Israeli official: “Don’t worry Washington, our labor dispute is not about you”
Israeli diplomats around the world are engaged in a labor dispute with their government, but that shouldn’t endanger next week’s trip to Washington by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an Israeli embassy official in Washington tells The Cable, and the protest is in no way related to the Obama administration’s drive for Middle East peace. The ...
Israeli diplomats around the world are engaged in a labor dispute with their government, but that shouldn't endanger next week's trip to Washington by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an Israeli embassy official in Washington tells The Cable, and the protest is in no way related to the Obama administration's drive for Middle East peace.
Israeli diplomats around the world are engaged in a labor dispute with their government, but that shouldn’t endanger next week’s trip to Washington by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an Israeli embassy official in Washington tells The Cable, and the protest is in no way related to the Obama administration’s drive for Middle East peace.
The work sanction, whereby Israeli diplomats in Israel and abroad are coming to work each day but refusing to provide consular and diplomatic services for officials from other Israeli government ministries, has been going on for weeks. This tactic is meant to bring about negotiations with the Israeli treasury, which has refused to act on their demands for pay and benefits commensurate with what Israeli officials from other agencies dealing with national security in Israel and when deployed abroad receive.
But despite an article Tuesday in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz entitled, "Israel diplomats’ strike threatens PM’s Washington trip," the embassy official insisted that Netanyahu’s trip will go on as planned.
"This is a struggle to improve the wages of the diplomatic employees of the foreign service — nothing more, nothing less," the official said. "It has nothing to do with the content or purpose of the prime minister’s visit."
Amb. Michael Oren, who is a political appointee and therefore not directly involved, is likely to accompany Netanyahu during his trip, but the Washington embassy will not give Netanyahu’s personal staff all the help it would normally give, such as advanced logistics planning, setting up press events, and so on.
If anything, the reduction of services might "make the prime minister’s office understand that we have a legitimate struggle and our work is indispensable," the official said, adding that the Prime Minister’s office may be inconvenienced but will ultimately be able to fulfill its mission.
"We face the same dangers of others that are sent abroad, but we get less than half their pay."
But his message to the Obama administration was: "Don’t worry Washington, our labor dispute is not about you."
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
More from Foreign Policy
Can Russia Get Used to Being China’s Little Brother?
The power dynamic between Beijing and Moscow has switched dramatically.
Xi and Putin Have the Most Consequential Undeclared Alliance in the World
It’s become more important than Washington’s official alliances today.
It’s a New Great Game. Again.
Across Central Asia, Russia’s brand is tainted by Ukraine, China’s got challenges, and Washington senses another opening.
Iraqi Kurdistan’s House of Cards Is Collapsing
The region once seemed a bright spot in the disorder unleashed by U.S. regime change. Today, things look bleak.