Archive for ‘Israel’

November 8, 2013

Could Israel Become a Cultural Superpower?

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli was painted onto a Southwest Airlines plane to promote the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Photo: Christopher Ebdon / flickr

You don’t have to have a huge army or a major global economy to have influence way beyond your size.

By Benjamin Kerstein in The Tower:

Despite its high international profile, Israel has always been a somewhat provincial county, with a domestic culture largely unknown to outsiders. The classic pieces of Israeli pop culture, such as the comedy group Ha’Gashash Ha’Hiver, Eretz Israel and Mizrahi music, and the classic bourekas movies, remain ubiquitous in Israel—most Israelis can quote lines from them at will—but almost nowhere else. Everyone in the world knows who Brad Pitt is, but no one outside of Israel knows Yehuda Levi, his rough Israeli equivalent. Indeed, when Yair Lapid suddenly emerged as Israel’s newest political star, the global media proved completely ignorant of a man who had been one of Israel’s most famous media personalities for decades. [READ THE REST]

June 13, 2013

Israel’s arm trade with the Arab and Muslim world

English: This is a map of countries (in green)...

English: This is a map of countries (in green) that reject passports from Israel (blue). Countries that reject not only Israeli passports but also any passport which contain Israeli stamps or visas are in dark green. The depicted countries are (from left to right): Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Brunei. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Elder of Zion, who quote Haaretz:

Israel has exported security equipment over the past five years to Pakistan and four Arab countries, according to a British government report. The report, which deals with British government permits for arms and security equipment exports, says that in addition to Pakistan, Israel has exported such equipment to Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco.

The report was released by Britain’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which oversees security exports and publishes regular reports on permits granted or denied to purchase arms, military equipment or civilian items that are monitored because they can be put to security uses.

From January 2008 to December 2012, British authorities processed hundreds of Israeli applications to purchase military items containing British components for use by the Israel Defense Forces, or to go into systems exported to third countries.

The British reports also list the countries to which Israel sought to export the items. Among Israel’s clients are Muslim countries with which it does not have diplomatic ties. According to the report, in 2011 Israel sought to purchase British components to export radar systems to Pakistan, as well as electronic warfare systems, Head-up Cockpit Displays ‏(HUD‏), parts for fighter jets and aircraft engines, optic target acquisition systems, components of training aircraft, and military electronic systems. In 2010, Israel applied for permits to export electronic warfare systems and HUDs with components from Britain to Pakistan. Also in 2010, Israel sought permits to supply Egypt and Morocco with Israeli electronic warfare systems and HUD systems that use British parts.

Here’s Haaretz’ graphical summary of the article:

Although at first glance it sounds a little alarming for Israel to sell to countries that consider it an enemy, I think it is a reasonable assumption that the Israeli government is careful not to give away any technologies that would hurt Israel’s defense.

Which means that this is about as massive a BDSFail as can be imagined!

Already the Arabic media are reporting this, so we can expect a backlash any moment now and the denials from Muslim countries will follow soon afterwards.

UPDATE: The first denial, from Pakistan.

UPDATE 2: #2 from Egypt. (h/t IranAware)

July 4, 2011

Israel In A Multipolar World


A very important post. I think the diagnosis is correct, but the prescription is wrong. Israel does need to develop good relations with democratic rising powers like India, Brazil and China. But it would be re-playing its damaging alliances with South Africa to consider allying with brutal authoritarian states like China, purely for the sake of realpolitik.

By Liam Hoare:

Netanyahu’s “speech of his life” may have been damaging for an already weakened peace process, but it did hit the mark in its analysis of the special relationship between Israel and the United States – two exceptional nations that compliment each other like gin and tonic. As Netanyahu put it in his speech to Congress: “We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism”.

Their relationship has been beneficial for both parties, for indeed the United States has been able to rely on Israel as the “one anchor of stability in a region of shifting alliances”. American presidents haven’t had to nation-build or construct democracy in Israel – these are things the Jewish people achieved for themselves, along with the capacity to fight their own battles in a region flush with nations none too pleased at their presence.

Going the other way, and as Netanyahu recognised in his speech, the United States has always been “very generous” in giving them the “tools to do the job of defending Israel” on their own. The most recent deal of note came when economic aid came to an end in 2007; President Bush signed a ten-year deal which gave Israel $30 billion in military assistance.

This past of unwavering fiscal support during a time of (to a minimal degree) American economic expansion is now a forgotten season, as the nation turns inward to confront its crippling national debt (at a level of, as near as makes no difference, 100pc of GDP). The rise of the Tea Party would indicate that, when the time comes for the budget to be slashed, foreign aid and the Defence Department might have to bear the brunt. The spirit might be willing in most quarters, but the body will be weakened to a point where Washington can no longer afford to be so charitable to even its best of friends.

The consequences of relative American decline are clear, and will have very real consequences for the State of Israel. For, by decade’s end, it is evident that the world will no longer be unipolar, with the United States at its axis. Rather, it will almost certainly be bi- if not multipolar – the direct result of the economic rise and neo-colonial expansion of China, and other nouveau riche nations like India and Brazil. Over the course of the next ten years, the power of America and Israel’s eternal bond as a mechanism for dictating the nature of globalpolitics will evidently diminish.

Therefore it seems clear that, in order to secure Israel’s continuation not only as a player on the world stage but as a nation-state in and of itself, she must continue to nurture its ties with China on one level, whilst maintaining its unique marriage with United States on another.

read more »

February 17, 2011

News from other parts of the Middle East

This post focuses on the ever-growing power of Chinese economic imperialism in the Middle East, but also the rising soft power of South Korea. It looks at the impact of the unrest in the region on the big oil countries, showing how oil has sustained authoritarian governments, which are fearing the changes. Labour conflict remains rife in the region, including the growing militancy of the hyper-exploited migrant workers from South Asia. Even Israel is seeing an upswing in labour militancy, with  a general strike a real possibility. 

read more »

January 10, 2011

Essential reading on world affairs

Rising powers: China’s hard and soft power

Robert Gates Clarifies China’s Stealth Capabilities

The newest big oil company: China?

Global food crisis: feeding rebellion

Frontline Tunisia

Governments Around the World Struggle with Surging Food Prices

11 dead in Tunisia rioting

Unrest spreads to Algeria

Big oil and corporate corruption

Climate Change Skeptics are Stooges for Big Oil

Big oil’s intriguing resurgence

2011: The Arctic vs Big Oil

Big Gas Find Sparks a Frenzy in Israel

China remains world’s biggest car producer and market for second year

Blood for oil: Saudi’s hard power

Saudi Arabia’s Terror: What Hillary Clinton Knows

Saudi Arabia: Taliban Lite (With U.S. Complicity)

ANALYSIS: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan

Labour on the march

Israel port strike settled as workers win 6% pay increase, big gains for new workers, more vacation and sick days

Alta Gracia, Dominica: How One Tiny Factory Is Challenging the Sweatshop Norm

Workers strike in UAE after labour riot

The bosses strike back

Labor lawyer imprisoned in Xi’an for organizing against corrupt privatization of state enterprises

Kraft Foods Employee In Colombia Killed By Gunman, Says Union

Recent worker deaths in the Bangladeshi garment industry from police repression and from a factory fire

And even under “actually existing socialism”, the workers are fucked over

Cubans fret as massive job cuts get under way

Venezuela: Fifty-one year-old welder and leader of Sintraferrominera ironworkers union, has spent over a year in prison