Al Jazeera informatively identified and even mapped out the 30 other countries that joined the US’ embassy-opening celebration in Jerusalem, but most people are at a loss for words in explaining why they decided to participate in this controversial event.
The US’ embassy opening in Jerusalem earlier this week was undoubtedly a very controversial move that earned widespread opprobrium for provocatively “legitimizing” Israel’s hitherto internationally unrecognized claims to the city as its capital, but while most of the world stayed away from this event, 30 other countries joined the US in celebrating it. Al Jazeera informatively identified and even mapped out which countries officially sent their representatives to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, but it didn’t offer any explanation as to why such an eclectic group of states found a unity of purpose in doing so.
Of important note, Al Jazeera cited Israeli sources in reporting that Serbian diplomats attended the gathering, though Belgrade has since said that this is incorrect, which is why the present analysis only deals with 30 countries other than the US instead of the 31 that the the outlet originally reported.
The short explanation is that each of them are either close American and/or Israeli allies, but that doesn’t explain why America’s Indian one and Israel’s Russian one both declined to take part. These two states are walking a tightrope in “balancing” between various interests, with openly pro-Israeli India worried about the reaction of its massive Muslim minority and its investment prospects in Muslim-majority countries while Russia has consistently said that it would only recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the eastern part of the city as the capital of Palestine following a political resolution of the conflict.
Other than these two major exceptions and accepting that other close American and/or Israeli allies such as the Gulf States and Europeans didn’t attend because of the need to maintain their superficial support for Palestine, here’s why the hodgepodge of 30 very diverse states decided to show up:
(Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Peru, and Paraguay)
These seven countries are undoubtedly very close American allies, but another factor that unites them is the adherence that many of their citizens have to conservative Christianity, which takes the geopolitical expression of “Christian Zionism” in its most extreme form. Importantly, unlike other countries of the region, these seven don’t have very close relations with the Multipolar Great Powers, nor with many Muslim-majority nations. They also don’t have significant Muslim minorities either, meaning that their elites’ interests were actually served by defying global public opinion and attending the US’ embassy opening in Jerusalem because it carried no risk at all to their power. To the contrary, it strengthened it.
(Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Georgia, Macedonia, and Albania)
The motivations of the European states for attending this week’s event vary widely, and need to be addressed in separate categories:
This Central European state previously announced a three-stage plan for opening up its own embassy in Jerusalem, and its predecessor entity of Czechoslovakia even provided arms to the Israelis during the 1948 war, so it’s little surprise why it would celebrate America’s new embassy opening in Jerusalem.
Austria and Hungary:
Both of these countries are led by populist politicians who have been maligned for supposed “anti-Semitism” despite their public support for Jews and Israel, and attending the Jerusalem ceremony was likely intended to further deflect any ungrounded accusations from their enemies in this respect.
The Republic of Macedonia and Romania:
These majority-Christian Balkan states have enjoyed excellent relations with Israel since the end of the Cold War, with Bucharest even recently joining together with Budapest and Prague to block the EU’s condemnation of America’s embassy move. As for the Republic of Macedonia, it probably wants to increase its appeal to Israeli investors and thought it smart to send a strong political signal of its people’s historic friendliness to Jews by attending. Importantly, it’s also an irreplaceable transit state along China’s planned Balkan Silk Road to Europe.
Although technically a majority-Muslim country, there’s a paraphrased saying in Albanian society that the country’s official religion is actually “Albanianism”, which in this case explains why it broke ranks with its supposed Ummah “brothers” in defying the faithful and taking part in this Zionist ceremony. Tirana also receives money from the Israeli-allied Gulf States and hosts the anti-Iranian MEK terrorist group, so it also probably wanted to show its fealty to its American-Arab overlords while simultaneously thumbing its nose at their Turkish rival (which is interestingly also Albania’s partner) to indirectly spite it for its opposition to this move and recent Eurasian pivot.
The post-Maidan government is full of Nazi-glorifying hyper-nationalists, but this former Soviet state is also heavily influenced by the power of Jewish oligarchs who are presumably on very friendly terms with Israel and thus explains the obvious contradiction of why it sent representatives to Jerusalem. Not only that, but Ukraine is an American client state and has yet to defy Washington on anything of significance since the 2014 US-organized regime change.
Lastly, Georgia is one of Israel’s military clients and dramatically deployed Israeli-made drones against Russia’s peacekeeping forces during the 2008 Five-Day War, and even though its leadership has changed since that time, the state itself has still evidently retained close enough relations with Israel that it felt obligated to show up at this week’s event.
(Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Zambia, Angola)
Just like with the European participants, the African ones need to be divided into several categories when explaining their motivations:
Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon:
This West African state has an almost even percentage of Christian and Muslim minorities and was previously caught in a civil war that had broad religious-regional overtones. That, however, hasn’t stopped its government from purchasing arms from Israel and receiving military training from it, with its presence at Monday’s ceremony essentially being the result of Tel Aviv’s “military diplomacy” more so than anything else.
The same principle of “military diplomacy” can also be applied when explaining Cameroon’s attendance at the same event as well. This country has effectively suppressed what could have otherwise been a dangerous separatist insurgency partially through the use of Israeli weapons, so Yaoundé naturally found it fitting to “pay its respects” by participating in the Jerusalem get-together.
Africa’s newest country born out of a decades-long civil war, South Sudan owes a large part of its existence to Israel’s extensive support for its separatist insurgency during the Cold War against what at that time was one of Tel Aviv’s most hated enemies in Africa. This landlocked oil-rich state has since established excellent relations with Israel, which is one of its main military partners along with the US, and was probably delighted for the opportunity to distract the world from its own bloody civil war for a moment by getting them to focus instead on its attendance at this controversial event.
This state has a special millennia-long relationship with Israel because its former ruling family claimed to be directly descended from the Biblical Queen of Sheba whose claim to fame is that she visited King Solomon and might have even been impregnated by him. So close are their historical ties that the Lion of Judah used to be one of Ethiopia’s most prominent state symbols. In the modern day, Israeli-Ethiopian ties remain very strong and tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews have moved to Israel in the past few decades. So close are their relations that Egypt even recently called on Israel to “mediate” its simmering Nile dam dispute with Ethiopia.
Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda:
These three members of the East African Community have seen their respective relations with Israel expand tremendously in the past two decades, with Kenya and Rwanda even hosting Netanyahu in 2016 during the first tour of Africa by an Israeli Prime Minister in what had by that time been approximately three decades. Israel’s agricultural and hydrological technologies are in high demand in this part of the continent, with Tel Aviv prudently leveraging its expertise in these sectors in order to acquire powerful influence over the lives of millions and accordingly cultivate what it hopes will eventually translate into symbolic support from the “Global South” at the UN General Assembly.
Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Angola:
These geographically Central African countries are rich in natural resources (minerals and energy) and accordingly host to important Israeli investments in the extraction industry. Israeli companies and those that Israelis have a significant enough of a stake in serve as the driving force in bilateral relations between these countries and the self-proclaimed “Jewish State”, thus making their ties more transactional than anything else. As an interestingly aside, though, Zambia is one of the world’s only constitutionally Christian countries, so its leadership might have been virtue signaling to some of its “Christian Zionist” electorate by sending an emissary to America’s embassy-opening event.
(Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines)
These four Southeast Asian nations stand as proof that Israel’s “military diplomacy” is indeed global, as it’s mostly only for this reason why those four ASEAN states decided to send representatives to this week’s controversial ceremony. Vietnam is Israel’s second-largest export destination for military equipment, while the “Jewish State’s” comparatively less but nevertheless very scandalous sale of arms to Myanmar garnered a lot of negative international attention during last year’s Rakhine Crisis.
As for Thailand and the Philippines, their military relationships with Israel isn’t aren’t strong as their other two counterparts’, so the real reason why they probably put their international reputations on the line was to show their wayward American “ally” that they haven’t entirely pivoted away from it and towards China. Nevertheless, their southern Muslim minorities might not be too happy with what their national governments did.
As can be seen from the present article, Israel showed the world that it’s been able to cultivate a lot more indirect international support for its claim to Jerusalem as its capital than might have initially been expected. Granted, the vast majority of the countries that sent emissaries to attend the US’ controversial embassy opening earlier this week haven’t announced any plans to open up their own in the city and might not do so until the conflict is politically resolved (following Russia’s position towards the matter), but they still demonstrated a serious closeness of ties that had mostly evaded widespread global scrutiny until now. Based on what was revealed from this research, all 30 of the countries that joined in the “festivities” did so for at least one of the following six reasons related to their specific relations with Israel:
The Latin American countries where conservative Christianity predominates and not a lot of Muslims ever moved to have a close ideological affinity with Israel because of their leadership’s predisposition to “Christian Zionism”, as does Zambia, one of the world’s only constitutionally Christian states.
Deflect Anti-Semitic Accusations, Reinforce Traditional Jewish Friendship:
Some European countries like Hungary want to deflect the Mainstream Media-propagated anti-Semitic accusations of their enemies by overcompensating with pro-Zionist virtue signaling, while others such as Macedonia want Israelis to see that they’ve traditionally retained a close friendship with the Jewish people in order to make them feel more comfortable about investing there in the future.
Celebrate Historic Relations:
Ethiopia, much more than any of the other countries attending the embassy opening in Jerusalem, participated in order celebrate its very deep historic relations with the Jewish people who claim Israel as the modern-day successor to the ancient state that the fabled Queen of Sheba had “intimate” ties with.
Acquire Agro-Hydrological Technology:
The states of “Greater East Africa”, which in this sense is taken to include the East African Community along with Ethiopia and South Sudan, want to acquire more Israeli-produced agro-hydrological technology in order to more efficiently manage their explosive population growths.
Other states, mostly those in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia (especially India, even though it didn’t participate in Monday’s event), are becoming increasingly dependent on the qualitative edge that their armed forces expect to receive from Israeli weapons, which has led to the phenomenon of Israel’s military partners beginning to exhibit diplomatic support for its controversial claims.
Finally, there are several states in “Greater Central Africa” who are tied to Israel because of the latter’s involvement in their resource extraction industries, whether energy or mineral, and this transactional nature of their relations is mutually beneficial to both parties’ elites.
Altogether, the six abovementioned reasons most likely responsible for the attendance of 30 very different countries at the US’ embassy-opening event in Jerusalem earlier this week comprehensively form the basis for Israel’s global strategy along with its well-known lobbying efforts. The presence of so many “Global South” representatives at the ceremony speaks to the geographic reach of Israel’s mostly successful efforts in courting a variety of countries to its side, which while informal for the moment, is still a remarkable political achievement. When taken together with Israel’s excellent relations with the EU, the Gulf, Russia, China, and India – each of which declined to attend Monday’s gathering for their own reasons – it’s patently obvious that Israel has become one of the most influential political entities in the world today, even if observers have to look a little below the surface to see this reality.