What Benjamin Netanyahu Achieved, and What His Successors Can Learn from Him

June 21 2021

Eight days ago, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister ended an unprecedented twelve consecutive years in office. Whether he will return to the office is anyone’s guess. David M. Weinberg, while frankly acknowledging Benjamin Netanyahu’s flaws and policy failures, argues that there is much to praise about his tenure. Above all else, Weinberg writes, Netanyahu made Israel strong militarily, diplomatically, and economically:

Israel’s economic attractiveness overwhelmed the nefarious Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), which sought to isolate Israel and to strangle it economically. Economic success also was one of the key ingredients of last year’s Abraham Accord peace treaties. Gulf Arab nations marveled at Israel’s technological and economic success and pined to partner with it.

Onto this, Netanyahu layered global diplomatic outreach, aimed at developing new political alliances and business markets for Israel—ranging from India and China to Africa and South America. He also expanded Israel’s diplomatic ties to Russia and Eastern Europe. All this has provided the Jewish state with a more broad-based diplomatic [operation] than ever before, allowing it to maneuver on the global playing field for strategic advantage.

I doubt that this was what Netanyahu was thinking about at the time, but numerous public figures in the Arabian Gulf have told me that more than anything else it was Netanyahu’s defiant speech in Congress [opposing the nuclear deal with Iran] that drove their leaders forward toward open diplomatic relations with Israel. . . . They [also] recognized that Israel is the only country in the region engaged in concrete, daily combat against the Iranians, through covert intelligence operations and targeted strikes.

Prime Minister Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Lapid would do well to embrace Netanyahu’s strategic doctrines (and even to give him some credit), and in so doing lead Israel toward ever-more-robust security and diplomatic achievements.

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Read more at David M. Weinberg

More about: Abraham Accords, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel diplomacy, Israeli economy, Israeli politics

How China Equips the Islamic Republic to Repress Its People

In its dedication to bringing totalitarianism into the 21st century, the Chinese Communist party has developed high-tech forms of surveillance using facial-recognition software, a vast system of “social credit,” and careful control over its subjects’ cellular phones. Even stricter and more invasive measures are applied to the Uyghurs of the northwestern part of the country. Beijing is also happy to export its innovations in tyranny to allies like Iran and Russia. Playing a key role in these advances is a nominally private company called Tiandy Technologies. Craig Singleton describes its activities:

Both Tiandy testimonials and Chinese-government press releases advertise the use of the company’s products by Chinese officials to track and interrogate Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province. According to human-rights groups, Chinese authorities also employ Tiandy products, such as “tiger chairs,” to torture Uyghurs and other minorities.

Iran has long relied on China to augment its digital surveillance capabilities, and Tehran was an early adopter of Beijing’s “social-credit” system, which it wields to assess citizens’ behavior and trustworthiness. . . . Iranian government representatives have publicized plans to leverage smart technologies, including AI-powered face recognition, to maintain regime stability and neutralize dissent. Enhanced cooperation with China is central to those efforts.

At present, Tiandy is not subject to U.S. sanctions or export controls. In light of Tiandy’s operations in both Xinjiang and Iran, policymakers should consider removing the company, its owner, and stakeholders from the international financial system and global supply chains.

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Read more at FDD

More about: China, Human Rights, Iran, Totalitarianism, U.S. Foreign policy