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Why the Israel Crisis Has Implications for China in the Global South

Masked Palestinian protesters walk near flaming tires during clashes with Israeli forces following a rally in solidarity with Gaza by supporters of the Fatah and Hamas movements in the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank on October 13, 2023. HAZEM BADER / AFP

The carnage in Israel and Gaza seems to signal an inflection point, not only because of its omnidirectional horror but also because it again demonstrates the centrality of Israel and its West Asian neighborhood in the U.S. political imagination, a reality that has implications for China’s global role.

The way the violence immediately triggered a wave of self-positioning from U.S. policymakerscelebrities, and ordinary social media users provides a glimpse of how it plays a fundamentally different political role in the U.S. (and the wider Western world) than what seemed like all-consuming geopolitical crises the week before, particularly the Ukraine war and the ongoing standoff between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea.

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