The Israel-Iran conflict: between Washington and Beijing

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Since its establishment in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been openly and vociferously committed to the destruction of the State of Israel. To thwart this genocidal goal–especially the lethal threat of Tehran’s dogged quest for nuclear weapons–Israel has heavily relied on the United States, its longstanding, foremost international ally. Over the past two decades, as its relations with China have greatly expanded, Israel has also sought to harness Beijing’s close and multifaceted ties with Tehran to the fight against a nuclear Iran–to no avail. With the burgeoning Israeli-Chinese relationship stirring recurrent frictions with Washington, especially due to the latter’s alarm over Beijing’s involvement in key infrastructure and hi-tech projects in Israel, Jerusalem has been forced to walk a tight rope between the two rival superpowers so as to maintain their maximum support without alienating either of them. This dilemma was resolved overnight after the invasion of southern Israel by the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization (on 7 October 2023) and its massacre of some 1500 Israelis (fifteen times the 9/11 death toll in relative terms). With Beijing quickly siding with the Palestinians (and Iran), and President Biden throwing the US’ full support behind Israel, warning Tehran and its proxies off intervention and sending a large naval force to the eastern Mediterranean, it has transpired beyond shadow of a doubt who Israel’s real friend is and where its interests lie.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1075-1093
Number of pages19
JournalIsrael Affairs
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Ayatollah Khamenei
  • Ayatollah Khomeini
  • Benjamin Netanyahu
  • China
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Russia
  • United States
  • nuclear weapons


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