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December 23, 2014 8:06 am

Israel Exploring Ties With Cuba After U.S. Rapprochement

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President Obama greets Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's Memorial Service. Photo: Reuters.

JNS.orgIsrael is exploring the future of its relationship with Cuba following the recent American announcement of restored diplomatic ties with the Caribbean country.

“Israel supported the American Cuba policy in international forums in the context of the strategic alliance between the two countries and because of Cuba’s critical line on Israel in these forums,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon told The Times of Israel. “In light of the change we are studying the [U.S.] decision and stand in contact with American authorities.”

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the re-establishment of U.S.-Cuba diplomatic ties after more than 50 years, including the easing of some travel and trade restrictions. The news coincided with the freeing of Jewish-American contractor Alan Gross, who had been held in Cuban prison for several years.

While the communist regime of Fidel Castro initially had a warm relationship with Israel shortly after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Cuba unilaterally cut ties with the Jewish state in 1973 as Castro sought to increase ties with third-world countries in the Non-Aligned Movement, including Arab nations opposed to Israel’s existence.

Since then, a combination of Cuba’s harsh stance on Israel in international forums, ties with Iran and Venezuela, and the U.S. embargo on Cuba led to little contact between Cuba and Israel. Nevertheless, Israelis often visit Cuba and have contact with the country’s small Jewish community.

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  • Julian Clovelley

    Timelines speak volumes. The Cuban Revolution finally took power in January 1959. the Eisenhower American Administration in 1959 was already working on plans to attack Cuba by the end of 1959 culminating in the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 during Kennedy’s Presidency

    American involvement in the invasion is well recorded and admitted openly on webpages such as those of the “John F Kennedy Library” for example:

    In 1962 Cuba agreed to the siting of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter another invasion attempt. Kennedy understandably raised objection to what in fact was the same situation Europe already, of nuclear missile being within a few minutes distance of all major cities. This resulted in the Cuba Crisis of 1962 during which it was also recognised that the USA had nuclear missiles based in Turkey, which bordered the Soviet Union and placed missiles that could incinerate whole regions a similar distance from Soviet cities.

    There was a great deal of hypocrisy that failed to recognise the offensive/defensive and fear similarity of the two situations, but fortunately common sense prevailed and de-escalation followed. However the confrontation has continued in the form of a de-facto blockade and travel restriction to the present day.

    There are obvious parallels with the Israeli situation. For example the situation of being effectively surrounded by hostile militaries, populations, and nations that fund terrorist would-be invaders, the existence of persons claiming (not without some justification) a right of return and return of property, and a need for outside military support

    The Cold War was a period of dangerous insanity in foreign policy – It could easily have resulted in a catastrophic conflict. The need now is to move on, to allow societies to evolve in their own way and with their own response to a Globalised world in terms of politics, ideological diversity, and economics. I would hope that old wounds could be healed, and sensible balance restored.

    As for US/Cuban relations it is about time America got off the Cuban mainland, closing Guantanamo Bay and handing the land back and ending all subversive activity. Cuba will change – as it wants to, if it wants to, when it wants to, and successfully – if it is allowed to.

    But as with Israel there will be no return to the pre 1959 situation any more that Israel will return to the pre 1947 situation. Too many generations have come and gone. But those who regard themselves as exiles have their best hope of some form of return by assisting in the establishment of peace. That applies to the Cuban situation just as much as it applies to the israeli/Palestinian one. Terrorist organisations only make bad situations impossible, they have a record of achieving nothing positive for anyone, friend or foe.

    Restoring diplomatic relations is a good first step in all these matters that a new generation inherit from their parents and grandparents. the world belongs to the future – not the past

    • charlie johnson

      two brothers has run Cuba for more than fifty years. they are all knowing and need no opinions from the people they shelter from the evil capitalist USA. They would like a few things that we have but other than that we should accept any terms they offer and butt out. As I remember it was the leaders of the revolution who kept their secrets of colluding with the Soviets until they were in power.Communisim is a wonderful system for the USA liberals who love to peek into the windows to tell us of the wonders of it all.But our liberals live like Royalty in great castles and bar the peasants with iron gates.

  • charlie johnson

    After about sixty years,The Castro brothers defeated the U.S. government by making the people do without groceries. Lucky the revolution was done in the times before modern computer controlled cars or everyone would be afoot. It was Castro ,(Not the Russians) who wanted to fire up the US fleet with nuclear weapons in October 62. Thanks to the Russian military leaders in the operations zone we still have a green planet.