Israel, which has a better record on gender equality than anywhere else in the region and was recently ranked one of the world’s top 20 countries for working women.

French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly refuses to visit Israel because of a lack of progress with the Palestinians. But there’s a photo of him hugging the president of Chad, not exactly a beacon of human rights.

It’s clear that double-standard is part of why Netanyahu has sought out ties elsewhere. Europe is Israel’s largest trading partner, but – for better or for worse – the benefits of strengthening ties with countries elsewhere are less likely to come with these kinds of strings attached. A country like Chad is not connecting with Israel because of shared values – it’s because of shared interests. In some ways, these ties are weaker; when the interests end, the ties may end. At the same time, they are simpler.

And with Zeman in Israel, Netanyahu is making sure to maintain the other kinds of ties as well.

These are ties that bind democracies committed to the values of freedom of speech and conscience. These ties are special, because Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.

The mixed and growing portfolio of international ties that Netanyahu has been cultivating is something that Israel can be proud of. Even on a day when the state prosecution team working on Cases 1000 and 2000 sent their recommendations to the state attorney about indicting Netanyahu, the visit of Chad’s president is an achievement that should not be overlooked.

It, and the other diplomatic inroads forged by Netanyahu, are part of how he will likely be remembered in the future. He has strengthened Israel’s standing in the world and opened new opportunities for Israel to leverage its diplomatic and military power throughout the world.


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One Comment on “On the map”

  1. Momus Says:

    Macron hugging Deby ? That would be right: Macron is a Jungle boy loving globohomo. His interest is sexual not diplomatic.

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