Experts

Quiet diplomacy or public confrontation?

Surprisingly, the latter may serve Israel better in both its key foreign policy challenges.

Iran nuclear talks at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, November 24, 2013.
Photo by: REUTERS
Over the coming months, two foreign-policy issues will predominate: the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the six powers over its nuclear program; and American efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian deal. In both cases, Israel has vital interests at stake, yet in both cases, these interests don’t necessarily coincide with those of its American and European allies. This raises the question of how Israel can best protect its interests: through quiet diplomacy or public confrontation?

Among both Israel’s chattering classes and American Jewry, the dominant view seems to be that quiet diplomacy would be best. And at first glance, this makes intuitive sense. Israel’s alliance with the US is one of its greatest assets, so a public rupture with Washington could seriously undermine its diplomatic and military deterrence. And while Europe provides neither diplomatic nor military backing, it remains Israel’s largest trading partner; hence an open rupture could undermine Israel’s economic well-being.



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