Ayoob Kara

Who are the real friends of Israel?

In difficult times a person discovers who his true friends are, who supports him because he wants his best and who does it only for personal interest. In recent times, since the cursed October 7th massacre and the beginning of the “Iron Swords” war, Israel has been in a very difficult period, security-wise, economically, and even existentially. Many countries that presented themselves as Israel’s allies in recent times are revealed not to be true friends, but as self-interested and nothing more.

For example, Armenia, a country that repeatedly turns to Israel with demands and claims, tends to present itself and Israel as sisters of the same fate, with identical characteristics and a similar history. The Armenians often mention the similarities between the Armenians and the Israelis/Jews – the Armenians are scattered between Asia and Europe and the Jews are all over the world, both the Armenians and the Jews aspired for many years to establish a nation-state, both Israel and Armenia have small populations surrounded by a Muslim majority. But of course, the most common comparison is that both the Armenians and the Jews experienced severe national trauma. But the purpose of these comparisons is of course for Israel to recognize the Armenian Genocide, not to build a strong friendship between the two peoples.

Until relatively recently, I thought that Armenia saw it and Israel as partners, but a few things changed my opinion on the subject decisively. For the first time in recent times in Armenia they tried to set fire to a synagogue a few days before the outbreak of the “Iron Swords” war. The only synagogue in Armenia, which belongs to the Armenian Jewish community of 400 people, was vandalized. A Molotov cocktail was sent into the synagogue late at night, but luckily it didn’t ignite until the end. In addition, paint was sprayed on the walls of the synagogue. This synagogue is the only one in all of Armenia and is used by the Jewish community for prayer and serves as the center of Jewish community life.

Unfortunately, the synagogue in Armenia was vandalized a second time, a month after the start of the war. This time they managed to set fire to the synagogue and it suffered a lot of damage. The first time the synagogue was vandalized, the person who took responsibility for the act was a group called “Young Freedom Fighters for Armenia” and in the statement of taking responsibility they published they claimed that Israel is “the enemy of the Armenian people”. The Armenian terrorist organization “ASALA” took responsibility for the second arson, which is somewhat reminiscent of Hamas in its method of operation. In both cases, the Armenian government did not arrest the culprits (who admitted and took responsibility for their antisemitic crimes) and did not even condemn their heinous acts. Isn’t this a betrayal of Jewish blood?

Another country that presents itself as Israel’s best friend, as Israel’s patron, is the one without which Israel is powerless and incapable. Of course, this is the United States, which does publicly support Israel, but does it act in the interest of Israel or the interest of American interests in the Middle East and not beyond that? On the one hand, President Joe Biden supported Israel and even spoke to the Israelis in the very difficult first days. On the other hand, the United States imposes on Israel the ways of fighting and does not give the Israeli leaders much space to determine for themselves where they want the war to take the State of Israel. For example, the Americans “recommended” that Israel move in January to less intense fighting and on a smaller scale, and this is exactly the process that has been happening in Israel in recent weeks. Another example of the American control over the Israeli leadership and also during the fighting is the American insistence that Israel will bring humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, but will receive nothing in return. This is happening when 136 abductees from the 7th of October massacre are being held in Gaza, along with the bodies of IDF martyrs and some Israeli abductees from before the war.

Beyond the strong control of the Americans over the Israeli leadership, senior American officials tend to present the Gazans as victims at Israel’s expense. American Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin claimed that Israel should reduce the intensity of its fighting against the enemy so that fewer innocent civilians would be harmed. He went on to tell the Israeli media that while Israel has the right to defend itself, “protecting the residents of Gaza is a moral obligation as well as a strategic imperative.” Should the Israeli soldier think about preserving the lives of the Gazans who were responsible for the greatest massacre that happened to the Jewish people since the Holocaust, while fighting against the enemy? Sounds absolutely absurd. Biden himself also spoke about the “great power” that Israel exerts in the Gaza Strip and talked about Israel bombing Gaza indiscriminately and even claimed that Israel needs to protect the residents of Gaza. As an Israeli, I would like to ask the American officials – did the United States protect the lives of the Afghans after the 09/11 attacks?

It seems that the statements of senior American officials are succeeding in inflaming the antisemitism that is also rising in the United States and is beginning to seep into the younger generation and spread among them. A month ago, a new survey was published regarding what American society thinks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the “Iron Swords” war, and a future solution. More than 60% of the young people who responded to the survey think that the deadly attack by Hamas on the 7th of October against the civilian population, which included rape, murder (sometimes with torture), and dismemberment of the bodies, is considered a justified action. 51% of the young people who responded to the survey think that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be the end of the State of Israel and the transfer of control over the territory to the Palestinians. Half of the young people who answered the survey support Hamas in the conflict. What do these figures say about American society? About American education? It seems that the American leadership simply allows antisemitism to flourish, without interference, without enforcement, without punishment, and without trying to correct this phenomenon. Is this how a true Israeli society should behave?

Like the United States, so does France, which at the beginning of the war supported Israel (perhaps because many Israelis with French citizenship were kidnapped by Hamas in Gaza and 40 were murdered on October 7) but as the war progressed, political and diplomatic support decreased. A month after the start of the war, French President Emmanuel Macron called for a ceasefire and said that “Israel should stop killing women and children in Gaza.” The French then explained that Macron supports Israel but calls for an end to the killing of innocents. It is a little strange that Macron, who was one of the founders of the international coalition against ISIS, suddenly shows empathy for a murderous terrorist organization that operates exactly like ISIS. It sounds like political interests confused Macron and reminded him that Jewish blood counts less, even if he or she has French citizenship.

Another French action against Israel is an international gathering and conference that will discuss the humanitarian aid that will enter Gaza, which will include representatives from Arab countries, including the Palestinian Authority, but Israel was not invited. True, it can be said that because the heads of Arab states will gather together, it makes more sense that Israel will not send a representative, but will receive a regular report on what is happening at the “Peace Conference”. But the State of Israel already has open relations with a respectable number of Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco, therefore sending an Israeli representative is not something that could not be arranged, even only with the representatives of the countries that have an open relationship with Israel. The reason Israel should have been invited to this conference is that Israel has to approve what enters the Gaza Strip for security reasons, it is our moral right to be in control of what enters the combat area where our army is fighting. All this especially when it is a terrorist organization that does not allow the Red Cross to check the Israeli abductees. France prefers peace on the part of the extremist Islam that is growing in its territory, and it accepts this peace at the expense of the peace of the citizens of the State of Israel.

Precisely at a time when Israel’s Christian societies do not support it 100% in its difficult time, societies of other origins have turned out to be more friendly than one can imagine. These are of course the Muslim countries. The first one I would like to mention is Azerbaijan. A few days after the start of the fighting in Gaza and after the terrible massacre of the 7th in October, in the capital city of Azerbaijan Baku, a rally was held in memory of the fallen with the participation of the Jewish community, but also from the general society in Azerbaijan attended the event of support for Israel. The Israeli embassy was decorated with many flowers, dolls for the kidnapped children, and the flags of Israel and Azerbaijan together. In addition to that, the Azeri security forces managed to foil an attempted attack by an Iranian citizen who tried to blow up the Israeli embassy in Baku. An Azeri security official told the Israeli media that “they will not allow any harm to Israeli citizens or diplomats.” This was the second attack attempt in several days that the Azeri security forces managed to thwart at the Israeli embassy in Baku.

But Azerbaijan is not the only Muslim country that supports Israel, as most of the Abraham Accords countries are not volatile towards us. The United Arab Emirates has said it does not agree with all of Israel’s actions of late, but calmly and not violently like Muslim countries that are hostile to Israel or antisemitic bodies in Europe. On top of that, the United Arab Emirates condemned the operation of Hamas from the 7th in October. From the point of view of the United Arab Emirates, Hamas is a terrorist organization that destabilizes the region and belongs to the global movement “The Muslim Brotherhood” – an extreme Islamist movement that dreams of an Islamic caliphate all over the world and even works to fulfill its dream.

One can only hope that Israel will always have true societies, Christian and Muslim, that will support it 100% in its difficult times, without conditions and foreign interests.

About the Author
Ayoob Kara served as Minister of Communication, Cyber and Satellite under Netanyahu, in addition to serving as the Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation, Deputy Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. He presently is the President of the Economic Peace Center.
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