Israel as First Stop?

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Obligatory Throat-Clearing: There are a number of excellent reasons for public sector officials to visit Israel. The point of this column is to question the Governor and the Mass Competitive Partnership’s prioritization of Israel as his first stop on a Massachusetts Trade mission, not to engage in any broader discussion.

Today’s Globe discusses the Governor’s potential trade missions and reports that Israel is his first planned trip. (To be fair, it notes the Governor Romney planned a trip and that Governor Weld made 3 trips to Israel).

Here’s my question: Why would you pick Israel first as a trade mission (note the qualifier ‘trade’, not political or cultural).

Israel is Massachusetts’ 25th largest import and export partner. Based on the latest available data, its just below Costa Rica in terms of the value of 2009 imports from Massachusetts.

So let me be clear — lots of good reasons to go to Israel. Not sure that putting it as first priority for a trade mission is one of them.