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Israel’s soft power victim of Netanyahu’s policies

The absence of Israel from the Paris Peace Forum reflects the spirit of its leadership, belittling multinational initiatives and neglecting soft power tools.

Paris — Thirty heads of state and some 6,000 decision-makers and activists gathered Nov. 12 at Paris La Villette venue for the second edition of the Paris Peace Forum, an assembly designed to promote the spirit of multilateralism. Still, two chairs were left empty at the central agora of the decision-makers: those of the United States and Israel. No Israeli leader bothered to come, not even a junior official or a representative from the embassy in Paris. More so, amid the multitude of stands presenting social development, new technologies, inclusive economy and gender activism projects, no Israeli nongovernmental organization (NGO) attended.

Over the past decade, Israel’s diplomacy, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at its helm, has focused much efforts on building ties with African and Arab countries, especially those Israel has no diplomatic relations with or only low-profile ties. A year ago, for instance, on Nov. 25, 2018, Chadian President Idriss Deby visited Israel, resuming official ties that were severed four decades earlier.

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