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JCFA Head Dan Diker: “We really have to think out of the box”

Filed under: Israel, Operation Swords of Iron

JCFA Head Dan Diker: “We really have to think out of the box”
Dr. Dan Diker, President of the Jerusalem Center for Foreign Affairs (photo credit: Guy Sidi)

This article appeared in the Jerusalem Post on June 5, 2024.

“We really have to think out of the box, because the post-October 7 reality puts us in a completely new world, breaking misconceptions, and building new realities,” said Dr. Dan Diker, President of the Jerusalem Center for Foreign Affairs, at the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference on Monday.

Diker’s observation prefaced a discussion he conducted at the conference with Mossab Hassan Yousef, “the Green Prince,” son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef. Yousef defected to Israel in 1997 and worked as a spy for the Shin Bet until he moved to the United States in 2007.

Diker characterized the Hamas attack of October 7 as a “strategic surprise” along the lines of major events such as 911 and Pearl Harbor. “At the Jerusalem Center for Foreign Affairs, what shocked us was the glee, the energy, and the enthusiasm for Hamas in the free world,” he said.

He described the expectations in the US and much of the Western alliance that supports the creation of a Palestinian state “on the heels of the worst massacre and mass murder in modern political history on a single day of any democratic country. “The free world, in large part, believes that this [the war] is an extension of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Our understanding, and Israel’s understanding as a national consensus issue is completely different.”

Diker noted that in the eyes of many in the West, “Israel has been recast as Hamas, and Hamas, from the point of view of virtue, legitimacy, and justice, has been recast as Israel. This inversion of legitimacy has been taking place over the last 31 years since the Oslo Accords, and it is time that we stop defending ourselves intellectually and morally. We must move from intellectual defense to offense reflected in an assertive diplomacy.”

Diker presented the results of a JCFA poll released at the Jpost conference that showed that 79% of Israelis opposed the establishment of Palestinian states in Gaza and the West Bank that could threaten Ben Gurion Airport and Israel’s coastal cities. Notably, the poll also showed that 64% of Israelis rejected a Palestinian state, even if accompanied by Saudi normalization. Diker noted that these findings affirmed the Knesset vote in which an unprecedented 99 MKs opposed US endorsement of a Palestinian state.

The second part of the discussion was led by Yousef, who said that the ideological dimensions of the war cannot be ignored. “Palestine is a device that the Muslims use as a weapon against Israel and as a weapon against the Jewish people. Fundamentally, Muslims think that Allah hates the Jewish people.”

Yousef said that it was unacceptable for Muslims to take the side of a terrorist group that committed unforgivable crimes in the name of “resistance” and “occupation.” He voiced his opposition to a two-state solution with a Palestinian state led by the Palestinian Authority. “For those representing a two-state solution, they either want Israel to cease to exist, or they are not aware of this existential threat,” he declared. He added that in his opinion, the Palestinian Authority is an even greater threat than Hamas.

Diker announced that the organization is changing its name to the Jerusalem Center for Foreign Affairs, reflecting its activities in that sphere. “We see ourselves as the engine for Israel’s foreign affairs, serving as a bridge between the West and the Arab Muslim majority East.” It will lead research-driven strategic and communication initiatives for the security and prosperity of Israel, its Abraham Accord partners, and prospective allies seeking normalization with Israel.

The Jerusalem Center for Foreign Affairs sponsored a portion of the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference.