How Israel can navigate uncharted waters

Israel should also seek non-EU alliances, form a bloc with countries that do not ban Israeli scientists due to where they live.Op-ed.

Ron Jontof-Hutter ,

Israel, UAE, Bahrain Ministers Prepare for Mutual Tourism
Israel, UAE, Bahrain Ministers Prepare for Mutual Tourism
Courtesy

Everyone hoped that 2020 would end with renewal and stability. Instead, 2021 started with uncertainty, as Israel’s closest ally, America, was tearing itself apart, while EU countries predictably voted against Israel at the UN in absurd and meaningless resolutions.

With relentless pressure on the horizon, coupled with urgency regarding Iranian advancements in developing nuclear weapons, Israel is caught in a very uncomfortable position. America may well align itself with the EU’s policies especially with regard to Israel.

Europe has always had a Jewish problem in some form or another. And Jews always had an approval-seeking problem. Both fed off each other.


Europe has always had a Jewish problem in some form or another. And Jews always had an approval-seeking problem. Both fed off each other.
For instance Gerson von Bleichroeder was central to the development of Prussia’s wealth and power that led to Bismarck’s unification of Germany in 1871. Bleichroeder was instrumental in raising Germany to a world power. Nonetheless the German aristocracy that benefitted from Bleichroeder’s financial assistance shunned him despite Bleichroeder having avoided socialising with other Jews to gain their favour .Bismarck met Bleichroeder more than any other of his ministers and probably even the Kaiser himself. Yet Bismarck did not mention Bleichroeder even once in his 2- volume memoirs despite over 3 decades of association. Nor were any of Bismarck’s letters to Bleichroeder included in the publication of his correspondence after his death.

Bleichroeder’s tragedy was that he believed that extraordinary achievement, serving his country over critical decades with unbridled loyalty would lead to acceptance. To his dismay, no matter how brilliant his achievements for Germany were, he was never fully accepted. Indeed, Bismarck’s son Herbert often referred to Bleichroeder as “that filthy Jew.”

In 2014, Israel entered the EU Horizon 2020 program which was designed to stimulate innovation, R&D in a stagnant Europe. Israel enthusiastically signed on, despite a clause excluding Israeli scientists from eastern Jerusalem, Judea/Samaria and the Golan from participating. Thus, Ariel University in Samaria with about one fifth of its student population being Arab-Israelis and famous for its ground breaking research in melanomas, was excluded.

Israel shrugged off that humiliation and has been one of Horizon 2020’s best performers. Despite Israel being an asset to Europe with innovation and intelligence sharing, the EU countries routinely condemn Israel in the UN. Europe is Israel’s largest trading partner.


Horizon 2020: Ariel University in Samaria with about one fifth of its student population being Arab-Israelis and famous for its ground breaking research in melanomas, was excluded.
While retaining the status quo with Europe, Israel can seek new paths that could increase its resilience to the relentless pressure it is subjected to. Like Bleichroeder, Israel can excel and empower itself economically. Unlike Bleichroeder, it does not have to resort to useless and ineffectual approval seeking which it can never achieve.

A possible way for Israel to increase its resilience is to form an additional bloc. Such a bloc could consist of Australia, India, Israel and Singapore with distinct advantages:

1-All these countries currently have a strong interest in expanding their knowledge based economies.

2-These countries all enjoy sophisticated research and development facilities, excellent universities and enormous human and financial resources with a combined population of well over a billion.

3-These countries utilize western type legal systems essential for controlling IP, innovation and technology.

4-None of these countries have a history of “Jewish baggage.”

While these countries are already involved in various joint research projects with Israel, a new and larger formal bloc based conceptually and operationally on the Horizon 2020 could be formed. This bloc would be an improvement on the Horizon 2020 especially with regard to the banning of some Israeli scientists depending on where they live. Already, as a result of the Abraham Accords, Israeli products from Judea/Samaria flow freely into the Gulf States. Moreover, the opening of these markets increases Israel’s economic muscle and would provide a tailwind to this proposed bloc. Recently Israel sent 400 business leaders to the Dubai GITEX trade fair which is a showcase for hi- tech innovation.

While the Horizon 2020 is still important, a new bloc outside Europe, sans politicization with selective BDS would reflect today’s realities and is long overdue.

According to Dr Ghada Ashour at Medcare Hospital, Dubai, skin cancer has a male prevalence rate of 14.5% among UAE males, and rising.

No doubt Dr Ashour would be happy to cooperate with Samaria’s Ariel University.

As the US and EU are expected to align more closely, Israel needs to be exploring new options.

Ron Jontof-Hutter is the author of the satirical novel The Trombone Man: Tales of a Misogynist, The Kristallnacht Cantata: a Voice of Courage, and the play BEST. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

















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