Hamas Tests Israel—and Biden

WSJ  5/11/2021

The jihadists of Hamas on Tuesday launched the biggest single-day rocket attack on the Jewish State in memory, with hundreds flying toward Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as well as the usual civilian targets in southern Israel. Israel struck back at 500 targets in Gaza, and this has the potential to become a larger conflict after a relatively long period of Mideast quiet.

The Hamas attacks come after days of Palestinian riots in Jerusalem, some prompted by long-running property disputes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Israeli courts ruled in favor of Jewish owners and against Palestinian leaseholders who claim rights to the property dating to Jordan’s occupation of East Jerusalem after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The case’s Supreme Court hearing was delayed.

Mahmoud Abbas, who runs the Palestinian West Bank region adjacent to Jerusalem, has been held up as a moderate negotiating partner for Israel. Yet his party fomented the Jerusalem violence, broadcasting that it “calls on everyone to raise the level of confrontation in the coming days and hours in the Palestinian lands,” according to Palestinian Media Watch.

The 85-year-old Mr. Abbas, who has headed the Palestinian Authority since 2005 without standing for re-election, may want to turn up the temperature to compensate for falling public confidence in his rule. He’s in competition with Hamas and even more extreme groups, which he shut out of power in the West Bank last month by postponing elections yet again. Hamas, which promises the destruction of Israel, one-upped Mr. Abbas’s riots by reigniting its military confrontation.

Regional politics are at work too. Hamas is funded and supplied by Iran, whose Supreme Leader last week praised “the pure blood of Resistance martyrs” in Palestine. The Biden Administration’s courtship of Iran in renewed nuclear negotiations has been met by Houthi escalation against Saudi Arabia and now Hamas escalation against Israel. The regime may think that the more its proxies clash with U.S. allies, the more eager the U.S. Administration will be to make concessions.

The Biden Administration will also have to resist pressure from its left flank to distance the U.S. from a key ally engaging in self-defense. Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted Tuesday that “we are seeing how the irresponsible actions of government-allied right-wing extremists in Jerusalem can escalate quickly into devastating war.” He must think Israel is firing those rockets on its own civilians.

The White House has given the Democratic left virtually everything it could hope for since Inauguration Day, but if there’s one issue on which the Administration still sounds more like the old guard, it’s the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It has not endorsed the left’s distorted interpretation of the conflict as a dichotomy of privilege and victimhood, with Israel responsible for every wrong.

That position will come under pressure if casualties mount and passions rise. Let’s hope Mr. Biden is prepared to affirm that America’s top regional alliance is more important than the dictates of social-justice ideology.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hamas-tests-israeland-biden-11620772433?mod=opinion_lead_pos3

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‘I thought I Woke Up in Hong Kong’: Canadian Pastor Arthur Pawlowski

Well folks, we are going to have to figure out what our response will be when push comes to shove… mrossol

The Epoch Times  5/11/2021

Canadian pastor Arthur Pawlowski, who was arrested Saturday for allegedly violating public health orders by holding church services during the pandemic, said he felt like he was living in Hong Kong after he was released from jail on Monday night.

“I just woke up in Hong Kong a few days ago,” Pawlowski said in an interview with Newsmax hours after his release. “I mean, I thought I emigrated to our beloved Canada, but I am in Hong Kong, full force.”

Hong Kong people have been fighting for freedom in the past few years but have been brutally crushed by the CCP (China Communist Party)-backed local government, and many activists were recently arrested.

“It’s insanity—arresting pastor[s], shutting down churches. Craziness,” Pawlowski added.

Pawlowski and his brother were arrested Saturday on a highway by a SWAT team. He and his brother both were released Monday night.

“Earlier today, police arrested two organizers of a church service who were in violation of a new court order obtained by Alberta Health Services (AHS) in relation to mandatory compliance of public health orders for gatherings,” said the Calgary Police Service in a statement on Saturday.

Pawlowski drew headlines several weeks ago after he kicked police officers out of his church and compared them to the Nazi Gestapo paramilitary forces.

“I have become, with my brother, a political prisoner. We were taken to custody, thrown on the police van like a piece of meat, and we were denied access to the lawyer for 24 hours,” Pawlowski continued.

“It’s horrible. It’s a repetition of history,” Pawlowski said. “I grew up behind the Iron Curtain. I’ve seen the police abuse of power, people being arrested—you could be arrested at five in the morning, the doors could be broken for no reason. Just listening to a European radio, [would] warrant them to torture you, arrest you, and throw you in jail for five years.”

Pawlowski emigrated from Poland to Canada in the 1990s. He and his brother have held gatherings and have denied officials entry into their church located in Dover, Calgary. He has also been fined repeatedly for violating public health orders by holding church services.

“I escaped communism. I escaped Poland because I wanted to come to a country that is free,” Pawlowski added. “And here we are again, repeating the same mistakes, the same history. And I have to stand up and fight for my rights—not for doing evil, for just opening [the] church for the people that freely want to come and worship their God.”

Alberta announced new mandatory health restrictions on May 4 to “help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health system.”

These measures include new restrictions prohibiting all indoor gatherings, public or private; outdoor gatherings have a limit of five people maximum, or 10 people maximum for areas with lower cases; for places of worships, 15 in-person attendees are the maximum or 15 percent of fire code occupancy for areas with lower cases.

The city of Calgary announced that the enforcement of public health orders would continue to be a priority.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/

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Evidence of foolishness

Some of the comments attached to this article are classic. mrossol

Unherd  5/11/2021  by James Carden

Mask wearing and reverence for Dr. Anthony Fauci have become the twin pillars of Washington DC’s civic religion.

Consider what happened in the District earlier this month. Our mayor, Muriel Bowser, and the city’s public health officials decided that the time had come to lift the mask mandate. As of last Friday the city would allow fully the vaccinated to gather inside without a mask.

The order was rescinded almost immediately. The new order then went further, allowing businesses to ask for proof of vaccination. Even more preposterously the city has also enacted a ban on dancing at weddings (nor are guests allowed to stand during cocktail hour).

What exactly is going on here? It seems the thought of returning to some semblance of normalcy is too much for city officials to even contemplate. In DC the civic religion reigns supreme — even of course if that means not, in this particular case, following the science.

It is emblematic of the hyper-cautious attitude of liberals to the pandemic. Born out of a dismay at the former president’s cavalier attitude towards the virus, liberals in blue states like mine have taken their reverence for Dr Fauci to new extremes.

Everywhere you look in the tonier precincts of our fair capital one sees the posters and placards and pictures: ‘Thank you Dr. Fauci!’ A house I passed by in Georgetown even had its front door covered in pictures of the good Doctor.

There is something peculiar about the way in which this new cult of personality has arisen. How have we gotten to the point where the media and many ordinary citizens have taken to treating Dr. Fauci as a kind of divine figure, as an object of veneration and awe? After all, this is a man who said that he wouldn’t travel or eat at restaurants even though he’s fully vaccinated (CDC guidance says that these activities are safe for vaccinated people who take precautions).

[These are] Washingtonians who refuse to recognise that the time to move along from the Covid crisis is upon us. Following the science is no way to order a society, and it is an even worse way to order your priorities as a human being. Science is not, has never been and never will be infallible. The unctuous worshipping of an aged public health official and wearing a mask on an empty street in the middle of the night is not evidence of morality: it is evidence of foolishness.

https://unherd.com/thepost/here-in-washington-d-c-dr-fauci-is-a-messianic-figure/?mc_cid=eeeb84edad

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China’s Threat to Bomb Australia Shows Need for Aussie Nuclear Deterrent

I fear “they” (western governments) are not taking this issue seriously enough. mrossol

The Epoch Times – 5/11/2021  By Anders Corr

China’s state media recently threatened a military attack against Australia with both long-range H-6K bombers and missiles. The threat came the same day that Australia’s prime minister expressed support for Taiwan and said that, “We always have stood for freedom in our part of the world.”

China’s latest threat, made on May 7 by the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, Hu Xijin, reveals Australia’s military vulnerability to a far larger and more powerful nuclear-armed China. The Global Times is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Given Hu’s threat, which is consistent with the larger pattern of China’s aggression, the United States and allies should immediately support Australia in obtaining an independent submarine-based nuclear deterrent, so that Australia can join countries such as the United States, France, Britain, and India as powerful global defenders of freedom and democracy. The independent strength of individual members of an alliance improves the overall strength of the alliance.

Australia has a limited window of opportunity in which to go nuclear, after which China’s rising power and regional hegemony will make an independent nuclear Australia impossible. At that point, which could be as soon as 5 or 10 years, the window will close and China could more effectively use nuclear brinkmanship, control of Asian seas, check book diplomacy, and its economic trading power, to break Australia from its allies, and bring it under Beijing’s dominance.

NATO should welcome Australia into its alliance as a full member, before China has a chance to create a territorial dispute down under, and thereby make Australian accession more difficult. If Washington came under the influence of Beijing, the bilateral U.S.-Australia alliance would be useless to Australia’s defense.

NATO should no longer be a purely Atlantic affair, given globalization and the rise of China. What matters today in choosing our closest allies is not geography, but shared values in support of democracy, as well as the inclusion of a broader diversity of allies, including countries like Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, that will strengthen the alliance in resisting Beijing’s growing preponderance of power. Today, China has strong alliance partners in Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Welcoming Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and other autocratic powers into an alliance with democracies will keep them from turning against us, and strengthen us all.

The Global Times article includes a prominent photo of an H-6K nuclear-capable bomber flying in formation with two Chinese military Su-35 fighter jets. The caption notes that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force (PLAAF) conducted “patrol training over China’s island of Taiwan on Friday.” The planes reportedly flew over the Bashi Channel for the first time, marking a “new breakthrough in island patrol patterns.” China almost daily threatens Taiwan’s sovereignty with fighter jet flights that force Taiwan to scramble, and thus degrade, its own jets in defense. China also frequently pushes its land, maritime, and air boundaries against Japan, India, Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma), Vietnam, and the Philippines. The same may soon be true for Australia.

“Given that Australian hawks keep hyping or hinting that Australia will assist the US military and participate in war once a military conflict breaks out in the Taiwan Straits, and the Australian media outlets have been actively promoting the sentiment, I suggest China make a plan to impose retaliatory punishment against Australia once it militarily interferes in the cross-Straits situation,” writes Hu. He therefore thinks that China has a right to attack Australia, and apparently believes that a war over Taiwan is not a question of if, but when.

“The plan [to attack Australia] should include long-range strikes on the military facilities and relevant key facilities on Australian soil if it really sends its troops to China’s offshore areas and combats against the PLA,” Hu writes. “If they [Australian hawks] are bold enough to coordinate with the US to militarily interfere in the Taiwan question and send troops to the Taiwan Straits to wage war with the PLA, they must know what disasters they would cause to their country.”

Such fighting words follow the Global Times’ demonization of Australia, and the entire Five-Eyes Alliance (United States, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand) as an “axis of white supremacy.” This characterization is obviously false given the multiethnic nature of these democracies’ leadership, including former U.S. President Barack Obama, current U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris, and current New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Yet, the accusation will have currency with some given the colonial history of the Five-Eyes countries, and their current very public and laudable attempts to combat racism within their borders.

Protestors attend a rally for the Uyghur community
Protestors attend a rally for the Uyghur community at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on March 15, 2021. (Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

Conversely, China’s all-powerful 7-member Politburo Standing Committee are all Han males who resolutely deny the existence of racism in China while at the same time engaging in genocide against their Uyghur minority. The real “axis of racial supremacy” is therefore not between the Five-Eyes, but between Beijing and Moscow.

Australia is not the only country that needs an independent nuclear deterrent and membership in NATO. A similar logic applies to other democracies, including Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand, Ukraine, and Georgia, that are under threat from powerful nuclear-armed dictators. All of these countries should be encouraged to join NATO and obtain independent submarine-based nuclear deterrents.

NATO should also strengthen itself by encouraging its most powerful and democratic members, including Germany, Italy, and Canada, to obtain independent nuclear deterrent forces. Against a nuclear-armed foe, no country can entirely rely on another for its defense. Frequent breach of contract between democratic allies, such as the United States and Canada, Britain and the European Union, and Italy and Ireland, over vaccines and personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic, proves that even democracies violate agreements with each other over issues of far less consequence than military conflict in the nuclear age.

Only democracies should have nuclear weapons, because only democracies have the sovereign legitimacy that free and broad-based political participation provides and that tends to (but unfortunately has not always) limited the use of such weapons against civilian targets. But democracies should come to the defense of allied autocracies, for example Saudi Arabia, which is under military pressure from Iran, and Vietnam, which is under threat from China. Maintenance of global political diversity requires the protection of these less powerful autocracies, with all their failings, from larger autocratic threats. Less powerful autocratic allies will eventually undergo a natural and peaceful political evolution towards democracy and improved human rights.

Democracies must not only defend themselves, but the international system of diverse nation-states, in order to keep China and Russia from creating a sufficiently powerful alliance to fold the world’s less powerful states into their plans for regional hegemony and the resulting balkanization and destabilization of the post-1945 rules-based international system. States under threat from these aspiring illiberal hegemons must band together in a powerful alliance, but be sufficiently strong individually, to independently defend their own sovereignty.

Anders Corr has a BA/MA in political science from Yale University (2001) and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University (2008). He is a Principal at Corr Analytics Inc., Publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe, and Asia. He authored “The Concentration of Power” (forthcoming 2021) and “No Trespassing,” and edited “Great Powers, Grand Strategies.”

https://www.theepochtimes.com/chinas-threat-to-bomb-australia-shows-need-for-aussie-nuclear-deterrent_3809456.html

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I'm serious… usually. (Martin Rossol)