Another blow had come with Israel's exclusion from the Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955. That April, in response to the slow pace of decolonization and the failure of the United Nations to admit new members since 1950, delegates from twenty-nine countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East convened in Indonesia to demand "respect for the[ir] sovereignty" in the face of mounting US aspirations to global hegemony. Among other objectives, they pressed for the end of "racialism" and "colonialism in all its manifestations." In the early 1950s, especially after the 1952 Free Officers coup that brought Gamal Abdel Nasser to power in Egypt, Israel had worked hard—and largely in vain—to establish formal diplomatic ties with India and other emerging states in Southeast Asia. To compensate for the embargo of the Arab League, the Jewish state sought to build international commercial networks and to combat its image as a foreign implant and "seedbed of imperialism." Of great concern was the prospect that leaders of the new Asian states, inhabited by the largest Muslim communities in the world, would seek common cause with the Arab world in its support for Palestinian self-determination.
In the months leading up to Bandung, Israeli diplomats had tried desperately to secure an invitation to the conference. Behind the scenes, they worked with the Burmese and other delegates with whom they enjoyed informal ties to prevent the subject from being raised, much less inserted into a discussion about imperialism or racial discrimination. But the participation of the Jewish state was a nonstarter. The organizing Columbo powers of South Asia sought Arab support in opposing American and British intervention in Korea and Taiwan, respectively, and Nasser made it clear that Arab states would boycott the conference if Israel attended.
The diplomatic frenzy preceding Bandung notwithstanding, pressure from the Burmese and Indian delegations forced the attending Arab member states to make a meaningful concession in the conference's final communique. Along with disputes over Yemen and West Irian (also known as Papua), the resolution on Palestine appeared in a section entitled "Other Problems" detached from the sections on "Human Rights and Self-Determination" and "Problems of Dependent Peoples," which raised the cases of northern and southern Africa. Without mentioning the words colonialism, racialism, or self-determination, the resolution merely expressed the conference's "support of the rights of the Arab people of Palestine and called for the implementation of the United Nations resolutions on Palestine and the achievement of a peaceful settlement of the Palestine question."
Bandung put Israeli leaders in an uncomfortable position. For domestic reasons, Nasser had insisted on keeping the resolution oblique. It was, however, undeniable that the Egyptian president was offering to sign a peace treaty if Israel would agree to repatriate a substantial number of Palestinian refugees and relinquish its territorial conquests beyond the 1947 borders. Given Jerusalem's maximalist stance on these questions over the previous seven years, it came as no surprise that it received the Palestine resolution as a negation of "the rights of the Jewish people." Israel's insistence on its territorial integrity and its right, as a UN member, to refuse outside interference hardly turned it into a pariah state. Nonetheless, the Bandung resolution was important because it marked the first time Israel had to reject publicly a peace offer from the most powerful leader in the Arab world on terms previously endorsed by the international community and the Yishuv itself.
— Shira Robinson, Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the Birth of Israel's Liberal Settler State (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013) p. 157-158.