May 10, 2005

by Reb Yudel
Israel Prepares for a Multi-Polar World?

U.S. Suspends Cooperation With Israel on Fighter Jet (Forward) provides a good snapshot on the tension between Israel's ties to China and Israel's ties to the U.S.

In a clear sign that the Bush administration's anger over Israeli-Chinese military ties is nearing a boiling point, the Pentagon is suspending information-sharing with Jerusalem on a key fighter-jet program.

The seriousness of the rift had been downplayed for months by both American and Israeli officials. Last week, however, the Pentagon announced that it was suspending information-sharing with Israel on the American-led, multinational effort to produce an all-purpose attack aircraft, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The big question, not addressed in the article, is what underlies Israel's willingness to push it's arms trade with China to the limits of American tolerance, and a bit beyond.

Is it simply a matter of valuing the well-being of its arms industry (and accompanying technology of self-defense) above diplomatic niceties, which can be papered over?

Or has Israel decided that American hegemony may not last forever, and that the American alliance, which replaced tight French connections in the earliest years of the state, may not continue to be a strong enough base in the years ahead?

And if so, what would it mean for us, American Jews, if Israel were to choose China over the United States?

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