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Israel's Options
Israel Moves to Strengthen Ties With China

Israel and China have begun discussing a possible bilateral free trade agreement, according to Reuters:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the talks after he met visiting Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong. The countries, whose current trade is worth about $8 billion, have held exploratory discussions of the deal since May 2013.

“Cooperation between Israel and China can produce massive results, and we believe that Israel can be the perfect partner,” Netanyahu said, according to a statement from his office.

It quoted Liu as saying Israel was “world-renowned for its innovation” and that China would embark on “great joint projects” with it.

Netanyahu wants to diversify Israel’s commercial ties abroad, in partly due to what he has said is a need to reduce the country’s dependence on its biggest trading partner, Europe.

The article says that Netanyahu is worried about the effect of Europe’s new labeling system, which will mark all products grown or manufactured in occupied territory. But it’s not clear what the effect of such labeling will be, and we wouldn’t read this pivot to China as a bet against trade with Europe. Israel had been looking to increase trade with China before its relationship with Europe soured.

Israel has a history of maneuvering between great powers. At first, Ben Gurion allied himself with the Soviets. In the 1950s and 1960s, Israel shared intelligence with and bought arms from France. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the United States became Israel’s primary great power benefactor. In recent years, Israel has improved ties not only with China, but with India too. Developing new relationships with multiple great powers has been a successful strategy for Israel. It makes sense that Netanyahu would continue to pursue it.

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  • Fat_Man

    They have also developed good relations with Russia. Israel has good relations with every major power but the Obama administration.

    • Jacksonian_Libertarian

      Obama is the worst President in American History and has alienated all our allies, and encouraged all our enemies. So Israel isn’t alone in its soured relations with America, all America’s allies are in the same boat. Even in the UK, they are telling Obama to butt out, the Queen thinks he’s an ass.

      • Anthony

        Enough! This “Obama is the worst President in American History” rant is not only factually false but also subjectively based. And I write this not in support of President Obama but as a wearied TAI reader of specific commentary asserted as evidentiary fact! *Race plays a part in these rants as Barack Obama is many things but he governs as a conventional politician, conservative rhetoric aside.

        • Ellen

          Obama is not the worst president ever. That is an exaggeration. But, in foreign policy he is by far the worst since WWII, and that includes the horribleness of Jimmy Carter. He has largely wrecked the reputation of the US as a dependable ally and partner. People will remember that the greatest humanitarian disaster since the genocide in Cambodia occurred under the apathetic weary visage of Obama, who amazingly, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize by the dimwits in Norway because of the great “hope” that people had for him.

          The unraveling of the MidEast and the unraveling of the EU (partly because of the refugee crisis caused by the Syrian Civil War, which could have been prevented) are happening under his watch. History will record this. Where was the tone deaf Obama while all of this was happening? Playing golf and cavorting with celebrities.

          • Anthony

            Your bias predilection is noted as is your general President Obama commentary. Thanks.

          • Fred

            I’ll see Ellen’s foreign policy critique and raise it abuse of executive order, abuse of the IRS to harass political opponents, 50% of the responsibility for government gridlock, outright lies to pass Obamacare (itself an unsustainable bureaucratic monstrosity), and attempted violation of the first amendment protection of religious freedom. Worst president ever? That is a subjective judgement, yes, but not a wholly implausible one. And the race card is a transparent ad hominem attempt to shut down debate. But as we all know, you have a hard time getting your head around the concept of ad hominem, as demonstrated by the very comment I’m responding to. Ellen has given you specific reasons to believe that Obama is an incompetent foreign policy president, you know, actual arguments and evidence (more foreign concepts to you I know). Your response? The usual facile accusation of “bias.” Your intellect is apparently so limited you can’t even come up with any new fallacies.

          • Anthony

            Orthodoxy Chapter 5; see reply 0ct. 23, 2014; First Things comparative; and six (6) years and counting virtual harassment.

          • Fred

            Good thinking. With your limitations, responding to arguments would only be humiliating for you.

          • Anthony

            Orthodoxy Chapter 5; First Things; SIX (6) YEARS and counting of “your” obsessive internet (BULVERISM) harassment; and “most importantly” I “told” you all you need to know on October 23, 2014 but you’re oblivious to sane advise: see Dan Greene, and others,

  • delta 5297

    Yeah sure, Israel and China. They’re both bullying juggernauts trying to screw over their weaker neighbors, and they both subscribe to a “might makes right” worldview. They make for perfect allies.

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