August 20, 2019

Israel's Hi-Tech Diplomacy

“The economic summit in Bahrain organized by the Trump administration last month was the latest example of how Israel’s hi-tech industry created new diplomatic opportunities for a country with no apparent natural resources. While Israel had no official representatives, its government was there in spirit. The entire scheme fits Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s theory of power, by which he hopes to bypass the Palestinian issue and build new alliances based on realpolitik and interests. However, it appears this theory could undermine Israeli hi-tech itself.

Israel’s newly found diplomatic status, built on Netanyahu’s theory, takes advantage of global changes in technology and the rising field of cybersecurity. It replaces the belief that Israel is part of the problems of the Middle East with a paradigm in which Israel provides domestic and security solutions to countries in the region and around the world.

This is a drastic change. In 2011, Ehud Barak warned Israel would face a “diplomatic tsunami” due to the Palestinian deadlock. While the West needed Saudi oil, countries ignored laws forbidding women from driving and engaged with Saudi Arabia despite its abysmal record human rights record. Israel did not have that coveted commodity, and the West demanded it adhere to unparalleled standards of human rights as a precondition for business, trade and acceptance.”

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