Best-selling author and intrepid journalist Ken Timmerman and his wife have been locked down in their vacation home in southern France for 72 days since March 16, 2020. They have tickets to leave France on July 2nd, but do not know whether French President Macron will extend confinement beyond June 16, 2020. They came in late February after a ski vacation with their son in the Spanish Pyrenees expecting to stay only three weeks to return home. But they are trapped. It reminds us of those bizarre lyrics from the Eagles ‘hit “Hotel California”: “you can check out any time, but you can never leave”. Jerry Gordon and Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant of Israel New Talk Radio – Beyond the Matrix Zoomed in to find out how Ken and his wife were faring under what Timmerman deems French President Macron’s draconian ‘authoritarianism’ and impact under COVID-19.
Ken Timmerman tending to olive groves on Southern France vacation home while on COVID-19 confinement
Among the geo-political topics, we addressed were:
how the surge of ISIS in Syria and Iraq is different this time;
how the US and especially Israel bombing may have sent Iran packing from Syria;
the bizarre Iranian reaction to the COVID -19 pandemic that is ravaging the senior Ayatollahs and IRGC leaders;
US Secretary of State Pompeo’s real agenda behind his hurry up trip to visit with Netanyahu, Gantz and Ashkenazi just before the formation of the new unity government;
an update on corruption in the Republic of Georgia and US concerns about Russia and Iran influence; and
a brief discussion of his latest book, a political thriller about how the 2020 US election was “stolen” due out on August 11, 2020, The Election Heist.
On Macron’s “authoritarianism”.
French President Macron’s controlled press and scientific advisors, backed by an unemployment system that delivers 97% of wages has the support of French unions, but not the socially conservative small business, restaurateurs, vintners, construction firm owners in the south of France. Further, Macron has no exit strategy. The borders, airports and most trains are closed. Timmerman thinks that France is in love with authoritarianism He cited the dystopian example of a French family of 15 caught by a police helicopter on a walk on a forested mountain crest detained for not wearing masks and fined $100 each for walking in a group beyond the 2 kilometer restriction. He spoke about French unions shutting down Amazon in France with aid of courts for not adhering to social distance restrictions. Timmerman cites Dennis Prager comment that lockdown was a historic economic blunder. As to the comparative impact of fatalities from the novel coronavirus, he cites his friend, former South Carolina Governor, David Beasley, now head of the UN World Food Program who is more concerned about the estimated 136 million fatalities in the hunger pandemic caused by COVID-19. Germany and Austria appear to be opening up, Sweden’s control of targeted groups rather than complete lockdown appeared to be working. Belgium has the worst per capita fatality rates from COVID-19. Timmerman thinks that is largely due to its large Muslim immigrant population and crowded living conditions.
Absurdity of Iran’s Mullahcracy view of COVID-19.
Timmerman cited reports of the aging Ayatollahs rushing to kiss the holy Shrines in Qum, believing that Allah would spare them from the dreaded novel Coronavirus. Instead Iran Mahan airlines flights from China spread the COVID-19 pandemic taking its toll of Ayatollahs and senior IRGC leaders, as well as the population in key hot spots. Perhaps the reason why thousands of Iranians are texting messages to Israel seeking immigration, given the Jewish nation’s success in curbing the COVID-19 epidemic, developing tests, therapies and vaccines potentially curbing the outbreak.
The Surge of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
Unlike the late Jihadist state, the ISIS surge in Syria and Iraq is targeted assassinations and car bombings. Both the US and Israel know where these lay behinds are and through bombing and special ops have prevented ISIS from holding terrain.
Is Iran leaving Syria due to Israel and US Bombing?
Timmerman cites the relentless bombing by Israel’s Air Force targeting IRGC bases and missile depots in Syria resulting in deaths of senior IRGC generals as contributing to reports of Iran possibly leaving Syria. That and perhaps the estimated $30 billion spent in propping up Assad Regime in the face of punishing sanctions by the US may be factors behind a possible strategic retreat by Iran.
Secretary of State Pompeo’s real agenda behind his hurry up visit to Israel.
Secretary of State Pompeo’s recent trip to Israel just before the formation of the new unity government, had nothing to do with cultivating the split US Jewish vote in the November 2020 national elections. Besides touching base with the new government with Netanyahu, Gantz and Ashkenazi it was to obtain a return favor in the form of annexation of the historic Judea and Samaria of the Land of Israel. Trump had secured the turnout of millions of US Evangelical Christians in his 2016 electoral victory who believe that God had designated the land for the Jewish people. This Timmerman contends is important for the US special relationship with Israel.
Update on Republic of Georgia corruption.
Timmerman was supposed to return to Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia for a court hearing on the freeing of his friend and 9/11 Iran Links case Iran intelligence defector Alireza Soliemanpak who was jailed on trumped up charges by Iran’s Ambassador and intelligence asset in league with corrupt former Interior Minister, now Prime Minister Giorgio Gakharia. That hearing was cancelled. However Texas US Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Republican Congressmen from Texas and Oklahoma sent a letter on May 15, 2020 to Secretaries of State Pompeo and Treasury Mnuchin requesting an investigation into the corrupt head of the ruling Georgia Dream Party billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili for Russian and Iranian evasions of sanctions and money laundering via a bank owned by three Iranians in Tbilisi. Add that to returning the country, an aspiring NATO ally to a transparent governing system.
China -Israel Relations and COVID -19 Pandemic.
Timmerman says that China Israel relations has been the bone of contention with the US since the days of the transfer of the Israeli Lavi fighter technology to China. Now with China Haifa port contracts and sizeable investments in Israeli high tech, it is problematic. One flashpoint has been settled with the award to an Israeli consortium of the Sorek-2 desalination project instead of the Hutchinson Water Company of Hong Kong. Timmerman believes revelations about China’s transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic around the globe has resulted in pushback by the US. He cited legislation introduced by US Arkansas Senator Cotton and US Texas Representative Crenshaw seeking to remove sovereign immunity protection for China to enable Americans to bring suit for damages occasioned by the COVID-19 virus. There are Trump’s ban on Huawei purchase of US semiconductors and threats to cut off US permanent funding of the World Health Organization for cooperating with the XI-jinping regime delaying information on the Wuhan virus outbreak. Timmerman says the US should refocus on bringing back pharma production and research to the US, as Japan has done.
For more on what Ken Timmerman is doing and writing about, see his website at: kentimmerman.com.
[i][i] Jerome B Gordon is a Senior Vice President of the New English Review, author of The West Speaks, NER Press 2012, and co-author of Genocide in Sudan: Caliphate Threatens Africa and the World, JAD Publishing, 2017. Mr. Gordon is a former US Army intelligence officer who served during the Viet Nam era. He is producer and co-host of Israel News Talk Radio—Beyond the Matrix. He was the co-host and co-producer of weekly The Lisa Benson Show for National Security that aired out of KKNT960 in Phoenix Arizona from 2013 to 2016 and co-host and co-producer of the Middle East Round Table periodic series on 1330amWEBY, Northwest Florida Talk Radio, Pensacola, Florida from 2007 to 2017.
Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant is creator and host of Israel News Talk Radio—Beyond the Matrix and founder of Netiv.
London-based Cage have been using Facebook and YouTube to raise £400,000 during Ramadan... The advocacy group ran 16 adverts as part of its campaign called Reviving Divine Justice, but four were banned, including one on coronavirus, launched on April 22.
The video that references the deadly pandemic is called 'One deed that can change the world' and opens with a news clip showing hospital staff working on a patients, as a journalist says 'they are fighting a war here, they are losing.' It then switches to an image of the world and a voiceover says 'the world is in crisis and no one seems to know how to stop it.'
The video adds that 'Allah has his ways which he has informed us about. They do not change, so pay attention!
'Allah has warned us: 'Whatever misfortune befalls you it is because of what your own hands have done'.'
It also says that 'Allah will not change our condition until we change what is within ourselves.'
The coronavirus video was taken down because it broke Facebook’s advertising policies but its Facebook page has 248,000 followers and the video is still running there. The YouTube videos are free to upload.
One of the group’s videos features Tauqir Sharif, a British-Pakistani from east London who fought in Syria and was stripped of his citizenship and banned from returning to Britain.
They have also been running a video called “You can’t unsee this”, which includes a doctored photograph of Tony Blair and the words: “It all began when the most powerful nations on the face of this earth colluded to commit crimes against people who had one thing in common: their faith.”
Later, using a picture of the Houses of Parliament, it says: “Everywhere we look we see oppression. Sometimes we don’t need to look far from home.”
Phyllis Chesler Holds Middle East Forum Webinar on Honor Killings
Phyllis Chesler, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, emerita professor of psychology and women's studies, and the author of eighteen books, spoke to participants in a May 18 Middle East Forum webinar (video below) about the barbaric practice of honor killing and how to combat it.
Honor killing is the "cold blooded murder of girls and women by their families of origin." In a "shame and honor tribal culture, ... a girl's virginity and reproductive capacity, her fertility, are owned by her family, literally. Not by the girl herself. She represents their honor," Chesler explained. "If a girl is seen as damaged goods, her family will then be responsible ... no one will marry their other children or deal with them economically. They'll be shunned." The only way the family can "cleanse themselves of this shame [is] with blood – her blood."
The list of offenses that can trigger an honor killing is long, including engaging in sex outside of marriage, refusing an arranged marriage, marrying outside of one's religious sect or cast, having infidel friends, and becoming too Westernized. Since the aim is to recapture family honor, not punishment, it matters little whether the accusations are true. In rare cases where honor killers are prosecuted, according to Chesler, "they claim that they're only acting in self-defense, that communal norms drove them to it."
Unlike domestic violence against women in Western countries, where the perpetrators are almost exclusively men, usually acting alone and spontaneously, "honor killings are carefully planned conspiracies." Typically there is a "designated hands-on killer" acting in collaboration with other relatives, including "mothers, sisters, and aunts." The involvement of female relatives is common, according to Chesler, as women have internalized the same patriarchal and tribal beliefs that men have and, in addition, they're responsible for keeping their daughters in line. They will pay a heavy price if their daughters dishonor the family. So very often ... mothers will lure their daughters home saying, 'It's okay, he'll forgive you, we'll work it out.' And then she dies.
Honor killing is "not based in any particular religion," said Chesler, noting that in India, the country where honor killing is by far the most prevalent, it is practiced by both Muslims and Hindus. However, Chesler's research has shown that Hindus "only do this in India ... Those who immigrate to the West don't do this." Honor killings in Europe and the United States are "mainly a Muslim-on-Muslim phenomenon."
Chesler has been active in the fight against honor killings, frequently submitting affidavits to help girls and women in flight from being honor killed seek political asylum in the United States. Protecting victims within immigrant communities involves "removing girls at risk from homes permanently, sheltering them appropriately, entering them into federal witness protection programs because their families will never stop pursuing them, [and] finding them adoptive families and communal networks without which they cannot thrive."
Eradicating honor-based violence "require[s] mass education, consistent law enforcement and the vigorous assistance of the clergy," said Chesler. This means prosecuting not just the direct perpetrators, who expect and accept that they risk punishment, but also the wider circle of relatives who indirectly facilitate it. "I think after you arrest the entire family that conspired, collaborated, instigated and perpetrated an honor killing, after they've done their time in jail, I think that the lesson should be the entire family will be deported ... the hands-on perpetrators together with those who idly stood by."
At the same time, there needs to be "massive outreach educationally" to Muslim immigrants that "spell[s] out, not [just] the punishment but the advantages" of forswearing the threat of honor-based violence against their daughters:
Girls could get an education. They can add to the family income. They can live not just on the public dole, but productively and they can still honor their families. They can still honor their religions ... If we could get imams and mullahs to help with this, that would be terrific.
Unfortunately, the Western media is reluctant to address the problem due to the misguided belief that singling out the culture-specific practices of immigrants is racist. "Honor-based violence ... must not be justified in the name of cultural relativism, tolerance, anti-racism, diversity or political correctness."
With a brisk economic revival and continued retrenchment of the virus, it is going to be increasingly difficult for the Democrats to prevail on the merits.
The battle lines on the issue of ending the economic shutdown are drawn more sharply each week. The terror campaign conducted by the media when the coronavirus outbreak began effectively compelled President Trump and most governors to follow the advice of the audible scientists and “flatten the curve” with a comprehensive shutdown requiring huge numbers of people to stay at home.
As the unemployment figures that resulted mounted swiftly toward 40 million, the American Left, now including almost all the official Democrats and almost all the national political media, became instantly addicted to the prospect of holding the president responsible at the election in November for creating an immense economic depression.
When the president recognized the extent of the alarm over the virus in March, he decided he had no alternative politically (and probably none in terms of public health, either) but to shut the country down, acknowledging the authority of the governors to decide exactly how extensively in each state. He took care to announce, as he did this, that the shut-down would be reversed as soon as possible and that his objective was a V-shaped economic recovery: a return almost as vertical as the inevitable decline.
Starting in early April, the president moved more or less subtly to encourage governors to begin reopening their states. Predictably, Republican governors tended to respond positively and promptly to this proposal and their Democratic analogues were more or less sluggish. For a time, both sides moved with relative caution to preserve the fiction that this was a matter of lives, public health, national welfare and, above all things, was beyond politics.
Of course, every observant person knew that in this presidential term nothing has been above politics, (and little has been beneath politics, either). The president cautioned the Republican governor of Georgia Brian Kemp about a general opening of almost all small businesses, but the governor seems to have been justified in taking that step and the president subsequently has applauded it. The apparent Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden—the personification of the shutdown, now lumbering determinedly through his third subterranean month in Delaware—urged caution.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was at pains to emphasize that the status of New York as a “hot spot” required him to go slowly, though the debate in New York was overtaken by allegations against the Democrat of responsibility for the deaths of thousands of elderly people by requiring COVID-19 sufferers be returned to nursing homes.
At the outset of the coronavirus crisis there was what proved to be an exaggerated fear that the hospital system would be overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. As a result of that belief, surplus capacity was quickly built in or moved to the larger cities and, instead of the homes for the elderly being protected and insulated from the start, they were in many cases allowed to become infestations of the illness swiftly transmitting the infection among residents. We now know that about one-third of the country’s fatalities from COVID-19 happened in long-term care facilities.
As President Trump has steadily encouraged relaxation of the economic shutdown, public opinion—which once appeared committed to the shutdown and responded so uniformly to the calls for sacrifice—has drifted back to approval for a reopening somewhat timidly. But the tactical trap is closing in slow motion on the Democrats. Since the president’s greatest vulnerability would be if he could not get the shutdown lifted in good time for the country to see the economy reviving before the election, the Democrats have lost the opportunity to flop back to complaints that are now becoming quite audible, that the shutdown should never have been imposed in the first place.
This weekend the president stated that had the experts known more about the virus in March, this comprehensive shutdown would not have been imposed. The Democrats thus are stuck with the shutdown and are stuck with an argument for continuing the shutdown that rests entirely on the continued propagation of exaggerated and unseemly fear.
So far, where the return from the lockdown has proceeded quickly—as in the Republican-governed states of Texas, Florida, and Georgia—the incidence of coronavirus has not risen. (Meanwhile, in Georgia, there has been the leitmotif of Democratic gubernatorial candidate and inveterate seeker of this year’s vice presidential nomination, Stacey Abrams, that she won the election which she lost by 55,000 votes to Kemp).
The rabidly Democratic media who effectively are conducting the campaign for the beleaguered official Democrats, are left clinging to an indefinite shutdown that only panic can justify and that an increasing number of people, now including the president, believe should not even have been imposed.
The president said that his most difficult decision would be when to lift the shut-down, and he now has his principal scientific adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, supporting a relaxation and the leading Democratic governors, Cuomo and Gavin Newsom in California, affirming the president’s cooperation and efficiency. This makes the Democratic claim, launched by former President Obama as a truism with no need for further explanation that Trump has bungled this crisis, very difficult to sustain. Neither Obama nor habitual media Trump-bashers such as A.B. Stoddard last week in RealClearPolitics, offered a word of explanation for the unqualified assertion that the administration’s performance has been a disaster.
As the United States has done substantially better than any large Western country except Canada and Germany, the claim that it has been a disaster is a false argument. Trump was clearly wise to close down direct air travel between China and the United States at the end of January, for which he was much criticized by the Democrats. His mobilization of the private sector, and particularly the swift development by Abbott Laboratories of an instant testing method, and the mass production of ventilators for which there was widely claimed to be an acute shortage, were very effective.
The results of Trump’s calling on states to relax the shutdown in April make it hard to criticize that move. The Democratic media appear at this point to be reduced to representing the loss of nearly 100,000 American lives as a tragedy for which Trump is somehow responsible. When he took the measures that he did, the so-called experts had not yet reduced their prediction of fatalities in the United States from over 2 million to between 100,000 and 240,000. The daily fatalities continue to decline and have fallen by over 60 percent in the last five weeks.
If this trend continues as the country reopens and there is distinct progress on bringing the unemployed back to work, it is going to be extremely difficult to run against the president on this issue. The polls reflect Trump’s difficulty in moving from the president of the shutdown to the president of the reopening while brushing off the imputation to him of putting “soon ahead of safe.” But he is moving between strengths and the polls do indicate a large lead for Trump over Biden on the issue of restoring the American economy.
With a brisk revival and continued retrenchment of the virus, it is going to be increasingly difficult for the Democrats to win this argument.
Former French Culture Minister: Arabic is “A National Treasure” (Part 1)
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Jack Lang is a former French culture minister who has launched a campaign to make Arabic widely available in French schools. He regards the Arabic language, he says, as a “treasure of France” that deserves a special place in the French curriculum. “It is our heritage,” he says.
No, The Greeks, the Romans, these are France’s – and the West’s – cultural “heritage.” The Jews, too, are part of the West’s spiritual heritage. The Arabic language, the Arabs themselves, have made no significant contribution to Western or French civilization. Arabic is the language of the historic enemy of the West, the language of Muslims, whose faith discourages free inquiry and encourages the habit of mental submission to authority. It’s the language of those who have been taught to regard themselves as the “best of peoples” while Infidels everywhere, including the French, are the “most vile of created beings.”
Now it’s hardly surprising that Jack Lang should have started such a campaign to encourage such exaggerated veneration of Arabic. He is not a disinterested scholar, nor a cultivated connoisseur of comparative cultures, but a bought-and-paid-for propagandist for the Arabs, the Arabic language, and — joined at the hip with the Arabs and their language — Islam. Jack Lang is, after all, the president of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, where he is handsomely paid out of the contributions of 18 Arab states. The Institut does not lack for funds. Its building was constructed between 1981 and 1987, and at that time cost $250 million — which is $500 million in 2020 dollars — making it one of the most expensive properties in the world. It is very well endowed. From his luxurious eyrie, Lang does the bidding of those who so lavishly fund his plush sinecure. His current campaign feeds the amour-propre – and the politico-cultural desires — of his Arab paymasters. This insensate promotion of the Arabic language (has he bothered to learn it himself? No, he admits he can’t even carry on a simple conversation in Arabic) is part of his task, as he attempts through lectures and exhibitions and colloquia at the Institute to convince the French that the Arab world is, as he puts it, “rich, dense, and passionate,” and to insist “how very far it is from the clichés that are being spread and published in the media in the West and elsewhere.” “Clichés,” he means, about “violence and terrorism” – where do people get these strange ideas that Arabs, and Islam, have anything to do with violence and terrorism?
Perhaps Jack Lang has forgotten, or wants us all to forget, the attacks by Muslim terrorists in Europe, after Muslim terrorists have many times struck in London and Paris, as well as in Manchester, Toulouse, Nice, Magnanville, Madrid, Barcelona, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Anspach, Munich, Vienna, Copenhagen, Malmö, Stockholm, Turku, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Beslan. In America, we have not only endured the mass terrorism by Muslims in New York and Washington on 9/11, but since then, there have been terror attacks in New York (several times), Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Fort Hood, Little Rock, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Orlando and many other places.
And there are more than 36,500 separate attacks by Muslim terrorists since 9/11 that Jack Lang has overlooked, that just might explain those “clichés” about Muslims and terrorism that he so deplores.
And what about Muslim violence unconnected to terrorism? Does Jack Lang not realize why the French associate Muslims to violent crime? Does the fact that the prisons of Europe are overflowing with Muslims — as in France, where more than 70% of all prisoners are Muslim, despite being less than 10% of the population — suggest that, despite the lavishing of every conceivable welfare benefit on Muslim migrants, their integration is not exactly going well?
Lang would like us to believe, as an article of faith, what his unwitting comrade-in-arms, Pope Francis, pontificated: “Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Quran are opposed to every form of violence.”
Lang goes further than Pope Francis. It’s not enough that the French should embrace this non-violent “understanding” of “authentic Islam.” They must also, in his view, be convinced of the enormous debt that French culture owes to the Arabs and to the Arabic language. It is that language, according to Jack Lang, which allowed the French, uncultivated barbarians until the Arabs came along to enlighten them, to become “open to mathematics, history, medicine.”
Lang has titled his latest book “La langue arabe, trésor de France” – “The Arabic language, a treasure of France.” This claim deserves examination. Just how valuable is this “treasure” that Lang wants to be taught in French schools, privileged above all other foreign languages, a mandatory subject? About 274 million people in the world speak Modern Standard Arabic, and another 100 million speaking dialects. But that makes it only the fifth language in number of users, behind Mandarin, English, Spanish, and Hindi. It’s a moderately useful language, if you are doing business in Arab countries (though the Arab elite in North Africa and Lebanon speak French, while the rich Arabs in the Gulf, the kind you are likely to do business with, have English as their second language) but not for anything else. It’s not the language of science, art, literature, music, philosophy, political science. For business purposes, it is not nearly as useful as Chinese, Spanish and, especially, English. Lang calls Arabic “a universal language,” but that usually describes a language whose users are spread widely over the globe. Arabic is limited in its geographic range to a contiguous swath of territory covering North Africa and the Middle East. English is a true universal language, indisputably the most important one of all, with 380 million native speakers and 750 million for whom it is a second language; it is the one which French people most need, and want, their children to master. Spanish, too, is a universal language, with 450 million native speakers on three continents, and 120 million non-native speakers. French itself, which has more than 300 million native or fluent speakers (and another 80 million for whom it is a second language), given its much wider geographical distribution, on three continents, has a stronger claim to being a “universal language” than does Arabic. And the prestige of French culture has made it the second language, with English, of diplomacy and international exchanges, from the E.U. to the U.N. to the IMF.
Lang says, in a sentence that should be inscribed in some Annals of Sublime Idiocy, that “Arabic has enabled French culture to open to mathematics history, medicine.” What can he possibly mean? When he refers to “mathematics,” what is he thinking of? He can only be referring to the fact that more than a millennium ago, some Arabs, or possibly non-Arab Muslims, in India, having studied the Sanskrit mathematicians, brought back what they discovered to the Middle East, and thence to Europe. What did they bring? A rudimentary knowledge of algebra, a branch of mathematics founded and first developed by Indian mathematicians, not Muslim Arabs, though it is true that Al-Khwarizmi further developed algebra and Al-Kindi disseminated to Europe the use of Indian numerals that, in transmission, became known as “Arabic numerals.” But the Muslims were more of a conduit than an original source.
The Arabic language did not “enable” French culture to “open to mathematics.” Almost all of the Arabic treatises mathematics remained untranslated, and therefore unread in Europe. There was a long mathematical tradition in France, going back centuries, that had nothing to do with, and had no need of, any putative “Arabic” influence to “open” French culture to mathematics. Jack Lang constructs this soi-disant Arabic contribution on the flimsy basis of “Arabic numerals” and “algebra,” both of which were borrowed from Hindu mathematicians. Or does Jack Lang know something about Arab mathematicians and their influence in France that has escaped the notice of historians? He is unfair to his own country’s rich history of mathematical achievement — it’s one of those fields in which the French have historically excelled. Think of the roster of outstanding French mathematicians: Rene de Fermat, Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Adrien-Marie Legendre, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, Evariste Galois, Rene Poincare are all world-famous. Think of the hundreds of others whose names you can find on-line by searching the Internet for “French mathematicians.” No one in France needed Arabic to be “open to mathematics.”
An Ikea store near Frankfurt in west Germany handed over its car park to a local mosque for socially-distanced mass prayers and won praise online. Around 800 Muslims prayed in the large outdoor space to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan on Sunday.
"The closing prayer with all Muslims in Wetzlar was like a reward for us," a mosque chairman told BBC News.
Places of worship have reopened in Germany but they must follow rules to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Looking for an alternative space to accommodate many people practising social distancing, the chairman of a Wetzlar mosque, Kadir Terzi, approached Ikea last week. He told BBC News he wasn't hopeful he would receive a positive response. "But the store manager didn't hesitate for a second and said 'yes, you can pray'.
250 “Global Artists and Writers” Fear Coronavirus “Devastating” In Gaza, Want Military Embargo on Israel (Part 2)
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Those 250 “global artists and writers” who deplore the “devastated health care system in Gaza” appear to believe that Israel is somehow at fault. They are wrong.
“Long before the global outbreak of COVID-19 threatened to overwhelm the already devastated health care system in Gaza, the UN had predicted that the blockaded coastal strip would be unlivable by 2020,” their online letter said.
Well, we are almost halfway through 2020. Has that U.N. prediction come true? Is Gaza now “unlivable”? It doesn’t look that way. See, inPart 1, the description of some of the goods and services available in “unlivable” Gaza, including what is on offer at its three shopping malls.. Has its health care system been so “devastated” that it can’t handle the coronavirus epidemic? We don’t know, because Gaza is one of the handful of places in the world that has been least affected by the coronavirus. Where else has there been not a single reported coronavirus death? Out of 195 countries, only Greenland (a quasi-country, bellowing to Denmark), and a handful of small islands in the middle of the Pacific. That’s it.
Who has been helping the Gazans? Israel has donated thousands of PPE (masks, gloves, hospital gowns) to the Strip. It has also delivered medical items for others, including at least one shipment of 50,000 masks that came from WHO. Since May, Gazan factories have been manufacturing PPE – one factory alone has become a net exporter of masks and gowns, turning out 150,000 masks a week; for these masks made in Gaza, Israel is now the chief customer.
“With the pandemic, Gaza’s almost two million inhabitants, predominantly refugees, face a mortal threat in the world’s largest open-air prison,” it added.
The pandemic is a “mortal threat” in Gaza? This is hysteria. By late May, there have still been no coronavirus deaths in Gaza, and only two among the Palestinians in the West Bank. Did anyone bother to inform the 250 co-signers of this letter that there is still not the slightest sign of such a “mortal threat”?
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007 when the Islamist movement Hamas started controlling the enclave.
The co-signers of that letter refer to an “Israeli blockade.” But why do they make no mention of Egypt’s blockade of Gaza, which is at least as severe as that imposed by Israel? That would never do; it would only confuse people; blame must be put, and kept, on Israel alone. Are these “global artists and writers” prepared to condone Egypt’s blockade while condemning that of Israel? Why not?
And what about that Israeli blockade, again? It’s easy to forget how limited is that blockade. Those “global artists and writers” will never admit that Israel’s blockade of Gaza does not include medicines, medical equipment, or any other form of humanitarian aid. So let’s keep reminding them.
“Well before the ongoing crisis, Gaza’s hospitals were already stretched to breaking point through lack of essential resources denied by Israel’s siege. Its health care system could not cope with the thousands of gunshot wounds, leading to many amputations,” the artists said.
Why do Gaza’s hospitals have a “lack of resources”? It had nothing to do with Israel. It is the leaders of Hamas who, ever since they came to power in Gaza in 2007, chose to steal from their own people massive sums that might have been spent on medical equipment and hospitals. Just two of those former leaders of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal and Moussa Abu Marzouk, have each amassed a fortune of at least $2.5 billion, according to both Arab and American sources. Some reports suggest that Meshaal alone may have stolen as much as $5 billion. Other Hamas leaders, such as Ismail Haniyeh, have fortunes in the tens of millions, while his successor Yahya Sinwar only has a few million (but give him time, he’s new at the job), and beneath that top level, an estimated 600 Hamas millionaires are now living in Gaza. That grand theft is the first, and most important reason, for the lack of a decent medical system.
The second reason is the choice that Hamas has made to plow so much money into its terrorist activities. The thousands of rockets that have been hurled into Israel from Gaza cost a great deal. Also costly have been the tunnels that Hamas has built from Gaza into Egypt and Israel. Recently the Egyptians announced that in the past five years they had destroyed more than 3,000 of those tunnels, each of them at least 3 kilometers long and 30 meters deep; tunnels this long and this deep cost at least $2 million to build. The total cost, then, for the tunnels running from Gaza to Egypt must have been $6 billion. Israel reports that it has destroyed several dozen elaborate terror tunnels extending from Gaza to Israel; it estimates their total cost as between $60 and $100 million. If you add it all up — the amounts stolen by Hamas leaders for their own benefit, and what Hamas has spent on thousands of rockets it has hurled into Israel (600 rockets hit Israel in just the first week of May 2019), on the 3,000 tunnels Hamas built from Gaza to Egypt, and on the dozens of tunnels going from Gaza into Israel, you arrive, as the lowest possible estimate, at a figure of more than $12 billion. How many PPE, how many ventilators, how many ICU beds, how many new hospitals could have been provided the people of Gaza had their leaders not chosen to enrich themselves, and to carry on an expensive terror war against Israel?
“Reports of the first cases of coronavirus in densely-populated Gaza are therefore deeply disturbing,” they said.
No, “reports of the first cases of coronavirus in Gaza” are not “deeply disturbing,” but in fact, heartening. Where else in the world have there been similar reports of no deaths from coronavirus? Just Greenland, just those Pacific islands. And the partial sealing off of Gaza from the outside is chiefly responsible; it has had the effect of severely limiting the spread of the virus into the Strip.
The “global artists and writers” need to be set straight on a number of things. Let’s go through them again, one by one.
First, there is no “siege” of Gaza. The Israeli “blockade” is far from total. It is intended to prevent Hamas from obtaining certain items that can have a military use. It has never applied to medicines or medical equipment. Israel does not blockade humanitarian aid — medicine, food, medical equipment . In just one week in April, for example, Israel sent 88 tons of its own humanitarian aid to Gaza. During the pandemic, Israel has sent thousands of test kits and PPE (masks, hospital gowns, gloves); it has donated and delivered more such aid to help Gazans fight the pandemic than has any other country.
Second, the only items that are blockaded by Israel are those that have a potential military use. That includes such “dual-use” items as cement. Cement can be used to build civilian housing. But it can also be used to build bunkers, terror tunnels, rocket emplacements. It is for that reason that cement is one of the main items Israel keeps out of Gaza.
Third, Israel has trained Palestinian doctors and nurses both to recognize, and treat, the coronavirus. Israeli doctors from Sheba Medical Center have been training Palestinian medical personnel from Gaza at the Erez Crossing; other Gazan doctors have been brought to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon for such training, and some have received training in still other hospitals in Israel. No other country has been training doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel in Gaza in the treatment of patients with the coronavirus. This Israel-Gazan cooperation and coordination was hailed as “excellent” by the U.N.’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay Mladenov. The “global artists and writers” should take note that it is Israel, the object of their hysteria and hatred, that is providing the training, and the Palestinians who are receiving it, one more example of the largely unsung help Israel has extended to the people of Gaza.
Fourth, Gaza is not an “open-air prison,” but a place with shopping malls, luxury car dealerships, rooftop restaurants, and seaside villas. 5,000 Gazans are permitted to work in Israel. When there is relative calm, thousands more will be admitted as workers. They are not being held in an “open-air prison.”
Fifth, the sorry state of Gaza’s health care system has nothing to do with Israel. It is the result of the greed of Hamas leaders who have stolen billions of dollars, and of the choices those leaders made in spending billions more on weapons and terror tunnels. At least $12 billion has either been stolen or misspent on war-making; that money could have paid for everything the people of Gaza needed for their health care — medicines, medical equipment, medical personnel, and well-equipped hospitals.
The “global artists and writers” don’t want to hear any of that. Their minds are made up. They refuse to think things through. They fail to note that there have been no coronavirus deaths in Gaza, that Gaza is still “livable” in 2020 (despite those endless predictions that “by 2020, Gaza will be unlivable”), and that Israel has been doing its best to help the people of Gaza, who have been repeatedly betrayed by their own thieving leaders, during this pandemic. These “global artists and writers” exhibit, at best, a palpable want of sympathy for Israel, and at worst, some of them – though they would of course indignantly deny it – display a hatred that is pathological.
For this is what they demand:
“We back Amnesty International’s call on all world governments to impose a military embargo on Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law.”
Were such a worldwide military embargo on Israel to succeed, that would be equivalent to a death sentence for the Jewish state. It will never happen. But those who have signed this ignorant and vicious letter themselves deserve to undergo something that disrupts their comfortable careers – a siege, a blockade, a boycott, an embargo – whatever you think would, under the circumstances, be the most fitting.
To recap, three convicted members of the notorious Rochdale grooming gang, Abdul Rauf, Abdul Aziz and Adil Khan are still walking the streets of Rochdale nearly two years after they were stripped of their British citizenship prior to deportation back to Pakistan. Hearts of Oak together with its Rochdale partner Women Against Groomers have delivered a pre-action Letter to the Home Secretary Priti Patel at her office in Whitehall. In this they give notice that they are starting legal action to force her to deport these child rapists.
I come to bury Nazis, not to praise them. The evil they did lives after them. No good is interred with the bones of the villains.
The memories of the horrors of the German Nazi regime never end. Revelations of its activities and personnel keep coming. Two new such revelations have become public in the month of May 2020. One is the exact location of the graves in a Nazi extermination site was found on the outskirts of Chojnice in northern Poland. The other is previous unknown information of the capture and death of the notorious Heinrich Himmler.
Chojnice was a place where by mass shootings, beginning with three residents as early as September 15, 1939, two weeks after the German invasion of Poland, and continuing until January 1945, the Nazi SS executed 1,000 locals including 200 psychiatric patients. Recent systematic researchers found remains, bullet shells, clothing, buttons, cufflinks, medal fragments, in the outskirts of the town and in surrounding areas. Many of the bodies of the individuals who were shot and buried in ditches had been burned to hide the evidence of the deed. This massacre was considered part of the Nazi “action against the intelligentsia.” The SS had formed and used paramilitary groups, Selbstchutz, German nationals living in Poland, anxious to settle old disputes and to loot property, to help manage the people. Historians have long known that mass killing had taken place in the area, popularly known as “Death Valley,” but had not previously found the exact location, are now able to pinpoint it.
The second new revelation was the unearthing of the false papers used 75 years earlier by Heinrich Himmler, who was captured, disheveled and wearing an eye patch, by British army forces on May 22, 1945. Himmler was detained at Meinstadt near Bremervorde after the British found that he was using papers of a sergeant named Heinrich Hizinger which contained an official stamp that British intelligence knew was used by fleeing Nazi officials trying to evade arrest and punishment. After Hitler died, Himmler had escaped to Flensburg, then to a hideout in the Harz mountains. While he was being interrogated by British intelligence on May 23, Himmler took a cyanide pill hidden in his mouth and immediately died. The irony was that without the particular official stamp on his false papers Himmler might have escaped.
A bizarre end for an evil doer. Himmler, born in 1900 in Munich, son of a school teacher, was a a man with poor eyesight, had been an agricultural student, who at first joined the SA, the extreme paramilitary organization headed by Ernst Rohm, but he was soon attracted by Hitler’s oratory. Himmler was an early member of the Nazi party, which he joined in 1923, and took part in the failed abortive Beer Hall putsch in November 1923, led by Hitler and General Erich Ludendorff. Himmler was a prime mover of the arrest and death of Rohm and the end of the SA on the “night of the long knives” on June 30, 1934.
Himmler rose rapidly in the Nazi organization, becoming propaganda chief,1926-1930, and in 1929 head of the SS, Schutzstaffel, Hitler’s personal bodyguard. Under Himmler, the SS grew from a 290 man battalion to a paramilitary army of almost a million. He became president of the Gestapo secret state police in 1933, and set up Dachau, the first concentration camp. In 1936 he became head of the German police.
Himmler was not a military figure but a tough ruthless commander who used the SS to train dogs that could rip people apart. His official position was Reichsfuhrer of the SS, and he controlled almost two million SS troops, 300,000 Gestapo, and 30,000 concentration camp guards. He was ambitious. Among his plans, never fulfilled, were to make Holland an SS state and deport the entre Dutch population to the east, and another to set up after the war a Ukraine as a German colony.
Himmler will live in infamy as the director of the killing of six million Jews and perhaps as many as 500,000 Romani people, the implementor of the Final Solution, in charge of concentration camps, and of the use of gas in Auschwitz. The story is probably true that in 1941 he was present at the shooting of 100 Jews by firing squad in Minsk, and was sickened by it. He was concerned that if this method continued it might affect the mental health of his SS carrying out the deeds, and thought of alternative methods of killing, less painful for the sensibilities of his men, and thus used poison gas.
Realizing that Germany was losing the war, and concerned with self-survival, Himmler tried to reach a peace arrangement with the Allies. As a result, Hitler stripped him of all duties and his rank. But he had already made the most revealing forthright stark statement about his and the Nazi objectives in his three hour speech to SS officers in the Posen Castle in west Poland on October 4, 1943. He was absolutely clear. The Jewish race is to be exterminated. For the SS it was the hardest and most difficult of tasks. The Jewish people must be made to disappear from the face of the earth. He praised the SS for its work in the policy of extermination. “We have carried out this task for the love of our people, and we have suffered no defeat within us, in our soil, in our character.” But silence of the genocide was best, “We will never speak of it in public.”
In November 1944, in an effort to escape future punishment, Himmler ordered the gassing of Jews to be halted. But he was disobeyed by two other Nazi leaders, General Ernst Kaltenbrunner, fanatical Austrian antisemite who was chief of the RSHA, Main Security Office from January 1943 until the end of the War, and the General’s childhood friend, Adolf Eichmann.
Exactly sixty years ago, on May 24, 1960 David Ben Gurion in a short statement to the Knesset announced that Adolf Eichmann was in Israel under arrest and would shortly be placed on trial under the law for the trial of Nazis and their collaborators. Capital punishment has been outlawed in Israel except for crimes against the Jewish people and crimes against humanity, for which the penalty could be death.
After the war Eichmann fled. Germany. After a complex operation by Mossad and Shin Bet, Israeli security agency, he was abducted from Argentina where he was living in Buenos Aires using the false name of Ricardo Klement.
Eichmann was brought to Israel and appeared before a hearing in Jaffa where he admitted his true identity and was told he could obtain his own defense counsel. He was tried on 15 charges in a trial that was televised in Jerusalem District Court, and he testified behind a glass booth to protect him. Eichmann is unique, the only person to receive the death penalty in Israel. On May 31, 1962 he was hanged, his body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered on the sea, outside of Israeli territorial waters.
Eichmann, born in Solingen in Prussia but then a resident of Austria, had joined the Nazi party and the SS in 1932, and then the SD, security service, Sicherheitsdienst, of which he became the head, the department responsible for Jewish affairs. In 1938 in Vienna he helped organize Jewish emigration from Austria. In 1939 he was transferred to Berlin, and headed the Reich Central Office for Jewish emigration for the whole country
Eichmann arranged for Jews to be put in ghettoes in major cities. He was regarded by Reinhard Heydrich as the specialist in Jewish affairs, and became his special aide. One of his ideas, in August 1940, was a plan for resettlement in Madagascar of a million Jews a year for 4 years but this was not implemented. After the Wansee Conference on January 20, 1942, where the policy of genocide was decided, Eichmann became the liaison office for all institutions involved with that policy, and responsible for the deportation of Jews to extermination camps. He was officially in command of Division RSHA IV B 4 of the Gestapo, the agency responsible for Jewish affairs and deportations in German occupied Europe, to carry out the Final Solution. If not a policy maker, Eichmann was in charge of all operations. Like Mussolini, he made the trains run on time, and made sure they were used to transport Jews to their death despite the need to transport men and material for military reasons.
In fanatical fashion he was responsible for deportations in Hungary, April to August 1944, when he oversaw four transports of 3,000 Jews a day to Auschwitz, 437,000 were sent to their death. In spite of orders to stop the transports, Eichmann persisted, and sent additional trains from Budapest. He also forced thousands of Jews to march from Budapest to Vienna in July 1944.
At the same time In June 1944 Eichmann entered into negotiations with Rudolf Kasztner, Hungarian Jewish lawyer, to send 1685 Jews to safety in Switzerland, in change for diamonds, gold, and $1,000 a person. The train, which contained some of Kasztner’s relatives, left Budapest on June 30, 1944 while the deportations to Auschwitz were continuing. Kasztner was assassinated in Israel in 1957.
The Eichmann case raises questions, For many the controversy in this “goods for blood” transaction still exists: was Kasztner a hero or a collaborator? A more general issue is present as the result of the letter of May 29, 1962 written by Eichmann to Israeli President Itzhak Ben-Zvi, asking for pardon. He stated he detested the “greatest of crimes perpetrated against the Jews.” However, he suggested the “need to draw a line between the leaders responsible and the people like me forced to serve as mere instruments in the hands of the leaders. I was not a responsible leader, and as such do not feel myself guilty.”
Of course, Eichmann did not personally kill anyone or initiate the policy of the Final Solution. But he willingly implemented that policy with enthusiasm, visited Auschwitz on a number of occasions, helped select the site for the gas chambers and approved the use of Zyklon B, the cyanide gas used in extermination, and ensured the supply of victims for the Holocaust. Dayenu, that would be enough to justify a death sentence.
It's not an exciting Conservative leadership race, but I'd choose Peter MacKay
Neither O'Toole nor MacKay is exciting, but English-Canadian politicians rarely are, and excitement isn’t Canada’s national forte anyway.
by Conrad Black
Conservative party leadership front-runners Erin O'Toole, left, and Peter MacKay
Canada is now lumbered with an almost completely incompetent government, sustained in a lazy and virtual Parliament by a Dunciad of Quebec separatists and New Democrats. Even in the depths of an immense public health and economic crisis, it has made aid to corporations laid low by its over-extended economic shutdown conditional on adequately docile responses to the regime’s climate change catechism. This government’s blunderbuss response to the crisis has probably pushed the deficit projection to a completely unsustainable 20 per cent of GDP. The execution of the government’s plans has been left to inefficient public health officials, who monopolize testing for the coronavirus instead of entrusting that function to the country’s doctors. Though the financial assistance plans have been adequately generous, most are not well designed. There is no indication of any comprehensive plan for the reopening of the country’s economy. Most Canadians have been led to believe that COVID-19 kills many more than approximately one in every 5,000 people and among those beneath the age of 60 and in good health, only about one in 25,000. Each individual demise is a sadness, but this is not statistically significant. Nor is it much mentioned that in all age categories including those in their 70s and older, most people afflicted by the coronavirus have either no or minimal symptoms. We have, next to Japan and Germany, the best coronavirus record of any large northern hemisphere country whose numbers are believable. The government deserves some credit for that, but we are shirking our duty to help lead the entire world out of an attitude of excessive fear tainted by cowardice and into a more purposeful state.
The government’s performance should generate great interest in the selection of a new Opposition leader. But the Conservative leadership race is attracting little attention, including from the majority of potentially interesting candidates. The absence of Rona Ambrose, John Baird, Maxime Bernier, Jean Charest, Jason Kenney, Pierre Poilievre and Brad Wall, though often understandable, is a disappointment. Canada needs a strong alternative government. Of course the pandemic has overshadowed everything, but the Conservative problem has been aggravated by the most boring nomination process possible: ballots mailed in with a complicated preferential voting system will be determined by the operation of machines and announced with the absolute minimum possible incitement of public interest. Bring back live conventions.
Canada needs a strong alternative government
There are five candidates; the only ex-ministers are Peter MacKay (foreign affairs, defence, justice) and Erin O’Toole (veterans’ affairs) and one of them is almost certain to be the leader. The other three candidates, Jim Karahalios (twice disqualified, I mention him only in case he somehow tries again), Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan, are long-shot social conservatives. MacKay, 54, was leader of the old Progressive Conservative party and agreed to unification with the Canadian Alliance (Reform party), to reassemble a unitary Conservative party, in 2003. He was deputy party leader under former prime minister Stephen Harper, and a Nova Scotia MP for 18 years. O’Toole, 47, was a captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and has been the MP for Durham (Ontario) for eight years. Both men are lawyers; MacKay has the declared support of 39 MPs and O’Toole of 32.
All five candidates would permit private members to introduce bills to restrict abortion, but MacKay and O’Toole would vote against such measures, and MacKay would require cabinet members to vote against such restrictions, as well. Governments should not have, nor aspire to have, the right to inflict childbirth on a woman who does not wish to have a child. Abortions will occur and they should be sanitary and un-stigmatized. But it is morally offensive that the Liberals and other parties consider abortion to be an equivalent act to birth, a matter of “reproductive rights,” and attach no credence whatever to the concept of the rights of the unborn at any stage. The former leader of the Bloc Québécois, Gilles Duceppe, considered the Roman Catholic Church (which is chiefly responsible for the survival of the French language in Canada) to be an organized conspiracy against abortion rights. Religious freedom includes freedom from atheistic oppression. The Conservatives are the only federal party that evinces any concept of the inherent sanctity of life and the conceivable existence of a superhuman intelligence of any description; this is a matter of toleration and not of belief.
All five candidates want to end this government’s war on the oil and gas industries and build the economically sensible pipelines. MacKay and O’Toole, as well as Lewis, want to move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which should no longer be controversial. Lewis and MacKay want to reopen the office of religious freedom. MacKay, having seen as defence minister when that department took over the old Nortel buildings, how the Chinese had wired it up for industrial espionage by Huawei; wants to exclude China from the 5G networks, and O’Toole wants to emphasize economic, defence and cultural association with the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. Both are good ideas. All candidates wish to repeal the May 2020 firearm ban, and MacKay and Sloan seek some other liberalizations (they’re all right). MacKay wants to review the temporary worker program and Sloan wants to cut back immigration by 60 per cent (a bad idea that looks like vintage bigotry). O’Toole wants to end funding for the CBC English language television service (the French network is even more obnoxious, and we need a better public broadcaster, not an asphyxiated one). MacKay wants to build up Churchill, Man., as a port and naval base and seeks an enhanced early warning system in the North and promises to meet the two per cent GDP NATO target for defence spending (as does Sloan). These are all excellent proposals. MacKay and O’Toole want to retain Bill C-16, which protects gender expression and identity under the Human Rights Act (an absurd measure but a politically correct totem after all Trudeau’s gender nonsense; can’t we just agree that there are two sexes and all adults can sort out their own sexuality?) Lewis and Sloan want it repealed. All candidates want to abandon the carbon tax. Karahalios and Sloan want to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, and the fact that all of them are quiet on the environment incites hope that they would avoid the “green terror” being pursued by the present government. The best climate policy for Canada would be to contribute to serious neutral research on what actually is happening, since the fetishistic insistence on the “settled science” of “98 per cent of expert opinion” is bunk and there is no consensus on what is actually happening to the climate. There is nothing original from any of them about tax policy, private medicine or reform of international institutions.
The policy positions of the two viable candidates are not very original, apart from MacKay’s support of an increased military, but they are not reactionary either. MacKay is more experienced and is running as essentially a Mulroney-like candidate, more worldly and conservative than the Clark-Stanfield tradition, and more accessible to centrists than Harper. O’Toole, who was a centrist at the last leadership convention in 2017 when he came third behind Scheer and Bernier, is now seeking the Harper vote, and the mantle of the Reform wing. Generally, the Mulroney route is the way to victory; Harper could never win unless there were four parties and won his one majority in 2011 on the freakish defat of the Quebec Liberals by the NDP. (Brian Mulroney was the only Conservative leader except John A. Macdonald to win two or more consecutive full-term majorities — Robert Borden’s re-election in 1917 was a war-time coalition.) O’Toole has the advantage of speaking French with more ease and fluency than MacKay, who has made an effort and is not acoustically irritating in that language but could not be called bilingual.
Neither is exciting, but English-Canadian politicians rarely are, and excitement isn’t Canada’s national forte anyway. Peter MacKay is reliable and competent and more experienced, and unlike Harper, open to innovative suggestions. Erin O’Toole is an unknown quantity; he would be acceptable but if I were a delegate, I would, via Canada Post, cast my vote for Peter MacKay.
After a series of setbacks, supporters of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) face disappointing news: the “Islamophobia” battering ram has emerged as a stumbling block, causing an uproar within the party only three months ahead of its leadership convention. The party is set to pick a new leader in August, as Andrew Scheer resigned as CPC leader in December, two months after the Liberal government win in the federal election despite the “impressive” lineup of scandals plaguing Trudeau. These include ethics violations, the monumental SNC Lavalin corruption scandal, historicbig spending, a welcome matfor returning Islamic State fighters, the infamous Roxham Road illegal immigration debacle at the Quebec-US border that saw tens of thousands of illegal migrants swarm in, Trudeau’s internationally humiliating visit to India, and his repeated blackface antics. The big question was: why didn’t the official opposition Conservatives win, when the election was virtually handed to them? During the SNC Lavalin corruption scandal — which involved links to Libya — the Conservative party had a clear lead months before the fall 2019 general election.
Amid the myriad of possible reasons why the Conservatives frittered away this lead, a few basic reasons stand out: a lack of trusted leadership and a betrayal of democratic values, which eroded the Conservative support base and in fact fractured that base into two separate camps. Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, excoriating “extreme multiculturalism” and “fake Conservatives,” suddenly quit the party to form his own party, the People’s Party of Canada (PPC). With the PPC and the CPC both vying for their votes, many conservative Canadians were just too despondent to cast a ballot.
Then there were Andrew Scheer’s pre-election gaffes, which did not go over well with his support base. Two months prior to election day, a videosurfaced of Scheer pandering to an anti-Israel imam who supports wife-beating, among other questionable members of the Islamic community. The video in itself could not be blamed for eroding Scheer’s support, but it merely provided further evidence of a paramount concern within the conservative sector of Canadian society: that it was becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between the Conservatives and the Liberals.
Scheer also made headlines when he threw the Tory MP Michael Cooper out of a Commons committee hearing involving “online hate” after Cooper’s understandable confrontation with a Muslim witness who had become provocative. “Online hate” was one of the issues mentioned in the followup document to anti-Islamophobia Motion M-103, a document which promised to “monitor citizens for compliance.” Free speech is the cornerstone of democracies, and diversity of opinion is necessary, but Scheer established a troubling “cancel culture” within the Conservative Party. He fanned the flames of political correctness to the detriment of Canada, as Justin Trudeau drilled into Canadians that “we have a problem with Islamophobia.” Trudeau even accused the Conservative Party of “Islamophobia.” So a prevailing question arose in considering Scheer for Prime Minister: did he earn enough respect as a leader to challenge the leadership of Trudeau? Canada certainly answered that question on election day, despite the favorable polls Conservatives had enjoyed only months before in the face of Liberal corruption.
Now more bad news has emerged, revealing the same fear, division, lack of leadership and rancor that caused the parting of ways with Maxime Bernier. This time it centers around Jim Karahalios and MP Erin O’Toole, both contenders in the Conservative leadership race, that is, contenders up until recently. Karahalios has been forced out.
In March, Karahalios set off a firestormwhen he sent out a letter warning about O’Toole’s campaign manager Walied Soliman, a prominent lawyer. The subject line was “Say NO to Shariah Law. STOP Erin O’Toole.” The letter was in specific reference to a 2007 newspaper article in which Soliman promoted Islamic finance. This excerpt from the National Post gives a brief picture of the fallout:
“Mr. Karahalios’s bigotry will result in electoral obliteration for our Party,” said O’Toole in a statement on Wednesday. “For the sake of our Party — and respect for our members — every leadership candidate should join me (and Jason Kenney and Doug Ford) in condemning his disgraceful rhetoric.”
Soliman called it a “nasty email” in his own Twitter post. “It’s obvious he wants to get a rise out of me, but to be honest, all I feel towards Mr. Karahalios is pity,” he said.
Asked for comment, the Karahalios campaign responded that they are seen as a threat by other campaigns because they are “less than $100,000 away” from qualifying for the final ballot.
“Red Tories behave like Liberals, when you disagree with them they persecute you,” said an emailed statement.
The result: after qualifying to run, Karhalios was ejected by a subcommittee for engaging in “racist Islamophobic remarks that besmirched the expressed principles of the Conservative party.” Karahalios took the matter to court and was victorious; Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell overturned the ruling of the subcommittee on the grounds that “the decision was made by a subcommittee that didn’t have the authority to do so.” But a day later, Karahalios was yet again disqualified.
No conversation, no dialogue, no questions posed to Erin O’Toole, nor to his campaign chair Walied Soliman; only accusations of “Islamophobia” and “racism” against Karahalios.
A bit more about Walied Soliman: he was recognizedas a 2019 Global Citizen by the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) — a self-described Muslim Brotherhood-associated organization — and the United Nations Association in Canada. The MAC was one of the few organizations proudly to broadcast its Muslim Brotherhood roots, but only up until the last few years. It eventually deleted its own declaration from its website, ostensibly amid growing adverse publicity. On the About MAC section of its website was written this (in paragraph 2):
MAC roots are deeply enshrined in the message of Prophet Mohammad. It’s modern roots can be traced to the vigorous intellectual revivalist effort that took hold in Muslim societies starting in the early twentieth century. This revival aimed at reconciling faith with the challenges of modernity and providing a clear articulation of balance and moderation in understanding Islam. In the Arab world, this revival culminated in the writings of the late Imam Hassan al-Banna and the movement of the society of Muslim Brothers (commonly known as the Muslim Brotherhood). Al-Banna’s core messages of constructive engagement in society, focus on personal and communal empowernment, and organizational development had a deep impact on much of the Muslim world.
Here is a 2015 screenshot:
Guilt by association certainly should be eschewed, but the association between the MAC and the Muslim Brotherhood should raise questions in a free society in which people have a constitutional right to ask questions and give comments. There is enough information circulating to warrant at least some concern about Walied Soliman, and to call for an investigation of what his views might be about the Sharia, as well as about some of his controversial connections.
But discussions in Canada are now all but shut down on key issues involving Islam. Let’s have a brief look, however, at some possible questions: is it “racist” and “Islamophobic” to accuse someone of supporting the Sharia? If the answer is yes, then it implies that something is wrong with the Sharia. So does this then mean that Walied Soliman and Erin O’Toole view the Sharia in a negative light? After all, they have certainly distanced themselves from the implication of any association with the Sharia. So why not come out and make clear where they stand, instead of savaging Karahalios?
A second question might be: why would they not explain their positions on the issue of whether they support Sharia finance and more broadly, the Sharia in general? This is a fair question, no? Had they simply explained why they believed that Karahalios was mistaken and that they do not in any way or form endorse the Sharia, this would have sufficed, and deflected the firestorm that erupted. Instead, tempers flared, leaving the impression that there was something to hide, and Karahalios was sent packing. Very bad for optics.
What is erupting in the Conservative Party is disconcerting. But all is not lost. Another Conservative leadership contender, Derek Sloan, who is not too busy politicking to confront this explosive issue, stated:
“One thing that should put us Conservatives head and shoulders above the Trudeau Liberals is our commitment to respect grassroots democracy. This commitment must be demonstrated at every opportunity, especially in a leadership contest…….Well, today, another candidate’s fate is up in the air: Jim Karahalios.
A number of weeks ago, Jim Karahalios was denied the opportunity to run. This, in spite of LEOC [Leadership Election Organizing Committee] initially approving Jim’s entry into the race; in spite of Jim collecting the required 3000 signatures; and in spite of Jim raising the $300,000 entry fee…we know exactly why Jim Karahalios was evicted from the race.
One of the other leadership candidates didn’t like the contents of Jim’s campaign communications, and he then filed a complaint against Jim’s campaign. This complaint first led to a fine being levied against Jim’s campaign, and then, ultimately, to the disqualification of his candidacy altogether.
This was a huge overstep on the part of the members of LEOC who were involved. They were wrong in their disqualification of Jim Karahalios. Jim Karahalios has since gone to court to get reinstated as a candidate.
True, it shouldn’t be up to a judge as to who should be the next CPC leader. But it shouldn’t be up to LEOC, either. It should be up to the members of the Conservative Party of Canada. Should LEOC be censoring what candidates can and cannot say? No, they should not. Let the members decide. This is why we have elections. Candidates say things and the voters make their evaluations, and then they vote. Sure, Jim made statements that some people didn’t like, and not everyone may agree with him. Indeed, Jim even attacked me at one point, but I didn’t go crying to the party that I didn’t like what Jim said. Let Jim Karahalios run. Put Jim Karahalios back onto the ballot.”
Sloan has captured what is wrong with the Conservative Party of Canada, and what needs fixing.
And as for Walied Soliman and his promotion of Sharia finance, Soliman owes Canadians answers as to whether or not he supports Sharia financing and why; and whether or not he supports Sharia more broadly.
Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy, summarized the risk of supporting Sharia finance. He warned that it is “green-lighting a seditious system that supports jihad.” He further stated:
If you understand what Shariah is, you understand that it is a pretty awful system. Not something that you’d want insinuated in your society and becoming a major feature of your economic system…..Shariah (Islamic law as dictated by the Koran) governs all aspects of life, from the personal practice of the faith to how you relate to your family to how you relate to your business partners, to your community … all the way up to how the world is run, and it is all one seamless program. You can’t say ‘I’ll take the personal pietistic practice … and skip the beheading and the flogging and the stoning and the global theocracy.
Terrorism funding and the funneling of billions by Islamic banks to al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and other jihad groups is another related subject. Islamic finance also owes much of its foundation to jihadists, notably Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, a Pakistani Muslim scholar and Islamic jurist who was founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, and Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
As it stands of this writing, the fate of the Conservative leadership race hangs in the balance. Given the Conservative Party of Canada’s competitor, the People’s Party of Canada, and given the results of the last election, it is critical that sound leadership be restored to the party.
If the Conservative party has lost control over its own Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC), how does it expect to lead Canada, should it win in the next general election. How can it be equipped to confront interrelated national issues including immigration, the economy, national security, the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic supremacist groups, the abuse of multiculturalism and the identity politics that are tearing Canada apart, the UN Migration Pact, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the international front, among others?
Due to the lack of democratic principles foisted upon the Conservative Party by the LEOC, a general capitulation to the Islamic supremacist lobby that began under Andrew Scheer, and a fragmented conservative base, it looks as if Canada may well be headed for yet another Liberal government win, unless the Canadian conservative base manages to turn the ship around.
250 “Global Artists and Writers” Fear Coronavirus “Devastating” In Gaza, Want Military Embargo on Israel (Part 1)
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Even before getting to the story, let me lead with a singular datum that we should all keep in mind: until now, there have been only two recorded deaths from the coronavirus in the P.A.-run territories. And there have been no deaths in Gaza.
Two hundred and fifty “global artists and writers” (GAW) have signed on to one of those virtue-signalling collective appeals to Israel to “stop the siege of Gaza.” The story, from AFP, is here:
More than 250 global artists and writers including rocker Peter Gabriel, director Ken Loach and actor Viggo Mortensen have appealed to Israel to stop the “siege” of Gaza, saying the coronavirus epidemic could have a devastating effect in “the world’s largest open air prison.”
There is no “siege” of Gaza, but rather, a “blockade,” and a most incomplete one at that. The difference Is clear: a “blockade” means that goods of some kind are prevented from entering a territory. A siege means the opposite: an enemy is prevented from leaving a territory which is under attack, until that enemy finally surrenders.
The Israelis are not trying to return to Gaza. They were glad to leave the Strip. They just want to be free of rockets being fired into Israel, free of infiltration by Hamas or Islamic Jihad terrorists whose reason for being is to kidnap or kill Israelis. Why is that so hard for the “250 global artists and writers” to understand? Israelis are only trying to prevent the Gazans from killing them. They are trying to prevent the manufacture or acquisition of more weapons of war, including rockets and mortars, and to make it harder for the Gazans to construct bunkers and terror tunnels. That is why they have “blockaded” – that is, prevented from entering Gaza — certain goods that can be used for that manufacture of weapons and the construction of those terror tunnels and those bunkers.
Israelis are trying to prevent Hamas from firing rockets into southern Israel, and to keep its fighters from entering Israel to kill or kidnap soldiers and civilians, as that group has for years been attempting to do, both by means of the dozens of terror tunnels into Israel that its fighters have dug, and by their attempts, during the Friday installments of the Great March of Return that have gone on since March 30, 2018, to break through Israel’s security fence.
The word “siege” is much more alarming than “blockade.” It was chosen deliberately by these “global artists and writers”; it conjures up images of people being starved into surrender by an implacable and ruthless enemy. Most of us are put in mind of the greatest siege of modern times, that is, the Nazi siege of Leningrad between 1941 and 1944, when 800,000 residents of the city died. Gaza has never been under siege by Israel. Israel does not blockade food supplies. Nor does it “blockade” medicines or medical equipment. And if children in Gaza need advanced medical treatment, those Palestinian children are brought to Israeli hospitals. Israeli doctors associated with the Save A Heart organization have saved the lives of thousands of Palestinian children. Not exactly “siege-of-Leningrad” material.
The “global artists and writers” sound the alarm: “the coronavirus could have a devastating effect” on Gaza. Could. That same alarm has been sounded for the past four months without letup by those who want to force Israel to completely lift its blockade. But so far, in all of “Palestine” – that is, in both Gaza and the P.A.-ruled territories in the West Bank – there have been 376 confirmed cases and exactly two deaths. By comparison, in Israel there have been 16,607 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 671 deaths. Judging by these figures, it is not Gaza – where there have been zero deaths from coronavirus – where those “global artists and writers “should be worrying about a “devastating effect.”
And is Gaza, as these “global artists and writers” insist, an “open-air prison”? What kind of “open-air prison” has million-dollar houses for 600 of its best-connected “prisoners”? There are at least three large shopping malls in Gaza City alone, boasting that they have “international brands.” What kind of “open-air prison” has shopping malls? Have you heard of an “open-air prison” that has an Apple Mobile store? What “open-air prison” has rooftop restaurants promising “fine dining,” luxury car dealerships including one specializing in gleaming late-model Mercedes-Benz, massage therapists, spin classes, boutiques selling cashmere sweaters, Manolo Blahnik shoes, and designer jeans, resorts with Olympic-sized swimming pools, cabana boys, and private beaches – all of which you can find in Gaza?
It is not Israel that treats the Gazans as prisoners, but their own Hamas rulers, a class of thieves who steal the Strip blind, and violently suppress any signs of dissent. It is not Israel that tries to stifle economic development in Gaza. When the Israelis left Gaza in 2005, they handed over 3,000 greenhouses that they had built, and hoped that the Palestinians would continue to use, taking advantage of the already successful business of growing and selling flowers and fruits to the European market, and flourish even more. Instead, the Palestinians vandalized and destroyed those greenhouses, helping themselves to whatever they could find – like copper piping – of value. Is that Israel’s fault?
The Israelis also encouraged Gazans to work in Israel, where they were paid at least twice what they received from Arab employers at home. The number of work permits given to the Gazans has varied; in times of terror, fewer permits are granted; in periods of relative calm, more are allowed. In late 2019, Israel granted 5,000 Gazans permits to work in Israel, mainly in construction and agriculture. The Israelis, far from wishing to keep Gazans “imprisoned,’” would like to have still more Gazans working in their country, provided they can assure themselves, through intensive vetting, that those allowed in will not engage in terrorism. Israel wants the Gazans to be gainfully employed, and prosperous, in the hope that this will cut down on terrorism. It was the head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, who last February traveled to Qatar to persuade the Emir to continue to provide, periodically, cash payments to Hamas. That money allows Hamas to pay for fuel for the Strip’s power plant, pay its civil servants, and provide aid to tens of thousands of impoverished families. Israel was fundraising for the Gazans. What do the “global artists and writers” think of that?
Mosques across the country could start sounding the daily call to prayer through loudspeakers following a series of unofficial pilot programmes. Scores of communities were allowed to use public address systems to alert the faithful during the holy month of Ramadan, which ended last night.
Several councils gave permission for the call – known as the adhan – to be broadcast each evening to help followers keep in touch with their places of worship during the lockdown.
Mosque elders are now planning to apply to councils to make the adhan a permanent fixture after Ramadan.
Allama Sadiq Qureshi, who is an imam at the Minhaj-ul-Quran mosque in Newham, East London, said: 'We want this practice to continue in the future.
'But at the same time, we must be bothered about our neighbours, we need their permission. If they are happy, then we are going to start it.
'Just one symbolic adhan per day, if Newham council allow us. Just one adhan at the day time, at dhuhr [afternoon prayer], then it will be really good.'
He said the Newham Muslim Forum, a local umbrella body of mosques, is considering making the application after Ramadan
At least 25 mosques in London and dozens more across the country have joined over the past four weeks.
The initiative began when Kensington and Chelsea Council in London gave permission to the borough's biggest mosque, known as the Al-Manaar, to start broadcasting out the nightly reminder. Following that, Waltham Forest Council in North-East London allowed nine mosques in the borough to broadcast the adhan every evening and again on Friday afternoons to mark the beginning of the most important ceremonial prayer of the Muslim week, known as jumuah.
One of the biggest mosques in the borough, the Waltham Forest Islamic Association (WFIA), sounded the adhan loud enough for it to be heard within a one-mile radius. . . . Other mosques in the borough have placed concert-style speakers on their front doors to make the call. Yesterday, Raja Ilyas, the general secretary of the WFIA, said: 'My wish is that if we can recite adhan at least at jumuah or one time [per day],
Elsewhere, a cleric performed the adhan as a one-off outside the towers of Canary Wharf for the evening prayer. Other venues included Chesham, Buckinghamshire and Preston, Lancashire.
Until now, most mosques in Britain have been banned from using loudspeakers on noise pollution grounds.
The Muslim call to prayer rang out for the first time in public in Southampton. At 1.30pm today the call to prayer was played from the Medina Mosque in Compton Walk to mark the last Friday of Ramadan.
General secretary for the Muslim Council of Southampton, Rashid Islam said: "The message is to stay at home. The mosques have been closed during the pandemic. We have been working tirelessly and the Muslim community has come together to support each other.
"Other cities across the UK have been holding call to prayers so we decided to ask permission from the city council."
The call to prayer today was hoped to help the community feel "uplifted" during the health crisis and to act as a unified voice.
Maidenhead mosque to broadcast call to prayer on Sunday
Maidenhead mosque will broadcast the symbolic call to prayer on Sunday - but the doors of the mosque will remain closed to members. The council has worked with the Islamic Trust in Maidenhead to allow it to broadcast the Adhaan on Eid day.
Saghir Ahmed, chairman of the Islamic Trust said it would provide 'much solace' to the community during a challenging time. The call to prayer will take place at 1.30pm and last approximately five minutes but no prayers will take place in the building due to social distancing rules.
A large number of people gathered in the city centre for Nottingham's very first call to prayer.
The adhan - the Islamic call to prayer - was broadcast through speakers from 1.30pm on Friday, May 22 at the Nottingham Islamic Centre and Nottingham Central Mosque in Curzon Street.
More than 50 people arrived for the "iconic" event, but social distancing was generally adhered to as people remained in their cars or in household groups on the pavement.
In Thurrock in Essex it wasn't the call to prayer the Muslim community wanted from the council, it was a cemetery. And barely a month later they got it. From the Thurrock Nub News
A PRIVATE blessing of a Muslim burial site in West Thurrock took place earlier today (Friday, 22 May) as Thurrock Council prepares for Muslim burials to commence in the borough for the first time in the coming weeks.
The blessing took place just weeks after West Thurrock councillor Qaisar Abbas called for the authority to sanction such a site in a story on Thurrock Nub News. Today Cllr Abbas joined borough Mayor Cllr Terry Piccolo and five faith leaders in blessing the land, on Sandy Lane in West Thurrock, with all attendees adhering to social distancing in line with government advice.
Cllr Abbas said: “We have been working with the council to introduce Muslim burials within Thurrock, with this new service expected to commence in the near future.
Nearby London Borough of Newham. And we are wondering when the new Muslim mayor will impliment the order to clear the "mega-mosque" site at long last. From the Newham Recorder
Mosques in Newham are broadcasting Islamic calls to prayer for the first time. Nineteen mosques in Newham will broadcast the call, known as the Adhaan, from Friday, May 15 until the end of Ramadan on Saturday, May 23.
Newham Council gave permission for a short Adhaan to be performed every day to mark the breaking of the fast and on Fridays at about 1.30pm, because worshippers cannot attend mosques during the lockdown.
The call will also include a message reminding worshippers to stay at home during the pandemic.
This reminder has offended certain members of the religion of perpetual offence and victimhood. From Al jazeera
UK: 'Stay at home for Eid' messages slammed as patronising
Adverts posted by the UK government online urging British Muslims to stay home and observe the religious festival of Eid at home have been criticised as a display of “double standards” in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Interesting to know if the UK government was sponsoring messages on celebrating VE Day at home
If you follow the link you will see he gets put to rights by those replying to his tweet, including some Muslims, one of whom is from Kuwait who has also been told to celebrate Eid at home.
But getting the call to prayer, grumbling about being treated the same as Christians who couldn't celebrate Easter as we normally do (Good Friday Walk of Witness cancelled, traditional Passion plays on the town square or village green cancelled, no worship in Church, or outside, no bells, no bank holiday secular fun.... ) isn't enough.
A mosque leader in Bradford has taken legal action against the government over lockdown restrictions on Friday prayers due to coronavirus. Under the rules, places of worship must remain shut, with a few exceptions.
Tabassum Hussain, from the Jamiyat Tabligh-ul-Islam Mosque, argued the ban was "unlawful" and has been given the go ahead for a High Court challenge.
In court documents, the government said the measures were justified by the need to "protect life and public health".
During a High Court hearing on Thursday, where permission was granted for Mr Hussain's challenge to go ahead to a judicial review, it was argued the restrictions were a breach of Mr Hussain's human rights to practise his religion.
In documents before the court, Ms Brimelow (for the Bradford Mosque) said: "The regulations not only prohibit an obligatory aspect of Islam, but they have done so at a highly symbolic moment, namely during the holy month of Ramadan when the importance of strict religious observance is attenuated."
In his ruling, judge Mr Justice Swift said he could "appreciate and sympathise" with Mr Hussain's frustration but declined to grant an urgent injunction that would have allowed prayers to take place at the mosque on Friday, ahead of the end of Ramadan.
The judge said it was no longer simply a prohibition on communal Friday prayers during the period of Ramadan but a "more general challenge" on the effect of the rules on "the ability to conduct Friday prayers".
Sir James Eadie QC, representing the Department for Health and Social Care, said in court documents the "undisputed interference" with the ability of people to attend their place of worship was "justified and proportionate by the need to protect life and public health". He said any changes to lockdown rules involve matters of judgment, adding "the advice in a nutshell is the virus is highly contagious and particularly easy to spread in gatherings of people and indoors".
Truly if given an inch, this creed will take a mile, and an extra mile again.
America is a much richer country than China, with a more motivated ethos, comparatively well-functioning institutions, and the advantages of a free society, an enterprise economy, and serious allies.
by Conrad Black
In the immense and multifaceted controversy over the coronavirus pandemic, and in the midst of tumultuous pre-electoral events in the United States, the role of the Chinese government in inflicting this economic and public health disaster on the world has been the subject of comparative restraint.
Were it not for these other preoccupations in this American election year, and expert research confirmed official Chinese complicity, by negligence or malice, in the generation of the pandemic, with the complicity of the World Health Organization, there would be some danger of an intemperate response.
I have no standing to make scientific judgments but my canvass of those more knowledgeable on the subject indicates that it is extremely unlikely that this was a naturally occurring virus; it seems to have emerged, presumably accidentally, from the viral research center in Wuhan.
It is difficult to put an acceptable face on the conduct of the Chinese government in recognizing the gravity of the problem by isolating Wuhan within China while not curtailing extensive direct air contact between Wuhan and many foreign countries, or even disclosing candidly and promptly the gravity of the problems that occurred. Published Chinese figures about the pandemic in China are obviously fictitious.
Being as positive as reasonably possible, it seems that the Chinese were experimenting with a range of dangerous viruses, and that this one escaped unintentionally, and the highest levels of the Chinese government determined to deny what was happening, thereby assuring the infection of much of the world. If this was deliberate Chinese government policy from the start, it was an act of war; though it could not be responded to with outright hostilities.
China’s Fatal Overconfidence
It seems a reasonable surmise that the Chinese had succumbed to the frequent habit of those with aggressive ambitions of believing what they wished to believe. Moreover, they appear to have assumed the United States and the West generally would continue to tolerate immense trade deficits, the endless theft of intellectual property, systematic Chinese violations of international law in international waters, the creeping takeover of underdeveloped countries through a corrupt program of loans, and generally the “Belt and Road” program of expanding Chinese hegemony throughout East and South Asia and Africa.
The traditional Chinese posture, even in the periods of Chinese decline and exploitation by foreign powers, was disparagement of foreigners and a comprehensive lack of interest in them, serene national self-confidence, and the Chinese leadership seems to have assumed that the West would not respond effectively to any provocation.
There has never in the history of the nation-state been anything like the almost simultaneous bifurcation in radically different directions of two leading world powers about 40 years ago. As the Soviet Union relaxed its dictatorship while maintaining its collectivist economy, China maintained its totalitarian dictatorship but transformed its economy to one of state capitalism, albeit with considerable retention of a command economy. In these last 40 years, all the world has seen the Soviet Union quickly disintegrate and the international Communism that had threatened the West in the Cold War die with it, as China has risen to be the most formidable economic rival the United States has had since before World War I. The leaders of China are over-confident.
Whether the coronavirus pandemic was premeditated or of accidental origin but magnified by malice and negligence, it was a very serious strategic error by China. While there has been considerable Democratic congressional support for President Trump’s policy of identifying the Chinese threat—as well as requiring the end of practically unlimited trade deficits, theft of industrial and technological intelligence, misuse of the extensive Chinese presence in American universities, bribing and bullying of American industries with threats of ending access to the Chinese market, and a steadily more assertive foreign policy in the Far East and Africa—before coronavirus there was still a broad consensus including almost all of the Democratic Party that the best policy toward China was President Obama’s appeasement of Beijing. This was based on the assumption that China eventually would succumb to the temptations of consumerist democracy and grow into a state of rules-based coexistence with the West. Lately, even Joe Biden, who opened his campaign with bland assurances that China was no danger to the United States, seems (with the help of the polls) to be outgrowing that delusion.
China shows no signs whatever of seeking vast military conquest as Nazi Germany did, nor of using an ideological basis for attempting to undermine the West in the world and build an alliance on ostensibly Marxist principles as the Soviet Union did. China’s advance is traditional Han Chinese nationalism enabled and lubricated by what leaders in Beijing imagine to be an original method of using state capitalism to suborn and dominate resource-rich underdeveloped countries and, by focus and discipline, to out-distance and overawe what they have effortlessly convinced themselves is a flabby and irresolute West led by an erratic and hedonistic America. But underestimating America’s determination to maintain its position would be a grave mistake (as Japan, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union learned to their regret).
America Has Many Strong Cards to Play
In cooperation with all of the other aggrieved countries (approximately 120 have demanded to know how the pandemic began), the United States must seek and reach a consensus on the level of China’s duplicity in propagating this pandemic. Then it must lead the insertion of a military presence in the international waters around China to ensure that Chinese sovereignty is not imposed upon the freedom of the seas in the Far East.
If the existing tariff replacement agreement is ratified and observed by China, the United States must still rigorously enforce the end of the systematic Chinese technological theft. The United States must end Chinese espionage and propagandistic activities around American universities and encourage its allies to do the same and, if appropriate, roll back the number of student visas issued to the Chinese. It must strictly enforce the policy that already officially exists against the acquisition of American commercial interests that could be harmful to the U.S. national interest and must repatriate the manufacture of everything that is strategic either by its essential nature or because of the extent of its commercial significance.
China must be deterred from abusing the international organizations that it has been allowed to join but whose rules it has not observed, and China’s neighbors which resent the People’s Republic’s overbearing influence must be leagued together in defensive arrangements to resist commercial and political aggression. The example of Myanmar (Burma), is indicative of China’s propensity to overplay its hand: the Chinese so over-asserted themselves that the country dispensed with the military regime that had indulged Beijing and effectively threw the Chinese out, bag and baggage.
There is no shortage of Americans, especially in Hollywood and the American media, who are eager to salute China as a super-state exposing the corruption and venality of Trumpian America and urging what amounts to a policy of submission to Chinese leadership. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of Americans, given a clear policy choice, will reject any such cowardly and shameful course.
The United States is a much richer country than China, with a more motivated ethos, comparatively well-functioning institutions, and the advantages of a free society, an enterprise economy, and serious allies.
The president is right to try to preserve the existing trade arrangements and build on them, and he is right to be thorough in determining how this pandemic was unleashed. He is right to make it clear that Chinese conduct is unacceptable and that America and its allies have the ability to discourage and punish it.
As soon as the political fireworks end and the U.S. president for the next four years is identified, a national and international consensus should be built quickly behind all of these objectives. Everyone accepts that China is a great nation and a great development story, but the West and the United States, in particular, should be submissive to no one.