Israel May Be Turning Away from Chinese Investment

Last week, a joint venture between an Indian and an Israeli company won a bid for the rights to manage Haifa’s seaport. The nearby container port, by contrast, will still be managed by a China-based firm. Yet the new deal may suggest a move away from large-scale Chinese economic entanglement in the Jewish state, which has been a matter of concern for the U.S. for some time—not without reason. Sarah Zheng and Coco Liu report on other evidence that something has changed:

Before 2018, China had been positioning itself as an important international partner for the Israeli tech industry, which sought capital and access to one of the world’s biggest markets. Chinese investors were far from its most vital sources of capital—they invested $424 million in Israeli startups in 2018, about 5 precent of the total investment into the sector—but their connections to Israel were deepening.

In retrospect, that may have been the high-water mark. Last year, Chinese capital accounted for only 1 precent of investment in Israeli startups, data from the IVC Research Center show. This could be a strategic disadvantage for Beijing, which has been grappling with growing hostility from the West.

Companies in Israel that once welcomed Chinese financiers, particularly in sensitive deep-tech sectors, are now hesitant to do business with them because of the potential political consequences in other markets. Under pressure from its U.S. and European backers, one supplier of electric-vehicle components this year abandoned plans to take Chinese capital in exchange for access to the world’s biggest EV market, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

In part, Israeli startups may be getting pickier because they find it easier to attract investors than they have in the past, says Ehud Levy, a general partner at Canaan Partners Israel and also a partner at China’s Lenovo Capital. And even if it hasn’t yet succeeded in getting Israel to adopt its entire policy agenda, the U.S. has convinced many Israeli entrepreneurs of the need to choose sides.

Read more at Bloomberg

More about: China, Israel-China relations, Israel-India relations, Israeli technology

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus