The Deep-Seated Prejudice behind Britain’s Commitment to Letting Alfie Evans Die

April 27 2018

On Monday, British physicians removed a respirator from Alfie Evans—a twenty-three-month-old boy with a rare degenerative brain disorder—against the wishes of his parents. The hospital acted on the judgment of Britain’s High Court of Justice, which has not only ruled Alfie’s life unworthy of living but also forbidden his parents to take him to another country where he could be treated, or even to take him home. Meanwhile, the child began to breathe on his own and was briefly given oxygen and fluids—although the hospital now intends to starve him to death. Adding to the outrage has been the conduct of the British officialdom, on which Sohrab Ahmari writes:

As the case has progressed, the political, religious, and class fault lines running through it have become ever more visible. Alfie’s parents are working-class and Catholic. Judging by the social-media outpouring, many of their supporters hail from a similar class firmament: the type who voted for Brexit, who read the Sun and the Daily Mail, who are puzzled by all this talk about gender and newfangled pronouns, and who quietly cheer Donald Trump across the pond.

On the other side stands an administrative elite that has had it with “these people”—with their voting habits, their sentimentality and patriotism, their common sense on Islam and integration, and, well, their failure to understand that it is up to experts, not parents, to discern the “best interests” of a toddler like Alfie.

The members of this elite worry a lot these days about the health of liberal-democratic order. An entire cottage industry has sprung up, churning out books and policy briefs on how to preserve democracy against populists and uncouth, excitable majorities. But fair-minded observers of the Alfie Evans debacle can decide for themselves which camp poses the greater threat to freedom in Britain.

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More about: Catholicism, Euthanasia, Medicine, Politics & Current Affairs, United Kingdom

 

Syria’s Downing of a Russian Plane Put Israel in the Crosshairs

Sept. 21 2018

On Monday, Israeli jets fired missiles at an Iranian munitions storehouse in the northwestern Syrian city of Latakia. Shortly thereafter, Syrian personnel shot down a Russian surveillance plane with surface-to-air missiles, in what seems to be a botched and highly incompetent response to the Israeli attack. Moscow first responded by blaming Jerusalem for the incident, but President Putin then offered more conciliatory statements. Yesterday, Russian diplomats again stated that Israel was at fault. Yoav Limor comments:

What was unusual [about the Israeli] strike was the location: Latakia [is] close to Russian forces, in an area where the IDF hasn’t been active for some time. The strike itself was routine; the IDF notified the Russian military about it in advance, the missiles were fired remotely, the Israeli F-16s returned to base unharmed, and as usual, Syrian antiaircraft missiles were fired indiscriminately in every direction, long after the strike itself was over. . . .

Theoretically, this is a matter between Russia and Syria. Russia supplied Syria with the SA-5 [missile] batteries that wound up shooting down its plane, and now it must demand explanations from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. That won’t happen; Russia was quick to blame Israel for knocking over the first domino, and as usual, sent conflicting messages that make it hard to parse its future strategy. . . .

From now on, Russia will [almost certainly] demand a higher level of coordination with Israel and limits on the areas in which Israel can attack, and possibly a commitment to refrain from certain actions. Syria, Iran, and Hizballah will try to drag Russia into “handling” Israel and keeping it from continuing to carry out strikes in the region. Israel . . . will blame Iran, Hizballah, and Syria for the incident, and say they are responsible for the mess.

But Israel needs to take rapid action to minimize damage. It is in Israel’s strategic interest to keep up its offensive actions to the north, mainly in Syria. If that action is curtailed, Israel’s national security will be compromised. . . . No one in Israel, and certainly not in the IDF or the Israel Air Force, wants Russia—which until now hasn’t cared much about Israel’s actions—to turn hostile, and Israel needs to do everything to prevent that from happening. Even if that means limiting its actions for the time being. . . . Still, make no mistake: Russia is angry and has to explain its actions to its people. Israel will need to walk a thin line between protecting its own security interests and avoiding a very unwanted clash with Russia.

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More about: Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war