This quote by the late Barry Commoner, an American cellular biologist, university professor and politician, succinctly sums up the situation we find ourselves in these days.
Whether it is corona virus vaccines or political absurdities, side effects lurk in every situation. Some are immediate and often can be successfully predicted beforehand while others may only manifest themselves further down the track. In some cases the effects may be benign and easily dealt with while reactions to other courses of action may be severe and even life threatening. Unsurprisingly, there is no general consensus with experts, be they medical professionals or so called political analysts, issuing conflicting opinions and advice on how best to deal with the byproducts of often misguided pontifications.
Israel, where everyone is an expert on any given subject at any given time, is not immune to this outbreak and one only needs to survey the developing situation in order to understand exactly the magnitude of the dilemmas we face.
Controversies surrounding the current pandemic and especially what steps need to be taken to contain or eliminate it are perfect examples of how experts working at cross purposes can generate unintended reactions. When, as is the case at the moment, one has a dysfunctional Government with politicians totally ignorant of any medical knowledge dictating policies more attuned to electoral considerations then this is a recipe for chaos. Lockdowns and curfews for some but turning a blind eye to mass weddings, demonstrations and funerals for others merely makes the public lose more quickly any residual faith they may have had in hastily thrown together measures. Opening malls to which hundreds flock while keeping places of worship closed to all except ten people makes no sense whatsoever. Asking travelers returning from countries where Covid is rampaging to fill out a form and self quarantine is absurd as most will cheat as has already been proven. These and other examples of politically motivated stupidity have resulted in surges of infection and a rapidly disillusioned citizenry.
Vaccines are now touted as the harbinger of the messianic age where Corona will be totally destroyed and we will all live happily and healthily forever grateful to the politicians who facilitated its delivery to the masses. Existing vaccines for the ‘flu, polio and childhood diseases are without a doubt major contributors to saving lives. The point is however that they were developed after many years of research and trials in order to eliminate any possibility of short or long term side effects and to prove their effectiveness. Experience with drugs which have caused horrific deformities and other shocking symptoms in the past emphasizes the absolute necessity to make sure that any vaccine is 100% safe when administered and most critically after a longer period of time.
Can we say the same with absolute certainty concerning the rushed development and production of Corona vaccines? Naturally those companies which stand to make millions from the sale of these vaccines and politicians who can smell electoral spin offs are busy assuring us that there is nothing to worry about. However if one takes the trouble to delve deeper it soon becomes apparent that there are murky areas. At this point in time FDA approval is still awaited. Did the trials cover enough individuals? Were there sufficient people in all age groups? Experts differ over the severity of reactions to the vaccine. How many booster jabs will be required and what level of immunity will result? How will it interact with medications being taken by the people inoculated? Most critically, given the lack of evidence as to its long term side effects and the fact that experts differ on this, how do you reassure a skeptical public?
Unlike totalitarian regimes where individual liberties are non existent, how do you intend to induce mass inoculation of the population? Polio was eradicated because the public knew that the vaccine had been thoroughly tested and proven safe. This is not the case where everything has been rushed at express speed, nothing is guaranteed, future negative symptoms are unknown and medical experts are at cross purposes. Would you put your trust in any politician who assures you there is nothing to worry about? I certainly wouldn’t.
On the political front things are hotting up with defections and creation of yet more parties. It is too early to make any predictions but there is a growing groundswell of discontent against a Prime Minister who has clearly overstayed his welcome and who believes that only he can be the saviour of the country. Until now there really has been no person who could challenge the leader of Likud and at the same excite the electorate with a new face, new policies and above all a squeaky clean history. This may finally be changing and by the time the next elections are held there are likely to be more attractive choices.
Time will tell and as dramatic developments have a nasty habit of occurring without warning in Israel it will be necessary to withhold any premature prognostications until later.
Meanwhile however and in a somewhat lighter vein it is interesting to take note of three seemingly unrelated news items which broke during this past week.
There have been various explanations given as to how the Iranian military official masquerading as an innocent nuclear scientist was promoted to martyr status and helped on his way to the waiting virgins in paradise. Iranian authorities have now disclosed that he was shot by a remotely operated gun controlled from outer space by a satellite. If this claim is actually proven to be correct it means that whoever carried out the deed has made a quantum leap in developing space age technology. It also follows that from now on no terrorist or terror supporting group and regime is safe and that there will be nowhere to hide.
By a strange coincidence, the retired head of Israel’s space agency announced that at long last he could reveal that aliens from a galactic empire have made contact with Donald Trump. He went on to assert that a secret base had already been established on Mars and that Americans were working there. As the USA and Israel are close allies it therefore follows that the Jewish State must also have a close relationship with these visitors from another world. Apparently no more can be revealed because the aliens do not want us humans to be panicked. I do not know what this 87 year old respected scientist has been injected with but whatever it is it must be quite potent to induce such outer space visions.
In the same week it was announced that an Oxford study rated the chances of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe as extremely rare.
Taking into account the current mess on planet earth one has to question whether the experts at Oxford also undertook a study on the possibility of intelligent life existing here.
Their findings could confirm our worst fears.
Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.