Saturday, March 14, 2020

Israel plans to use counter-terrorism tools to stop spread of coronavirus - Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman

by Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman

Culture and leisure spaces to close down as COVID-19 patients near 200.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he delivers a speech at his Jerusalem office, regarding the new measures that will be taken to fight the coronavirus, March 14, 2020 (photo credit: GALI TIBBON POOL/REUTERS)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he delivers a speech at his Jerusalem office, regarding the new measures that will be taken to fight the coronavirus, March 14, 2020
Israel is going to use counter-terrorism technologies to track coronavirus carriers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday as the government enacted new restrictions including the closure of all restaurants, cafes and theaters, and called for offices to have employees work from home.“We are at war with an enemy: the coronavirus,” the prime minister said, “an invisible enemy.”
Netanyahu said that he had been given the green light by the Justice Ministry to use Intelligence tracking tools to digitally monitor coronavirus patients without asking them, which the prime minister admitted Saturday night infringes on personal privacy. But he argued that by using these means, “we will be able to see who they were with, what happened before and after [they were infected], and we will be able to isolate the coronavirus and not the entire country.

"We are one of the few countries with this capability, and we will use it,” he said. "We must do everything, as a government and as citizens, to not become infected and not to infect others.”

As the number of coronavirus patients in the country neared 200 at press time, the government rolled out further restrictions that would go into effect Sunday morning. Kindergartens, nurseries and daycares and all recreational and leisure establishments will close. Workplaces will remain open, but staff will be asked to work from home. Gatherings will be limited to no more than 10 people.

And the prime minister stressed the importance of personal hygiene and that people stay a minimum of two meters apart from one another.

Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman


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China hints at denying Americans life-saving coronavirus drugs - Barnini Chakraborty

by Barnini Chakraborty

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio warns of the risk posed by China's control of the drug market and explains what can be done

Now that the number of new people infected with the coronavirus in China is slowing down, the country's Communist Party is ratcheting up threats against the West, with a particularly nasty warning about access to life-saving drugs aimed at the United States.

In an article in Xinhua, the state-run media agency that's largely considered the mouthpiece of the party, Beijing bragged about its handling of COVID-19, a virus that originated in the city of Wuhan and has spread quickly around the world, killing nearly 5,000 people and infecting thousands more. The article also claimed that China could impose pharmaceutical export controls which would plunge America into "the mighty sea of coronavirus."


The disturbing threats made during a global pandemic as well as the scary consequences if that threat becomes real highlight just how tight China's grip is on the global supply chain. Already, the Food and Drug Administration has announced the first drug shortage related to the coronavirus. Though it did not disclose which drug was in short supply, the FDA did say it could not access enough raw components needed because they are made in China.

That doesn't come as a surprise to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, who told Fox News on Thursday that America is "dangerously reliant" on China for the production of critical goods, including parts for technologies needed to fight COVID-19.



Though the United States is a global leader in research, much of the manufacturing of life-saving drugs has moved overseas. The last American manufacturing plant to make a key component in penicillin shuttered in 2004. Since then, Chinese pharmaceuticals companies have moved in and taken over, supplying between 80 percent and 90 percent of U.S. antibiotics, 70 percent of acetaminophen and about 40 percent of heparin, according to Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.


If China makes good on its threat to cut off the United States, Rubio believes the results could be crippling.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide on Thursday went up to 124,518, up from 118,162 cases the day before. In China, there are 80,980 confirmed cases. Italy saw a 22.7 percent jump to 12,462 from 10,149. Iran is hovering close to a 12 percent increase while cases in Qatar jumped 991 percent to 262 cases from 24. In the United States, there are more than 1,300 confirmed cases spread across 44 states and the District of Columbia.

People wearing protective face masks wait in a queue to get temperature check before entering a bank in Beijing, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. For most, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for a few, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia. 

People wearing protective face masks wait in a queue to get temperature check before entering a bank in Beijing, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. For most, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for a few, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia.  (AP)

As the rest of the world scrambles to contain the virus and protect its citizens, China has been busy casting itself in the role of global hero going so far as to demand a thank you for containing the virus as long as it did.

"We should say righteously that the U.S. owes China an apology, the world owes China a thank you," an editorial in Xinhua read.

Rubio said Beijing's comments should concern all Americans and that China is keenly aware that in a moment of crisis "they can threaten to cut us off from our pharmaceutical supplies, they could trigger a domestic problem here that would make it difficult or us to confront them."

"It's a tremendous amount of leverage," Rubio said.

Barnini Chakraborty


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Coronavirus: European Leaders Finally Acknowledge Scale of Crisis - Soeren Kern

by Soeren Kern

We can't view the epidemic in terms of our personal risk, we need to act collectively in a cooperative manner..." — Dr. Richard Hatchett.

Translations of this item:
  • The number of new coronavirus cases in Europe has been doubling, on average, every 72 hours.
  • "It has increased in some countries over the last two weeks by one thousand... There is nothing to stop that expansion... unless those societies move aggressively... including introducing social distancing.... We need to modify our behavior. We need to start practicing that now. We have to modify our behavior in ways that reduces the risk of transmitting the virus...." — Dr. Richard Hatchett, Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
  • "I think we need to start thinking in terms of the social risk. If I have a cold and I go to work and shake hands with my older colleague who has a chronic medical condition, I could be responsible for that colleague's death. We all need to think about our responsibility to each other as we govern our behavior. We can't view the epidemic in terms of our personal risk, we need to act collectively in a cooperative manner..." — Dr. Richard Hatchett.
  • Merkel said that her government's top priority was to slow down the contagion to prevent a collapse of the German healthcare system.

After months of complacency, European leaders are beginning to acknowledge the scale of the unfolding coronavirus crisis. The number of new infections in Europe has been doubling, on average, every 72 hours. More than 30,000 people have tested positive for the disease, and 4% of them have died (as of March 12). Pictured: A man receives assistance at a pre-triage medical tent in front of a hospital in Cremona, Italy, on March 4, 2020. (Photo by Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images)

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has now reached more than 45 countries in Europe, where (as of March 12) more than 30,000 people have tested positive for the disease, according to a Gatestone Institute tally based on calculations from European health ministries.

The disease is spreading fast: more than 28,000 coronavirus cases (93% of all cases) in Europe were confirmed during just the first twelve days of March. The number of new cases has been doubling, on average, every 72 hours.

Italy is Europe's worst-affected country, followed by Spain, France and Germany. Twelve other European countries have reported coronavirus cases in the triple digits: Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Austria, Greece, the Czech Republic, Finland and Iceland.

In Europe as a whole, more than 1,200 people — 4.0% of those confirmed as having been infected — have died from COVID-19.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), in a risk assessment, warned that the actual number of COVID-19 cases in Europe could be far higher due to under-detection, particularly among mild or asymptomatic cases that do not lead to a visit to the hospital.

In an interview with Britain's Channel 4 news, Dr. Richard Hatchett, Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a Norway-based international alliance for developing vaccines against infectious diseases, explained the long-term dangers of the COVID-19, not only for Europe, but globally:
"The threat is very significant... There are many epidemiologists who talk about the potential of the virus in terms of attack rates globally that could be between 50% and 70% of the global population.
"It is important to recognize that the virus is here and that it has tremendous potential to be disruptive, to cause high rates of illness and even high rates of death....
"I don't think we are dealing with the flu here... this is a virus that is now circulating in a population that has absolutely no immunity to it.... You might have an attack rate that is three times higher than seasonal flu with a mortality rate that is ten times higher.
"The most concerning thing about this virus is the combination of infectiousness and the ability to cause severe disease or death. We have not since 1918 — since the Spanish flu — seen a virus that combined those two qualities in the same way. We have seen very lethal viruses — Ebola's mortality rate in some cases is greater than 80% — but they don't have the infectiousness that this virus has. They don't have the potential to explode and spread globally....
"I think that what we are seeing is a virus that is many, many times more lethal than the flu, and a population that is completely vulnerable to it, and we are seeing its ability to explode. It has increased in some countries over the last two weeks by one thousand-fold and many countries are seeing ten-fold or one hundred-fold increases in cases. There is nothing to stop that expansion from continuing unless those societies move aggressively, engage their publics, implement multiple public health interventions, including introducing social distancing....
"We need to modify our behavior. We need to start practicing that now. We have to modify our behavior in ways that reduces the risk of transmitting the virus.... One challenge that we face is that people who are young and are generally healthy won't perceive personal risk and they will govern their behavior based on what they perceive their personal risk to be. I think we need to start thinking in terms of the social risk. If I have a cold and I go to work and shake hands with my older colleague who has a chronic medical condition, I could be responsible for that colleague's death. We all need to think about our responsibility to each other as we govern our behavior. We can't view the epidemic in terms of our personal risk, we need to act collectively in a cooperative manner....
"I don't think it's a crazy analogy to compare this to World War 2... I think this is an appropriate analogy and the mindset that people need to get into....
"We don't see any way that a vaccine can be available much more rapidly than 12 to 18 months, and even it if were to be available in 12 and 18 months, that would literally be the world record for developing and delivering a vaccine. We would not have seven billion doses of that vaccine in 12 months.
"This is a virus that is going to be with us for some time. There are many epidemiologists who believe that this virus is likely to become globally endemic and be with us in perpetuity.... I think this is a virus that we are going to be dealing with for years.
"This is the most frightening disease that I have ever encountered in my career. That includes Ebola, MERS and SARS. It's frightening because of the combination between infectiousness and a lethality that appears to be many-fold higher than flu."
After months of complacency, European leaders are beginning to acknowledge the scale of the unfolding crisis.

In Germany, Europe's most populous country, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her first public comments on the coronavirus, warned that more than two-thirds of the population — 58 million people — could get infected. During a press conference on March 11, nearly three weeks after the crisis in Germany began, she admitted:
"The virus has arrived in Europe, it is here, and we must all understand that. As long as there is no immunity in the population, no vaccines and no therapy, then a high percentage of the population — experts say 60% to 70% — will become infected."
Merkel said that her government's top priority was to slow down the contagion to prevent a collapse of the German healthcare system. Nevertheless, Germany has not implemented social distancing measures such as those in other European countries, including Italy, Spain and France.

In Britain, a leaked government report estimated that in a worst-case scenario, up to 80% of the population — 53 million people — could become infected with the coronavirus, and that half a million Britons could die from COVID-19. A survey conducted by The Doctors' Association UK, a trade association for British doctors, found that only 1% of doctors in the country believe that the National Health Service is prepared to deal with a major outbreak of coronavirus.

In Ireland, one of Europe's smaller countries with only 4.8 million inhabitants, healthcare officials said that 40% of the population — 1.9 million people — will almost certainly become infected with the coronavirus. Most of those would become sick within a three-week concentrated burst, which would place "intense pressure" on the healthcare system. Those figures were effectively confirmed by Paul Reid, CEO of the Health Service Executive (HSE), which manages the delivery of all public health services in Ireland.

In Spain, where the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus has increased exponentially in recent days, hospitals are overwhelmed and the healthcare systems in the most affected regions are in danger of collapse. In Andalusia and the Basque Country, hundreds of doctors and nurses have been quarantined to prevent hospitals from becoming centers of infection.

In Madrid, the head of the regional government, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, said that medical professionals expected a significant increase in coronavirus cases this coming weekend and that the spread of the virus would peak over the next three weeks.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron said that the coronavirus epidemic was the country's worst health crisis in a century and announced that schools throughout the country would close indefinitely beginning next week. "We are just at the beginning of this crisis," Macron said. "In spite of all our efforts to break it, this virus is continuing to propagate and to accelerate."

In Italy, more than 12,000 people are infected with coronavirus. On March 9, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered a nation-wide lockdown. The quarantine of Europe's third-most populous country, with 60 million inhabitants, bans non-essential travel to, from and within Italy; prohibits all public events; and requires that people maintain a distance from each other of at least one meter (three feet). The restrictions were subsequently extended: all restaurants and bars, as well as all stores, except for grocery stores and pharmacies, have been ordered closed.

Dr. Daniele Macchini, who works at the Humanitas Gavazzeni hospital in Bergamo, ground zero of the coronavirus crisis in Italy, warned about the dangers of complacency:
"After thinking for a long time if and what to write about what is happening to us, I felt that the silence was not at all responsible. I will therefore try to convey to people more distant from our reality, what we are experiencing in Bergamo during these pandemic days from Covid-19.
"I myself looked with some amazement at the reorganization of the entire hospital in the previous week, when our current enemy was still in the shadows: the wards slowly 'emptied,' the elective activities interrupted, the intensive therapies freed to create as many beds as possible. All this rapid transformation brought into the corridors of the hospital an atmosphere of surreal silence and emptiness that we still did not understand, waiting for a war that was yet to begin and that many (including me) were not so sure would ever come with such ferocity.
"Well, the situation is now nothing short of dramatic. No other words come to mind. The war has literally exploded, and the battles are uninterrupted day and night. One after the other, the unfortunate people come to the emergency room. What they have is much more than the complications of a flu. Let's stop saying it's a bad flu.
"Now, however, that need for beds in all its drama has arrived. One after another, the departments that had been emptied are filling up at an impressive rate. The display boards with the names of the sick, of different colors depending on the operating unit they belong to, are now all red and instead of the surgical operation there is the diagnosis, which is always the damn same: bilateral interstitial pneumonia. Now, tell me which flu virus causes such a rapid tragedy?
"An epidemiological disaster is taking place. There are no more surgeons, urologists, orthopedists, we are only doctors who suddenly have become part of a single team to face this tsunami that has overwhelmed us."
On March 11, U.S. President Donald J. Trump announced a 30-day ban on continental Europeans traveling to the United States. "The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots," Trump said. "As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe." The restrictions, which will go into effect at midnight on March 13, will not apply to the United Kingdom, and exemptions will be made for U.S. citizens. "This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history," he said.

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.


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Ingredients of COVID-19 mega-disaster brewing in Syria as Erdogan threatens to push Syrian refugees into Europe - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

"Given the really horrible conditions, I think it would be a miracle if these displaced Syrians do not contract coronavirus," Aykan Erdemir

You could not concoct a worse scenario for a pandemic catastrophe than what is unfolding Syria. Start with a regime that depends on troops sent from Iran, where satellites detect trenches being bulldozed for bodies felled by the plague of COVID-19. Add the bombing of hospitals by that same regime and secretiveness to the point of punishing doctors who speak out about the coronavirus. Then consider millions of refugees living in close quarters in camps and others fleeing their chaotic and impoverished homeland into Turkey, whose leader wants to send them into Europe.

Snowy Syrian refugee camp near Turkey border last December.
(YouTube screen grab.)

Joel Gehrke reports in The Examiner that MedGlobal founder Zaher Sahloul, whose organization provides aid to refugees, believes that at least 2,400 cases are being hidden by the regime, and:
"Their thinking within the regime is that, if they volunteer this information, then that puts them under more pressure from their supporters," he said. "There is all this pattern in Syria of covering up these issues or delaying the information until it gets out of control."
Assad's regime maintains that the country has no coronavirus cases, but officials in Pakistan say that some of the confirmed cases in their country originated in Syria. Some analysts believe that Iranian forces have carried the virus to Syria, as Tehran is providing the regime with ground troops even as American officials believe that the Iranian military is hampered by one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world.
"Iran sits in the middle of the theater, so their ability to pass that infection to other states is very worrisome," Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week. "I would say, it's going to have some effect on the military instrument."
That military traffic is augmented by religious tourism, as Syria hosts holy sites in cities throughout regime-controlled territory. And the danger is exacerbated by Assad's decision, with Russian military support, to attack hospitals in his campaign to regain control of the country.
The only positive factor is that the millions of refugees in camps in Idlib do not get many visitors from outside, so they may not be exposed to the virus yet. But should it enter the camps, people living in densely packed conditions under material deprivation could fall to the virus in huge numbers and suffer high rates of mortality.
"Given the really horrible conditions, I think it would be a miracle if these displaced Syrians do not contract coronavirus," Aykan Erdemir, a former Turkish parliamentarian and senior analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Washington Examiner. "All three — meaning the Syrian regime and Russian and Iranian forces — have proven their complete indifference to such humanitarian worries."
Hat tip: Ed Lasky.

Thomas Lifson


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Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address - Bruce Bawer

by Bruce Bawer

"I admit it, my fellow Belgians: I am not playing with a full deck."

Introductory note: After his latest round of primary triumphs, not only is Joe Biden confident that he will receive the Democratic nomination for president; he is so certain that he will be elected in November that he has already written his inaugural address. Someone close to the Biden campaign leaked the text of the speech to me, and the editors of Front Page Magazine have decided that it is in the public interest to publish it in its entirety. Okay, full disclosure: the person who leaked the text to me was Biden himself, who actually thought he was handing me a sandwich. – B.B.

President McKinley, Vice President Tyler, King Vidor, Queen Latifah, Duke Ellington, Earl Warren, Baron Trump, Judge Reinhold, ladies and gentlemen and others: this is a day that will live in infamy.

Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Four score and seven years ago I was born in the house my father built, although I can’t recall the address. Today it seems to me providential that Fate should have chosen Braunau on the Inn as my birthplace.

You may have gathered that an iron curtain has descended upon my brain. The mystic chords of my memory are on the fritz and then some. I have slipped the surly bonds of sanity. Old soldiers never die, they just fade away, and though I was never a soldier I am definitely headed south, cerebrum-wise.

But don’t cry for me, Argentina. Ich bin ein Hamburger. And a Frankfurter. And a spring roll. With Bosco! Mmm, Bosco!

I will little note nor long remember what I say here. In fact I’ve already forgotten what I’m saying now and what I’ll say next. I can’t tell my wife from my sister, which was embarrassing onstage and even more embarrassing when we were staying at a hotel one night on the campaign trail.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I’m daffy. I’m dotty. I’m gaga. Lady Gaga! Ra-ra-ah-ah-ah! Roma-roma-ma! Gaga, ooh la-la!

Since my mind has gone totally blank, I have nothing to offer but Blood, Sweat and Tears. Not to mention the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, the Nicholas Brothers, the Casa Loma Orchestra, and the Beach Boys.

Yes, once more onto the beach, dear friends! Bring your surfboards. Surfin’ USA! I wish you all could be California girls. Even the boys! And the trans boys and girls! Welcome to the Hotel California! Beach Blanket Bingo!

The beaches! Men of Athens, I vow to you this day that I shall fight on the beaches, I shall fight on the landing grounds, I shall fight in the fields and in the streets, I shall fight in the hills, against all the neurologists who have begged me not to accept the office of president of these United States of Brazil. I will fight no more forever!

I admit it, my fellow Belgians. I am not playing with a full deck. The lights are on but nobody’s home. The elevator is no longer going to the top floor, and it was never a particularly tall building to begin with.

But that doesn’t matter to me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. With Corn Pop. And Cocoa Pops. That would be Mount Everest, of course, the peak of which was first reached by my dear friend Hillary Clinton.

Granted, I have the body of a weak, feeble woman. But I have the heart and stomach of a king – and of a King of England, too! And I will not let them crucify mankind upon a cross of gold! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me the blue plate special with fries. French fries! Vive le Québec libre!

By the end of this decade we will send a man to Poughkeepsie. Have you seen the hair on my legs? I have a dream that one day in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers, and I will be able to fondle all of them!

Now, you may want to know whether or not your new President is a crook. Well, I am a crook. Let every nation know that I will oppose any friend and support any foe to assure their survival and success, provided one of my relatives gets a piece of the action. Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what your new president can do for Burisma.    

Mr. Gorbachev, give me liberty or give me… you know the, you know the thing!

* * *
Photo by Gage Skidmore

Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of many books, including While Europe Slept and Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom.


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After abusing a voter, Joe Biden gets himself a Second Amendment ad... Monica Showalter

by Monica Showalter

Joe Biden is not presidential material. Here is all the proof you need.

Joe Biden shouldn't be anywhere near the public. He can't take challenges without flying off the handle, he lies profusely, and he has a way of revealing striking muddleheadedness combined with ignorance. It's a problem of temperament.

We see it again and again, most recently in his abuse of a U.S. union autoworker, who like a lot of guys I know in Michigan — farmers and autoworkers — has his rifles and values the Second Amendment. He asked Biden a reasonable question, and the Biden response was lies, personal attacks, ignorance, and filthy language.

It was an opposition ad that wrote itself. Now Biden's got himself that ad:

...and it's not pretty.

Seems the National Rifle Association contacted the reasonably questioning young autoworker, asked him to do an ad, then executed it as a reminder to voters about what they're up against, vindicating beautifully the worker's statements that Biden brazenly lied about and denied — such as those about taking away "assault weapons" — as well as exposed his ignorance about the popular AR-15 hunting rifle, revealing Biden to be a complete boob, not even knowing what he's talking about.

It was appropriate payback, given what Biden tried to get away with. He's marketed as a nice guy in some quarters but is an exceptionally nasty, ill tempered old man who can't be trusted to hold his cool in public. He always turns mean around the little guys, making it obvious he holds them in special contempt.

He's an extremist. He's ignorant even as he seeks tremendous power. He's gotten away with this for so long that he no longer thinks it's a political problem. That makes him perfect material for a National Rifle Association ad, something he will undoubtedly dismiss as irrelevant, even as the ad shows 31,000 "likes" on Twitter, with the like count going up fast.

Biden needs to pay for this kind of abusive behavior to voters. One hopes this trend will continue.

Image credit: Twitter screen shot.


Monica Showalter


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What happened to the Israeli Left? - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

Hat tip: Jenny Grigg

The post-Zionist takeover of the Israeli Left

MK Ofer Shelah from the Blue and White party is the architect of his party’s current efforts to form a government with the support of Joint Arab List. If Shelah succeeds, he will have formed a radical, post-Zionist minority government entirely dependent on 15 Arab lawmakers, who reject Israel’s right to exist, just to stay afloat.

As Shelah blazed forward in his efforts, political philosopher Yoram Hazony recalled an earlier bid by Shelah to force the public to accept post-Zionist positions hostile to the very right of the Jewish people to self-determination.

In February 2001, the Yitzhak Rabin Center convened a meeting of Israel’s elites from across the political spectrum to compose a document that would set out the Jewish goals of the State of Israel. The meetings led to the drafting of the Kinneret Charter, which in later years served as the basis for the 2018 Basic Law: Israel, the Nation-State of the Jewish People.

The Rabin Center was spurred to action by three dramatic events. First in July 2000, PLO chief Yassir Arafat rejected Ehud Barak’s offer of statehood and peace at the Camp David summit, effectively ending the Oslo peace process. In September, Arafat ordered his terror forces to initiate a campaign of terror against Israel the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the 1930s.

And in October 2000, the Arab Israeli community joined the Palestinian onslaught. In two weeks of violent riots, Arab Israelis throughout the country assaulted their Jewish neighbors and countrymen and called for the destruction of the state.

As a well-known journalist, Shelah was invited to participate in the inaugural meeting. Hazony recalled that the politician now pushing the hardest to form a government reliant the Joint Arab List which rejects the legitimacy of the Jewish state, stood up and announced that he refused to participate in a Jewish-only forum and demanded that Arab Israelis be invited to participate.

Prof. Ruth Gavison, perhaps the most influential intellectual on the Left at the time, responded that Jews have a right to convene to discuss their future just as Arabs do. Most of the participants, including some on the far left, like former Education Minister Prof. Yuli Tamir from Peace Now, agreed with Gavison.

With his demand rejected, Shelah walked out. A handful of participants joined him.

This week, with the liberal mass media providing wall-to-wall support for Blue and White’s efforts to form a post-Zionist government dependent on the anti-Zionist Joint Arab List, it appears that over the past 19 years, Shelah’s post-Zionism has moved from the margins to the mainstream. The media’s energetic attempts to defend Blue and White’s efforts show that post-Zionism is the predominant position of the Israeli left.

How did this happen?

Dozens of leading lights of Israeli society signed the Kinneret Charter in July 2001. The next month, the ideals they embraced were bludgeoned by the international community. In late August 2001, the UN convened its “anti-racism” conference in Durban, South Africa. At Durban, UN member states and the most prominent non-governmental organizations in the world came together to libel and criminalize the Jewish state and people with unprecedented brutality.

Just ten years before, in 1991, the US used its post-Cold War clout at the UN to repeal UN General Assembly resolution 3379 from 1975. Resolution 3379 defined Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement as “a form of racism.” At that time, it was still taken for granted in the Western world that it is anti-Semitic to deny the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in their homeland.

Two conferences were convened at Durban – a conference of UN member nations and a conference of non-governmental organizations. In both, Resolution 3379 was not merely brought back from the dead. It was transformed into the cri de coeur of the UN and the international NGO community. The NGO conference produced a shocking resolution that called for Israel’s destruction as a Jewish state and accused Israel of being a Nazi, Apartheid regime that was committing genocide and other war crimes. UN member states and NGOs were directed to enact a total boycott of Israel.

The international boycott campaign against Israel was initiated shortly thereafter.

One of the groups most responsible for the diplomatic pogrom at Durban was an Israeli Arab legal advocacy organization called Adalah. The heads of Adalah played leading roles in drafting the resolution. Following the conference, Adalah, which is funded by the EU and anti-Israel foundations in the US set about organizing the Israeli Arab community around the NGO resolution. Arab MKs all parrot the language of hatred and rejection of Israel and Jewish peoplehood that was so violently expressed in the Durban resolution.

Together with other subversive, anti-Zionist NGOs, Adalah works through the post-nationalist Supreme Court to block elected officials in the government and Knesset from enforcing the laws of the state towards Arab Israelis. In accordance with the Durban NGO resolution, they demand that Israeli Arabs be accorded “communal rights,” and so effectively undermine Israel’s ability to operate as a democracy governed by the rule of law. Internationally, Adalah is actively involved in boycott efforts against Israel whose goal is to criminalize Zionism, Israel’s supporters abroad and Israel’s very existence. The anti-Israel portion of the Black Lives Matter charter was reportedly written by Adalah.

Among Israeli Jews, views like Adalah’s have long been dominant in many universities. Already at the outset of the Palestinian terror war against Israel, professors from Israel’s premier universities signed petitions calling for IDF soldiers to refuse to serve in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza and calling for the economic boycott of Israel.

Over the past generation, inspired by retired Supreme Court president Aharon Barak, these positions have come to dominate the legal fraternity as well. Barak is the father of Israel’s legal revolution, which gave unchecked powers to the Supreme Court and state prosecution. Barak’s morally relativist, post-modern world view holds that every nation – including Israel – has the potential to act like Nazis. Barak’s view ignores the plain fact, borne out by hundreds of years of German history before World War II that Nazism was not alien to Germany, but in many ways, intrinsic to it. So too, his view discounts thousands of years of Jewish history and heritage, as well as the character of contemporary Israeli society which all negate the prospect of Israel ever adopting the characteristics of Nazi Germany.

Aside from its historic and sociological inanity, Barak’s view is also problematic from the perspective of anti-Semitism.

Like most Western democracies, Israel embraces the definition of anti-Semitism conceived by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. According to the IHRA definition, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis,” is an example of anti-Semitism.

So by claiming that Israel can potentially become a Nazi state, members of the Barak-influenced Israeli legal fraternity have embraced perceptions of Israel that are substantively anti-Semitic.

Perhaps the most problematic place where echoes of the Durban conference are heard is the IDF officer corps. These echoes are heard loudest in IDF discussions of the lessons of the Holocaust.

In 1993, then education minister Shulamit Aloni, from the post-Zionist Meretz party joined then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin at the newly inaugurated March of the Living, which brings Jewish groups to Auschwitz. Aloni remarked that she believed the trip would be destructive to Israeli school children who would go to Auschwitz and come home right-wingers.

Over the past decade, distressing signs appeared that the IDF senior brass shares Aloni’s position on Auschwitz and the right-wing.

On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2016, then IDF deputy chief of staff and current Meretz MK Yair Golan gave a speech at an official ceremony. There, he explicitly drew a comparison between contemporary Israel and Nazi Germany. Golan alleged that “nauseating trends that occurred in Europe generally and in Germany specifically back then – 70, 80 and 90 years ago – are now present among us.”

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that then-defense minister Moshe Yaalon instruct Gen. Golan to retract his remarks, Yaalon refused. Yaalon (who now prefers forming a minority coalition with Meretz backed by the pro-Hezbollah Joint Arab List to forming a unity government with Likud), insisted that Golan’s straightforward defamation of Israeli society had been distorted and taken out of context. He then attacked his fellow politicians for having the temerity to criticize Golan’s scandalous remarks.

In his words, “The attacks on [Golan]… which stem from deliberately distorted interpretations of his remarks … are yet another attempt in the worrying and irritating campaign to politically harm the IDF and its officers. Woe to us if we permit this to happen.”

Yaalon then claimed that it is the duty of IDF commanders to shape the values of their soldiers, and to serve as their “compass and conscience.”

The storm of controversy that Golan’s slander of Israeli society provoked came in the midst of another public outcry over the brutal treatment that Yaalon and his fellow generals meted out against IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria for killing a wounded terrorist in Hebron. Yaalon and his generals castigated Azaria as a criminal before the IDF even investigated the allegations raised against him by a video taken by anti-Israel activists from the radical B’tselem group. The widespread sense of the public was the Yaalon and his generals rushed to side with radical leftists who seek to criminalize IDF soldiers against Azaria, a young conscript who claimed he acted out of fear that the terrorist was about to detonate an explosive vest.

Two years ago, a mid-level IDF career officer who had just returned from an IDF delegation to the March of the Living told me that the post-modern, anti-Israel views that Golan gave voice to in his 2016 speech were among the central themes of the lessons he and his colleagues received from the Education Corps before and during their trip to Poland.

In other words, put lightly, post-Zionism, which views Israel as atavistic at best, and xenophobic at worst is not unfamiliar to IDF commanders.

Benny Gantz, Yaalon and Gaby Ashkenazy, the three former IDF chiefs of staff who lead Blue and White, (together with Shelah’s friend Yair Lapid), were at the helm of the IDF when these events occurred.

We don’t know how Israel’s political Gordian knot, the product of yet another inconclusive election, will be cut. But what is clear enough is that Blue and White’s eagerness to form a coalition dependent on lawmakers who reject Zionism and support terrorists is the consequence of a decades-long process that led to the post-Zionist takeover of the Israeli Left. This process will not be reversed by the simple formation of a government, regardless of who leads it, and who supports it.

Originally published at Israel Hayom. 

Caroline Glick


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CAIR-DFW’s Immigration Double Standards - Anne-Christine Hoff

by Anne-Christine Hoff

The Usual Suspects protest against President Trump's coronavirus travel ban on the grounds that it's "anti-Muslim."

As the coronavirus has spread from China to more than 110 countries around the world, and as it has gone from epidemic to pandemic status, nations around the world have adapted their travel ban list to include countries with high outbreaks.

On February 28th, the annual pilgrimage destination for most of the Muslim world, Saudi Arabia, joined other countries banning travel and imposed a travel ban to Mecca and Medina over public health concerns regarding the coronavirus.

Twelve Muslim-majority countries were put on Saudi Arabia’s travel ban list: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Somalia, Syria, Uzbekistan, Yemen.

Ten Asian countries were also placed on the list: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam. 

The response from local Dallas Islamists to this news was muted and starkly in contrast to the fighting words used to describe Trump’s travel bans, border walls, or other immigration policies. 

CAIR-DFW Executive Director Faizan Syed, for example, in an article in NBC-DFW stated that Saudi Arabia’s actions had caused confusion because a group of seventy students from DFW area Islamic schools were planning a trip to Mecca for spring break:
“Now that’s up in the air, and they might go, they might not go. It’s created a lot of tension in our community. No one really knows what’s going to happen next.”
Fellow local Islamist Yasir Qadhi in an interview with Public Radio International, admitted that his plans to take 150 students on a tour of Saudi Arabia were also up in the air, but it’s all good:
“Well, [we] do realize that this is not a permanent ban. Right now, we don’t know what’s happening with the hajj. This is a temporary ban on some countries for the umrah. Anytime you go outside of the mandatory season, it’s called an umrah. So, we’re kind of in limbo. We don’t know what’s going to happen when it comes to the hajj season in three months. We don’t know yet. So we are confused. We are flustered. We are a little bit worried and scared. All put together”
Contrast such rhetoric to that used to describe Trump’s latest adjustments to the 2017 travel ban that resulted in carefully coordinated airport protests across the country.
In February, in an article posted to its website entitled “What You Should Know About the Latest Travel Ban,” CAIR-DFW ominously declared that about three years after the first travel ban, “the Trump administration [has] expanded its travel restrictions targeting even more Muslims and immigrants of color. [emphasis added]”

There’s only one problem with such rhetoric. The majority of countries on this new list are not majority Muslim countries. Some like Nigeria have about an even split between Muslims and Christians, and other countries like Eritrea, Tanzania, and Myanmar are just not majority Muslim. Furthermore, there are more Muslim majority countries on Saudi Arabia’s own list than on Trump’s. Why has CAIR-DFW not decided to highlight the racism of Saudi Arabia’s list?

With Trump’s announcement this week that his administration will temporarily ban travel to 26 European countries, the number of non-Muslim countries on that list now vastly outweighs the number of Muslim countries.

The article links to the No Muslim Ban Ever website, where the attempt to delegitimize Trump is even more pronounced:
“The Trump administration continues to push white supremacist and exclusionary policies that discriminate on the basis of faith, national origin and immigration status. We invite you to join us and declare #NoMuslimBanEver to raise awareness, resist and dismantle these policies.”
The site also states definitively, “The Muslim and refugee bans are just one prong of Trump’s white nationalist agenda.”

Again, for clarity’s sake, the majority of the new countries added to Trump’s original list are not Muslim majority countries, and as of January, there is about an even split between Muslim and non-Muslim majority countries on the list. Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Kyrgystan are on the list and are Muslim majority. Venezuela, Myanmar, Eritrea, Tanzania, Nigeria, and North Korea are also on the revised list but are not majority Muslim.

Add to this list the following Christian majority countries as of this week: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The split between Muslim and non-Muslim majority countries is now an even 20:80. 20% of the countries on the ban are Muslim majority and 80% are non-Muslim majority.

The page of the #NoMuslimBanEver which reveals its campaign policies provides a window into the full scale of CAIR-DFW’s push for open borders. Here are a few examples:
“End policies like bans, walls and raids that treat our countries as inherently suspect and foster bigotry and hate.”
(End policies like walls?)

The page also advocates that the #NoMuslimBanEver coalition “create safe spaces for people under threat by advocating for sanctuary policies, supporting sanctuary communities and offering physical sanctuary.”

In light of the coronavirus, the “Love Knows No Borders” campaign of Islamists like Dallas-local Omar Suleiman is looking more and more ridiculous. Is it okay now to revise this slogan to read “the virus knows no borders” as it passes blithely from country to country wreaking havoc, disrupting travel plans, closing schools, and overwhelming hospitals?

The rhetoric of CAIR-DFW and other local Islamists is becoming more and more absurd. The coronavirus is exposing CAIR-DFW’s double standards surrounding borders, walls, and immigration, especially as Saudi Arabia’s travel ban includes more Muslim-majority countries than Trump’s infamous “racist” “white supremacist” ban.

Anne-Christine Hoff is the Dallas Counter-Islamist Grid Research Fellow of Middle East Forum. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.


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