When It Comes to China, America Must Practice What It Preaches to Israel

March 1 2022

As the U.S. has become more clear-eyed about seeing Beijing as its primary geopolitical rival, it has at times expressed concern about Sino-Israeli cooperation, a subject Mosaic has covered extensively. The Jewish state has generally acquiesced when its most important ally has asked it to avoid certain dealings with China. But, write Nathan Picarsic and Jonathan Schanzer, America has not always followed its own advice:

Recently, Israel rejected a bid by the state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation to build a light rail system. In a bizarre twist, CRRC is now more welcome in the United States thanks to a decision by the Biden administration to remove it from a list of Communist Chinese military companies.

The Israelis announced last month that CRRC lost the tender to build the green and purple lines of Tel Aviv’s light rail system. CRRC may be the largest rolling-stock company in the world, but it is also a Chinese state-owned enterprise. Its extensive ties to the People’s Liberation Army prompted the Trump administration to list it among the Chinese companies into which U.S. investors would be prohibited from investing.

It appears that the White House needs to reexamine its China policies. But not the Israelis. Indeed, one might have expected Israel simply to shrug and accept the CRRC bid. It did not. . . . Israel has admittedly not fully aligned its China policy with the United States. But as the CRRC episode reveals, the U.S. still has a long way to go in aligning with itself.

 

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Read more at FDD

More about: China, Israel-China relations, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter