(TibetanReview.net, Jun27, 2018) – President Lobsang Sangay of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was reported to have paid a six-day visit to Israel last week in what was described as a tour of the country. He deliberately did not ask for meetings with government officials but met with civil society groups, timesofisrael.com Jun 25 cited him as saying. He has said his purpose was to learn more about the country first before making a return visit next year and step us his advocacy.
He has said he had no specific agenda and that the visit was more of a personal kind although the CTA on its Tibet.net website Jun 26 did say the visit was official. And in interviews with the media, the CTA president has spoken about his administration’s middle way approach of seeking autonomy under, not independence from, China. He has pointed out that the US government sees no contradiction between its One China policy and the Tibetan middle way approach.
“If the US government can support both, I am pretty sure that Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu should not have any problem doing the same,” he was quoted as saying.
The report said Israel’s Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem had declined to comment on issues relating to China and Tibet. It noted that the current Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, had visited Israel on several occasions.
Noting that no breakthrough was reached despite several rounds of dialogue between envoys of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government, he has said he did not see any reason “why the government of Israel cannot support these policies and recommendation.”
The report noted that Netanyahu had elevated ties with Beijing as a top foreign policy priority. Despite it, however, Sangay has said he was only asking Israel to “stand for moral issues, for human rights issues”.
The civil society groups Sangay met with were stated to include pro-peace advocacy campaigners such as Women Wage Peace and Combatants For Peace. Tibet.net said he gave the keynote address of the 2018 ROI Summit, an initiative of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation held annually in a convergence of 150 of the Jewish world’s brightest young minds. It also said he gave a pubic talk on ‘Awakened Political Leadership: Myth or Reality’ followed by a panel discussion with Mr Avraham Burg, former member and speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and Prof Yaakov Raz of Tel Aviv University.
There was also stated to be a meeting with former Justice Dalia Dorner of the Supreme Court of Israel (1993-2004) at the Supreme Court and Prof Emeritus Amia Lieblich, President of Nethanyia College and well-known writer, and others.
He has refused to comment on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while expressing support for human rights, non-violence and solution through dialogue.
He has told the Jerusalem Post Jun 24 that his next visit will be a political one, with hopes to meet with government leaders and parliament members.
The reports said the visit was organized by a group called the Israeli Friends of the Tibetan People.