Taking its cues from the American Left, the Israeli Left is all for national and individual self-immolation. But nobody who matters in that country has been listening to the Left babble on about “racism” and “Sinophobia.”
Against the advice of its liberal think tanks—and to protect its nationals from the Wuhan virus pandemic—the Israelis had, early on, closed its doors to “more and more of eastern Asia, starting with China, continuing to Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Thailand, South Korea and Japan.”
China is Israel’s second-largest trading partner.
To follow were tough travel restrictions and a quarantine regimen on territories in Europe, in line with unfolding coronavirus contingencies. Israel has since extended the quarantine to all arrivals. Consequently, of the 9 million Israelis, 100 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded so far, but no deaths.
What is proving more difficult for Israel is adding “New York and the states of Washington and California to its restricted list.” Israeli public health officials recommend it, but Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is being muscled by Vice President Mike Pence to keep his country open to those COVID-19 hot zones.
Following transmission of the coronavirus from Wuhan to Washington State, I wondered, in a mild tweet, posted with links to the Israeli policy, why Americans didn’t deserve this kind of diligence from their government.
Came the strident reply, also on Twitter: “Because, unlike Israel, the U.S. is not a postage-stamp-sized garrison state. The U.S. needs to tailor its response to the disease to its role as global economic power.”
Stalin apologist Walter Duranty summed up this Jacobin perspective perfectly. “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” Breaking a few old eggs, in an old-age home, in King County, Washington State, is what it apparently takes to make that great global omelet.
To the extent that it safeguards the well-being of its own people, the defensive measures taken by Israel comport with the role of government. “Whether they are armed with bombs or bacteria, stopping weaponized individuals from harming others—intentionally or unintentionally—falls perfectly within the purview of the night-watchman state of classical-liberal theory.”
Look to other nationalistic countries for the connection between borders closed and the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As reported by CNBC, Russia had sealed its borders with China as hermetically as possible late in January. Matters are fluid, but at the time of this writing, Russia has only 34 cases of coronavirus and no deaths. The infected are said to be Russians returning from Italy.
Likewise, Mongolia closed its borders with China in late January. Only a single case has been reported there. Singapore has reacted patriotically with all its scientific and cerebral might to what was termed there the “Wuhan flu.” It is now over the worst. The great Lee Kuan Yew would be proud. “The response in the U.S. has essentially been the opposite,” laments an envious geneticist writing at the Technology Review.
For open-border offenders to talk-up open borders during a pandemic is scandalous—as scandalous as it would have been for Harvey Weinstein to be talking up rough sex during his sentencing for sexual assault.
The open-border fetish is turning into a symbol of death, not freedom. For the correlation between borderless countries and infection rates seems unmistakable—certainly when one looks at Italy and the EU nexus of nuts to which it belongs. For Brussels, the undisturbed free flow of people across European borders is sacrosanct.
The first U.S. “Proclamation on Suspension of Entry, as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants, of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus” was signed into law on January 30. It went into effect only on February 2.
Reports from our nation’s airports, however, told of chaotic attempts to reroute passengers to 11 designated U.S. airports, for the purpose of screening that was as “enhanced” as temperature checks and a reliance on the “honest” say-so of the arrivals.
At the time, no restrictions had been placed by the United States on arrivals from other COVID-19 hot zones. Passenger screening from source countries such as Italy was slack, to put it mildly.
The government’s latest travel ban on Europe is welcome. Via the National Pulse:
“[S]ubject to conditions on the ground . . . travel from Europe to the United States will be suspended for 30 days. These restrictions will not apply to the United Kingdom.”
Alas, while it is true that the UK “is not part of the EU’s open-borders zone,” it has however—and as reports on terra firma suggest—been allowing any and all to enter from Europe practically unchecked.
Put it this way: an officer “briefly pointing a thermometer gun at your forehead or watching as you go by for signs of a cough or difficulty breathing” does little to stop the virus from spreading. In fact, as a correspondent for Science magazine avers, “It’s exceedingly rare for screeners to detect infected passengers.”