Israel can’t afford to play off superpowers against one another, writes ALON PINKAS
A visit by the Israeli prime minister to China is unequivocally an important diplomatic event. In fact, it is one of the first countries a premier should visit. Under normal circumstances, when the Prime Minister’s Office announces such a trip, the consensus is positive. Except that these are not normal circumstances, and the visit wasn’t just divulged as part of a routine scheduling announcement.
Complementing the technical information was a defiant, sulking and profoundly reckless addition, first reported by Shalom Yerushalmi of the Zman Yisrael website: The visit, according to “a senior diplomatic source,” is meant to show US President Joe Biden that Israel “has other options” – all in the context of Netanyahu conspicuously not being invited to the White House and increasingly strained relations between the US and Israel.
Other options? What other options? Can you get more arrogantly reckless and misguided than that? Framing a trip to China as a form of venting frustrations and a protest against US policy is not only inexcusably and unabashedly silly. It is also counterproductive and very likely to achieve the exact opposite.
The US-Israel alliance is based on the concept of “shared values.” Netanyahu needs to look at his own policies to understand why Washington is questioning his commitment to that concept. Unless, of course, he now believes the Israel he is envisioning through his proposed constitutional coup has more in common with China than the US. In that case, his visit will definitely be a signal to Biden.
Photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing six years ago (Etienne Oliveau/Pool/Getty Image)