Israel, Jews and US-China relations
By Paul Lin 林保華
Taipei Times 2017.3.30
Following the Chinese National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s
Political Consultative Conference this month, Beijing has engaged in some
diplomatic activity to counteract the diplomatic isolation it has encountered as a
result of its economic and military expansion.
The most important of these activities was the visit of Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu. The delegation — the biggest commercial Israeli
delegation to have ever visited China — included five ministers and 90
Netanyahu referred to cooperation between the two countries as “a match
made in heaven.”
In late 1997, Israel agreed to sell China four Phalcon airborne warning and
control systems, although following US pressure the deal was canceled in 1999.
China once again wants to buy military technology, but an even more important
concern is to pave the way for a meeting between US President Donald Trump
and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), and the future of the China-US
One of the members of Trump’s team with the most influence over him is his
son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Kushner is at most major events, and some media outlets have ascribed a
comment that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made during a visit to Beijing
about Xi’s effort to create a “new type of great power relations” to
Kushner is an Orthodox Jew, and his family initially opposed his marriage to
Trump’s daughter Ivanka.
The two almost split up, but China-born Wendi Deng (鄧文迪), one of media
mogul Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wives, helped bring them back together. As a
result, Deng is close to the couple and the Chinese embassy in Washington
sought her help when Ivanka brought her daughter to its Lunar New Year
celebration on Feb. 1.
This means that if China is able to co-opt Israel, it would not only be able to
ingratiate itself with Kushner, it would also be able to influence the Jewish
community in the US.
The Jewish community is influential in US financial circles and several other
industries, including the academic economics community, as well as the
information and media industry, which gives it strong political clout.
Trump has been implying that he might start a trade war with China, but many
Wall Street experts have been urging him to avoid such a move, as they say it
would cause major damage to the US.
However, they have not mentioned the losses a trade war could inflict on China,
whether Beijing would handle such a conflict and whether it would be able to
moderate Beijing’s expansion of its sphere of influence.
As has been seen over the past 50 years of China-US relations, the US’
defensive approach will only prompt China to ask for more.
Two days before Netanyahu’s arrival in China, Beijing signed an agreement
with the visiting king of Saudi Arabia in an attempt to balance the relationship
between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The agreement included memoranda and
letters of intent worth a combined US$65 billion.
The Center for Jewish Studies Shanghai (CJSS), which is part of the Shanghai
Academy of Social Sciences, is formally intended to study the Nazi genocide
during World War II — in an attempt to please the West — but in practice, all
historical research in China has to serve political realities.
China is exerting great effort to gain influence over the Jewish community to
co-opt Trump and remove all obstacles to its over-arching strategy to take over
Therefore, it is not strange that former American Institute in Taiwan director
Stephen Young has expressed apprehensions about a Xi-Trump meeting.
With the US Jewish community becoming increasingly important to Taiwan-US
ties, are any academics in Taiwan studying this issue? Some Taiwanese in the
US are paying a great deal of attention to this issue and they have formed quite
a good understanding of it.
It is an issue that Taiwan must begin to study and it must be included among its
Taiwan should also study the strong resilience in support of Israel: There is a
vast difference between the unity among Jewish people and the internecine
fights among Chinese.
Paul Lin is a political commentator.
Translated by Perry Svensson