The Arena | Guy Rotkopf

Guy Rotkopf

Director General of the Israel Insurance Association and former Director General of the Ministry of Justice. Holds a S.JD in Law from Bar-Ilan University.

What is the most significant advantage Israeli diplomacy currently enjoys?

The greatest advantage Israeli diplomacy has is our ability to form informal relations with people worldwide. For example, just before the vote on Israel's ascension to the OECD in 2010 we were concerned that the assembly would not vote in favor. We requested a recess, and I instructed all members of our delegation to personally persuade delegates of several key states. Within fifteen minutes the objective was met. Israeli “chutzpah” had once again triumphed over adversity, and led to important and long-lasting advancement of Israeli interests.

Photo: Gabi Heller, courtesy of the author

What is the greatest disadvantage that Israeli diplomacy suffers from?

Being a strong state in the Middle East is both an advantage and a disadvantage. We are often perceived in the world as a militaristic and domineering state. The "underdog" often finds it easier to conduct itself in terms of public relations, allowing it to garner the empathy and understanding of international public opinion. This often harms us in the international arena, in the public arena, and at times also amongst policymakers.

What do you think is the most important opportunity Israeli diplomacy currently has?

The Israeli-American relationship is at an all-time high point. It is based upon a strong connection between the states, as well as a close personal relationship between their leaders. The moving of the United States embassy to Jerusalem is an outstanding example. The global disillusionment with the "Arab Spring" and the weakening of the Islamic State (ISIS) creates an important opportunity for Israeli diplomacy and the achievement of its goals.

What is the central challenge and/or threat Israeli diplomacy faces?

The greatest challenge Israel faces is the public relations and diplomatic campaign it is mounting against the BDS campaign. BDS activists are calling for an economic, academic, and cultural boycott of Israel. Active worldwide, they invest considerable funds in a false, deceitful, and populist campaign which seeks to tarnish the good reputation of the State of Israel and undermine its right to exist. BDS methods and goals are illegitimate, and the movement's activists are spreading absolute lies and inciting anti-Semitism in the public and media discourse, in demonstrations, and in propaganda on campuses throughout the world. 

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