Tom Ellis TOM ELLIS

Greece, Cyprus and Israel together in Washington

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics, Diplomacy, Diaspora

While the leaders of Greece, Cyprus and Israel confirmed once again in Nicosia their strategic choice to follow a common course on a number of issues and to promote cooperation in a series of sectors – leading with energy – diaspora organizations from the three countries organized a joint conference in Washington, during which they worked on joint actions aimed at securing the support of the United States.

These include efforts to better inform the Trump administration and especially Congress, the branch of the US government where sales of military equipment are approved or rejected.

Cooperation between the diasporas preceded cooperation between the three countries, since members of the Greek-American community, of both Greek and Cypriot origin, have for decades maintained channels of communication with the Jewish community. Now, with the rapid upgrading and deepening of relations at a state level, their cooperation has gained even greater momentum and substance.

Discussions with members of the Jewish community in Washington, on the sidelines of the conference co-hosted by the Hellenic American Leadership Council and the American Jewish Committee, confirmed that the tripartite cooperation is not only important for Greece and Cyprus, but also for Israel.

For a country surrounded by enemies and opponents, long-term strategic relationships that acquire the characteristics of an alliance are extremely useful and important, almost irreplaceable, as, apart from cooperation in the areas of security and counterterrorism, Greece and Cyprus have lately also been acting as a political and economic bridge between Israel and the European Union.

In the past five years, the Congressional Hellenic Israel Alliance (CHIA) caucus has been formed in the United States, and already includes 40 Congressmen led by one Republican, Greek-American Gus Bilirakis, and one Democrat, Ted Deutch, who is Jewish.

Currently, the CHIA is promoting an end to the arms embargo on Cyprus, as well as efforts to freeze the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.

David Harris, the head of the American Jewish Committee, noted eloquently how the course of this particular relationship is progressing, at the country level but also in the diaspora: “Relations between Israel, Cyprus and Greece are an example of cooperation in a world desperately needing such examples.”

The activities of the Greek-American community in the decision-making centers of the superpower should be and are extremely useful and supportive of Greece and its interests, which more often than not seem to coincide with those of the US.

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