China’s acting ambassador to Israel came under well-deserved fire this week for invoking the Nazi genocide of the Jews to criticize Jerusalem’s preventive measures against the spread of the coronavirus.
At a press conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday, Dai Yuming said that he felt “bad and sad” over the “errors to limit or even ban entries of Chinese citizens” into Israel “because it actually recalled me the old days, the old stories that happened in World War II, the Holocaust. Many Jewish were refused when they tried to seek assistance. Only very, very few countries opened their doors. One of them is China. I hope Israel will never close their door to the Chinese. In the darkest days of the Jewish people, we didn’t close the door on them. I hope Israel will not close the door on the Chinese.”
Dai’s comments could not have been more outrageous.
The outcry that they unleashed in the press and on social media spurred the Chinese embassy in Israel to express regret. In a statement issued to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Beijing’s diplomatic mission basically claimed that its representative’s words had been misconstrued.
“[W]e would like to clarify that there was no intention whatsoever to compare the dark days of the Holocaust with the current situation and the efforts taken by the Israeli government to protect its citizens,” the statement read. “We would like to apologize if someone understood our message the wrong way.”
Really. As though it would have been possible to interpret it as anything but what it was: an accusation that Israel was turning its back on victimized men, women and children under threat of annihilation in their country of origin, and a plea for the Jewish state and its citizens to remember how that particular type of rejection felt during World War II.
The chutzpah is startling, though not surprising, given the regime that Dai serves. You know, the one that commits Nazi-like atrocities against members of its society with impunity—and without batting an eyelash.
These barbaric acts include the holding of more than 1 million Muslims in concentration camps, where they are subjected to torture, forced organ removal and abortions, among other medical “experiments.”
Talk about the wok calling the kettle black.
Indeed, on the one hand, Dai was engaging in the all-too-common practice of singling out Israel for condemnation while the rest of the world’s countries, particularly his own, not only have been scrambling to contain the deadly virus, but are adopting policies to keep it from continuing to permeate borders. On the other, he was being a loyal Communist diplomat, spewing strategic propaganda with a purpose, part of which is to deflect from some inconvenient truths.
Among these is Beijing’s desperate attempt to downplay the number of its citizens who have contracted the virus and lie about the death toll. This is clear from the way in which huge swaths of the population are forbidden from leaving their homes without face masks—which have all but run out due to the demand that outweighs the supply—and arrested violently by police if they fail to do so.
In stark contrast, Israel is trying to be both proactive and productive. Where the former is concerned, Chinese citizens landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport are sent back home (or elsewhere), and Israelis returning from China are required to remain under self-imposed house quarantine for two weeks.
As for the latter: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tasked Israel’s Institute for Biological Research and Health Ministry with developing a vaccine for the coronavirus. Of course.
Meanwhile, at the request of Chabad in China, Magen David Adom—Israel’s national emergency and ambulance service—sent 2,000 face masks and 200 full-body protection kits to the People’s Republic. Natch.
Dai, his embassy staff and the regime in Beijing should be bowing to Israel, not pretending to rue outlandish remarks about the Holocaust.
Ruthie Blum is an Israel-based journalist and author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’ ”