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Thursday, December 06, 2012

With the exception of the Czech Republic, Israel has no friends in Europe, only interests

Evelyn Gordon argues that Israel needs to stop insulting the Czech Republic by referring to Britain, France and Germany as its best friends in Europe.
Israel and its supporters need to eliminate the phrase “Israel’s best friends in Europe” from their lexicon with regard to Germany, Britain, France and their ilk. This is not just a matter of semantics. Aside from the insult to Israel’s one real friend in Europe, the emotional baggage this phrase carries is seriously warping the Israeli-European relationship.
Just consider the events of the past week, following Europe’s decision to support (or at least not oppose) the Palestinians’ UN bid and Israel’s decision to move forward on planning and zoning approvals for construction in E-1, the corridor linking Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim. Europeans are outraged; they feel betrayed. They thought they had an understanding with Israel that it would let the UN vote pass quietly; they felt Israel was being ungrateful for their backing during its recent Gaza operation and their imposition of stiff sanctions on Iran. Israel is also outraged; it feels betrayed. It thought it had an understanding with the Europeans that they would oppose (or at least not support) the UN bid; it felt Europe was being unappreciative of the many concessions it has made to the Palestinians, from an unprecedented 10-month settlement freeze through various measures to bolster the Palestinian Authority’s finances. In short, this isn’t a diplomatic dispute; it’s a lover’s quarrel–which is precisely why it escalated so rapidly and hysterically into threats of sanctions.
Now contrast this with the response of dozens of non-European countries that also supported the UN bid and oppose settlement construction. Has anyone heard any sanctions threats coming from China or India, for instance? Of course not. And that’s precisely because Israel’s bilateral relations with those countries are based on interest, not an imagined friendship. The mutual interests (mainly economic) are extensive, and both sides are eager to pursue them. But it’s strictly a business relationship; neither side expects anything of the other beyond that. Israel knows China and India will vote against it in every possible forum; China and India know Israel won’t take their views into account when determining its foreign and defense policies. And since neither side expects anything more, they don’t get upset over it.
Well, yeah, and read the whole thing.

But for the life of me, I don't understand why India perceives its interests as being not to vote with us.

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At 3:59 AM, Blogger Captain.H said...

"But for the life of me, I don't understand why India perceives its interests as being not to vote with us."

Many in India still have a residue of looking at the West collectively as former colonial powers, and all ex-colonies including India, as former victims of the colonial powers. Even though Israel never had a colony, was itself a colony, it's still seen as one of this monolithic West. That doesn't make any sense but who said the ethos of nations ever had to make sense?

Plus, India actually has more Muslim citizens than does Pakistan. The Hindu establishment sees no benefit, only downside, in getting this Muslim minority riled up about any perceived pro-Israel foreign policy.

I really think that's it in a nutshell. India and Israel can continue to develop mutually beneficial business interests. India benefits greatly having access to Israeli military technology, useful in building Indian national security against Pakistan and India's real antagonist, China.

Israel needs to understand and accept that, like the US, nobody's going to love you. Great powers, and middling powers like Israel, don't have permanent friends, they have permanent interests.

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Rob said...

India? Simple, Carl.

(A) They badly need Arab oil for their growing economy.

(B)10% of India's population is Muslim..100 million people.

(C)A number of those Muslims live in Jammu and Kashmir, and India needs quiet there.

Silly, I know, but there it is.

Rob Miller @ Joshuapundit


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