Now Is the Time for the Israeli-Japanese Alliance to Flourish

Aug. 13 2020

As China emerges as a major patron of Iran, and the U.S. encourages Israel and its other allies to take a more circumspect attitude toward Beijing, there is more reason than ever for Jerusalem to cultivate ties with other Asian nations. Japan, an American ally that has enjoyed warming relations with the Jewish state for several years, should be foremost among them, argues Joshua Walker:

The [2019] Japan-Israel Free Trade Agreement has received scant attention—not to mention the significant investment and trade between the two countries that is far more strategic than current volume would suggest.

Jerusalem and Tokyo have [also] pursued more engagement with regional American allies. An Indo-Pacific led by the U.S.-Japan alliance, and a “new” Middle East led by the U.S.-Israel alliance, will only go so far without important partners from India and Australia to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—all of whom both Japan and Israel have been engaging with in new and innovative ways.

Ultimately, in democracies like the U.S., Israel, and Japan, engagement can be driven not just by heads of state, but also by the private sectors and societies of each nation—which is why U.S.-Israel and U.S.-Japan relations have flourished. It is now time to go beyond the bilateral and move on to the trilateral, where there are synergies in specific [political and economic] areas. . . . Japan can benefit from Israel’s innovative and entrepreneurial culture while also serving as a bulwark against China, this century’s preeminent geopolitical threat to the free world.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: China, Israel diplomacy, Israel-China relations, Japan


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy