The light between two things 间隙


Reader question:

Please explain this headline: "No Light Between the US and Israel”.

My comments:

In other words, the United States and Israel share exactly the same position (on some particular issue).


Well, when Americans say there is no light or, more commonly, daylight between two people or two things, they mean to say that there is no gap or difference between the two.

The light here refers to daylight. During the day, if two persons stand side by side, we should be able to see the gap of light in between the two. If they are ten meters apart, for example, we will be able to see a two-meter gap between the two; if they're 10 centimeters apart, we will be able to see a ten-centimeter gap between the duo; indeed, even if they're one millimeter apart, we will be able to observe there is at least a little light in between them.

From up close and from the right angle, of course.

If there is literally no light between them at all, then the two persons may be in an embrace, their bodies are intertwined and together as one.

Hence, metaphorically speaking, when people that there is no daylight between two people, they mean to say the two people are really close, their ideas or positions are really the same because there's nothing (no daylight) to separate or divide them.

Therefore, as I said, the headline in our question means that the positions of the United States and Israel are inseparable on some unspecified issue.

In other words, they overlap.

To use a Chinese expression, which sometimes contains disapproving connotations, the Americans and the Israelis must be wearing the same pair of pants.

Here are media examples of the "light" or "daylight" between people or things:

1. The top strategist for the Republican National Committee said Tuesday that whatever divide exists between the Republican Party and its likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump, comes down to the way he talks.

Because when it comes to Trump’s positions on the issues, Sean Spicer – the party’s chief strategist and communications director – said there is little daylight between the GOP and its standard bearer.

“Most of the issues with Trump, frankly, come down to personality. They don’t like his tone, they don’t like his words,” Spicer said at a forum hosted by the American Petroleum Institute. “For the most part, you’re not seeing major splits in our party regarding policy.”

- Top RNC Strategist: There’s Little Daylight Between Trump, GOP on Issues,, June 21, 2016.

2. The IFAB will not make any major changes to the Laws of the Game at its Annual General Meeting on Feb. 29, sources have told ESPN.

Football's lawmakers will meet in Belfast next month to formally approve any changes to the laws, which will take effect from June 1. But after making several high-profile changes for this season, including the controversial attacking handball law, any modifications will be low key.

A report in The Times last month suggested that FIFA would propose changing the offside law to apply only if there is "clear daylight" between them and the defending player. This follows a controversial first season of VAR in the Premier League which has seen 25 goals disallowed for offside, many by a very small margin. But there are no plans to make any changes to offside in the Laws of the Game in the immediate future.

The IFAB will instead concentrate on rewording some laws, such as handball, to create greater clarity and understanding among players and supporters.

It is also not expected that there will be any major changes to VAR protocol, with work again concentrated on improving procedures rather than adding new ones or making wholesale changes. However, advice may be given to national associations on how best to implement VAR in certain scenarios -- including offside.

- No major revamp of VAR, laws or offside for next season - sources,, January 21, 2020.

3. No one is as good at hiring an unscrupulous lawyer as Donald Trump. And now it seems that the worst of the bunch, the late Roy Cohn — the lying, cheating, and eventually disbarred attorney who represented both the red-baiting Joseph McCarthy and the president, when Trump was a young real estate developer — has been reincarnated in the form of Bill Barr. The trouble is that this time, the lawyer in question isn’t just a personal lackey or counsel to the president, but rather the attorney general of the United States.

The attorney general, while a political appointee, is bound first and foremost not to the whims and personal interests of the president, but to the law. An enduring lesson of the Watergate scandal, and the norm that attorneys general and presidents from Ford through Obama have upheld since, is that while presidents may set broad policy on law-enforcement priorities, the Justice Department should act independently from the White House when it comes to individual criminal cases.

Representative Thomas Jenckes, the Rhode Island congressman who led the charge to establish the Department of Justice in 1870, underscored the importance of federal lawyers who would act independently of politicians: “The humblest servant of the Government should not be at the mercy or the caprice of the most distinguished politician,” he said in an address in Boston in 1868. “Let every man who may receive a commission from the United States know that he holds it from the people, in service of the people.”

Barr never seems to have gotten that message. His tenure has been defined by dismantling the norm of the Justice Department’s independence from partisan politics and the president’s personal interests. His intervention in criminal proceedings against one of the president’s friends last week, a wildly inappropriate move that led to the resignation of four federal prosecutors from the case, was only the latest travesty on Barr’s watch.

The prosecutors had recommended a seven- to nine-year prison sentence for Roger Stone, a Trump confidant who was convicted of seven felonies, including threatening a witness with physical harm, lying under oath, forging documents, and interfering with a congressional investigation (the results of which, coincidentally, could have damaged the president’s reputation). Barr’s memo recommending a lighter sentence followed President Trump’s tweet on Feb. 11 that called the prosecutors’ recommendation “horrible and very unfair.”

On Thursday, amid mounting criticism, Barr tried to put some daylight between himself and the president, and complained that Trump’s tweets made it “impossible” for him to do his job. But even if, as Barr claims, his sentencing memo had nothing to do with the president’s tweet, he surely would have known of Trump’s sympathy for Stone. And it’s of little wonder he is upset, since the president’s tweets expose Barr yet again as not an independent defender of the law but as the servant of one man who happens to occupy the White House.

In isolation, this interference alone could be sufficient grounds to deem that the attorney general is following the president’s playbook of rewarding criminal loyalists and punishing patriots he deems disloyal to his interests instead of upholding impartial justice. But it is only the latest in a litany of offenses that Barr has inflicted on the rule of law since he was confirmed to the post on Valentine’s Day 2019.

- William Barr must go,, February 14, 2020.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at:, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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