Speak Out Against Annexation!

Annexation is about to wreak havoc with the lives of millions of people. It will deprive them of personal liberties, and subject them to arbitrary prosecution at the whim of a powerful oppressor. It will end rightful dreams of autonomy and self-determination. World pressure could make a difference, but it is not happening. Boycotts of the perpetrators should be widespread.

Have I gone mad? Sorry. I should have been more clear. I am not, G-d forbid, speaking about Israel’s possible moves in the next days or weeks to extend Israeli civil law to 30% of Yehuda and Shomron. We’re seeing lots of global rage about that! We don’t have to get into whether that annexation is welcome or not. Arguably, it is tepid in scope and in depth relative to the ongoing annexation of Hong Kong by China.

Given the guarantees that China gave to the former British colony which are now being unilaterally broken, it is nothing less than an annexation. It will bring far greater hardship and sorrow than the one in the Middle East, to a population three times the size of the West Bank. We’re not talking checkpoints and denied access to olive trees here. We are talking about the overnight end to effective civil liberties for everyone in Hong Kong, and the real prospect of prosecution and incarceration by a government that has shown itself willing and able to keep hundreds of millions under its thumb.[1]

Why are we not hearing any outcry from the World Council of Churches, or the academic world, or the European Parliament? Why no marches on the Capitol, like the Palestinian Lives Matter one of a few days ago?

There are millions of people, whose freedom hangs in the balance, and nothing but silence from the usual culprits. Many of them are too busy. They are preoccupied with wagging their fingers at Israel, and calling for punitive action. But he moral calculus is so much clearer in regard to Hong Kong, where there is little question about who the good guys and bad guys are! Wake up Bernie, AOC, and BLM. Is it that you just don’t care about the people in Hong Kong?

Two reasons for the uneven application of global outrage come to mind. The first is that all the high-minded justice-seekers know exactly what could work, and they are just not interested in paying the price. Applying pressure to China means boycotting her goods. You know, the very thing that liberal churches and academic organizations have been demanding regarding Israeli settlements – even when those boycotts primarily harm Palestinian workers. Some have gone further, and practice this against all of Israel, if they’ve allied themselves with the BDS movement. Imagine the impact on China if the US mainline churches (the ones that hate Israel) were to promote a stay-away-from-Walmart program that would remain in effect till Walmart divested itself from all goods coming from China. That might work. No one is even talking about the possibility.

Simply put, the morality of these churches and of the university campus ends when it butts heads with providers of cheap tchotchkes. Hard to beat that for hypocrisy. Especially since this is only the latest episode in the global game of moral blindness to the many outrages perpetrated by the Chinese Communist regime. Had the EU considered a boycott of China, Tibet might be free today, rather than remaining – after decades of oppression, cultural repression, and murder – under the thumb of the Communist Party, the only people who count in the People’s Republic.

Now some will argue that the Tibetans are not Christian, while some of the Palestinians are, so at least the church groups have an excuse for worrying about their own. But the Chinese have been persecuting Christians for decades, and it has only been getting worse. Another church was demolished last week – the latest in a long series. No calls to boycott, though, coming from these churches. (Nor from the Vatican, which did, however, summon the Israeli ambassador to express its displeasure about the proposed Israeli annexation.) While they claim to care about Muslims (certainly more than about Tibetan Buddhists, who never quite achieved enough victimhood to make it to the West’s PC list – although they certainly should be entitled to it), they have taken no action on behalf of the million Uyghurs sent to concentration camps for re-education. A mention here and there, but no calls to effective action. They are just not going to pay the price.

Then there is the second reason why no one is getting anywhere near as exercised about Hong Kong’s essential annexation. The Chinese aren’t Jewish. Israelis are. It is as simple as that. The double-standard is not always – not even usually! – conscious. But it is there. Jews have always been treated more harshly and severely, and that is not going to change until the arrival of mashiach.

I would not have even bothered with these observations, were it not for their serendipitous conjunction with this week’s parsha. הן עם לבדד ישכון. “This is a nation that dwells alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations.”[2] One set of rules and expectations for Jews; another for everyone else. Rav Hershel Schachter, shlit”a, made the point in one of his recordings on Balak. Ben-Gurion reportedly was not fazed by reports of an active red-light district in Tel Aviv. This didn’t mean that he approved of the activity. He thought it was healthy, however, that Jews show that they are just like any other people, with the same mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly as all other nations. That would, he thought, change the hostility to Jews as foreign creatures who are made of different stuff than the rest of mankind.

As Rav Schachter pointed out, BG was wrong. The prostitutes are still there, but not the acceptance of Jews or the Jewish State. Plenty of Esav continuing his hatred of Yaakov, including the World Council of Churches, which has been a consistent enemy of the Jewish people for many decades.[3]

And plenty of Jews who are still not getting the message that it is time to come home.

  1. If you haven’t been keeping up with the developments in Hong Kong, read this from NPR. Just be warned that if you nod your head too vigorously about the behavior of the thugs of Beijing, you could be prosecuted by them, no matter where you live, no matter what your nationality. One of the items in their new legislative package – dictated from Beijing – is that anyone, anywhere can be prosecuted for harming the interest of the Chinese government.

  2. Numbers 23:9

  3. What has definitely changed is that there are millions today who no longer act like Esav, and are not consigned to the same fate, as Rabbenu HaKadosh told his friend Antoninus (Avodah Zarah 10b). Unfortunately, many other millions are still part of the classic mold, and even more vocal today than in previous decades.

You may also like...

25 Responses

  1. Steven Brizel says:

    Any American who proudly knows and celebrates July 4, 1776 as the true independence day as opposed to the factually and historically incorrect claims advanced by the authors of the 1619 project and its academic and cultural allies have always argued and maintained that mainland China is a totalitarian Communist dictatorship that seeks to steal American patented inventions and still has not come clean as to the origins of the Wuhan Virus

    • Raymond says:

      What can be safely said about the Wuhan virus is that it is a virus originating in China and therefore to call it the Chinese virus is entirely justified.

  2. mb says:

    End the occupation now!
    ( Northern Cyprus, that is. occupied, illegally by Turkey since Turkey invaded in 1974 under the pretense that they were protecting Turkish Cypriots. They evicted most of the Greek Cypriots that lived there.They declared independence in 1984.Recognised by only one country, Turkey. Considered illegal by every country and the UN. Not a peep since!)

  3. Reb Yid says:

    Could not agree with you more about the Chinese government.

    Why, its leader told our leader that they are building concentration camps to hold Ugyhurs. Our leader said he was fine with this.

    Where is the outrage from Jewish groups like yours?

    • Has been expressed. Many times!

    • Dovid says:

      “they are building concentration camps to hold Ugyhurs” that was my point to you when you expressed your unquestioning trust in the Chinese government’s COVID statistics. It didn’t seem to bother you in that thread.

      • Reb Yid says:

        Xi told Trump point blank about the camps–he was very upfront about it. And Trump was very upfront with him about the fact that this was OK with him.

        Completely different issue from the virus, but in any case:

        Go to Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan or any of the other large Chinese cities (not that you could right now, but there are reporters in those cities). The virus is not an issue there now and has not been so for quite some time.

        Just because China was not upfront when this began does not mean that it refused to deal with the issue. On the country, it enacted a total shutdown of a city larger than any in the US. And the virus is no longer an issue there.

        Too bad too many folks in this country still refuse to take this virus seriously.

  4. Bob Miller says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein, As you see it, are the Western nations, or some of them, literal descendants of Esav, or just cultural descendants or imitators?

    Anyhow, many in the West are OK with communism, somewhere else if not at home. Others are happy to trade with communist nations like Red China for their own perceived advantage. Their contradictory attitude toward annexations flows from that; it depends on who does it.

    • How “I see it” should hardly be of interest. My personal opinions are not going to be dispositive regarding important hashkafic issues. Only firm evidence and sound reasoning should make a difference. But if you must know how I navigate
      the swirl of different thoughts and positions in our mesorah, here is a synopsis: I do not believe that all non-Jews are literal descendants of Esav. I don’t even believe that all Western societies are cultural descendants. I do believe that
      the shitah of Esav survives, and continues to conflict with the mission of Klal Yisrael. This shitah was carried along through history particularly effectively by Rome and those it influenced. The struggle goes on. It is not with a particular race, nationality, or religion,
      but with those who have taken on its values, consciously or otherwise. (At the same time, as we move closer to the age of Mashiach, it is not incomprehensible – which is not the same thing as predicting that it is so – that some non-Jews will be more attracted
      to the Jewish mission statement than that of Esav.)

      • Raymond says:

        I agree with this idea, which btw helps me justify my belief that there are hundreds of millions of worshipers of Allah out there who are the spiritual descendants of Amalek. I would imagine that on a purely genetic level, that the tribe of Amalek mentioned in the Torah, would be next to impossible for us to trace, and yet the antisemitic spirit of Amalek is alive and well, never to be extinguished until the real Messiah arrives and is universally recognized.

  5. Raymond says:

    I think that the real reason why none of the usual political activists have said even a single word against China taking over Hong Kong, while being up in arms against Israel annexing what already rightfully belongs to us Jews, is for the same reason that people such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez have been lauded as heroes in those same Left-wing circles, namely the Leftist natural affinity with tyranny and an aversion to democracy. It is no accident that the two most hated and yet model countries in the world, namely Israel and America, have a very strong, natural affinity with democracy. Most people think that the origin of democracy is Ancient Greece, but I would argue that its origins can be found right in the first chapter of our Torah, where mankind is described as being created in the Image of G-d. It does not reserve that privilege only for male landowners as the Ancient Greeks did, but rather very clearly is telling us that on the most fundamental level, all of us are the same. When Thomas Jefferson wrote those famous words about all people being created equal, he was thus echoing what G-d told us so many thousands of years before America was ever born. And America, so strongly influenced by that same Torah, naturally echoed that same sentiment.

    The Marxists of our world have long been at war with our Jewish people. This can be traced all the way back to Nimrod’s attempt to rule the whole world in his quest to replace G-d as the ultimate power in our world. America until just a few decades ago, seemed to be immune from such a battle. While the traces of Leftism can be found even in 19th century America, it started growing under Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, and then got its biggest boost in the 1960’s, and now in the last several years, culminating in the last three months, it has exploded. With the unnecessary lockdown combined with all the rioting and looting which appears to have no end to it, America is falling apart before our very eyes. Whether our President and the forces of good are strong and courageous enough to effectively counteract it, remains to be seen. What can be said for sure is that it is a cause for serious worry and just so darn depressing. I myself would get my passport to Israel updated, except that the Chinese virus-inspired lockdown will not permit me, since my already existing breathing problems preclude me from wearing one of those silly but legally required masks.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      If you want to read a poorly written historically inaccurate and intellectually dishonest screed that shows an abysmal ignorance of Judaism Zionism and Israel and is entirely rooted the mantra of the progressive left and its ultimate view of Israel RL read the latest offering by Peter
      Beinart who together with his research assistants now tells us why he no longer supports Israel Obviously Beinart views the progressive cause as being superior to that of maintaining Jewish continuity and engages in wholesale revisionism of the historical record It is fair to say that Beinart displays a full bias against Israel when he is not engaged in rewriting history to suit his preordained conclusion

      • Raymond says:

        I dread the idea of there ever being a Jewish President, because I just know that such a person would bend over backward to show how he (or she) does not give out any special treatment to our Jewish people. I shudder, for example, when I think of how Henry Kissinger told President Nixon to delay sending much needed military assistance to Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. I think of Karl Marx, George Soros, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Woody Allen, crazy Bernie Sanders…if I really looked into it I could undoubtedly come up with many other such names. Thus Peter Beinart is just the latest example of Jewish self-hatred. What none of these people seem to realize is that no matter how much they bend over backward to show how they do not favor their own Jewish people, the antisemites of this world will always see them as Jews, and therefore always as legitimate targets for their wrath. It boggles my mind that there are Jews out there who hate our current President despite him arguably being the most pro-Israel President that we have ever had. And now I wonder if there are any Jews foolish enough to support the antisemitic movement called Black Lives Matter. I think I already know the answer to that one.

  6. dr. bill says:

    Very well said. One additional point. Those who (try to) defend Chinese behavior tell us of Hong Kong being a part of China over 2000 years ago. Silly me: Forget that, never mind; that applies to Israel as a Jewish state as well.

    • Lawrence M. Reisman says:

      Actually, Hong Kong island was part of China until 1849, when Great Britain forced China to give it up. In 1898, Great Britain forced China into granting a 100 year lease on the Kowloon Peninsula. It was the expiration of that lease (and China’s stated intention not to renew it) that forced Great Britain to give up Hong Kong entirely.

  7. Nachum says:

    Probably the largest chunk of illegally occupied land in the world is Western Sahara (an Arab Muslim area, by the way). The former Spanish Sahara, when Spain pulled out, Morocco invaded and took over- completely annexed, in fact- almost the entire area.

    The UN has a special body to fight colonialism. There are no colonial empires anymore, but of course the body still meets regularly, to condemn Western occupation of areas (like Bermuda or American Samoa) which are asked to vote, over and over, as to whether they want independence, and always turn it down. It goes without saying that there is not a peep about Tibet or East Turkestan or whatever, the official excuse being that they are not on the official list of “colonies.”

    But Western Sahara is. Want to guess what the UN does? They regularly condemn…Spain, which is still listed as the “occupying power.”

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    Not too long ago the UN Secretary General made some noises about Morocco’s occupation. The Moroccans hauled him in, yelled at him, and he grovelled and apologized. If only Israel could do that.

    • Nachum says:

      And the point is, there’s no reason Israel *can’t*. Certainly Israel pulls more weight than Morocco, or should, if only they would exercise it. But if they tried, they might see what the real cause of the attacks are, as stated here.

  8. Shades of Gray says:

    “Plenty of Esav continuing his hatred of Yaakov …What has definitely changed is that there are millions today who no longer act like Esav”

    There is also an approach, mentioned in the past by R. Adlerstein, that this Chazal only applies to the historical Esav and historical Yaakov(see “Is Antisemitism Universal?”, CC, 9/5/06).

    The danger in enlarging this Chazal beyond the historical Esav, as R. YG Bechhofer wrote, is that “bandying the statement around obfuscates rather than clarifies, as it makes Antisemitism some intrinsic emotion innate to non-Jews. Were that indeed the case, it would seem unjust to punish those who are predisposed to it…”(“Halacha b’yadu’a Esav soneh l’Yaakov”, 12/2/12). R. Y.E. Henkin wrote in 1968(Teshuvot Ivra #116):

    ועוון פלילי מצד אותם המטיפים הפטפטנים שדורשים תמיד ‘הלכה הוא שעשו שונא ליעקב’, והשנאה עולמית

    See link:


    It’s interesting that Rav Moshe, on the one hand, used the enlarged understanding when advising about the consequences of suing the British(or any) government in the 1970’s in the European Court for Human Rights (Igros Moshe, Choshen Mishpat 2:77):

    דהוא כמו שהלכה לא משתנית כך שנאת עשו ליעקב לא משתנית דאף אלו שנוהגות באופן טוב שנאתן גדולה בעצם

    At the same time, R. Moshe himself called America a “medinah shel chesed”(this compliments the people, as contrasted with R. Shimon Bar Yochai’s statement about the Roman’s intent for building marketplaces, etc. in Shabbos 33b) !

    Perhaps this shows, similar to what the Vilna Gaon says in Even Sheleimah, that Torah is like rain which causes what is in his heart to grow, ie, it’s not the Torah sources themselves that cause a distorted view, as one can reconcile the “negative” sources with a positive outlook on one’s fellow man, as both R. Moshe and R. Henkin did(as one likewise does with seemingly “negative” sources on women). I agree that when one experiences today antisemitism it can be harder to nurture a positive outlook.

  9. DF says:

    What “global outrage”? I don’t see anyone talking about this. Everyone is focused on Covid (and ones view’s on that are colored by one’s politics.) In the US a hot topic is also the excesses of the left. But Israel? Annexation? We Jews are often accused on navel-gazing, and this is a good illustration of it. Israel right now is hardly on anyone’s radar screen מי יודע אם לעת כזאת is the whole reason we are going through this.

    • Absolutely not true. The World Council of Churches (largest umbrella organization in the Protestant world). The United Church of Canada. The governments of France and the UK. The Vatican. That’s for starters. All of them either condemning or making dire threats to Israel regarding annexation.

    • Bob Miller says:

      The anti-Jewish Christian denominations (or, at the very least, their leaders) continue to actively support the Arabs vs. Israel regardless of what news distracts you.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This