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.

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Read more at Newsweek

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

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism