Claims of Israel's Isolation Are Exaggerated

(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University) Efraim Inbar - A calm and careful review of Israel's interactions with many states in the world in which real power resides explains why Israel is not nearly as diplomatically isolated as its critics would have us believe. For the past four decades, the level of American public support for Israel has remained remarkably stable (about 65%). A high level of friendship toward Israel and the Jewish people characterizes the two most populous states - India and China. Both are old civilizations that treat the Jewish state with reverence as they see in it a similar old civilization that has had remarkable achievements. Likewise, countries on the Pacific Rim such as South Korea and Australia are usually pro-Israel. Sub-Saharan African countries also contain very pro-Israel circles. "Old Europe" is indeed a different matter, though influential pockets of strong pro-Israeli sentiment are still present in all Western European states. However, the expansion of the EU has worked in Israel's favor as the attitude of "New Europe," the Eastern European states, is more favorable. Because of the growing Islamist threat, the number of states seeking security relations with the Jewish state is on the rise. Israel also has cordial and fruitful relations with Muslim states that emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Empire such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. We can also detect the beginning of weariness with the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some have even begun to realize that the Palestinians have a stake in not ending the conflict and in propagating the victim image to continue to get financial support from gullible Western donors. The writer is professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and director of its Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies.

2010-09-17 09:13:32

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