BRUSSELS – Her blue eyes still look empty, her blond hair hides the heavy strokes she received. For 10 days, 13-year-old Oceane Sluijzer didn't leave her house, terrified, afraid to go out. The fear to walk on the street on her own still paralyzes her, ever since that Friday, about two weeks ago, when five girls of Muslim descent, her schoolmates, humiliated her in public and assaulted her.
"Dirty Jew – go to your country," they told her, grabbing her hair and slamming her head against their knees. Then they just left her there, at the sports center, not far from the school, while those who witnessed the incident quickly ran away.
"The police suggested that I keep quiet about the incident. They asked me, 'Don't say that it's anti-Semitism,'" Oceane reveals. "They even suggested that I avoid going to the hospital." According to her father, Dan, "The police said they would collect the five girls' testimonies and settle for that. If they attack her again in the future, they promised to act differently. The police wanted to bury this affair as soon as possible."
The educational system's response was similar. Oceane returned home that day and didn't leave her house for the next 10 days, but no one at the school even bothered to check on her. Her schoolmates disappeared too. "A week later, the principal called and asked me to visit his office with Oceane's mother," the father says. "He said he had decided to suspend the girls' leader. I informed him that my daughter would not be returning to a school which is incapable of protecting her. As far as he was concerned, it was enough. It was the ideal solution."
Oceane describes what happened. "I play soccer at the sports center," she says. "It was a routine afternoon training session organized by the school." She says the abuse was nothing new. The girls of Moroccan descent used to regularly address her with exclamations of contempt. "In the past month and a half it became worse," she says. "That day I just had enough. I said to myself that today I would answer them, that I wouldn't take it anymore."
She mustered the courage and answered back. "The fact that I'm not Moroccan doesn't give you permission not to respect me," she told the girls. "They began cursing and insulting me." Oceane didn't break down: "I don't want to keep quiet. I live in my country." Her comment cost her two slaps in the face. "It was an act of provocation and they wanted me to hit them back. I was gripped with fear and realized I must walk away."
But the girls wouldn't let her go. "They followed me and began assaulting me. The attack lasted five minutes, which seemed eternal. A friend of mine of Indian descent was the only one who intervened. She tried to protect me. She prevented a disaster. Their hatred would have left me bleeding on the grass without anyone there to help me."
It turns out that the girls only found out about Oceane's Jewish roots about a year ago. "We're Arab. We don't want you to be part of our group," they used to tell her. "The Muslim girls created a balance of fear threatening everyone. I got used to not having the Belgian girls defend me, because I knew they were scared too." Tensions mounted at the school every day. "I got used to being called a dirty Jew. It wasn't unusual, although I was burning up inside."
Her father, whose grandfather was murdered in the Holocaust, says that "last year I already went to the school and warned the principal that there is a problem of anti-Semitism here, but he said they were just children and that I mustn't make generalizations. I was concerned by the fact that my daughter and her older sister are the only Jewish girls in the school." And he had good reason to be concerned, as the verbal violence turned into physical violence.. . . Therefore it was decided that she would go to a different public school, which has other Jewish students.
. . . the fact that the incident was not reported in Belgium and that elected representatives had nothing to say about it points to the problematic situation in the country. The only person who spoke about Oceane's attack was Jewish Parliament Member Viviane Teitelbaum, who published the story on her website.
Oceane will soon be receiving legal aid too. The EJU's cooperation with an association of Jewish European lawyers fighting for Israel is already working to put the Moroccan girls on trial. "I don't care if we're called a Jewish lobby," says Aviel Attias, one of the organization's founders. "If we must demonstrate legal aggressiveness in order to insist on our rights, it will be done. Oceane won't be left alone. That's a promise."
Success Requires Sustained Effort at Tedious Tasks (What a drag)
All of our present Republican candidates including John Huntsman who was ambassador to China are at a loss to deal effectively with the challenges and manipulations of the Chinese economy and the impact of globalization to our considerable detriment, even Donald Trump. The problem will not be solved by high tariffs or a currency reform to raise the value of the Yuan.We will not recover our ability to deal with the Chinese unless we first face the issue of EDUCATION.
I teach Hebrew at a major university in Florida (one of the biggest in the country). Apart from a tiny minority (15% at most in most classes) of the students who apply themselves to just get past the first hurdle – learning a different alphabet (consisting of 22 letters and approximately 10 vowel signs), the remainder are daunted by what they consider a tedious task that requires some concentrated mental effort.
I learned this as an 8 year old in perhaps a month or two so that I could read and correctly pronounce the words of any vowelled text (modern Hebrew without vowels requires a much greater familiarity with the language and its structure and is best left to much more advanced classes).
Millions of Jews in the past did so and could read Hebrew without any formal education. A majority of the 15% of my students who do apply themselves are enthusiastic first time students (almost all Christians with no previous experience of the language). The other 85% , unless they are already familiar with the alphabet from intensive Bar Mitzvah training and years of private Hebrew instruction) never make any real progress because they are unwilling to spend the time needed in the first 4-5 weeks of the course to learn to read with some facility and so cannot even recognize how words should appear in written form when they hear a word (Hebrew is very phonetic and easy to “spell”).
They have access to audio tapes that are keyed to the text so that they can hear the words correctly pronounced at the same time as they observe the written text. Nevertheless, many of these students tell me this is “too hard” a task for them because it is time consuming. They cannot (won’t spend) the two to three hours a week listening to the audio tapes at home to go through all the letters.
When I tell them that an 8 year old Chinese boy or girl today can read and understand approximately 2,500 different characters so that they can proficiently read at their level in school, they are at a loss and can only explain this as the result of a totally foreign un-American system of a brutal dictatorship enforcing a form of slavery on children and never make the connection that China’s success in the brave new world of globalization depends on this literacy and high standard of education.
This is also the reason that a country like Denmark with very high taxes and wages has a level of unemployment only at one third the U.S. level and does so well.
The frontpage headlines in today’s local paper featured the “outstanding achievement” of the local university’s football team being invited to play in the “Big East” conference. There is no escape from the continued ravages of globalization unless we stop the steady spiral of downward dumbing and make our students aware of the efforts required on their part.
Complex human events have no single or final explanation. The last word on the outbreak of looting and rioting that convulsed large parts of England, including London, in August will therefore never be heard. But some of the first words were foolish, or at least shallow, reflecting the typical materialistic assumptions of the intelligentsia.
An August feature story on the riots in Time offered a particularly striking example. The author suggested that to understand the riots, we should start with “something called the Gini co-efficient, a figure used by economists to indicate how equally (or unequally) income is distributed across a population.” In this traditional measure, the article notes, Britain fares worse than almost every other country in the West.
This little passage is interesting for at least two reasons. First is the unthinking assumption that more equality is better; complete equality would presumably be best. Second is that the author apparently did not think carefully about the table of Gini coefficients printed on the very same page and what it implied about his claim. Portugal headed the list as the most unequal of the countries selected, with a 0.36 coefficient. Next followed the U.K. and Italy, both with a 0.34 coefficient. Toward the bottom of the list, one found France, with a 0.29 coefficient, the same as the Netherlands. Now, it is true that journalists are not historians and that, for professional reasons, their time horizons are often limited to the period between the last edition of their publication and the next. Even so, one might have expected a Time reporter to remember that in 2005—not exactly a historical epoch ago—similar riots swept France, even though its Gini coefficient was already lower than Britain’s. (Having segregated its welfare dependents geographically, though, France saw none of its town or city centers affected by the disorder.)
As it happened, when I read the Time story, I had an old notebook with me. In it, among miscellaneous scribblings, was the following list, referring to the riots in France and made contemporaneously:
Cities affected 300
Burned cars 9,071
Police involved 11,200
Average number of cars burned per day before riots 98
And all this with a Gini coefficient of only 0.29! How, then, could it have happened? It might also be worth mentioning that the Netherlands, with its relatively virtuous Gini coefficient, is one of the most crime-ridden countries in Western Europe, as is Sweden, with an even lower Gini coefficient.
At least Time does not go in for the theory that what caused the riots was the coalition government’s reduction in spending, which my Polish publisher tells me is the almost universally accepted view in the Polish press. This Ping-Pong theory of youthful misdemeanor, as one might call it, suggests that if only the state provided enough services for potential rioters—including such amenities as leisure centers with Ping-Pong tables and other diversions—they would behave better. (In the U.S., the theory would promote midnight basketball.) Apart from the empirical unlikelihood of the Ping-Pong tables’ exerting the hoped-for prophylactic effect, the theory suggests that it is government’s duty not merely to keep the peace but to keep the population happy and amused. It is hardly surprising, then, that when people claim that service reductions provoked the riots, they are unable to see that if this were so, the problem would be not the removal of services, but dependence on them in the first place. In any case, as Time pointed out, the effects of the proposed—and economically inevitable—spending reductions have yet to be felt (and few of the reductions have been implemented to date).
Paul Weston, leader of the new British Freedom Party, draws attention to the incremental nature of Jihad. It is a numbers game, and Muslims will use our democratic system to establish a tyrannical ideology.
Mr Weston is a little hesitant at first, and always measured in tone, but gets into his stride as he settles into the interveiw:
Norway’s Progress Party has called for the immediate arrest of Mullah Krekar after the firebrand jihadist spoke of the need for renewed terrorist attacks on the United States.The Norway-based extremist made the comments in an interview with Finland’s MTV3. He also claimed that Islam “will control the entire world” within the next 20 years.
Krekar said: “They have learned nothing from the 9/11 attacks. That’s why they need two more attacks. It’s the only way the Americans will understand that we [Muslims] are people and not animals or slaves.”
Morten Ørsal Johansen, immigration policy spokesman for the populist Progress Party, said the remarks merited placing Krekar under arrest.
In the Finnish TV interview, he (Krekar) also spoke cryptically of how European-style democracy would never take root in the Middle East. Likening the export of Western democracy to a "plastic banana", he said it would never work in the Arab world because, unlike the real thing, "you can’t eat it."
He also argued in the three-minute interview that further terrorist attacks were unavoidable. . . “It’s going to happen. It’s meant to happen. Jihad is meant to happen, I’m certain of it. Jihad is like a cat. If you lock up a cat it becomes dangerous,” said Krekar.
The radical Islamist is set to appear in court in Norway in February after allegedly issuing verbal death threats to five different people, including Conservative Party (Høyre) leader Erna Solberg.
Roosevelt University academic study documents systematic use of propaganda by world's largest news agency.
A study published in the November/December issue of the Journal of Applied Business Research finds that Reuters coverage of the Middle East conflict is systematically tainted by propaganda and influences readers to side with the Palestinians and Arab states against the Israelis.
Researcher Henry Silverman of Roosevelt University analyzed a sample of fifty news-oriented articles published on the Reuters.com websites for the use of classic propaganda techniques, logical fallacies and violations of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, a manual of guiding ethical principles for the company’s journalists.
Across the articles, over 1,100 occurrences of propaganda, fallacies and handbook violations in 41 categories were identified and classified.
In the second part of the study, a group of thirty-three university students were surveyed, before and after reading the articles, to assess their attitudes and motivation to support one or the other belligerent parties in the Middle East conflict, i.e., the Palestinians/Arabs or the Israelis. The study found that on average, subject sentiment shifted significantly following the readings in favor of the Arabs and that this shift was associated with particular propaganda techniques and logical fallacies appearing in the stories.
“Governments have long used propaganda to whip up public support during wartime and to demonize enemies”, says Silverman. “Reuters is adopting these same techniques to covertly shape audience perceptions and opinion in violation of its corporate governance charter.” Silverman points out that this is particularly troubling since “the news agency promotes itself as a paragon of accurate and impartial reporting and its stories are read by millions of people who are led to believe they are being provided objective facts”.
The entire study is most interesting. It uses previously established, fairly rigorous criteria as to what constitutes "propaganda." It chose 50 articles about the conflict published by Reuters between May 31 and August 31, 2010 (during and after the Mavi Marmara incident.)
SAN FRANCISCO—A mantra that has driven global negotiations on carbon dioxide emissions for years has been that policy-makers must prevent warming of more than two degrees Celsius to prevent apocalyptic climate outcomes. And, two degrees has been a point of no return, a limit directly or indirectly agreed to by negotiators at international climate talks.
New, extensive study of the paleoclimate record going back 50 million years by Hansen and others now shows that the two-degree target for global temperature rise “is a prescription for disaster,” Hansen said here at a news conference during the American Geophysical Union meeting.
Hansen came to that conclusion after reviewing average and extreme perturbations in the paleoclimate record that have been more thoroughly documented in the past few years. The record shows that 50 million years ago, Earth was free of ice, and sea level was 70 meters higher on average than it is today. Both phenomena resulted from natural variations in mean temperatures due to slight changes in the sun’s output and Earth’s orbit over geological time scales. Rising temperatures today, over far shorter time scales in which neither the sun nor the orbit are factors, are caused primarily by higher levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels before the industrial revolution were about 280 parts per million on average. They have been rising ever since, and today are about 397 ppm. A level of 450 ppm has generally been associated with an average global temperature rise of two degrees C. However, the latest analysis shows that a level of 450 ppm is enough to melt a significant portion of the world’s ice, because feedback mechanisms kick in; melting ice hastens the melting of even more ice, for example, and thawing permafrost emits methane that accelerates warming, prompting permafrost to thaw even more.
If the number reaches 560 ppm, a doubling of preindustrial values, sea level globally could rise 25 meters, according to Eelco Rohling, professor of ocean and climate change at University of Southampton in the U.K., who presented data at the AGU meeting with Hansen. Many large cities worldwide lie at that elevation or lower. The two scientists agreed that if nations continue to emit CO2 at current rates, the world could reach 560 ppm by 2100.
The paleoclimate record also shows that 560 ppm would be enough to melt all the ice in the Arctic, and later the Antarctic. Rohling said that once the Antarctic melts, sea levels would rise by 60 to 70 meters. “If governments keep going the way they are going,” Hansen added, “the planet will reach an ice-free state.”
Hansen concluded with a message to negotiators at the current climate talks in Durban, South Africa. If the world begins reducing CO2 emissions by 6 percent a year starting in 2012, Hansen said, atmospheric levels can return to the “safe” level of 350 ppm that he and others have long called for. “If the world waits until 2020 to begin,” he noted, “it will need to reduce CO2 by 15 percent a year to reach 350 ppm. We are out of time.”