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Is Israel an isolated country? Many think so. The Israeli left regularly warns that, if Israel doesn’t somehow “make peace” and clear out of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), its isolation will only worsen until it truly becomes a leper.

Recently Efraim Inbar, head of the Begin-Sadat Center think tank at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, published an article challenging that view. Inbar begins by acknowledging that:

The bad news is clear. Israel’s right to exist is questioned by many, and its ancient and present capital, Jerusalem, is unrecognized by all but a few states. Israeli leaders are sometimes compared to leaders of Nazi Germany, and Israeli actions against the Palestinians are described as Nazi-like policies…. Opponents and critics portray the Jewish state as the world’s worst violator of human rights, United Nations resolutions, and international law.

And with Jews “historically conditioned to sense isolation and delegitimization,” it all has a clear effect on Israelis:

An August 2010 poll showed that 56 percent of Jewish Israelis subscribed to the view that the “whole world is against us.” Even a larger majority, 77 percent, thought that it made no difference what the Israeli government did and how far it might go on the Palestinian issue: The world would continue to be critical regardless of the facts.

And yet, says Inbar, the situation on the ground has actually changed dramatically for the better.

Since 1991, Israel’s international status has greatly improved as many states decided to upgrade or to establish diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, partly due to the emergence of [Israel’s foremost ally] the United States as a hegemonic global power…. [A]ll former states of the Soviet bloc and most Afro-Asian states have opted for diplomatic relations and have maintained them ever since.

Inbar also cites

a high level of friendly relations toward Israel and the Jewish people within the two most populous and dynamic states on the world scene: India and China, rising powers in every sense of the word. Both are old civilizations that have not been burdened by anti-Semitic baggage as has Europe.