These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 7, 2014.
Friday, 7 March 2014
Why Not Independence For The Khuzistanian People?
The mistreatment of the Arabs in Iran -- who happen to sit on 3/4 of the oil reserves in Iran -- for some reason doesn't come up at the U..N. or anywhere else. Why not? Isn't it a matter for Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, tutti quanti?
Part of the story of the Khuzistanian people -- who have existed since time immemorial, with their very own culture so different from that of all other Arabs, thus entitling them to being accorded a unique identity that must be politically fulfilled through independence, and that means all those oilfields belong to them, too -- can be found, at Al-Arabiya, here.
Posted on 03/07/2014 9:21 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 7 March 2014
Liam Byrne demands urgent inquiry into 'shocking and disturbing' Jihadist plot allegations
More details of the attempt to take over state schools and turn them into Islamic Academies as first mentioned here on Sunday. From the Birmingham Mail
Shadow Education Minister Liam Byrne has demanded an urgent inquiry into ‘shocking and disturbing’ allegations of a Jihadist plot to take over city schools.
The Mail revealed today (Friday 7 March) how allegedly leaked documents showed Islamic fundamentalists were trying to oust headteachers and other staff, including non-Muslims, through dirty tricks campaigns. The conspirators would then install their own hard-line supporters to encourage the school to move to Academy status and educate children on strict Islamic principles, it was claimed.
The alleged plot, called Operation Trojan Horse, is being investigated by Birmingham City Council, which has alerted the Department of Education . . .Today Mr Byrne held urgent talks with Ofsted, city council officials, the office of the Education Secretary Michael Gove and the Department for Education.
One Birmingham teacher, a Muslim, contacted the Mail last night to praise our investigation and said: “Birmingham City Council needs to take these allegations very seriously, as I don’t believe they have in the past. It has been the elephant in the room, but they have been afraid of being accused of racism. If these allegations are true, then the people involved do not represent the vast majority of peaceful and tolerate Muslims..."
The documents allege some headteachers in Birmingham have been forced out after smear campaigns from fundamentalists and that others will follow. The alleged plot is said to involve recruiting Salafi parents and staff – hard-line followers of Islam – to help spread false allegations, including claiming sex education is being promoted to Muslim schoolchildren or Christian prayers.
Once school leaders are ousted, the school may be encouraged to move to Academy status, taking it out of the control of the local authority.
Superintendent Vince Firth, Partnership Superintendent for Bradford District Police, told the Mail the force and Bradford Council had been contacted about the documents. “This matter is currently being looked into by the authorities in Birmingham. However, we maintain regular contact with Bradford Council and will continue to liaise with them regarding any potential issues that may arise locally,” he said.
Birmingham City Council became aware of the Trojan Horse documents in December, yet it is understood the authority did not inform all councillors of their existence until February 10 when alerted by Peter Hay, Strategic Director For People
The documents claim former Saltley headmaster Balwant Bains would ‘soon be sacked’. In fact, the much respected principal resigned last November after a damning Ofsted report criticised his “dysfunctional” relationship with governors.
An alleged plot to oust headteacher Tina Ireland at Regents Park Community School by ‘planting the seed’ of SATs cheating allegations is also detailed in the documents. The long-serving and respected teacher and her deputy, Michelle McCusker, resigned in October after education chiefs scrapped the primary school’s SATs results following cheating allegations.
The Mail has spoken to education figures across Birmingham who have expressed concerns about disruption at a number of city schools with a high Muslim pupil population over the past two years.
Meanwhile, Peter Hay, Strategic Director for People at Birmingham City Council, alerted city councillors to the anonymous documents on February 10 and revealed some heads had also received them. He told them: “Those head teachers who have seen these documents have found them disturbing and have passed them on to the local authority. The letter and documents currently reaching some head teachers are very similar to material received by senior officers and politicians in the council late last year. We take all such matters very seriously and promptly and properly considered the allegations with colleagues in West Midlands Police, Equalities, Birmingham audit and legal staff..."
Superintendent Sue Southern, the Head of Prevent & Protect West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “In December 2013 Birmingham City Council brought the content of a letter they were investigating to the attention of West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit requesting we make an assessment of whether any criminal offences had been committed. The assessment at that time and remains the case today is that the allegations in the letter were for further investigation by Birmingham City Council and Department for Education and were not a matter for the Police. . ." readers will recall West Midland's Police previous reluctance to challenge anything to do with Islam.
The documents allegedly feature correspondence from one Birmingham Muslim fundamentalist to another in Bradford. They detail a five point guide for taking over a school and encourage rolling out Trojan Horse to Bradford and then Manchester, cities with rapidly growing Muslim populations. The documents outline alleged successful plots being carried out against a number of Birmingham headteachers.
The secret documents state: ‘’Operation ‘Trojan Horse’ has been very carefully thought through and is tried and tested within Birmingham, implementing it in Bradford will not be difficult for you.’’
Trojan Horse, the documents state, has been fine-tuned so that it is ‘totally invisible to the naked eye and allows us to operate under the radar. I have detailed the plan we have in Birmingham and how well it has worked and you will see how easy the whole process is to get the whole process is to get the head teacher out and our own person in.’’
The documents state schools with poor Ofsted reports and with large Muslim student populations should be targeted for takeover.
They add: ‘’The poor performing schools are easy to disrupt, the better performing with strong head teachers is much harder and so we have to manufacture a strong enough reason, but rest assured we have not failed yet, no matter how difficult removing the head teacher may be. You just have to be clever and find the most appropriate way to deal with the school.’’
The documents add: ‘’This is all about causing the maximum amount of organised chaos and we have fine-tuned this as part of operation Trojan Horse. You must identify what the heads strengths are and build a case of disruption around that.’’
One passage in the documents states: “We have caused a great amount of organised disruption in Birmingham and as a result we now have our own Academies and are on our way to getting rid of more headteachers and taking over their schools. Whilst sometimes the practices we use may not seem the correct way to do things you must remember this is a ‘Jihad’ and as such all means possible to win the war is acceptable.’’
Posted on 03/07/2014 2:15 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 7 March 2014
Positive Discrimination is the Anti-Semitism of Intellectuals
Twenty years ago I published a novella in which a purported serial killer, using all the arguments of liberal or radical criminology, proved to his own satisfaction that not only that he was as good as the average citizen, but better. To my surprise an eminent critic thought that my character expressed my own views, which he then criticized as if they had been meant seriously. Was the fault mine for not having made myself clear enough, or his for having been so obtuse?
He who expresses himself ironically must expect to be misunderstood, willfully or otherwise: and one purpose of willful misunderstanding is to avoid an argument suspected to be strong but that is also unwelcome. There was a good example of this avoidance in a headline two days ago on the news service of my internet provider. This service is a mixture of sugar and venom, and usually I ignore it.
The headline read as follows:
Norman Tebbit Is Worried About Transsexual Muslim Airline Pilots
This, of course, was a willful misunderstanding of what he actually said.
Lord Norman Tebbit
Tebbit, who is 83, was a British Conservative politician who was closely associated for a time with Mrs Thatcher. In 1984 he was injured slightly in the Provisional IRA bombing of the hotel in Brighton where the Conservative Party was having its annual conference, but his wife was permanently disabled in it and confined to a wheelchair. Anyone, regardless of his politics, who has seen him with his wife cannot but have been moved by the unostentatious and undemonstrative tenderness with which he looks after her.
Tebbit has always been outspoken and those who dislike him dislike him a lot. He always defends himself articulately, however, and no one has ever suggested that he lacked probity – a rare enough quality among modern politicians. The article that he wrote that provoked the derisive headline was against the view, very common nowadays, that parliament and the upper reaches of the civil service should be demographically representative of the population they serve. He wrote:
Try putting that into practice elsewhere. Who would feel safer if just before take-off the pilot of the airliner told the passengers that she had been promoted to command because they needed more transsexual Muslim captains to meet the airline’s inclusivity target? The senior ranks of the civil service, flight deck crews, surgeons, or any job should be comprised of the best candidates regardless of sexual orientation, gender, ethnic origin or religion.
Clearly the example of a transsexual Muslim airline pilot was meant as a reductio ad absurdum and not as a real or actual concern. One might argue as to whether the example was well or ill-chosen; but to mock it as if Tebbit were really worried about such pilots was to avoid the serious and important arguments against the allocation of jobs (actually any jobs, not just senior ones) on the basis of race or other demographic criteria.
These arguments from which attention is thus diverted are intellectually and morally very strong, despite often being presented by opponents as precisely the opposite, that is to say as bigoted, reactionary, racist, and even proto-fascist. Perhaps the most curious thing about the diversionary tactic is that it presents the attempt to ignore race as a valid criterion of occupational selection (an attempt that will almost certainly never be wholly successful) as openly or disguisedly racist. One is reminded of the notorious response to the man who protested that he was anti-communist: ‘I don’t care what kind of communist you are!’ Anyone who now claims to be non-racist will be met by the equivalent exclamation, ‘I don’t care what kind of racist you are!’
The arguments against quota systems are well-known and obvious, at least in tolerably open societies. Quotas are intrinsically divisive and discriminatory (in the worst possible sense) because the number of categories into which humanity can be divided is infinite: only some categories, therefore, can be favored, leaving others resentful and liable to seek political redress as their supposed salvation. Quotas therefore not only politicize life but embitter political life itself. They formalize favoritism, thus reinforcing the very problem they are meant to solve.
They necessarily inflate the role of government, for someone has to enforce them. Before long, the demand for equality (of a kind) undermines freedom because private associations are no longer able to make the rules they wish, a necessary condition for a truly liberal society in which government is not overweening or preponderant. The imposition of quotas is founded on the belief that everyone is a bigot unless forced by administrative fiat to be otherwise. This is a rather dismal view of human potentiality and underestimates the spontaneous changes in society brought about by, among other things, goodwill and market forces.
Quotas are condescending towards those favored but unjust towards those not favored. You cannot have positive discrimination without negative discrimination, often towards minorities (actually everyone is a member of many minorities). You will therefore end up with a virtual numerous clausus such as operated in elite universities in America against Jews until quite recently in history.
Those who are in favor of racial or other demographic quotas use, no doubt unconsciously or unintentionally, a form of argument very similar in form, and not dissimilar in content, to that used traditionally by anti-Semites. How come so small proportion of the population should achieve such prominence in important fields such as academia, publishing, journalism, the media in general, retailing, industry, banking and finance, and so forth? The only conceivable answer is that this sector of the population, through some subtle and conspiratorial informal organization, manipulates itself into prominence. On this view, the Swedish academy that awards the Nobel Prizes for science is some kind of front organization for a shadowy conspiracy. The only solution to the injustice that results is countervailing political action. This kind of argument, of course, featured prominently in Nazi propaganda and, alas, was highly effective. It appeals to Man’s reptile brain.
Anti-Semitism, it used to be said, is the socialism of fools. I think this is to get it the wrong way round. Positive discrimination, if not socialism itself, is the anti-Semitism of intellectuals and of their political and bureaucratic allies.
First published in the Library of Law and Liberty.
Posted on 03/07/2014 5:43 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 7 March 2014
Who's afraid of Putin?
This a counter intuitive and sober article by Jeremy Rosen:
As I watched the Sochi Winter Olympics, I thought of Putin’s long shadow was cast, malevolently, over the construction, the management, and the security of the event. I wondered what act of aggression he would get up to next. His smirking, self-satisfied, bullying presence thumbed a nose at the civilized world as he gloated over his support for totalitarian regimes in Chechnya, Syria, Moldova, and Georgia. His malevolent involvement in other countries and the blatant way he suppresses and imprisons opposition at home are chilling. His KGB nature reveals itself for what it is. Well, now we know. A leopard and his spots!
By way of contrast, Obama’s incompetence, the way his naive worldview and credulity have made a fool of him, is equally frightening. It means there are no red lines, and no ally can trust that he will actually step up to the plate in a moment of crisis. Perhaps a little tokenism here, bravado there. But is the EU any better? They need their deals with Russia. They are being very circumspect.
There is another perspective. You could argue that Putin has backbone and determination in trying to reestablish Russia as a world power, to revitalize an ethnic culture and religion that had all but been eradicated by Marxism. You might argue that in supporting Assad, Putin is the only bulwark against extreme, violent Muslim fanaticism.
Meanwhile in the West, the liberal, so-called chattering classes, or politically correct world, perpetuate the myths of the old order, excoriating the United States and its allies and capitalism as the real oppressors. They are cowards who will refrain from boycotting Russia or China but prefer to bully smaller fry.
Then comes the Jewish perspective. We tend naturally to side with freedom. But the freedoms of the European Union have created a world in which Jews are increasingly marginalized and vilified and Israel is boycotted. Their religious practices are increasingly restricted. Putin, on the other hand, has been very supportive of Jewish life in Russia. Ironically, it might just be easier to be a practicing Jew in Moscow nowadays than in Paris, Copenhagen, Oslo, or even Zurich.
We may cheer the Ukrainian opposition for trying to escape the Russian grip. But there’s another side to Ukraine too. The Chief Rabbi has warned that the lid the pro-Russian party kept on anti -Semitism is now lifted. Ukraine is arguably, more than any other part of the old Russian Empire, the cradle of the most virulent and violent anti-Semitism. It is the origin of the Chmielnicki atrocities (he is regarded today as a hero by many Ukrainians), the Beilis blood libel, and the Kishinev pogroms, to mention only the most notorious. Many of the demonstrators from Western, Cossack Ukraine were neo-Nazis and sympathizers; some wore swastikas and declared a desire to rid Ukraine of its remaining Jews (admittedly Eastern Ukraine and Western are very different) and the Cossacks are as divided as the Jews, some pro-Russian and others anti.
This has always been our dilemma. We Jews have to live somewhere. Nowhere is perfect. It’s often a matter of what compromises we have to make. So would you rather live under Putin? Not I.
Two and a half thousand years ago we were in a similar position. Yes, really. Egypt and Babylon were the two competing world powers. Both cultures were cruel, morally bankrupt but militarily strong. There were Jews living in both empires. The kingdom of Judah (the northern state of Israel had already been destroyed) was caught in between both powers, switching from one to the other as alliances were promised and then betrayed. We ourselves were torn apart internally; socially, religiously, and politically. In the end we backed the wrong horse. Despite being assured by our false prophets that we would be fine, we suffered horribly.
But thanks to the Persian Emperor Cyrus, Jews living in the Empire and in the renewed satrapy of Israel enjoyed an era of toleration. The Macedonian Alexander the Great followed suit. Toleration meant it didn’t matter what or who you worshipped, so long as you accepted the conqueror’s authority. Persia was an absolute dictatorship. Greece had a modified form of democracy. What Jews who lived under both regimes cared about was less the style of government than the practicalities of earning a livelihood. Conflict was over trade, rather than religion. But once again Jew argued with Jew, as the Maccabean revolt illustrated.
Under the Roman Empire, too, Jews lived and thrived, some in the East and some in the West. They had to choose which leader to back, of course. One moment it was Pompey. The next it was Caesar. I am sure they had PACS in those days too. Tensions between East and West resurfaced. Some Jews revolted against Rome and looked to the Parthians for support. Others, like Josephus, abandoned their people and chose to live acculturated in Rome. And there indeed they lived peacefully, flourished, and were (eventually) accepted. Then too disagreements between the Jews in Israel and those in the Diaspora were common.
With the rise first of Christianity and then Islam, we (along with home-born heretics) were persecuted most of the time, occasionally tolerated, rarely accepted. So we kept on moving, when we were not expelled, which proved our salvation, searching for safe havens in and between the rival camps.
On to modernity. Jews living in Germany were sure their cultural tradition put them at the comfortable and safe center of civilization. Like Napoleon, they looked down on Britain as a nation of shopkeepers. Jews fought on both sides in the First World War. Many supported the rise of fascism. And I recall both in England and Israel meeting refugees from Hitler who still believed that Germany was heaven, and Nazism had all been a terrible mistake.
I rehearse all this to make the point that we have always been faced with conflicting politics and realities and have tried to tread warily through the minefields. Sometimes we got it right. More often we got it wrong. I can’t think of a better example than the conviction of the ultra-Orthodox leadership, almost to a man, a hundred years ago that Eastern Europe would be safer for the Jews than anywhere else.
I am both rational and mystical. I am in part liberal and part conservative. The challenge most of us have is to make the right micro-decisions, even if we cannot make the right macro ones. If there is a metaphorical message in our holy texts, it is that in the end (and sometimes it’s a very long end) God (or history) sides with the ethical, regardless of their identity or their affiliation.
Posted on 03/07/2014 6:08 AM by Geoffrey Clarfield