China Threatens to Downgrade Relations with Israel over a Newspaper Interview with a Taiwanese Diplomat

In an interview published on Monday, the Taiwanese foreign minister Joseph Wu warned Yaakov Katz about the implications of Israel’s reliance on Beijing, citing an American diplomat who said, “you must be doing something right when China gets upset.” In response, a Chinese official reportedly threatened to curtail relations with Israel. In the original interview, Katz also sketched some of the reasons why Taiwan is particularly wary of China today, as well as the complex history of Israel-Taiwan ties.

On Monday—just before he sat down for the interview—Wu said that around eighteen Chinese jets crossed into Taiwanese economic waters. . . . He said that over the last year, China has flown 972 sorties into Taiwanese air-defense identification zones and more recently, deployed an aircraft-carrier strike force to the east of the island. Taiwan, he added, is the number-one target of Chinese disinformation efforts and cyberattacks.

The interview with Wu came just a week after U.S. president Joe Biden warned that China was “flirting with danger” over Taiwan, and promised to intervene militarily to protect the island if it is attacked.

Israel-Taiwanese relations are complicated, mostly due to Israeli concerns that overt diplomatic ties with the island nation will upset China, one of Israel’s largest trade partners. Earlier this month, for example, the Foreign Ministry reportedly ordered Israeli diplomats stationed around the world to refrain from inviting Taiwanese officials to Israeli events or from participating in events organized by Taiwanese diplomats.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: China, Israel-China relations, Journalism, Taiwan

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy