Israel must strengthen ties with Black Americans, Ambassador Erdan warns

Palestinians have managed to partner with the Black Lives Matter movement “despite there being no connection between the two stories,” Ambassador Erdan said. 

By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News

Israel’s outgoing ambassador to Washington, Gilad Erdan, has said that Israel must improve its relations with America’s younger generations and especially with the Black American community and other minorities.

In one of his last interviews given as Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Erdan told Israel Hayom that the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) has managed to partner with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, “despite there being no connection between the two stories.”

He noted that while “the mainstream Democratic party [still] supports Israel,” the Palestinians have succeeded in convincing many young Americans to support their cause and adopt an anti-Israel perspective.

Discussing the current administration in the U.S., Erdan said that the Abraham Accords “are an excellent example of a policy that the administration adopted despite the political polarity in the U.S.,” noting that we may soon see another breakthrough in the normalization of ties between Muslim countries and Israel.

“The administration had hesitations at the outset, and they were criticized in Congress. Nevertheless, the administration continued on its path. With time, it increased its efforts to add other countries and leverage its influence on significant Muslim states that do not have ties with Israel to achieve additional peace deals,” he told Israel Hayom.

According to Erdan, we might see the results in a few months. “Unlike in the beginning, the administration is more deeply invested in it and with more senior ranking officials [involved],” he explained.

Finally, Erdan, who served as Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. for 10 month, noted that the biggest challenge that his replacement will face is navigating Israel’s policies and agendas within the growing conflict between the U.S. and China.

“China is a welcome and legitimate economic partner that offers cheap and fast labor, all the more so as there aren’t a lot of companies, including American ones, that compete for the big projects being built in Israel,” he said.

“On the other hand, there is bipartisan agreement in the U.S. that China is a danger and strategic threat to the U.S.,” he continued. “Therefore it is very important to the administration that its allies, including Israel, make a clear choice. That is one of the most significant challenges.”

Erdan was replaced by Michael (Mike) Herzog as Israeli new ambassador to Washington on November 16. He will continue to serve as Israel’s envoy to the United Nations.