Explaining China’s Turn against Israel

July 12 2021

Using phrases that seem more characteristic of West European governments, the Chinese foreign minister and other officials stridently condemned Israel during its most recent round of fighting with Hamas. Some diplomats even made anti-Semitic comments about sinister Jewish influence. As Beijing has never even made a show of prioritizing human rights in its foreign policy, and has robust economic ties with the Jewish state, this hostility came as a surprise. Ilan Berman and Joshua Eisenman seek to explain this about-face:

Part of the answer can be found in China’s increasingly desperate efforts to shift the international conversation away from its ongoing genocide against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. By supporting the plight of the Palestinians, China is cynically stoking the most emotional issue in Middle Eastern politics in order to distract Muslim nations from its own domestic campaign to “break the lineage and roots” of Chinese Muslims via an extensive system of gulags.

At the same time, Beijing’s expanding investments throughout the Middle East in recent years (in arenas ranging from Lebanon’s telecom sector to assorted infrastructure projects in Egypt) have effectively bought the silence of Muslim governments when it comes to Chinese human-rights abuses. [And] China’s sprawling 25-year strategic pact with Iran is the centerpiece of its Mideast strategy.

China’s response to Israel’s recent conflict with Hamas should serve as a wake-up call for policymakers in Jerusalem. It highlights the fact that, despite its extensive financial stake, . . . there are real limits to China’s alignment with Israel. Indeed, the Israeli government’s recent backing of a Canadian-sponsored UN resolution on the Xinjiang genocide suggests that a rethink on China policy may already be under way.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Guardian of the Walls, Iran, Israel-China relations, Uighurs

The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship