In a sermon given on the eve of Yom Ha-Atsma’ut in 1958, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik considered the previous decade of Israel’s existence from a theological perspective, and responded—for the most part indirectly—to the arguments put forward by religious opponents of Zionism. Drawing on the story of the biblical Abraham’s troubled years in the land of Canaan, Soloveitchik asserted that the young country’s troubles should be proof that its establishment was the fulfilment of God’s will. He responded to the naysayers by confessing that he “cannot understand . . . how Jews can have the temerity to choose someplace in exile to protest the Land of Israel.” (Video, Yiddish with English subtitles, 14 minutes.)
Reflections on Divine Providence for the Tenth Anniversary of Israel’s Founding
How China Equips the Islamic Republic to Repress Its People
In its dedication to bringing totalitarianism into the 21st century, the Chinese Communist party has developed high-tech forms of surveillance using facial-recognition software, a vast system of “social credit,” and careful control over its subjects’ cellular phones. Even stricter and more invasive measures are applied to the Uyghurs of the northwestern part of the country. Beijing is also happy to export its innovations in tyranny to allies like Iran and Russia. Playing a key role in these advances is a nominally private company called Tiandy Technologies. Craig Singleton describes its activities:
Both Tiandy testimonials and Chinese-government press releases advertise the use of the company’s products by Chinese officials to track and interrogate Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province. According to human-rights groups, Chinese authorities also employ Tiandy products, such as “tiger chairs,” to torture Uyghurs and other minorities.
Iran has long relied on China to augment its digital surveillance capabilities, and Tehran was an early adopter of Beijing’s “social-credit” system, which it wields to assess citizens’ behavior and trustworthiness. . . . Iranian government representatives have publicized plans to leverage smart technologies, including AI-powered face recognition, to maintain regime stability and neutralize dissent. Enhanced cooperation with China is central to those efforts.
At present, Tiandy is not subject to U.S. sanctions or export controls. In light of Tiandy’s operations in both Xinjiang and Iran, policymakers should consider removing the company, its owner, and stakeholders from the international financial system and global supply chains.