China Threatens to Downgrade Relations with Israel over a Newspaper Interview with a Taiwanese Diplomat

In an interview published on Monday, the Taiwanese foreign minister Joseph Wu warned Yaakov Katz about the implications of Israel’s reliance on Beijing, citing an American diplomat who said, “you must be doing something right when China gets upset.” In response, a Chinese official reportedly threatened to curtail relations with Israel. In the original interview, Katz also sketched some of the reasons why Taiwan is particularly wary of China today, as well as the complex history of Israel-Taiwan ties.

On Monday—just before he sat down for the interview—Wu said that around eighteen Chinese jets crossed into Taiwanese economic waters. . . . He said that over the last year, China has flown 972 sorties into Taiwanese air-defense identification zones and more recently, deployed an aircraft-carrier strike force to the east of the island. Taiwan, he added, is the number-one target of Chinese disinformation efforts and cyberattacks.

The interview with Wu came just a week after U.S. president Joe Biden warned that China was “flirting with danger” over Taiwan, and promised to intervene militarily to protect the island if it is attacked.

Israel-Taiwanese relations are complicated, mostly due to Israeli concerns that overt diplomatic ties with the island nation will upset China, one of Israel’s largest trade partners. Earlier this month, for example, the Foreign Ministry reportedly ordered Israeli diplomats stationed around the world to refrain from inviting Taiwanese officials to Israeli events or from participating in events organized by Taiwanese diplomats.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: China, Israel-China relations, Journalism, Taiwan

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