Friday, March 19, 2021

H.R.1 – Is It Really "For the People"? - Chris Farrell

 

​ by Chris Farrell

H.R.1 -- the so-called "For the People Act" -- is nearly 800 pages of meritless, militant, social engineering targeting the foundations of the U.S. Constitution, voting rights and political free speech

  • H.R.1 is nearly 800 pages of meritless, militant, social engineering targeting the foundations of the U.S. Constitution, voting rights and political free speech -- all dressed-up as being "for the people."

  • Here are just a few of the more egregious federal power grabs in H.R.1 concocted against the 50 states that run elections under the U.S. Constitution: 1. Ban voter ID laws and allow ballot harvesting; 2. Expand Election Day to "election season" by mandating mail-in ballots be counted 10 days after the election would normally be over; and, 3. Automatic voter registration of people who apply for unemployment, Medicaid, Obamacare, and college, or who are coming out of prison. There is a lot more, and it gets worse. Substantially worse. There are First Amendment restrictions on political speech.

  • What better way to design a worker's paradise? Or -- hypothetically, of course -- to make sure that a stolen election stays stolen, is never audited, and lays the groundwork for reproducible results for the next century?

  • Please let everyone influential know, clearly and politely, exactly what you think.

H.R.1 -- the so-called "For the People Act" -- is nearly 800 pages of meritless, militant, social engineering targeting the foundations of the U.S. Constitution, voting rights and political free speech -- all dressed-up as being "for the people." Pictured: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (center), along with other Democratic members of the House, speaks about H.R.1, the "For the People Act," at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 4, 2019. (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

A lot has been written about H.R.1 -- the so-called "For the People Act of 2021." Former Vice President Mike Pence has opined on the bill. The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal sounded the alarm back in January. The editors of National Review come right out and call it a "partisan assault on American democracy."

H.R.1 purports to, "expand Americans' access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy, and for other purposes." The Bill is 791 pages long.

Here are just a few of the more egregious federal power grabs in H.R.1 concocted against the 50 states that run elections under the U.S. Constitution:

  1. Ban voter ID laws and allow ballot harvesting;
  2. Expand Election Day to "election season" by mandating mail-in ballots be counted 10 days after the election would normally be over;
  3. Automatic voter registration of people who apply for unemployment, Medicaid, Obamacare and college, or who are coming out of prison.

There is a lot more, and it gets worse. Substantially worse. There are First Amendment restrictions on political speech and on the support or opposition of a bill and/or a candidate. Remember: This is supposed to be "fortifying our democracy."

If you are interested in a "through the looking glass" annotated analysis of H.R.1 -- then head over to the Brennan Center for Justice. They are happy to explain how those pesky constitutional rights can be whittled down to something more "fair" for everyone. For example, the Brennan Center analysis confidently assures readers about how H.R.1 "affirms Congress' power to protect the right to vote, regulate federal elections, and defend the democratic process in the United States." It seeks to airbrush Article I, Section 4 -- The Elections Clause -- from history and practice. The Clause directs and empowers states to determine the "Times, Places, and Manner" of congressional elections. H.R.1 would federally strangle the Elections Clause.

In order to find our way out, it is helpful to know how we got into this terrible predicament. The foundation for the madness of H.R.1 is legal positivism, a thesis, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which states "that the existence and content of law depends on social facts and not on its merits."

H.R.1 is nearly 800 pages of meritless, militant, social engineering targeting the foundations of the U.S. Constitution, voting rights and political free speech -- all dressed-up as being "for the people."

Authoritarians -- socialists and communists of different stripes, geography and eras -- like to use legal positivism because it allows enormous latitude to design, implement and (especially) enforce whatever they dream up as the way things ought to be. What better way to design a worker's paradise? Or -- hypothetically, of course -- to make sure that a stolen election stays stolen, is never audited, and lays the groundwork for reproducible results for the next century?

It's neat and easy under legal positivism. Draft up a one-sided, detailed plan (loaded with outrageous schemes) of nearly 800 pages that NO ONE will read or understand. Ram it through the one-party legislature and have the same party's president sign it into law. Presto! -- cheating has become nice and "legal."

For readers who find this technique troubling, or wonder why it does not sound like the great tradition of debate and compromise described in our founding documents and political history, there is good reason. The United States was founded on a theory of Natural Law, which adheres to universal moral principles for ethical and legal norms of human conduct whether a particular government recognizes them or not -- that is, essentially, the antithesis of legal positivism. There are now generations of Americans who have never been exposed to these ideas.

The "mind wipe" of Americans for all that is authentic and real about the foundation of our country as a constitutional republic began through the education system. We allowed people like Howard Zinn to dictate the historical framework for understanding who and what we are as Americans for millions of high schoolers and undergraduates. An intellectual diet of relativism, critical theory, deconstruction and subjectivity. That delegation of our educational standards was reckless, lazy and stupid. When you do not know any better, how can you act any better?

The co-opting and hollowing out of our education system is the main explanation for why and how we are wrestling with the loss of the Republic by legislative militancy, topped off with the Executive pen stroke.

This is terribly serious stuff and no one is telling you WHY you are losing. There is a lot of hand-wringing and outrage, and rightly so. But that nagging feeling tormenting you about why America seems to be slipping away -- and why everything you believed in is now being turned into a crime or a shaming social media joke -- well, no one is explaining that to you. Until now.

Now is the time to snap out of our Covid-induced somnolence and passivity. If President Joe Biden's election "victory" wasn't enough to get your attention -- then H.R.1 must be. Please let everyone influential know, clearly and politely, exactly what you think.

 

Chris Farrell is a former counterintelligence case officer. For the past 20 years, he has served as the Director of Investigations & Research for Judicial Watch. The views expressed are the author's alone, and not necessarily those of Judicial Watch.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17179/hr1-for-the-people 

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There is No Biden Administration - Daniel Greenfield

 

​ by Daniel Greenfield

Only an imminent 25th Amendment crisis and soldiers in the streets.

 


In the final months of the Trump administration, House Democrats universally voted to demand the unconstitutional use of the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office.

The 25th Amendment was meant to remove presidents who were unable to discharge their duties. President Trump was clearly able to do so, but Biden may be exactly the disastrous scenario that the 25th Amendment was created to avoid. And he may be its worst test case.

A basic problem with the Biden administration is that there really isn’t one. Like most journalists I use the term as a formality, but the White House site calls it the Biden-Harris Administration. It’s not unheard of for younger presidents like George W. Bush to lean on more experienced vice presidents, but a politician who spent 46 years in public office letting a newbie like Kamala Harris handle most of the phone calls with foreign leaders is the opposite of that scenario.

The Biden campaign has been open about Kamala Harris being trained to step into Biden’s shoes because it doesn’t expect him to run for reelection or even make it through one term.

Except that presidents aren’t supposed to run for office as figureheads or stalking horses.

Kamala Harris isn’t talking to foreign leaders because she has more experience, but because the guy whose job it is to do it isn’t up to anything challenging beyond some photo ops, stumbling through a teleprompter speech, and then a trip back home over the weekend.

Don’t ask him to hold a press conference or pull off an actual State of the Union address.

Obama was the teleprompter-in-chief, but Biden is also the telecommuter-in-chief.

Biden’s face is everywhere, but there’s no real sign that he’s actually running anything. Instead the Biden administration seems to be exactly the kind of mess that the 25th Amendment was designed to prevent in which a non-functional president is the figurehead for the cabinet members and the special interests who are actually calling all the shots.

The Potemkin village that is the Biden administration was built in two tiers with establishment cabinet members who appear more moderate presented for Senate approval while extremists were being placed in key positions to set policy on everything from civil rights to Iran.

The big policy momentum though isn’t coming from the Biden administration, but from Pelosi.

The Obama administration called the shots, not Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. The Biden administration is filled with Obama’s old people, but there’s no leader in the White House to push forward an agenda. That’s why the most powerful elected  official in the country isn’t Joe Biden or Kamala Harris: Nancy Pelosi has become the closest thing to POTUS.

Pelosi may not have all her marbles, but she’s got enough of them to advance an agenda. And she can also perform incredible feats like remember the name of the Secretary of Defense.

That’s more than Biden can do.

The issue isn’t just mental capacity. Biden can obviously be prepped to perform in public. He may have yet to hold a press conference, which even with softball questions might be daunting, and there’s no actual State of the Union in sight, but leading the country is a lot more than speechifying. It requires a focus and drive that Biden didn’t have during the campaign.

And that he very clearly still lacks.

What the guy in the Oval Office does, more than anything else, is exercise his judgement.

The President of the United States has to sort through national and international problems, get input from his appointees and advisers, pick and choose between the different factions around him, and make the final decision about a course of action. That is actually how the president runs the country and there’s no sign that Biden is doing that or is even capable of doing it.

The role of the Chief Executive exists because one person needs to make those decisions.

In Biden’s mental absence, various appointees chosen by his cronies, think tanks, and donors are making their own policy and their own decisions for a figurehead government. It’s the “I’m In Control” moment from the Reagan assassination writ large and with no end in sight.

Biden’s term will test the question of whether it’s better to have a bad president or no president.

The 25th Amendment was created to protect the presidential transition. The Biden administration is giving us a field test of what would happen with no presidential transition. Instead an inexperienced VP, various cabinet members and appointees, carve out their own territories, and run parts of the government in their own way while trying to avoid clashes.

The only man who can decisively settle the clashes when they come is out to lunch.

Monarchies have functioned with insane and senile kings, but America doesn’t have a prime minister. Instead, the Biden administration is there to sign off on anything Pelosi proposes and Schumer manages to pass, while its cabinet officials flail and the radicals behind the scenes wreck the country making this a farcical rerun of the Obama administration without Obama.

Biden’s old boss could have tried to dominate the administration, but he despised Biden too much to come on board until the very last second. Obama’s own chosen candidates, including a hilarious failure by Deval Patrick, crashed and burned, giving him very little sway. The Left had coalesced around Bernie and no one is giving Obama any credit for swinging the election.

That role instead went to Stacey Abrams.

The only way that Obama could have kept his central role would have been to pull a Clinton and hold out hope that Michelle was going to run. But Michelle didn’t want to run, and without a potential presidential candidate in his pocket, there was no reason for anyone to listen to Obama. Deals with Netflix and Spotify are the perfect sinecures for the laziest man in the White House since Jimmy Carter, but it’s not enough money to duplicate the old Clinton machine.

The Biden administration was built out of the wreckage of the Obama and Sanders campaigns, but staffers and appointees are only loyal to whoever can get them their next job. That’s not Obama and it’s not Biden who can’t name his own Secretary of Defense. It’s the think tanks and non-profits who built the Obama administration and built an even more radical Biden admin.

But non-profits and think tanks can’t actually run a government. Neither can Biden.

That’s why there isn’t a Biden administration. There’s an ongoing Netroots conference on government property. That’s why Jen Psaki can’t answer any real questions. The press secretary is supposed to speak for the White House, but there’s no one to speak for. Like a plane with no airport, she keeps circling back because there’s no administration position.

It’s also why the Biden administration keeps wading into culture wars. They’re comfortable territory and a good distraction from the fact that the lights are on, but nobody’s home. Picking a fight with Tucker Carlson or extending the D.C. military occupation buys a little more time for everyone to figure how an administration can function with no final decision maker at the top.

Forget Harry Truman’s ‘The Buck Stops Here’. There’s nowhere for the buck to stop.

The military occupation of Washington D.C. would be bad under any administration, but deploying the military indefinitely when there isn’t a functional chain of command is ominous. Power-sharing arrangements, like those of the Soviet Union’s Troikas, are the likeliest to break down and descend into violence. And then the military becomes the ultimate power play.

Combine a looming 25th Amendment, a military occupation of Washington D.C., and a leadership that, despite appearances is actually deeply at odds, and the situation is explosive.

Outwardly, if you watch the media, everything appears normal. But it usually does.

The old journalism has been mostly replaced by reporters who only know how to cover social justice issues. They can cover the Biden administration through the lens of race or sex, but don’t ask them to do basic things like figure out who’s making the decisions in the White House.

The facade of normalcy that readers get from the New York Times or that viewers get from CNN comes apart in a crisis. A divided government can run its own spheres of influence, but when faced with something bigger, whether it’s the pandemic, or the border crisis, it all falls apart.

The Biden administration is the equivalent of one of those cartoons of a bunch of kids standing on each other’s shoulders while draped in a trenchcoat so they can all pretend to be one adult.

The illusion holds up until they try to walk.

The Biden illusion holds up as long as all the various parts of the administration are busy dealing with their own problems, but when there’s a national or international crisis, then it becomes obvious that no one is making the overall decisions and no one knows how to do it.

Biden’s people are doing plenty of damage by commission, but if an actual crisis breaks out, such as a war or an economic collapse, they’ll do even more damage by omission. And that’s the ticking time bomb in this administration that the 25th Amendment was designed for.

But it is a Biden-Harris administration. The Biden part of it is running things more or less in Biden’s mental absence. And that inner circle of Biden’s D.C. advisers and loyalists is going to resist ceding power to Kamala’s sister and the California crowd. That’s a major reason why Biden’s leading cabinet members are more moderate than many of their subordinates.

A key role of Biden’s cabinet appointees is stalemating a 25th Amendment coup by Kamala.

Any attempt to invoke the 25th Amendment would lead to legal challenges that would require defining, among other things, which cabinet members can legally vote on Biden’s removal. 

Sending the question to the Roberts Court would just stalemate it further. The same court that was unwilling to take a stand on the election is not about to decide who should be president.

Faced with an irresolvable legal battle, there’s always all those soldiers deployed in D.C.

The Biden administration is a disaster because it restores the rule of a radicalized leftist machine. But it could potentially be an even bigger disaster because it’s got a figurehead at the top of a house of cards that could easily collapse or trigger a civil war in a major crisis.

That’s another urgent reason why the military occupation of Washington D.C. needs to end.

If the Biden administration’s power-sharing arrangement catastrophically breaks down in a 25th Amendment scenario, none of the factions should have an easy recourse to armed force in a government town where using the military to deal with a political crisis has become the answer.

The media spent the Trump administration hypocritically lecturing the country about the violation of political norms. Now there are soldiers in D.C. and no functioning commander-in-chief.

The real violation of political norms is going to be spectacular.

 

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/03/there-no-biden-administration-daniel-greenfield/ 

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Indoctrination: The Left’s Attack on our Public Schools - StopK12Indoctrination.org

 

​ by StopK12Indoctrination.org

A collection of tales from the radicalized classroom.

 


Read our new ebook, 'Indoctrination: The Left’s Attack on our Public Schools': HERE.

To learn more about the Freedom Center's campaign to halt indoctrination in K-12 schools, please visit our website,  www.stopk12indoctrination.org. To subscribe to the Stop K-12 Indoctrination newsletter CLICK HERE. To donate to our campaign to stop K-12 Indoctrination CLICK HERE.

Our public schools have traditionally been the cornerstone of our country's democratic values, teaching students how to think, not what to think. But in recent years, these most important institutions of instruction have been subverted by left-wing radicals.

Today’s K-12 classroom is a war zone. The left has used its control of teachers’ unions, teacher training schools in the universities, and textbook publishing to launch an all-out effort to indoctrinate students as young as kindergarten age with “correct thinking” on subjects ranging from the perdurability of white racism and the “fluidity” of gender to the evils of “Islamophobia” and the coming man-made Armageddon of climate change.

To combat this onslaught, the David Horowitz Freedom Center has initiated a campaign called Stop K-12 Indoctrination. Its fundamental principle is that students should be taught how to think, not what to think. Its centerpiece is a Code of Ethics that works, in collaboration with state legislators, to forbid teachers from using the classroom to advance an ideological agenda. Its flagship publication is a weekly newsletter, under the editorship of Sara Dogan, that reports from the educational battlefront.

The subjects covered by the Stop K-12 Indoctrination newsletter show the extent of the left’s penetration into American public education and the ambition of its indoctrination effort:

• The teacher in a Virginia high school fired for refusing to use male pronouns for a biologically female student who identifies as transgender.

• The teacher in Janesville, Wisconsin, who showed a leftist video in class titled “Why the Rich Love Destroying Unions” produced by the al Jazeera Media Network.

• The text assigned by the public high school in Newton Massachusetts funded by the Saudi Arabian oil company Aramco that states, among other things, that there is a “Hollywood Jewish campaign” to portray Arabs negatively in films and that Jerusalem is “Palestine’s capital.”

• The textbook for first graders in Elk Grove California that glorified California Governor Gavin Newsom, then running for office, as a “Champion for Peoples’ Rights” because of his support for gay marriage.

• The public charter school in Atlanta that dropped the morning recital of the Pledge of Allegiance in favor of a “Wolf Pack Chant” because the Pledge is insufficiently “inclusive.”

Indoctrination: The Left’s Attack on our Public Schools is a compendium of these and several dozen other tales which reveal the devastating scope of the Left’s corruption and takeover of our once-proud public school tradition.

These are educational horror stories. But they show that the left’s attempted takeover of the nation’s public schools can succeed only if it is allowed to take place in the dark. That is why the Stop K-12 Indoctrination newsletter is so important. The steady light it shines on this sinister effort is both a disinfectant and also a battle cry for concerned parents, education advocacy groups, and state officials who have the ability to ensure that our nation’s classrooms are places of objective and unbiased learning.

 

StopK12Indoctrination.org  

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/03/indoctrination-lefts-attack-our-public-schools-frontpage-editors/ 

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Israel's Daily Battle to Block Iran's Infiltration and Attack Schemes - Yaakov Lappin

 

​ by Yaakov Lappin

Iran uses the regional situation to create new security risks throughout the Middle East, while also calling on its proxy terrorist assets to pile on the pressure on the U.S. ahead of nuclear talks.

Iran's hegemony scheme for the Middle East not only includes surrounding Israel with missile bases and heavily armed proxies, but also earmarking territories further away, such as Iraq and Yemen, as future bases of attack.

Behind the scenes, and despite its severe economic distress due to U.S. sanctions, Iran is working constantly to infiltrate and consolidate its presence in lands with partial or failed sovereignty, or in the case of Syria, ruled by an ally.

Iran uses the regional situation to create new security risks throughout the Middle East, while also calling on its proxy terrorist assets to pile on the pressure on the U.S. ahead of nuclear talks.

Hizballah, Iran's flagship forward division in Lebanon, which is armed with more surface-to-surface firepower than most NATO armies, serves as the ideal model that Iran works to replicate elsewhere, and its efforts to do this in Syria have run into a determined Israeli campaign of disruption.

Yet Iranian plans for other regions like Iraq and Yemen are no less important to the Ayatollah's regime and to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which have a long-term objective of building a Shi'ite crescent through the Middle East.

And it is not only Israel that is in the firing line; Sunni Arab states are even more exposed.

A major Saudi oil port at Ras Tamura, on the Persian Gulf coast, came under drone attack on March 7, with a missile also hitting a nearby residential area run by the Saudi Aramco oil company in Dhahran, in eastern Saudi Arabia,.

The Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it struck oil and military targets. The Houthis are fighting Yemen's Saudi-backed government.

Since then, Saudi sources have indicated that the attack's real origins may have come from an Iranian proxy organization in Iraq, or even from Iran directly.

The attack represents a severe threat to global energy supplies and to world economic stability, the sources warned, and it is reminiscent of the unprecedented Iranian explosive drone attack on two major Saudi oil processing installations in 2019, at Abqaiq and Khuaris, initially knocking out half of Saudi Arabia's oil production.

In late February, Saudi air defenses stationed at the capital Riyadh intercepted a combined missile and drone attack launched by the Houthi Ansar Allah organization, which receives advanced Iranian weapons and instructions.

Iran Escalates Tension

Meanwhile, as part of its effort to ramp up the pressure on the Biden administration ahead of talks over a new possible nuclear agreement, Iran's proxies have been firing rockets at bases with U.S. personnel in Iraq, such as the attack Sunday involving the launch of five rockets at base north of Baghdad. The latest attacks show that Iran is undeterred by the American retaliation in late February to previous rocket attacks on bases in Iraq, in the form of air strikes on Iran-backed militias in Syria.

In addition, consistent reports have emerged over the past two years of Iran moving missiles to Iraq, from where it can target Israel. And in January, the IDF reportedly stationed an Iron Dome air defense battery in the southern Israeli Red Sea city of Eilat amid threats that Houthis in Yemen could target the city with long-range cruise missiles or drones on Iranian orders.

A January report in Newsweek, which appears to be based on intelligence information, stated that Iran deployed Shahed-136 suicide drones to northern Yemen. They have a range of up to 2,200 kilometers (1,370 miles), placing Israel in range. The Houthis have repeatedly threatened to attack targets in Israel, and also pose a tangible threat to Israeli shipping in the Red Sea.

Ultimately, the attacks on Saudi Arabia out of Yemen and Iraq are a clear signal of Iran's intent. It wants to gain the ability to strike the sensitive strategic targets of Sunni states and Israel, and to do so from as many areas in the Middle East as possible.

These incidents could all be preludes to future destabilizing acts by the Islamic Republic, which is intent on smuggling more ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones, and other weapons to the radical forces under its command in Iraq and Yemen, as well as Syria and Lebanon.

These activities should be seen as part of a greater picture. Considerable threats exist inside Iranian territory itself. The nuclear program is chief among these. Tehran has taken alarming steps to accelerate it, such as the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, and the production of uranium metal – both milestones on the path to nuclear breakout – should Iran decide to do so. Iran would like to one day extend a nuclear umbrella over its proxies, a development that would forever alter the Middle East, and likely set off a nuclear arms race with Sunni powers threatened by Iran.

Arms Race

Meanwhile, Iran's well developed domestic weapons industries produce an array of conventional and increasingly reliable ballistic and cruise missiles, which the regime makes sure to show off and sabre-rattle on a regular basis. A safe working assumption is that many of the advanced weapons being produced in Iran will be proliferated along the Quds Force smuggling networks to proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.

Iran's ability to introduce precision strike technology to its projectiles, and to those of its proxy forces, means that sensitive targets in countries in its sights are exposed. However, Israel's multi-layered air defense system is the most advanced in the world, and is constantly undergoing upgrades. It is this system, and the strategic durability that it provides, that allows Israel to flourish despite being threatened by some 150,000 Hizballah projectiles.

Still, Iran's proxies in the region can also complement their smuggled weapons with off-the-shelf technology, buying items such as commercial drones and fitting them with grenades or rocket-propelled grenades for just tens of thousands of dollars.

While the Saudi-led coalition remains locked in an air strike campaign against the Houthis in Yemen, and is beefing up its air defenses, the Saudis and their Gulf allies appear to be highly vulnerable to threats from Iraq and from Iran itself.

Israel, for its part, is engaged in a long-standing shadow war against Iranian weapons smuggling and the Iranian attempts to build military attack bases in the region, with a special focus on Syria, though the campaign is unlikely to be limited to Syria. In this campaign, Israel must constantly assess the risks of acting and not acting as it monitors intelligence on Iranian aggression.

This campaign includes action in multiple arenas, and is part of Israel's daily effort to defend its vital security interests without crossing the threshold of war.

Israel's campaign is designed to delay the outbreak of war by boosting deterrence, demonstrating intelligence and strike capabilities to Iran and its proxies, and harming the Iranian axis's capabilities. Yet the risk of conflict exists with every turn, since Iran, or a member of its axis, can retaliate and set off an escalation. Should a broader conflict erupt, the campaign between the wars is also designed to create better conditions for Israel to win.

Israel presumably coordinates such activities with the United States on an ongoing basis in order to avoid surprising its most important ally, which still has forces stationed in Iraq.

No less importantly, the growing Iranian threat has created a clear set of joint interests between Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Sunni Arab states, a factor that greatly fueled the historic Abraham Accords between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain.

Israel's ability to proactively block and disrupt Iranian activities across multiple areas makes it an attractive partner to Sunni countries, as both the Jewish state and Arab states stand in one camp, facing the same strategic threat from Tehran and its many tentacles.

Copyright © 2021. Investigative Project on Terrorism. All rights reserved.

 

Yaakov Lappin is a military and strategic affairs correspondent. He also conducts research and analysis for defense think tanks, and is the military correspondent for JNS. His book, The Virtual Caliphate, explores the online jihadist presence.

Source: https://www.investigativeproject.org/8776/israel-daily-battle-to-block-iran-infiltration 

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Kosovo Becomes First Muslim State to Recognize Jerusalem as Israeli Capital - Hugh Fitzgerald

 

​ by Hugh Fitzgerald

Will more follow suit?

 


Now there are three. Kosovo became the third state to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will be placing its embassy there this spring. This takes on a special importance because it is also the first Muslim state to make such a move, which may in the future be emulated by the boldest, most determinedly friendly to Israel, Arab state, now moving full-speed ahead with its normalization of ties with the Jewish state – the U.A.E. If that happens, others – most likely Bahrain, the Maldives, and Morocco – could be the next Muslim states to follow suit.

Here’s the report on the Kosovo Embassy, and the Czech “embassy branch,” now in Jerusalem: “Following Prague, Kosovo to open embassy in Jerusalem,” by Ariel Kahana and Yori Yalon, Israel Hayom, March 12, 2021:

Kosovo is set to become the third country to open an embassy in Jerusalem. Israel Hayom has learned senior diplomats from both countries will attend the ceremony marking the embassy’s opening to be held in central Jerusalem, on March 7.

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis were in attendance as the Czech Republic christened a new branch of its embassy in the Israeli capital.

Also on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a summit with Babis and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

It is important to note that the Czechs are not placing a consulate in Jerusalem, but what Prague calls a “branch of its embassy.” This is a different thing, and brings the Czechs a step closer to elevating that branch so that it becomes the main Embassy, with the Tel Aviv office then becoming, as it ought to, a “branch of the embassy in Jerusalem.” No wonder the PA has howled in protest at this decision by the Czech Republic, calling it “a violation of international law.” The President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, has for several years been calling for moving the embassy to Jerusalem. He has criticized the EU’s position on Jerusalem, calling its member states “cowards” and stating that they “are doing all they can so a pro-Palestinian terrorist movement can have supremacy over a pro-Israeli movement.” He may yet get his way.

Hungary, like the Czech Republic, has an office in Jerusalem. In 2019 it opened its trade office “with diplomatic status,” which suggests that like the Czechs, Hungary may be considering the next likely move, that is elevating the current trade office in Jerusalem to become the Hungarian Embassy to Israel. It is one that the Prime Minister, Victor Orban, supports.

Netanyahu praised both countries for acting to open official offices in Jerusalem and said Israel appreciates “them helping us on the international stage, as true friends do.”

Both European leaders announced they would examine Israel’s vaccination campaign.

Israel’s ability to vaccinate more than 60% of its population within just a few months has astounded the world; many other countries have sent officials to Jerusalem to discover just how the Israelis have managed to outpace every other country. This has led more countries, on whom this feat has made a deep impression, including even some states who in the past have automatically voted against Israel in the U.N., to reconsider their animus. Israel’s medical triumph has also become a diplomatic triumph.

Orban noted that despite the financial crisis Israel and Hungary both face as a result of the pandemic, bilateral trade had increased in 2020.

“This is an expression of true friendship,” he said….

Aside from the embassies of the U.S. and Guatemala, already in Jerusalem, and that of Kosovo, just about to be, and the two “branches of their embassies in Jerusalem” that now both Hungary and the Czech Republic have established, Equatorial Guinea’s president pledged in mid-February to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. This makes it the second African state to announce such a move; at the end of 2020 Malawi’s Foreign Minister, Eisenhower Mkaka, announced that his country would be moving its embassy to Jerusalem by the summer of 2021. At least seven other countries have expressed an interest in moving their embassies. These include Honduras, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Moldova, Serbia, and Romania. Paraguay did have its embassy in Jerusalem for four months in 2018, but when Mario Abdo, the grandson of a Lebanese immigrant, was elected president that year, he succumbed to pressure from the P.A., decided to reverse that decision, and moved the embassy back to Tel Aviv.

The most important country on the list of those that might now move their embassy to Jerusalem is Brazil. Both before and after his election, President Jair Bolsonaro declared his intention to make such a move. In mid-December 2019 his son Edoardo in Jerusalem reaffirmed that the Embassy move would come in 2020. It didn’t. Brazil’s President became preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic; Brazil has the second highest death rate from COVID-19 in the world — but now that same pandemic may lead Bolsonaro to make that long-promised embassy move.

The Brazilians have been impressed with the breakneck speed at which Israel has been vaccinating its own population. But what has captured President Bolsonaro’s imagination is a particular advance in treatment of the virus made by Israeli scientists. His government is placing tremendous hope on an experimental nasal spray, under development in Israel to treat severely ill Covid-19 patients, that Bolsonaro has called a “miraculous product.”

The drug, called EXO-CD24, aims to prevent “cytokine storms,” which are overwhelming immune-system responses to Covid-19 that can cause serious inflammation of the lungs, organ failure and sometimes death.

Initial clinical trials showed that 29 of 30 patients, from moderate to serious symptoms, who used the nasal spray were discharged from the hospital after receiving two to five days of treatment with the drug.

Brazil’s Foreign Minister, Ernesto Araújo, travelled to Israel to meet scientists who are developing the spray, and to find out what has been learned from preliminary tests – the nasal spray is not yet being used in routine patient care. Mr. Bolsonaro’s government says it intends to test the nasal spray on gravely sick patients in Brazil, where more than 260,000 people have died from the virus and where there are close to 2,000 daily deaths.

If the Israeli nasal spray doesn’t deliver what it promises, that is likely the end of the matter. Brazil’s embassy will remain, I assume, in Tel Aviv. But if it turns out indeed to be, as President Bolonsaro claims, a “miraculous product,” that will lift Bolsonaro’s popularity in Brazil, which has been declining, not least because of how he has failed, many believe, to adequately address the pandemic. And he, in turn, will likely choose to express his gratitude – imagine how “muito obrigado” he will feel to those Israeli scientists – in the coin of diplomacy, by moving Brazil’s Embassy to Jerusalem, as he has long promised he would do. And if Brazil, by far the most important country in Latin America, makes that move, others on the short list of Latin American countries that have mentioned moving their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem – the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Haiti (which had had its embassy in Jerusalem until 1980) and even Paraguay — will take note, and one or more possibly follow the mighty example of Brazil.

Should that Israeli drug called EXO-CD24 perform as the first clinical trials suggest, it will prove to be both a medical miracle, and — one hopes — a geopolitical bonanza for Israel, bringing Brazil’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and possibly leading other Latin American countries to follow suit. By the end of 2021, there may be as many as ten countries – out of a likely shortlist of fifteen candidates – that will have their embassies in Jerusalem.

Next year in Jerusalem? Why should those countries have to wait that long?

 

Hugh Fitzgerald  

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/03/kosovo-becomes-first-muslim-state-recognize-hugh-fitzgerald/ 

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"Kill Them; Kill Them All": The War against Police in France - Yves Mamou

 

​ by Yves Mamou

Judicial cowards, of course, also side with the chic mob against the police.

  • In January, the statistical services of the Ministry of the Interior recorded 2,288 such "kill them all" incidents, based on information from police reports.

  • The media's suspicion of the illegitimate use of violence by the police is so intense that officers under attack do not even feel permitted to use their weapon

  • The indictment of the police by the media and the entertainment industry -- actors, singers and so on -- is also fueled by academics.

  • Judicial cowards, of course, also side with the chic mob against the police.

  • If the police cannot investigate or protect the public because officers are afraid of being called racists, the security of the citizens is in danger.

A war is being waged against the police in France, but this war is never named. Pictured: A police officer speaks to a driver during a traffic stop after a night of riots in the north of Blois, France on March 17, 2021. (Photo by Guillaume Souvant/AFP via Getty Images)

On January 25 in Pantin, a suburb of Paris, on February 4 in Carcassonne in the south of France, and on February 13 in Poissy in Yvelines, organized groups of "young people" -- according to the established media vocabulary to avoid any ethnic designation -- lured police forces into their neighborhoods to ambush them. To the shouts of "Kill them; kill them all", police patrols were attacked with explosives and pyrotechnic devices used as urban guerrilla weapons. Each time, videos of the attack were broadcast on social networks.

Between March 17 and May 5, 2020, French police were subjected to 79 ambushes, based on statistics from the Ministry of the Interior published by Le Figaro. In October 2020, Le Figaro counted at least ten attacks on police precincts since the beginning of the year, and more than 85 incidents of "violence against persons in positions of public authority" were recorded daily throughout the country by the national police, according to Le Monde. In January, the statistical services of the Ministry of the Interior recorded 2,288 such "kill them all" incidents, based on information from police reports.

A war is being waged against the police in France, but this war is never named. On the contrary, many members of the media, rap singers, actors, experts and others are joining delinquents and offenders to claim that an intrinsically racist police force is active in a war against Blacks and Arabs living in France.

Incessant and widely publicized demonstrations organized by the clan of Assa Traoré are the best example of this inversion. Since 2016, Assa Traoré, a black woman of African descent, has been leading a campaign against the police. She accused the police officers who arrested her brother, Adama, of killing him. Four official reports by experts have denied any "killing" by the police, but Assa Traoré keeps fighting and keeps producing experts' reports of her own to "prove" that her brother was assassinated. She is now supported internationally. She has been named a "guardian of the year" by Time Magazine and obtained a full article in The New York Times.

Assa Traore is not alone in leading campaign against French police. In May 2020, while the French singer Camélia Jordana was interviewed on French public television's Channel 2, she accused the police of killing Black and Arab people every day, gratuitously, just for fun. "The men and women who go to work every morning in the suburbs" are "massacred for no other reason than their skin color," said the singer.

Then, immediately, an surreal sequence took place: MP Aurélien Taché (LREM, the party of the French President Emmanuel Macron) tweeted:

"Bravo @Camelia_Jordana, but the price you are going to pay will be terrible... you knew that. They are going to deny, then shift, the burden of proof and once again try to make the victims look guilty."

The news magazine Les Inrockuptibles interviewed the movie maker David Dufresne as an "expert" about the police brutality -- he once directed a documentary about the permanent conflict between the youths of the suburbs and the police. Of course, David Dufresne supported Camelia Jordana's accusations that the singer "expressed the obvious."

The left-wing magazine L'Obs went one step further in June 2020 by handing the microphone to the Black French Hollywood movie star, Omar Sy. From his Los Angeles villa, Sy "demanded justice for Adama Traoré", drew a parallel with George Floyd and called for a "police force worthy of our democracy".

On June 24, Amnesty International published a report denouncing the racism of the police during the Covid lockdown in Europe. On July 19, 2020, the left-wing mayor of Colombes, in Hauts-de-Seine, Patrick Chaimovitch, drew a parallel between the police of Vichy -- the French regime that collaborated with the Nazis during the World War II -- and today's police. A psychoanalyst, Gérard Miller, invited people to "think about" Chaimovitch's remarks, and a journalist, Edwy Plenel, compared the new Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin to René Bousquet, a high-ranking civil servant who organized the Vel d'Hiv raid during World War II and collaborated with the Gestapo.

The media's suspicion of the illegitimate use of violence by the police is so intense that officers under attack do not even feel permitted to use their gun. Philippe Bilger, an ex-magistrate, writes, "in the face of threats, various jets and physical attacks, they [police] have practically no right to use what the law authorizes them to use," namely their gun.

The indictment of the French police by the media and the entertainment industry -- actors, singers and so on -- is also fueled by academics. The police are accused of carrying out "facial checks" -- making racist use of their ID control. That idea was launched and fuelled by a study published in 2009 by Fabien Jobard and René Lévy, two sociologists, who stated that police controls are carried out "au faciès" -- "not on what people do, but on what they are, or appear to be". In 2017, the Defender of Rights, a state agency devoted to the defense of the defenseless, publicly took up the charge against the police of racist identity checks. On February 12, Claire Hédon, of Defender of Rights, asked on public radio, France Info, for an end to identity checks in "certain neighborhoods" and for the establishment of "zones without identity checks".

Claims from entertainers , as well as "studies" by sociologists or by Defender of Rights, cannot be countered -- or corroborated -- by sociological studies showing that crime is unequally distributed among the different ethnic strata that make up French society. French law prohibits producing any data on criminality by race or ethnic group. This produces a strange situation where it is permissible to accuse the police of racism, but it is forbidden and punishable by law to explain that Black people or North African people are over-represented in prisons and in crime data compared to their demographic presence in the French population.

The media and entertainers' offensive against the police is so strong that often politicians and members of the government do not dare to oppose these "prosecutors"; cravenly, they side with the entertainers against the police. "Today, when the color of your skin is not white, the risk of being stopped by the police is very big" president Macron told the magazine Brut in December 2020. With code words, the president was telling the French population that the behavior of the police was racist.

Judicial cowards, of course, also side with the chic mob against the police. In 2016, the Court of Cassation ruled that "an identity check based on physical characteristics associated with a real or supposed origin, without any prior objective justification, is discriminatory. It is a serious fault".

On January 27, 2021, the lawyers of six prominent NGOs launched a group action against the state. They sent a formal notice to French Prime Minister Jean Castex, as well as to Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin and Minister of Justice Éric Dupond-Moretti, calling for an end to "facial checks".

The state has four months to respond to the NGOs' formal notice and offer proposals. If it does not respond satisfactorily, the group action against the state, the first of its kind in Europe, will go to court.

The French police are not under attack only by French nationals. Powerful international actors have also undertaken to challenge the investigative resources of the police. On October 6, 2020, the EU Court of Justice issued a judgment in three cases (cases C511, C512 and C520/18) relating to the "widespread and indiscriminate retention of traffic and location data" in the electronic communications sector. In other words, to protect the privacy of European citizens, national governments will not be authorized to require a telephone operator to retain (for a few months) customer data. For example, an investigative police officer will no longer be able to obtain -- in the near future -- detailed data on the telephone calls made and received by a crime suspect, or the GPS coordinates at the time of receiving and making the calls during the previous two months.

As a result, preventing and solving crimes will be much more complex and often impossible. In 90% of the cases, the police only have as a clue the phone numbers that have been listed close to a crime scene. These numbers had helped the police track suspects, like a trail of breadcrumbs.

The forces that today are raging against the police -- some of the media, celebrities, "anti-racist" organizations and NGOs, part of the French judiciary, and the European human rights courts, as well as the so-called Human Rights Council of the UN and other international organizations -- are all fighting to deprive European states of their power on an essential point: their mission to ensure the security of all citizens. Jean-Eric Schoettl, former Secretary General of the Constitutional Council, wrote:

"Congenitally, judges, commissioners and, for the mostpart, members of the European Parliament reject Europe as a power as much as they challenge national sovereignty. This allergy to the regalian is in the DNA of a Union founded against the very idea of power."

If this French style of defunding the police succeeds, the so-called anti-racism ideology, set up in the mid-1980s by the left, will prove to be the most effective tool for dismantling states since Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. If the police cannot investigate or protect the public because officers are afraid of being called racists, the security of all citizens is in danger.

 

Yves Mamou, author and journalist, based in France, worked for two decades as a journalist for Le Monde.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17105/france-war-against-police 

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DeSantis condemns critical race theory, says it won't be taught in Florida classrooms - Brooke Singman

 

​ by Brooke Singman

'Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money,' Florida governor says

Florida Gov. de Santis condemns critical race theory in schools 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week condemned critical race theory, saying there is "no room" for it in Florida classrooms.

DeSantis this week proposed to spend $106 million to support civics education in the state after receiving the boost in funding from the coronavirus stimulus package that President Biden signed into law last week.

LEGAL COALITION FORMING TO STOP CRITICAL RACE THEORY TRAINING AROUND THE COUNTRY

Under the governor's proposal, teachers who get credentialed in teaching civics would get a $3,000 bonus. Some $16.5 million would be devoted to training teachers and principals in civics education. That training would come from civics "coaches," in-person seminars and virtual learning.

Around $6.5 million would be used for developing partnerships between schools and governments in an effort to get students interested in public service, and another $17 million would be targeted for developing civics curricula — excluding critical race theory.

TRUMP ENDS CRITICAL RACE THEORY TRAINING FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, CALLS IT A 'SICKNESS'

"Florida’s civics curriculum will incorporate foundational concepts with the best materials and it will expressly exclude unsanctioned narratives like critical race theory and other unsubstantiated theories," DeSantis said in announcing his proposal this week.

"Let me be clear: There is no room in our classrooms for things like critical race theory," he continued. "Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money."

DeSantis said, instead, Florida "will invest in actual, solid, true curriculum and we will be a leader in the development and implementation of a world-class civics education."

Critical race theory examines the way race and racism influence politics, culture and the law. According to Purdue University, critical race theory scholarship shows how racism continues to be persuasive and why it denies individuals their constitutional rights.

Last September, former President Trump halted "critical race theory" training in federal agencies and described it as "anti-American propaganda."

But proponents of the training say it can help the government eliminate bias in areas such as the awarding of federal contracts. 

Biden, upon taking office, signed an executive order reversing a Trump-era policy limiting the ability of federal agencies, contractors and grantees to implement diversity and inclusion training.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeSingman. 

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/desantis-critical-race-theory-florida-classrooms 

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Taming the Chinese Rare-Earth Tiger - Alan Koczela

 

​ by Alan Koczela

Is China a paper tiger when it comes to mining and refining rare earth elements? Not yet...but it could become one.

Much is made of China's dominance in the rare earth elements (REE).  Currently, China controls over 90% of the refined or processed market for REEs.  Most advanced technologies, including weapon systems, depend on REEs, and adequate substitutes do not exist.  On the surface, China's monopolistic control over refined REEs induces a severe case of the vapors among U.S. national security analysts.  But how extensive and stable is China's control of the REE market?  If China's market control is neither extensive nor stable, perhaps doing nothing or policies that target China's Achilles heel would be the U.S.'s best course of action.  A close look at the data seems necessary before any U.S. response is undertaken.

Synonyms for REE include rare-earth metals (REM), rare-earth oxides (REO), and lanthanides.  Unless writing technical papers, distinguishing among the various synonyms isn't worth the effort.  In general, REE are 17 elements that are critical in our high-tech world.  REE are not rare but are typically not found in significant concentrations anywhere in the world.  For example, large ore deposits with concentrations above 6% are virtually unknown outside South Africa's closed Steenkampskraal mine.  Refining REEs presents its own problems, since the refining process often produces significant amounts of toxic and radioactive waste, like thorium and uranium.  The takeaways are (1) feasible mining concentrations of REEs are scarce and (2) refining REEs imposes environmental risks.

The graph below uses data from the U.S. Geological Survey's National Minerals Information Center (USGS/NMIC) and plots the world share of REE mining production for China, the U.S., and the rest of the world (ROW) over the last thirty years. 


Source:  Data for 1990–2017 from the USGIS/NMIC Mineral Yearbooks 1994–2017 (Table 6: 1994–2016, Table 8: 2017); USGIS/NMIC Mineral Commodity Summary 2018–2021.

 

As seen in the graph, China's production share rose sharply through the 1990s and reached a peak of 97.5% in 2005.  From there, China's share suffered a steady decline that dramatically deepened in 2017, until China accounted for 58.3% of global REE ores in 2020.  The accelerated decline is largely due to the Trump administration's push to increase U.S. REE mining, which grew from nothing to the world's second largest producer, and the rapid growth in REE ores from Myanmar, which increased from nothing in 2017 to the world's third largest producer.  With the discovery of new deposits and mines reopening outside China, such as Burundi's Gakara Rare Earth Project and South Africa's Steenkampskraal mine, the outlook is poor for China to regain its overwhelming dominance in REE mining.  In this regard, China is beginning to look like a paper tiger, suggesting that the best U.S. response would ensure the operation of normal market forces.

However, mining is only half the story.  Raw ore is useless.  Our high-tech world depends on processed or refined REEs.  In the realm of refined REEs, China is a vicious tiger, with a market share of nearly 90%.  The only significant REE refining facilities outside China are those in Russia and the controversial Lynas Advanced Materials ("Lynas") plant in Pahang, Malaysia.  This means that, except for Russia and Australia, nearly all REE ore is refined in China, including ores mined in the U.S.  The highly toxic and radioactive wastes produced by refining REEs explain China's disparity between its market shares in mining and processing.  The lack of refining facilities creates a chokepoint that China exploits.  Eliminating the refining bottleneck could cause China's share of refined REEs to mirror its share of mining REE ore — less than 60% and falling.

This suggests that China's lead in REE processing is highly unstable.  Unlike its own REE reserves, China does not have territorial control over REE ores mined in other countries.  Instead, China relies on commercial contracts to secure foreign ore to process, and long-term international contracts are often subject to re-negotiation, re-interpretation, and repudiation.  Eliminating China's stranglehold on refined REEs requires only the political will by the U.S. and other countries to build or expand REE-processing sites outside China. 

This is easier said than done.  People generally resist being neighbors to industrial sites that create toxic and radioactive waste.  Careful site selection and research into new refining techniques that reduce toxic wastes could lessen public resistance.  However, it is extremely unlikely that all public concerns will be abated, at least in the near term.  This illustrates the absolute necessity of political leadership and resolve to protect our high-tech world against the manipulation by China through its leadership in refined REEs.

There is another problem to consider.  The folks running China aren't stupid.  We can expect China to fund political and environmental groups to stop new REE-processing facilities, much like how Russia funds U.S. environmental groups that lobby and protest the development of U.S. fossil fuels.  We can expect China to release or fund stories in the press opposed to new REE-processing facilities.  We can expect China to use every imaginable coercive means necessary to artificially prop up its power in the REE markets.  Make no mistake: the fight over new REE-refining facilities will be heated and very public.

There are promising signs.  Canada recently announced that a new REE-refining facility will be operational in 2022.  President Trump's leadership brought MP Materials, LLC's Mountain Pass mine back to life.  President Trump's Executive Order 13817 encouraged MP Materials to build the U.S.'s first REE-refining operation.  Other U.S. firms have answered the call, such as U.S. Rare Earth's Mine-to-Magnet project.  Moreover, President Biden's executive order on February 24, 2021 has initiated a review of U.S. supply chains, including REEs.  These policies and projects are new and relatively small, but they are an important start.

Is China a rare-earth paper tiger?  At this time, the answer is no.  China's overwhelming control over REE-refining guarantees significant power in the markets for REEs.  Presently, China controls a key component of our high-tech world, which has national defense implications, given that most modern defense weapons systems require REEs.  Yet the China tiger is standing on ice.  China's world share of REE mining has fallen below 60% and likely to fall farther in the future.  China's REE-refining dominance will disappear if additional refining sites are developed.  Since REE-refining produces significant toxic and radioactive waste, taming the China tiger will require significant U.S. leadership and resolve.  President Trump started the effort, which resulted in the U.S. becoming the world's second largest producer of REE ores within three years.  Canada and former president Trump also took the difficult step of building REE-refining facilities.  The question is whether the Biden administration is up to the task and continues this vital and difficult work of taming the rare-earth tiger.

Image: coracii via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

 

Alan Koczela  

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/desantis-critical-race-theory-florida-classrooms 

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Israel and the China Dilemma - Joseph Puder

 

​ by Joseph Puder

Are the opportunities greater than the risks?

 


In the late spring of 2020, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Israel. His visit came after Israel formed a coalition government between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party. Pompeo, while endorsing Israel’s rights to Judea and Samaria, had a blunt message for his Israeli friends: “Beware of China.” Pompeo added, “We don’t want the Chinese Communist Party to have access to Israeli infrastructure, Israeli communication networks, and the kind of things that endanger the Israeli people and the ability of the US to cooperate with Israel.”

Pompeo’s gently expressed admonition to Israeli officials was not new. In the 1990’s, the US pressed Israel to cancel a deal to sell the Phalcon Intelligence surveillance aircraft to China. Israel backed down, and was compelled to return the $250 million to Beijing that the Chinese had invested in the project.

For Israel, the situation was terribly uncomfortable. It was forced to choose between its closest and most trusted ally – the US, and a great business opportunity with China. There was little hesitation however, on Israel’s part. The US will always be Israel’s top priority.

In fact, almost immediately following Pompeo’s warning, the Israeli government decided to pass on a bid by the Israeli affiliate of the Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchinson, to build a $1.5 billion water desalination plant in southern Israel. The contract was awarded instead to a local Israeli company named IDE Technologies.

American culture is so pervasive in Israel that many Israelis might quip that Israel is the 51st state of the United States. Every American fad and fashion is almost immediately adopted in Israel. Thankfully for Israel, the US and Israeli interests in the region, although not identical, they come as close as two countries can be. Israel moreover, has voted with the US more often than practically any other country.

While the US views China as a rival, and by some in the US establishment as a potential enemy, Israel sees China as an opportunity. China is now the second largest economy after the US. Yet, insofar as Israel’s security is concerned, China is also a primary supplier of arms, technology, and probably intelligence to Iran, Israel’s major enemy.

The US considers China as a threat in various ways: strategic, commercial, and technological. Today, China is no longer confined to its own region. It operates in Africa, throughout Asia, in Ecuador (Latin America), and is seeking to expand its commercial deals, political influence, and national interests globally, including the Middle East. China has upgraded its military, and has laid claim to the Paracel and Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. China took over Hong Kong and is suppressing democracy there. Taiwan is under constant threat from Beijing.

Commercially, China’s e-commerce giant company, Alibaba, outstrips America’s Amazon in worldwide sales.  With its Belt and Road ventures, China is penetrating into global markets by extending loans, particularly to poor countries that often lag in repayments. When this occurs, China takes over the project by leasing it for 99 years. That is how China is obtaining strategic outposts, and commercial assets. China is also stealing technology (intellectual property) everywhere, particularly from the US. Israel’s high-tech is also an important target for Beijing.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s state visit to China in 2013 opened the door to more extensive commerce between the two countries. During that time, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing contributed $130 million to open a branch of Israel’s highly acclaimed technological institute – Technion (Haifa), in Shantou, the Chinese city of over 5 million people, located 230 miles northeast of Hong Kong.

Currently, four state owned Chinese companies are involved in major infrastructure projects in Israel. They are operating on the following projects: a) the expansion of the Ashdod port; b) partial construction of a new terminal by the Haifa port (the Chinese have operation rights for 25 years); c) construction and operation of the Tel Aviv light rail; d) digging of the Carmel (Haifa area) tunnels.

Haifa and Ashdod are Israel’s main shipping ports on the Mediterranean, where 99% of its trade goes through the sea. The Tel Aviv light rail will be running close to the Kirya - where Israel’s Defense Force (IDF) main headquarters is located. This could expose Israel to a cyber intelligence attack. China would have an opportunity to conduct surveillance, and given China’s close relations with Iran - Israel’s arch enemy, Israel must consider the risks. Furthermore, one of the Chinese companies working on Israel’s infrastructure projects is CCCC Dredging and its subsidiary includes CHEC, which has worked with the Chinese military, and is now partaking in developing the Ashdod port, located next to an IDF naval base.

The chief of Israel’s General Security Service (Shabach) or Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman, warned (January, 2019) that, “Chinese influence in Israel is particularly dangerous in terms of strategic infrastructure and investments in larger companies.” Argaman argued that the Knesset needs to pass legislation to monitor foreign investments in Israel. He added, “There are gaps in Israeli law in regards to its security needs in terms of overseeing foreign investments.”

Israel cannot afford to let a Chinese company operate the port of Haifa. Should Israel be in a war situation with Iran or Hezbollah, it would constitute a disastrous situation for Israel’s security. Additionally, the US warned Israel that should China run the port of Haifa, the US Six Fleet might limit its visits there.

Chinese companies currently control or influence a quarter of Israel’s high tech sector. Huawei, a giant Chinese telecommunications company that has been investigated by the US Congress, is also invested in Israel. The New York Times reported (10/8/2012) that the House Intelligence Committee, after “a yearlong investigation, it had come to the conclusion that the Chinese businesses, Huawei Technologies and ZTE, Inc., were a national security threat because of their attempts to extract sensitive information from American companies, and their loyalties to the Chinese government.” Apparently, all Chinese companies are required to report to the Chinese government…

Israel needs to adopt a more comprehensive policy to address both US sensitivities and its own national security considerations. Australia and Canada have done it. They have tightened their foreign investment oversight regimes. Israel must do likewise. In recent years, Israel has not done anything that looks like defense deals, or something that can be considered of dual use with China. Israel, however, must look ahead and consider that China might become a threat to the region. The Chinese military already has a presence at the mouth of the Red Sea in the Horn of Africa, in Djibouti, and is seeking to have a role in Syria.

Opportunistic commercial deals with China notwithstanding, Israel must consider its security first. The Jewish state needs to devise a clear plan that specifies what can and cannot be sold for strategic reasons. Mike Pompeo’s warning, “Beware of China,” must guide Israeli policymakers.

 

Joseph Puder 

 Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/03/israel-and-china-dilemma-joseph-puder/ 

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