Think Tank: Out of US Politics

JPPI experts tell cabinet Israel should not be the focus of the US presidential campaign, say Israel should buy U.S. cars.

Gil Ronen , | updated: 18:06

Netanyahu addresses Congress (file)
Netanyahu addresses Congress (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Israeli government was warned by experts Monday to keep Israel out of U.S. internal politics. The cabinet’s session was devoted to the presentation of an annual report by the Jewish People Policy Institute, is a think tank headed by Stuart Eizenstat, formerly a senior U.S. diplomat under Bill Clinton.

The JPPI advised Israel to make every effort to avoid a situation in which the Middle East conflict becomes the main bone of contention between Republicans and Democrats in the 2012 presidential campaign. Israel and the Jewish community should be taken out of the U.S. political debate, Eizenstat stressed.
Israel is arguably more deeply involved in U.S. politics than it has ever been, in the aftermath of a public showdown on live television between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and a rousing speech by Netanyahu to both houses of congress.
Another interesting recommendation by the JPPI Monday was that Israelis should be encouraged to buy American-made products and services, as an Israeli contribution to the U.S. economy in its crisis, and as a token of appreciation for the U.S. and its special relationship with Israel. The experts recommended that the government’s car fleet, and that of the IDF, should all be replaced with American-manufactured cars. The total number of cars in Israel’s official fleets is in the tens of thousands.
JPPI President Avinoam Bar-Yosef explained that Israel’s economy is in better shape than that of the U.S. at present. “The size of Israel’s economy is about $200 billion annually, and annual Israeli imports are at $45 billion on average. By preferring American products we could supply the American economy with tens of thousands of jobs per year and that is meaningful even in U.S. market terms.”
An animated discussion of the recommendations developed, with Diaspora and Hasbara Minister Yuli Edelstein and Jewish Agency Head Nathan Sharansky advocating that the government heed the report’s conclusions.
Eizenstat and other JPPI experts recommended that the government take into consideration when making decisions the effect that they will have on Jewish communities abroad. They suggested that Jewish groups focus their efforts on university campuses in the U.S. and Europe in order to counter the delegitimization campaign.
The Cabinet should also consult more with Jewish communities abroad before presenting legislation that affects Jewish identity, religion and culture, they opined.