Britain, France and several Scandinavian countries have prohibited their countries’ defense officials and private contractors from exhibiting at the 7th annual Israel Defense Expo that opened today at Tel Aviv.
Maariv reports that the Foreign Ministry officials warned that the boycott is only the first reaction to last week’s FIFA debacle in which the Palestinian Authority failed to win its campaign to force Israel to ban soccer teams in Judea and Samaria or be ousted from the corrupt organization.
The problem with the theory of Israel’s answer to the U.S. State Dept.’s Foggy Bottom foreign policy pencil pushers is that there is no way that Britain and France acted so quickly between last Friday and today.
The more likely explanation is that the countries indeed are sending a message to Israel that they are steadfast in their belief that if Israel simply would hand over Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority, the world would be a better place for London and Paris, and never mind Jerusalem and Ramallah.
But that has nothing to do with the soccer silliness. In fact, the European Union voted not to expel Israel from FIFA.
It is true that Israel is losing potential deals with defense contractors at the exhibition, but it is equally true that the countries that are boycotting Israel are shooting themselves in the head. They are losing out on possible sales and contacts with companies from all over the world.
They may be hurting exports from Israel, but trade works in two directions.
One Spanish contractor, banned by Spain from exhibiting in Israel, simply appeared in Tel Aviv under a different name, a security official told Maariv:
They have no will to be identified as a company selling offensive weapons to Israel.
But when asked if their absence damages Israel, the official did not answer.
The reaction of the Foreign Minister officials is not surprising in light of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent moves to put some common sense and unity back into the ministry that is over-staffed with people from the days of the Rabin-Peres government, when the Oslo Accords were supposed to bring eternal peace to the Middle East.
His selection of Tzipi Hotovely as Deputy Foreign Minister and former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold to direct the ministry have thrown Israel’s establishment media into a trauma.
Hotovely absolutely shocked some of the Foreign Ministry middle-tier staff when she gave them a short lesson of Torah and said that the policy to explain Israel’s position to the world should be based on God’s having granted the Land of Israel to the Jewish People.
The idea of re-inventing the wheel is so revolutionary, or in the minds of the lefties so archaic, that Israel’s leftist oriented establishment media went all out last week to try to convince its readers that Prime Minister Netanyahu is destroying the Foreign Ministry.