Friday, 31 December 2021
Jewish leaders to confront BBC over ‘colossal error’ in anti-Semitic attack coverage

From the Telegraph

Jewish leaders will confront the director-general of the BBC after an investigation revealed a “colossal error” in its reporting over an anti-Semitic attack in London’s Oxford Street.

Earlier this month, Jewish teenagers celebrating Hanukkah faced anti-Semitic harassment after a group of men performed Nazi salutes and chased their bus. 

Boris Johnson described the video as “disturbing” and the Metropolitan Police opened a hate crime investigation.

However, in its original report, BBC News said that “racial slurs about Muslims could be heard inside the bus”, an allegation that has been criticised by organisations, including the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. 

The board also commissioned an independent report which, in a press release issued on Thursday, it claims disproves the BBC’s allegations.

It has now emerged that Jewish leaders are set to confront Tim Davie, the BBC’s director-general, over the organisation’s “misreporting” amid concerns that its behaviour “raises serious questions about deep-seated biases within the BBC towards Israelis, and indeed towards Jews in general”.

Writing in the Jewish Chronicle, Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies . . . called for the BBC to publicly apologise to the victims of the Oxford Street attack and referred to a meeting the Board of Deputies will be holding with Mr Davie and other senior executives in January, which will include “a full and frank discussion of this issue”.

The Board of Deputies commissioned an independent report by an open-source internet and social media company, as well as a separate report by an expert forensic linguist, with both concluding that the original BBC story was erroneous.

It said that both the investigations agency and forensic linguist concluded that the findings show that, rather than an “anti-Muslim slur” being uttered, as the BBC claimed, the words in question are Hebrew: “Tikra LeMish(eh)u, Ze Dachuf” (the translation of which means “Call somebody, it’s urgent”, in English). 

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC), the global racism watchdog, issued a scathing criticism of the corporation earlier this week, concluding that it “slanders Jews”. Because this isn't an isolated incident of biased reporting. 

Lord Pickles of Brentwood and Ongar, the former communities secretary said: “That a respected organisation like the SWC should single out the BBC is a wake-up call for the mighty corporation. Once the trust of a community is lost, it is difficult to regain it. The UK expects the BBC to set an example in tackling anti-Semitism."

Posted on 12/31/2021 5:19 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 31 December 2021
Protesting Afghan women injured in Kabul stampede

From The Deccan Herald and Hindustan News India

Afghan women took to the streets of Kabul to protest against the discriminatory restrictions being imposed against them, including the recent travel restrictions on women. But shots fired in the air by Taliban security personnel led to a stampede that left a number of women protesters injured.

Hundreds of women came out in Kabul to protest and express their anger against the restrictions imposed on women by the Taliban, which continue to get tougher, spreading fear of the similar impositions during the previous rule of the Taliban when strict curbs were imposed on women, barring them from their basic rights of education, employment and other basic facilities.

A protester who got injured in the stampede said that even though she was in a lot of pain, she felt unsafe to see the doctor. "My face is injured so badly that even now when I speak with you, I am in much pain. We couldn't even go to a doctor because we don't feel safe, we are threatened," she said. "Even now I am shaking with fear as I speak with you," she added.

They used the slogans “we’re the voice of hungry individuals” and “we’re awake, we hate discrimination.”

“How can we discover a relative to go outdoors in pressing moments? They stated ‘we’re not liable for your meals,’ so pay our salaries and we will eat, we’re not the ladies of 20 years in the past, we is not going to be silent,” stated Wida, a protestor, reported Tolo Information.

The Islamic Emirate shouldn’t take away girls from society, they stated. 

“We gathered to lift voices in opposition to restrictions imposed on girls; our faculties are closed, they took away working alternatives, now they ordered us to not exit of our houses alone, they’re speaking concerning the rights described by Islam. Does Islam order {that a} nation needs to be hungry, does Islam say to forbid ladies from training?” stated Shayesta, a protestor.

“We’re half of the society, we’re human, now we have the appropriate to training and to work, I ask the worldwide group to not acknowledge this authorities,” stated Zahra, a protestor.

The Taliban leadership, while promising and assuring the international community to ensure the rights of employment and other basic rights to the women of the country, have been imposing restrictions on travelling alone, barring teenage girls from going to school and directing vehicles to refrain from picking up female passengers who do not wear a headscarf.

The Taliban leadership has also shut down the former administration's Women's Affairs Ministry.

The latest direction is to cut the heads of clothing shop mannikins.

An official within the Directorate of Promotion of Advantage and Prevention of Vice in western Herat province in Afghanistan stated posing and searching on the face of such mannequins is in opposition to the Islamic Sharia regulation and therefore the heads of all such mannequins needs to be minimize off. 

Quite a few shopkeepers in Herat raised issues in opposition to the directions and stated that the Taliban are making their life harder with every passing day. The shopkeepers stated that they’d purchased every model for $100-$200 and now they’ve to chop their heads off.

Ali Ahmad, one Herati shopkeeper, stated, “Really, these mannequins are my solely belongings now, and now with this new order I’ve to chop their heads off. It’s a nice loss for me,” as per the report.

Posted on 12/31/2021 3:00 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 31 December 2021
Liverpool bomber probably faked conversion to Christianity, inquest told

From the Telegraph and the Liverpool World.

The inquest, which lasted about an hour, found Al Swealmeen died from an explosion and subsequent fire when the device detonated in the taxi driven by David Perry.

The Liverpool suicide bomber had a copy of the Koran and a prayer mat in his flat and probably faked conversion to Christianity in order to claim asylum, an inquest heard on Thursday. 

At an inquest into al-Swealmeen's death, Andre Rebello, the senior coroner, said it was clear he was a practising Muslim even though he had converted to Christianity at Liverpool Cathedral in March 2017.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks, the senior investigating officer in the case, told the hearing it was likely al-Swealmeen had claimed to be a Christian in order to strengthen his asylum claim in the UK. I wondered if the conversion was genuine, up to a point, but then he had pressure put on him by fanatical Muslims, and martydom was his 'penance' for apostacy. We'll never know. He was certainly a Muslim again when he tried to kill so many women and children. 

At the inquest, at Liverpool and Wirral Coroner's Court, Mr Rebello said: "When premises were searched, both a Holy Koran and prayer mat were present and it was fairly evident that he carried out the religious duties of someone who is a follower of Islam, notwithstanding the reported conversion to Christianity."

The coroner also revealed how the terrorist had spoken to his brother, who lives in America, two days before the attack and warned him that he was planning to do "something bad".

Mr Rebello told the inquest: "He [his brother] says towards the end of the call Emad said something like 'if I do something bad that will affect the family, what do you think?' He replied something like 'don't do s---', advising him as an older brother, although this was something which caused him concern, knowing his previous issues."

Mr Rebello said al-Swealmeen had been in prison in the Middle East for a serious assault, as well as being arrested in Liverpool for possession of an offensive weapon. investigations showed Al Swealmeen had been purchasing materials likely to be used in the manufacture of improvised firearms or home-made explosives, including 2,000 ball bearings.

Senior coroner Andre Rebello recorded a narrative conclusion and said: "It is clear from the evidence even beyond the balance of probabilities this device could have only been manufactured with murderous intent, fortunately there was only one victim. It remains unclear as to whether he intended the device to detonate when it did."

Mr Rebello gave details recalled by taxi driver David Perry. "As his car came to a stop he didn’t notice anything unusual, no warning, no movement from the passenger, just the blast. He described the journey as non-eventful, saying if the bomb hadn’t gone off he wouldn’t have remembered anything about the journey."

Mr Perry escaped from the car and staggered out, and a man wearing a hi-vis jacket approached him, the inquest was told. The coroner said: "He recalls saying to him ‘the bastard tried to bomb me’. As he turned back to look at his car it went up and was on fire."

Mr Perry suffered three fractures to the bottom of his back and damage to his eardrums.

The inquest heard that he told police: "I am gutted someone died but I don’t know nothing about the man. He didn’t care about me anyway, I was just another person to kill."

"He recalls the last fare being on Allerton Road. He remembers a young girl specifically as she said to him ‘I have given you all my luck’ as she got out of the car. This really stuck in his mind and made him think how lucky he had been...I suppose he is probably one of the unluckiest taxi drivers around and yet possibly one of the luckiest given what could have been.""

In conclusion, Mr Rebello said: "One thing that struck me was this lone actor from a disrupted family, with a bit of a chaotic background, could well have killed many, many innocent people and there doesn't appear to have been any opportunity to have detected this was about to happen. It is something that has been planned over many, many months. Clearly, from what he said to the family, he had something in mind – and yet this was hidden from everybody."

"It just shows how everyone needs to be very vigilant about anything of this nature with regard to nipping anything in the bud."

Posted on 12/31/2021 2:24 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 30 December 2021
Is the undefeated enemy the same as the defeated one?

by Lev Tsitrin

The answer, one would think, is obvious: you shoot at the former, but not at the latter. The enemy that surrendered is treated differently than the one that has not.

Which is a difference that is clearly lost on one "Lieutenant Commander Shepard, a military officer and attorney in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps [who] currently serves as a managing defense counsel with the Military Commissions Defense Organization."

The Lieutenant Commander discharged himself of a teary "guest essay" at the New York Times titled "What I’ve Learned as a Lawyer Representing Prisoners at Guantánamoin which he compared the humanity of a Jewish Army medic during World War II who treated wounded Germans captured after a battle, while knowing full well that "these same men have killed my cousins and aunts and uncles in Poland, have tortured and killed without compunction, and despise me because I am a Jew" thus showing "the very best of American values: recognizing the humanity in everyone, even our enemies, and treating those in our custody with dignity and respect" and contrasted it with the treatment of Guantánamo detainees who were "secreted away to clandestine black sites for years of torture or — to use the legally approved euphemism — enhanced interrogation." His essay concludes, "we must acknowledge our mistakes, and show we can learn from them. What’s happened at Guantánamo is an example of one such error. Twenty years on it is time for us to choose how — or if — we can begin to repair the damage. The choice is ours. But I think I know what Private Cooperberg would have us do."

Well, lawyers will be lawyers -- after all, they are tasked with defending their clients, and they do what they thing needs to be done: they hit the law, they hit the facts, and when facts and law are lacking, they hit the table. That's the well-known rule of the court game, and I recognize that. I also recognize that Private Cooperberg had no free will but had to follow the laws of war. And these are fairly basic -- you don't shoot at the enemy who surrendered -- because he ceased being an enemy, and you shoot at the enemy who did not surrender. To do the former is to be vindictive, to not do the latter is a dereliction of duty; so if you shoot at the enemy who surrendered, or do not shoot at the enemy who didn't, you are in for a deep trouble -- the trouble that is called "court-martial."

And even then, one has to keep in mind that when Private Cooperberg wrote of "these same men have killed my cousins and aunts and uncles in Poland" he knew that they were not the same individuals; he spoke generally of them as the Nazis. Suppose though that he leafed through a photo album of one of his captive patients, and saw in it a photo of him taken in Poland, pointing a gun at a person who was clearly recognizable as Private Cooperberg's aunt, stripped naked and standing,at the edge of a pit, about to be shot? Wouldn't Private Cooperberg, in the heat of the moment, throw his humanity to the wind, disregard the threat of court-martial -- and killed his aunt's killer? And for that matter, wouldn't he be acquitted? Or at the very least, wouldn't he reported the photo to his superiors, and treated the German's wounds with expectation of seeing him put on trial upon recovery, and hanged?

So the real question that the Lieutenant Commander should have address at the New York Times is not "was our behavior towards Guantánamo detainees brutal" (war is) -- but were they an active, unrepentant enemy still, seeking to do us harm at any opportunity, and potentially hiding the knowledge of further 9/11-style attacks which they wanted to conceal -- or did they fully surrender and were harmless?

After all, Private Cooperberg did not treat captive Germans in expectation that they would return to the front line, and again shoot at the Americans. This is why he -- and his commanders -- could afford to be humane. They knew the difference between the defeated, and the active enemy. Neither the Lieutenant Commander Shepard, nor the New York Times do.

That difference is vital to understand; this is wthat the Lieutenant Commander Shepard should have "Learned as a Lawyer Representing Prisoners at Guantánamo." It is just too bad that he didn't.

Posted on 12/30/2021 2:25 PM by Lev Tsitrin
Thursday, 30 December 2021
Chicago’s Mayor Celebrates Kwanzaa, While City Suffers Violence

by Theodore Dalrymple

Julius Nyerere

The mayor of ChicagoLori Lightfoot, wished the inhabitants of her city a happy Kwanzaa, the wholly invented African-American festival, which is about as African as Senator Warren’s descent is Amerindian. Ms Lightfoot made reference in her wishes to the seven guiding principles of Kwanzaa while her city was suffering yet more violence, and which, if applied, would allegedly lead to a better world, even a better Chicago.

The names of the festival and its seven associated principles are Swahili words, Swahili being the beautiful language of much of East Africa and the lingua franca of extensive parts of Central Africa.

The seven principles of Kwanzaa owe much to the ideology of Julius Nyerere, the man who was President of Tanzania for a quarter of a century after independence from Britain, who was for long the darling of the European left and who reduced his country to an incredible state of beggary such that, although 90 per cent of the population worked on the land, it could not feed itself without foreign aid—more foreign aid than was received by any other country in Africa. I lived there for three years and then left to cross Africa from Zanzibar to Timbuktu by public transport.

To be fair (which I do not always find it easy to be), Nyerere was not the worst of the first generation of African dictators. Although he was ruthless in suppressing opposition and introduced an oppressive and economically disastrous totalitarian system, he was not a tribalist (which would have been impossible in any case because there were no would-be dominant tribes in his country), and he did not indulge in any of the more bizarre and terrible activities of Africa dictators such as Idi Amin, Sekou Touré, or Jean-Bédel Bokassa.

He learnt his socialism of the Fabian variety at Edinburgh University and then (according to Oscar Kambona, his exiled former associate and foreign minister, who fell out with him over the imposition of a one-party state with which he strongly disagreed) became Maoist on an official visit to China, where he was welcomed by vast dragooned crowds chanting his praise. This turned his head.

At any rate, he began to herd the peasantry of Tanzania into collective villages, known as “ujamaa” (brotherhood) villages. The results were catastrophic: not only was about 70 per cent of the population moved by various degrees of force and coercion from where it was living, but agricultural production began its long decline.

Practically all commercial farming, the country’s only source of foreign currency to pay for imports, was abandoned, and famine was averted only by foreign aid, principally from Scandinavian countries which subsequently recognised that they had, in effect, subsidized a great crime.

In ujamaa villages, Nyerere instigated the ten-cell system. Every tenth household had a party member (the party of the Revolution) whose permission was needed for any small privilege to be wrested from the authorities, and who in effect acted as a government spy.

Needless to say, this resulted in a swamp of corruption and blackmail, such that, in a country never far from hunger, party members could be recognised by their girth. The whole system was prevented from being horrific only by incompetence and the generally delightful and pacific nature of the Tanzanian population.

Ujamaa is one of the principles lauded by Mayor Lightfoot. It is a moot question whether, it would be worse before doing so if she knew what ujamaa meant in reality than if she didn’t.

Another of the principles of Kwanzaa is “uhuru,” or freedom. Freedom in Tanzania had little recognizable meaning. Only governmental incapacity or incompetence, and a certain laudable lack of ruthlessness by comparison with other dictatorships, prevented freedom from being extinguished altogether.

It was certainly not from any official attachment to it that there were worse places in this respect than Tanzania. Nevertheless, Nyerere held thousands of people without trial for political reasons.

“Umoja,” unity, is a third of the Kwanzaa principles that the Mayor lauded as a peculiarly African virtue. Let me here recall a few things about my journey across Africa, during which I saw the continent from the bottom up.

In Rwanda, every person was a member of the sole political party from birth; a few years later there was to be a genocide in which about 800,000 people were slaughtered by, among others, their neighbors.

Naturally, some people blame the colonial legacy for this, even though the country had been independent for a third of a century; moreover, you can lead a man to a machete without making him use it to commit genocide.

South of Rwanda, and in many respects a mirror-image of that country, was Burundi where, in 1972, every Hutu with a secondary education or above was massacred, between 100 and 200 thousand of them.

In Equatorial Guinea, the first president, democratically elected, had caused a third of the population either to be killed or to flee into exile. And thirty years later, much of my journey would have been too dangerous to make because of civil wars.

The war in the eastern Congo is estimated to have caused 3 million deaths; north-eastern Nigeria has been made impassable by Boko Haram (since succeeded by the Islamic Insurgency in West Africa), the Islamist terrorist movement, though at the time I had no inkling of the future. Mali has likewise become impassable because of such factional fighting. So much for umoja.

I draw attention to all this not because I think Africa is worse than anywhere else. Similar things, alas, could be recounted about most regions of the earth. I wish merely to point out the fatuity of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, which are supposedly characteristic of something called African culture.

But even to use the term African culture is indicative of a complete absence of real interest in Africa. Africans of East and West Africa are no more alike than are, say, Albanians and Swedes, indeed West Africans are not all alike in culture or philosophy of life.

The mayor’s use of Kwanzaa and its supposed seven principles deriving from African culture is purely demagogic, a tool of political entrepreneurism and rent-seeking, while ignoring problems such as drive-by shootings that are her responsibility to solve.

Posted on 12/30/2021 5:08 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Wednesday, 29 December 2021
Chinese Takeout

by Michael Curtis

Pillar of Shame by Jens Galaschiot, Hong Kong

It’s the story of very unfortunate people who were and are persecuted in old Hong Kong. For many years, privilege has been taken away from them when they called for civil rights.

It is a sad feature of contemporary affairs that chapters of history are being erased and human rights groups and people are being eliminated in increasing  degree and freedom  of expression and freedom of speech is limited.

It comes as little surprise that the Russian Supreme Court on December  27, 2021 ordered the closure of the human rights group Memorial, the most prominent rights group in post-Stalinist Russia, and that the country has imposed more censorship of independent media, and arrests of supporters of Alexei Navalny. On the following day, a Moscow court also said the Memorial Human Rights Center would have to close after failing to declare itself  as a “foreign agent.” The court ruled the Center had justified extremism, by giving legal aid to opposition figures and to those   who “build a negative attitude towards Russia’s legal system.”

Memorial, founded in 1989 by political dissidents including Andrei  Sakharov, was accused of failing to mark its publications with the label of “foreign agent, ” and of denigrating the memory of the Soviet Union.  Memorial was the group that every year organized a memorial for the thousand killed by Stalinist repression, with protestors gathering around a large stone in central Moscow  brought from a Soviet gulag, in the Solovky islands.  Russian authorities regard it as a focal point for criticism by Russians and foreign governments to deny pride in the achievements of the Soviet Union.

These court decisions come at a moment when a  revival  of praise of Stalin is taking place, with erection of statues and busts of him, when  there is removal  of information about Soviet crimes of the  past, and of NKVD officers who signed deportation and execution orders  during the years of the great terror, 1937-1938, and  were responsible for the deaths of more than 18 million from hunger, cold, illness, forced labor in the Gulags. The cult of a desirable Stalin has been exhibited in public opinion polls, especially of younger people who vote for Stalin as the person in history who best represents Russia. It borders on the mysterious that the cruel tyrant is most heralded as the wise leader who won the Great Patriotic war. 

The assertion of Chinese aggressiveness and control over people in Hong Kong is less mysterious but increasingly disturbing now that  it has imposed a new national security law on the area, giving authorities power to deal with acts of secession,  subversion,  terrorism, or collusion  with foreign  or external  forces. Supposedly an action to return stability to Hong Kong, it is in essence   an imposition of stricter authoritarianism. The reality is that Beijing does not want Hong Kong to be a model for any Chinese city.

Hong Kong, with its valuable deep harbor, became a British colony in 1841 after the first Opium War and remained  that except during World War II , until July 1, 1997 when at a peaceful  ceremony the colony was handed to the People’s Republic of China. Hong Kong  became a special  administrative region of China.

In 1984 the Sino-British  joint  declaration signed in Beijing  stated  that the UK would agree to China exercising  sovereignty over Hong Kong in1997. It agreed the  social and economic system  and  legal system would remain basically  unchanged , and that it  would  retain its status as a  free port,  and international trade and financial center.  The two nations agreed on a  policy of  “one country, two systems,”  this was a concept devised by Chinese leader Deng  Xiaopinhng.  The People’s Republic of China would remain a socialist system, while Hong Kong and Taiwan would continue under the capitalist system.  Hong Kong was supposed to  retain its legislative, executive , and independent judicial powers system and people’s  rights for 50 years, and China would control foreign affairs as well as interpretation of Hong Kong  basic law. Britain accepted the one country formula. believing that Hong Kong  would supposedly enjoy  a high degree of autonomy for 50 years, making its own  laws with its own legal system. But China has been exercising more control over Hong Kong policy and authorities.

 It is protests about the basic law, and proposed changes in the electoral system, that led to street protests, especially with the Umbrella Movement in September- December 2014, which was opposed by police use of  tear gas and pepper spray. In summer 2019 large protests occurred with the introduction of a  China  endorsed legislative proposal that would have allowed  extradition to mainland China.

On June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square became the token place for large scale protests calling for more political freedom. Thousands of people occupied the space until  military, troops and tanks, moved in and fired on the crowd.  Estimates vary, officially the number of killed was given of 200 civilians and some security officials, but more realistic estimates vary up to 10,000. As a memorial, a statue was created by Danish architect Jens  Galaschiot in 1997, a  26 foot pillar of  human figures in agony and twisted bodies pressed together. Called the Pillar of Shame, it  has an inscription, “the old cannot kill the young forever,” reminder of a shameful event that must never recur.

In subsequent  years  an annual candlelight vigil  commemorating the incident had been allowed, and students in an  annual ceremony demonstrated around the statue, until  Hong Kong authorities banned this in  2020, citing restrictions due to Covid-19. On December 22, 2021 this statue at the University of Hong Kong was removed as a result of Chinese pressure because of  political dissent.

The relationship of parties is uncertain, Chinese officials do not directly control Hong Kong as they do in the mmainland, but they exert influence  through those loyal to China who control political affairs. All political changes  need approval of the Chinese National People’s Congress as well as by the Hong Kong government. Charges of terrorism and sedition or  “incitement to subversion”  are being  improperly used by China  to limit Hong Kong rights.

On July 1, 2020 , Hong Kong  authorities introduced  a national security law that  was  devised by Beijing.  It makes    any dissent criminal,  and gives authorities broad power to deal with “acts of secession’ subversion, termism, or collusion with foreign or external forces.”  it provides for China to establish a security force in HK, and ability to influence the choice of judges who hear national security cases. Hong Kong authorities prevented critical candidates from running in the 2020 legislative elections, which was postponed. Police arrested pro -democracy activists.  The educational system  has introduced so called “patriotic” programs.

The increasing controls over Hong Kong are new examples of  China’s aggressive policy in projecting its power in the world,  a policy which is a major issue for President Joe Biden and both  political parties. New American policies are necessary to deal with those increasing assertions:  China’s claims to own the  waters in  the South China Sea, where it is building  new islands on  existing reefs, and transforming them    into military bases;  the ambitious Belt and Road initiative plans to build  transport and infrastructure projects from homeland to  Rotterdam, Africa and Latin America. China has the world’s largest navy, 355 ships and submarines , compared with the U.S. 296 warships,  the UK  69, and Russia  295, and   it is  preparing a   new   high technological     aircraft carrier. On Christmas Eve 2021, China launched three warships in one day.  Economically, China accounts for almost 20% of the  world’s GDP, and its economy, which has recovered well from the pandemic,  is growing at about a 6% level.  Ironically, though is interfering politically and legally  in Hong Kong, it does not appear to  interfere in  economic transections, from which  Morgan Stanley and  Goldman Sachs benefit. 

Will the West responds by providing safe havens for HK residents in their countries, by  offering  visas for  those who  want to become Western citizens,  imposing sanctions on China, and suspending extradition treaties?.

Posted on 12/29/2021 2:23 PM by Michael Curtis
Wednesday, 29 December 2021
Miracle Winner of New Jersey State Senate Race Forced to Endure Lecture from Islamist Group

by Susan Warner & Benjamin Baird

Within a few days of New Jersey’s recent November elections, Edward Durr, the unexpected victor in the State Senate’s 3rd Legislative District, was sitting in the hot seat in a meeting with the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations ( CAIR-NJ) to atone for being an accused “Islamophobe.” Thanks to a misguided, two-year-old tweet aimed at Muslims, Durr agreed to subordinate himself to CAIR’s reprogramming and indoctrination, rather than face calls for his immediate resignation.

However, CAIR-NJ and its radical partners are hardly the appropriate advisors to lecture anyone regarding hatred and bigotry. Among the New Jersey Muslim leaders to mentor the senator-elect on November 5 at the Al Minhal Academy of Islamic Education were several Islamists with appalling histories of misogyny, homophobia, and anti-Semitism.

Durr’s surprise victory over 20-year incumbent and Senate President Steve Sweeney shocked and astonished the political world.  The press was awash with headlines of the win and stories of Durr, the underdog, who won a challenging race over an implacable opponent on a shoestring budget.

However, the euphoria lasted just a few hours after the race was called in Durr’s favor, when a local reporter looking into the victor’s social media history discovered a particularly offensive tweet.  "Mohammed was a pedophile! Islam is a false religion! Only fools follow Muslim teachings! It is a cult of hate,” Durr wrote in September 2019.

Durr, a blue collar conservative and nonunion truck driver who thinks of himself as “a simple guy,” tried to apologize for his misstep, stating, “I support everybody’s right to worship in any manner they choose to, the God of their choice. I support all people and I support everybody’s rights.”

Unsatisfied, CAIR and other Muslim groups demanded more from the political novice, arguing that his statement endangered the lives of New Jersey Muslims. They asked for a more explicit apology: “If he fails to do this again, he is unfit to represent New Jersey’s Third District and must give up the office.”

Yet, while Durr has a history of offensive tweets, his hosts were in no position to pass judgement.  For starters,  CAIR-NJ, which organized Durr’s re-education, is part of a nationwide nonprofit with a long and notorious history of unchecked anti-Semitism and extremism.

In 2009, the FBI severed relations with the nonprofit after evidence in a terror finance trial revealed CAIR’s links to Hamas, a U.S. designated terrorist group that seeks the destruction of Israel.  In fact, at least seven CAIR officials have been arrested, convicted, or deported for serious terrorism charges.

Nationally, CAIR staff are known to traffic in anti-Semitic conspiracies. From implying that Jews were responsible for 9/11, to equating Israel with ISIS and calling its supporters “Zionazis,” CAIR’s record of anti-Jewish bigotry is astounding.

These issues extend to the New Jersey chapter, which recently added its name to a petition falsely accusing Israel of “war crimes” against the Palestinians and urging New Jersey’s elected officials to take action against the Israeli government for a list of “atrocities.” In 2019, CAIR-NJ lobbied against a bill which would have banned anti-Semitic rhetoric in public schools and universities while prohibiting poisonous boycotts against Israel. 

When CAIR-NJ finally took a meaningful stand against anti-Semitism in 2018, with then-director Jim Sues condemning the head of an allied Islamist organization for making rabidly anti-Jewish remarks, it quickly retracted its criticism following a backlash from angry extremists. Soon after, CAIR-NJ teamed up with the same disreputable group to inform Congress about Israel’s “mass killings” in Gaza.

Selaedin Maksut, who since replaced Sues as director of the New Jersey chapter, was present at Durr’s meeting with local Muslim leaders. In May, Maksut tweeted that, “Israel is a state based on a racist doctrine.  Zionism is racism. Pure and simple.” 

During a June 2020 “Day of Rage” protest in New Jersey, Maksut sought to capitalize on racial division in America following the George Floyd slaying by claiming “that the foot on the necks of the Black and Brown people of this nation is the same foot and the same knee that is choking the Palestinian people.” He also called Zionism “evil,” prompting condemnation from the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey.

Unlike Durr, Maksut never apologized for his offensive speech. Even after the newly elected senator issued a remorseful press release, Maksut was inconsolable, resolving to “not let the matter go unchecked.”

Others counselling Durr at Al Minhal Academy had no right to correct him for his “xenophobia and Islamophobia.” This includes Imam John Starling, a disciple of the fundamentalist Hanbali school of Islamic jurisprudence, who is known for promoting strict interpretations of Islamic laws. For instance, Starling advised his followers that it is inappropriate for a Muslim man to shake hands with a member of the opposite sex – unless, that is, she is “elderly” or “unattractive.”

In a sermon titled “A Knife in the Back,” Starling describes the treasonous Jews who betrayed their Muslim neighbors in Medina during the Prophet Mohammad’s lifetime. He referenced Islamic scripture that advises against “associating closely” with non-Muslims.

Starling was educated at the notorious Islamic University of Minnesota, which the Investigative Project on Terrorism has called a “hotbed of extremism.” IUM President Waleed Idris Al-Maneesy has invoked sermons that call for killing Jews for spreading “corruption in the land,” and he has ruled that Muslims should place Sharia law above “man-made” laws.

Imran Bhutta, a trustee at the Islamic Center of South Jersey (ICSJ), was also invited by CAIR-NJ to impart his wisdom to an accused Islamophobe. Bhutta represents a mosque that the infamous Duka brothers attended prior to their 2007 arrest as they prepared to attack U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix. Subsequently, ICSJ distributed a jihadist religious text at a May 2007 open house event catering to non-Muslims.

Even the venue for Durr’s rehabilitation at Al Minhal Academy in Sewell, New Jersey, appears to teach a radical strain of Islam. A sermon from the academy on the “Rights of the spouse” commands couples to avoid “evil matters” such as television, movies, newspapers, magazines, cartoons, social media, and the internet.

Without a doubt, Durr’s remarks towards Muslims were misguided and offensive, but he should not have to listen to Islamists to atone for them. Based on his radical hosts, Durr could have very well emerged from the sit-down with his base prejudices about the Islamic faith confirmed.

Instead, the political newcomer appeared to walk out of Al Minhal as an honorary Muslim, bearing a fresh copy of the Quran and repeating CAIR’s favorite talking points. “I stand against Islamophobia and all forms of hate, and I commit to that going forward,” a defeated Durr said, adding, “I look forward to working with the Muslim community.”

Politically savvy and well-versed in coordinating PR stunts, CAIR’s Islamists-in-suits knew precisely how to manipulate a straight-talking amateur like Durr, who never stood a chance. Unfortunately, there will be others, and while CAIR’s leaders are free to indulge in the worst slanders about Jews, Israel and others, their next target may be forced to prostrate themselves before known extremists for legitimate criticism of Islamism.

Susan Warner is an associate with the Counter-Islamist Grid, a project of the Middle East Forum.

Benjamin Baird is the director of the Counter-Islamist Grid.

Posted on 12/29/2021 2:14 PM by Susan Warner & Benjamin Baird
Wednesday, 29 December 2021
The Eternal Life of Blood Libels Against the Jews

by Phyllis Chesler 

Deir Yassin in the 1930s

It's getting worse, far worse. Now, it is almost everywhere, in most publications, in so many languages, in school and university curricula, at conferences, in demonstrations, in countless petitions, in the mouths of celebrities, and at the United Nations.

I'm talking about Jew hatred, anti-Zionism, and Very Big Lies. This cannot end well; at least, it never has.

We know that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a forgery, a Russian-concocted pamphlet published in 1903 that alleged a Jewish plot to dominate the world. Nevertheless, people still believe it, especially in the Arab and Muslim world, and among racially marginalized communities of hate in the West.

We know this was a Big Lie. That was then.

But now, fast forward to 2021 and I'm stunned by what Navi Pillay and the United Nations are currently up to. As we all know, the U.N. has never stopped a single genocide or ended a single human rights atrocity.

The only thing it has really done is legalize and institutionalize Jew and Israel hatred. Pillay, former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, now leads a well-funded "Commission of Inquiry." The Jerusalem Post described the commission as "an unprecedented open-ended war crimes probe against Israel."

Pillay was a supporter of the Goldstone Report, which condemned Israel for defending itself from Hamas's attacks on civilians in Israel in 2008. Over time, Judge Richard Goldstone expressed regret that his report "may have been inaccurate." Goldstone revealed that Israel did not target civilians as a matter of policy. In 2011, Goldstone wrote: "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a very different document."

Professor Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, describes this latest UN initiative as "Pillay's Pogrom" and the "most hostile and dangerous anti-Israel body the U.N. has ever created."

In reports, speeches, and resolutions, the United Nations has long charged Israel with practicing "apartheid." It is a rallying cry meant to link Israel to South African racism. However, it is not Israel that practices apartheid—it is Arab and Muslim countries. For example, in most Muslim countries today, infidels such as Christians, are fiercely persecuted, segregated, and increasingly murdered.

In terms of gender apartheid, Muslim women have historically been segregated, forcibly face veiled, married as children, forced to enter polygamist marriages, subjected to female genital mutilation, and "honor" murdered by their families. Most Muslim female lives are lived apart from all men except close male relatives.

Yet, the U.N. has spent more than 50 years legitimizing this Big Lie. The U.N., and the just departed Archbishop of South Africa.

Yes, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, perhaps, the most influential Jew and Israel hater of his time. His death has just garnered 6,444 words in the New York Times. He was never held accountable for his comparison of South African-style apartheid with alleged Israeli apartheid; of course not. But after quoting American LGBT supporters and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's youngest daughter, the Times states:

"Palestinian leaders also mourned Archbishop Tutu, a forthright critic of Israel's actions towards Palestinians."

"His support for Palestine was an embrace of love & empathy," said Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian former peace negotiator, praising his commitment to "our shared struggle for justice and freedom."

This too, is a blood libel with potentially terrifying consequences.

This latest U.N. attempt to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state through Pillay's inquiry is also a Big Lie. We must understand it in the context of some other lethal lies.

In the mid-20th century, the alleged massacre at Deir Yassin was another fabrication – one that still is believed, certainly in the Islamic world, and among some Western elites.

But now, I am holding in my hands a handsomely presented and exquisitely well-documented book, The Massacre That Never Was: The Myth of Deir Yassin and the Creation of the Palestinian Refugee Problem. Written by Bar Ilan University Professor Eliezer Tauber, it painstakingly documents what actually happened.

Men fought and, for a variety of reasons, the Jews won. The numbers involved were small. There were, according to Tauber, "about 120 (Jewish) attackers and 70-80 (Arab) defenders. Arabs were "killed, not massacred." But they lost. The Arab village fought alone with no reinforcements and no support from neighboring Arab villages. Most of the Arabs who were killed in Deir Yassin were combatants, men of fighting age, not women, children, or the elderly as has been alleged.

However, the shame of losing was impossible for the Arabs to bear. What drove the Arabs out of Deir Yassin and almost everywhere else, was eerily similar to what many Arab/Palestinians do today. They embed themselves and their weapons among their women, children, and elderly. They surround themselves with vulnerable human shields, and then when Israel targets terrorist launching sites and infrastructure, claim that it viciously sought out women and children.

Such deceptiveness is true in Gaza in the 21st century.

But in April 1948, the Arab/Palestinians spread rumors of a terrible, truly ghastly massacre in Deir Yassin, one that never took place—and, they alleged, wildly, and falsely, that rapes had also taken place which, in Tauber's view is what led to the mass Arab exodus. Tauber writes:

"The impact of Deir Yassin went far beyond Jerusalem and the surrounding villages and spread all over Palestine, causing fear and driving people to leave. A woman from Safad related hearing of the rapes and killings in Deir Yassin. Another refugee woman attributed the flight from Haifa to the fear of what the Jews were going to do to women, as they heard that women and girls were raped in Deir Yassin and the bellies of pregnant women and girls were slashed."

Slashing pregnant bellies characterizes Christian pogroms and Muslim farhuds against Jews; it is not something that Jews have done.

However, in 1948, according to Tauber, Husayn Fakhri al-Khalidi, secretary of the Arab Higher Committee, insisted that "25 pregnant women, 50 breast feeding mothers and 60 other girls and women were slaughtered like sheep" in Deir Yassin. A native of the city "wrote to an acquaintance in Egypt that the Jews used axes in Tiberias and Deir Yassin to chop off hands and legs of men and children and did 'awful things' to women."

Once again, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, and Cossacks do this to Jews in pogroms and farhuds. Jews have not been known to do so.

In 1948, Israeli intelligence analyzed the causes for Palestinian flight and found that such false rumors and exaggerated beliefs were a "decisive accelerating factor" in the Arab exodus.

Israel did not exile the Arabs. Only Arab rumors, Big Lies, did. They provoked shame in a shame-and-honor culture and it worked.

Tauber's work has yet to be reviewed in all the venues that have welcomed the belief in this alleged massacre. Either his work on Deir Yassin will not be widely reviewed or it will be savaged. I hope that I'm wrong.

I am hardly a scholar in this area, but it seems to me that the myth of this alleged massacre may have functioned just as the 20th century Al-Dura myth has in our current century. The entire world wanted to believe that Israelis would purposely, wantonly, and viciously kill an Arab child, sheltering in his father's arms. It did not happen.

And yet, blood libels against the Jews never quit, they seem to live on forever.


Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at the City University of New York (CUNY), and the author of 20 books, including Women and Madness, and A Family Conspiracy: Honor Killings. She is a Senior IPT Fellow, and a Fellow at MEF and ISGAP.

Posted on 12/29/2021 9:58 AM by Phyllis Chesler
Wednesday, 29 December 2021
Is There a Patient in the House?

There was no one in the doctor’s waiting room at our local hospital near Los Angeles when I got there the other day, the first time I can remember that ever happening.

by Reg Green

Driving towards Pasadena (Photo –

Usually I have to steel myself for an hour of shutting my ears to the drivel of daytime television. The biopsy I was there for was over before I knew it so, dodging the raindrops of the longed-for break in our drought, I went into the cafeteria to wait out the hour before my ride home was scheduled. (I hate the thought of killing time. Remember that time is also killing us, as Christopher Hitchens pointed out.)

Sitting at tables that can accommodate perhaps a hundred and fifty, there were four other people. “Is it usually this quiet just before Christmas?” I asked. “No. We’ve been very busy,” I was told, “it’s because of the rain.”

Rain! Rain!! If a little extra discomfort takes precedence over procedures, ops, diagnoses, check-ups and the rest. I conclude we’re not as sick a people as we pretend, just fragile. In a rough world we need to toughen up a bit. 

First published by Colorado Blvd, Pasadena CA

Posted on 12/29/2021 7:52 AM by Reg Green
Wednesday, 29 December 2021
Islamic school was ‘petri dish of terror that tortured pupils’

From The Times

A former pupil at an Islamic religious school in Leicester has told how he and hundreds of other pupils were subjected to Guantanamo Bay-inspired torture and described the school as a “petri dish” for terrorists. Adam — who did not want his full name to be used — described having to squat for long periods with his hands looped under his knees and holding his ears. This, he said, was punishment for not having learnt verses of the Quran correctly. “As ironic as it seems, our teachers would take inspiration from images coming out of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, specifically stress positions, as they left no marks on our bodies,” he said.

The young man is now in his 20s whose family came from somewhere (my money is on Somalia) in east Africa as refugees; he did not want his full name used for his safety. He attended three different Islamic schools (madrassas)  between the age of 7 and 15; all were in the Leicester area.  The Times will not name them publicly but believes that they are still operating.

The Times refers to the findings of the report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) earlier this year about the many thousands of children attending supplimentary faith schools whcih cannot be Ofsted inspected and as such are ripe for abuse. 

Adam described the environment created by these schools as “a petri dish designed for terrorists”. He said that several people he grew up with and who went to these madrassas later went on to join “organisations” in the Middle East and in Africa, and claimed that he and his madrassa classmates would attend weekly sermons given by Abdul Qadir Mumin, left, the founder of Islamic State in Somalia.

“From a young age you are beaten and you get angry very quickly as a result,” he said. “These schools guilt you into thinking you are not living your right life. That’s the first step of radicalisation — the way that I live is wrong and I need to live a right life. It’s all happening within a world that’s hidden. It’s in these communities that are super-conservative and isolated and insular and there’s no one there speaking out. No one there worries that kids are abused or groomed and it’s happening with impunity.”

Posted on 12/29/2021 6:36 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 28 December 2021
Maoist Thought in Medical School

by Theodore Dalrymple

You might be forgiven for wondering who won the Cold War, so prevalent have Stalinist and even Maoist ideas and procedures become in the West, especially in the academy and among intellectuals. It seems almost as if we are reliving the 1930s, when similar groups of people, in response to the economic crisis and dislocation of the times, were captivated by the supposed charms of totalitarianism.

Recently, for example, there was a paper in the journal Academic Medicine, the official publication of the Association of American Medical Colleges, titled “Addressing and Undoing Racism and Bias in the Medical School Learning and Work Environment.”

The paper is a strange amalgam of evangelical uplift, bureaucratic “langue de bois” (the type of language used by the late Leonid Brezhnev and other such luminaries), and proposals for Stalinist social engineering and Maoist re-education—necessarily leading to the increased power of an apparatchik class of what the authors call “recognised experts in inclusion and diversity,” all needless to say with excellent salaries and pensions, and all with the agreeable task of interfering in other people’s lives and making them a misery.

This task of reforming the way people think is, as they say, never-ending, and so they will have jobs for life, or at least until the revolution starts to devour its young.

The element of evangelical uplift is evident in the predicted effect of their ministrations upon those who were previously members of the oppressor class, which is to say whites. “For those of us who are the White-dominant voice,” say the authors, “it requires a complete reframing of how we think of ourselves and others. If undertaken with a genuine desire to change, it is nothing short of transformative. It is a rebirth.”

We become, if we are white, not born-again Christians, but born-again anti-racists, though whether we shall ever be forgiven is doubtful, for there is the small matter of original sin and pre-destination to consider: “We have to go out there and seek the truth,” say the authors, “part of which is accepting that, if we are White, we are a big part of the problem. We are part of the reason that structural racism imprisons and oppresses people of color every day, everywhere they go, and no matter what they do.”

By accident of birth, we are racist (if we are white), no matter what we do or whatever position we occupy; by accident of birth we are victims of racism (if we are non-white) whatever we do or whatever position we occupy. So change is both necessary and impossible, a perfect recipe for permanent political agitation, guilt on the part of whites and resentment on the part of non-whites.

Happily, there will always be work for the “experts” in diversity and inclusion to do. Now and forever—Amen.

But the bureaucratic strain is stronger even than the evangelical. Only quotation can do justice to the Politburo nature of the prose in which the paper is written: “As we prepared for the long arc of the change management process, our medical education team continued to respond in real time to events of concerns in the learning environment that perpetuated racism… An important step during this phase was to build a strategic network… this included forming a Change Management Resource Team, Change Sponsors, and a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resource Team, in support of a powerful, influential, and enthusiastic group of people known in change management parlance as the Guiding Coalition.”

We come now to the Maoism. Who are the Guiding Coalition? They are chosen by the great helmsmen (the authors): “When determining who should be on the Guiding Coalition, we centered marginalized voices; ensured representation from all functional areas of the school; and considered positional power, social influence, credibility and leadership ability. Guiding coalition members attend monthly meetings; work between meetings to accomplish tasks related to change targets; track progress toward the change targets; and increase their personal awareness, knowledge, and ability to address racism and bias.”

It isn’t difficult for them to find racism, of course, because it is everywhere; by definition it is present wherever and whenever it is perceived, by whomsoever it is perceived. A person accused of racism is guilty of racism by virtue of having been accused of it: there can be no such thing as misunderstanding, let alone malice, by accusers: “When anyone—but in particular someone we know, work with, or learn from—relates a concern about racism and bias that we find hardto believe because it is outside the scope of our own experience, we believe it anyway! … we must be prepared to trust when we are told that there has been a breach of… dignity.”

No need, then, for such irrelevancies as evidence, or for the objective correlatives of an accusation. As guilt in communist countries derived from the class ancestry of an accused, so in the authors’ brave new world of racial justice it derives from the racial ancestry of an accused.

The underlying condescension and indeed racism of this should be obvious: persons of color who accuse do not rise to the level of true human beings because they are incapable of such human possibilities as misunderstanding, exaggeration, and lying. They are inanimate truth-telling machines without true consciousness.

Dissension is not permissible from the doctrines of the authors and language itself must proclaim their truth: “Say racist and antiracist. Say White privilege. Say White supremacist culture. Use this language out loud and in public… without a shared language and the courage to use it, there is no hope of making progress.”

If the authors have their way, it will take courage not to use it, let alone to refuse to use it.

In any large population, there are bound to be some cranks, extremists, megalo- and monomaniacs. But the American Association of Medical Colleges, whose journal published this article, has 185,000 physicians and over 180 medical colleges affiliated to it.

Moreover, the authors of the article were not describing a distant fantasy of theirs, but what they claim to have been doing at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, so far in a relatively pale imitation of totalitarian regimes. They describe the direction in which they would like things to move, however, the shape of things to come.

It is boring to have to argue against this intimidatory drivel, but not to do so is to let it spread unopposed, fungus-like, through both institutions and minds until it is too late to stop it.

Posted on 12/28/2021 5:12 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 27 December 2021
Cognitive Architecture: a review

by James Stevens Curl

Cognitive Architecture: Designing for how we respond to the Built Environment
by Ann Sussman & Justin B. Hollander
New York & London: Routledge 227 pp.,
many illus. in b&w & col., pb. £37.99, $49.95.

This expanded second edition of a book that originally came out in 2014 reviews new findings in psychology and neuroscience. It points out that human beings are sophisticated mammals who arrive in the world with built-in responses to their environment, something brainwashed products of ‘schools of architecture’, all indoctrinated into the Cult of Modernism, simply do not understand at all, at any level. The authors discuss biometric tools which might assist designers to understand subliminal human behaviour and get them to analyse designs before they are built and inevitably fail. This will be an uphill task, as Vested Interests are firmly entrenched in professional organisations (e.g. the RIBA) connected with architecture and planning (including reptilian journalists and ‘critics’ who unquestioningly swallow the Creed), in the construction industries, in the manufacture of building components, and among politicians and decision-makers.

The wastelands created to cater for that destructive monster, the motor-car, are everywhere to be seen, as are the results of many years of indoctrination in ‘schools of architecture’, all inimical to human beings. Most new developments separate various parts into zones, destroying any sense of urban cohesion, and hostile to exploration on foot (not that there is ever anything worth exploring in Modernist dystopias). Getting rid of the street, of course, was a prime aim of that autistic, Swiss-born, myopic monster, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris (1887-1965), who, like all totalitarians such as ‘Stalin’ and ‘Lenin’, adopted a pseudonym.

‘Le Corbusier’, as he called himself from c.1920, then presided, like a deified malevolent carrion-crow, over architectural indoctrination with results that are painfully obvious to all those not desensitised and still capable of connecting their optic nerves to their brains. What ‘architectural education’ actually does is to desensitise students, so that they can only look with their ears, that is see what they are told they see, rather than what is actually there. Their minds are thus corrupted and their perceptions and thinking processes deformed. Sussman and Hollander demonstrate in this book how uncorrupted, reasonably normal people actually see buildings, and they do so in ways that differ enormously from how the damaged goods graduating in so-called architecture are bullied into ‘seeing’. Indeed, what those unfortunates are forced to regard as ‘architecture’ is not architecture at all, but an almighty assault on human sensibilities and wellbeing, and the world is paying for it all, yet politicians and commentators go on accepting failure after failure, disaster after disaster, without questioning the incompetence, colossal waste of resources, and barmy cult responsible for them. ‘Le Corbusier’, a stranger to empathy of any kind, a bully, a humourless bore, a shouter of slogans, a weirdo obsessed by extreme notions concerning hygiene, was but one of an Unholy Trinity of Modernists, the other two being Germans who became Americans, having failed to work their dubious charms on that left-wing revolutionary Party, National Socialism, not for want of trying (no reasonable, informed person nowadays could ever label the National Socialist German Workers’ Party ‘right-wing’). Those were Georg Walter Adolf Gropius (1883-1969), who stuck to his given names, and Maria Ludwig Michael ‘Miës van der Rohe’ (1886-1969), who dropped ‘Maria’ and ‘Michael’, and changed his surname, which was originally ‘Mies’. Now ‘Mies’ has connotations with what is seedy, poor, rotten, lousy, wretched, bad, crummy, and out of sorts (a Miesmacher is a defeatist, a grouser, a killjoy, an alarmist, and a Miesepeter is a misery-guts), though its cuddly pussy-cat soothing sound in English conjured different associations, so as part of his reinvention as a Modernist to keep in with Gropius und Gesellschaft after the 1914-18 war, he did a bit of self-invention, starting with the addition of an Umlaut, tréma, or diæresis to the ‘e’ of his surname, which became Miës, free now from any meaning, unpleasant or otherwise. In 1921 he added van der Rohe to the Miës, so the new, pretentious tag sounded vaguely grand as well as reassuringly Dutch. Both Gropius and Mies (as he then was) served in the German Army during the 1914-19 war, and Gropius was wounded and probably mentally damaged by his four years in the Army. Mies did not apparently serve on the Western Front, but his experiences in a war that killed 13% of German males born between 1880 and 1899 and wounded millions, many mentally, must have had a massive impact on his personality. Indeed, both men shed any links with the past in their involvement in architecture from the end of that terrible war. Sussman sees connections between the design of trenches and other protective structures on the Western Front and Gropius’s architecture, especially his own house at Lincoln, MA: of that I am not so sure.

The authors of this important book show us in biometric studies how ‘normal’ (neurotypical) people see buildings and how those with autistic tendencies perceive them. I have long held the view, shared by commentators such as Anthony Daniels (2015, in his ‘The Cult of Le Corbusier — Quadrant Online’ [ magazine/2015/09/cult-le-corbusier/]), that ‘Le Corbusier’ met the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD): these include impaired social communications, repetitive behaviour, abnormal fixations (e.g. with excessive hygiene and a warped perception of how concrete was used), and lack of interest in and empathy for others, all hallmarks of a genetic disorder. That someone so impaired should provide a truly deified cult-figure says strange things about human behaviour, yet there is ample evidence of the hysterical following commanded by monstrous figures such as Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), and the ruin that results. It is no accident that Mies’s gnomic remark that ‘architecture is the will of the epoch translated into space’ was used, almost verbatim, by Hitler, many of whose ex-cathedra sayings were very close to slogans spouted by Gropius’s colleagues, the Bauhäusler. In fact, the Modern Movement in architecture was and is an abnormality, a totalitarian assault on humanity, and humanity is paying dearly for that. It is time such baleful influences were stopped and entirely rejected.

If the 19th century could be seen as the age of engineering, when there were massive advances in transport, urban hygiene, and urbanisation, perhaps the 20th might be perceived as a century of advances in chemistry and physics, as well as one of unparalleled destruction in war and through Modernist architecture and townplanning, and the 21st, hopefully, as a century of biology, when ecology, human well-being, and even the survival of the planet itself took on a new importance, though the prognosis is not encouraging. Certainly, the inhumane ways in which architecture and planning have evolved over the last hundred years or so have to be turned round and stopped before more destruction occurs, and techniques such as those described by Sussman and Hollander employed to bring sanity back to the creation of the environments in which humans have to live.

First published in The Jackdaw: Independent Views on the Visual Arts 161 (Jan/Feb 2022) 26.

Professor James Stevens Curl is working on a book on English Victorian Churches, due for publication in 2022. His Making Dystopia (2018) has received global praise and abuse in equal dollops

Posted on 12/27/2021 10:02 AM by James Stevens Curl
Monday, 27 December 2021
Afghanistan: No long-distance travel for women without male relative and Co-education is against Islamic values

Different newspapers have given a different emphasis to yesterday's pronouncements by the Taliban on the matter of Afghan womens human rights. From Al Jazeera and Indian newspaper WION

Acting Afghan Higher Education Minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani on Sunday said ''co-education is against Islamic values.'' He also added that his government does not oppose women's education but rather the concept of men and women studying together. ““The Islamic Emirate is not against women’s education but it is against co-education ... We are working on building an Islamic environment where women could study … it might take some time,” he said, without specifying when girls might return to school and university classes across the country.

“Women travelling for more than 72km (45 miles) should not be offered a ride if they are not accompanied by a close family member,”  spokesman (for) the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,Sadeq Akif Muhajir said, specifying that the companion must be male.

The new guidance, circulated on social media networks, also asked people to stop playing music in their vehicles.

The guidance issued on Sunday ... also called on vehicle owners to refuse rides to women not wearing headscarves, has drawn condemnation from rights activists. Human Rights Watch has slammed the guidance.

“This new order essentially moves … further in the direction of making women prisoners,” Heather Barr, the group’s associate director of women’s rights, told the AFP news agency. It “shuts off opportunities for them to be able to move about freely, to travel to another city, to do business, (or) to be able to flee if they are facing violence in the home,”

The Taliban’s definition of the hijab – which can range from a hair covering to a face veil or full-body covering – is unclear, and most Afghan women already wear headscarves.

Posted on 12/27/2021 3:07 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 26 December 2021
Was Thomas Jefferson Fair to KIng George III?

by Michael Curtis

King George III

I have spread my dreams under your feet, tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Sometimes the supposed Truth is true. In November 2021, astronomers for the first-time detected light coming from behind a black hole, proving Albert Einstein right, confirming his theory of general relativity of 1915.  The team of scientists at Stanford University using high powered telescopes had studied a pair of extreme stars to examine how gravity affects the fabric of space-time, analyzing how light appears around a massive black hole located 800 million light-years away. 

In a less celestial assertion, light out of a black hole of misunderstanding and misinterpretation appeared recently in Washington, D.C. We were told by Thomas Jefferson almost 250 years ago of self-evident Truths, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are  Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. We were also told that the history of the king of Great Britain, at the time, was a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny.

In the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, King George III was accused of 28 grievances resulting from his decisions and actions. The conclusion was that a “Prince whose character was marked by every act which may define a tyrant was unfit  to be the ruler of a free people.”

But softly, don’t tread on the truth. Jefferson should have picked his words on assertion of tyranny with care.  He did so in part.  In his original draft of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson denounced the so-called tyrant George III, 1760-1820, for forcing the slave trade onto the American colonies, and for the slave trade in South Carolina, but this charge was withheld from the final Declaration.

Jefferson, a skilled, brilliant propagandist, called slavery a mortal depravity and a hideous blot, though he owned 400 slaves in Monticello and another 200 in other of his  properties.George III, whatever his other faults, never owned slaves, but 41 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were slave owners. Whether Jefferson is to be regarded as an honorable founder of the American Republic or a self-righteous hypocrite is open to question. Certainly, the Declaration is only partly true, and curiously barely deals with the main original grievance of the colonists, no taxation without representation.

The abuses, partly true and taken out of context, cited by Jefferson were that George III had replaced representative government with tyrannical rule, rejected colonial legislation, prevented  the right to self-rule, interfered with judicial independence, kept a standing army in times of peace, and hired foreign mercenaries  to fight against the colonies. 

Jefferson did not know, nor did everyone else until very recently that George III had argued    against slavery in an essay he wrote as a teenager, in a 200 page essay, precis of the 1748 De L’Esprit des Lois, by Montesquieu, “Of laws relative  to government in general.” It was written while the Prince of Wales was a pupil of John Stuart, Earl of Bute. George wrote that slavery was repugnant, that it was equally repugnant to the civil law as to the law of nature. The early essay has been found by Professor David Armitage of Harvard who argues that this essay “Briefly placed the Prince of Wales in the vanguard of contemporary arguments against slavery and the slave trade.” The young George challenged the argument that the European traffic of  black slaves was  justifiable because it was  not possible to cultivate New World colonies without them.

Jefferson should have known that George was well educated in political as well as in other subjects. The young Prince of Wales was a student of science: his collection of scientific instruments, camera obscura and pendulum is in the Science Museum, London, and 65,000 of his books went to the British Museum. Because of his farming interest and agricultural improvements  he was popularly known as “Farmer George.” As heir to the throne, he was knowledgeable of constitutional law and of the law of nations. He choose ministers wisely,  Pitt the Younger to be prime minister, and was patron to cultural figures including  Handel and Mozart. He was responsible for about half of the present Royal collection of paintings and drawings , and bought the house which is now Buckingham Palace.

George was King of Great Britain and Ireland, 1760-1801, and King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and  Ireland 1801-1820. He was to preside over British expansion in South Asia, and North America, triumph in the Seven Years war, over Napoleon,  and  remained steadfast during the French Revolution, but also was in power  during the loss of the U.S  for which he was not personally responsible.

 In 1807, George signed the British abolition of the slave trade. It is interesting to put this into the contemporary context. Only in 1789 did Benjamin Franklin, who owned slaves as a young man,  publish essays supporting the abolition of slavery and in 1790 urging Congress to abolish the slave trade. In England, William Wilberforce in April   1791 introduced his first bill in Parliament making it illegal for British citizens to participate in the slave trade, and led the campaign against it. In May 1806 Britain made it illegal for British citizens to be involved in shipping slaves to non-British territory, and in March 1807 George signed the bill abolishing the slave trade.

In recent years, George III has not been neglected, appearing as a character, in the musical Hamilton, but in rather absurd comic, unflattering fashion and unfairly ridiculed. His supposed lyric is unseemly, “When push comes to shove, I will kill your friends and family to remind you  of my love, da dada da.” 

However, George III is also disappearing:  a carving of him , in the guise of a Roman emperor wearing a laurel wreath, with  on the side two  kneeing African men with clasped arms, was removed from the National Maritime Museum, London. The bust, made of mahogany, had been the figurehead on the Royal George yacht launched in 1817, probably to celebrate the victory over France, rather than to be political iconography, a statement on anti-slavery. The purpose of the two Africans and the symbolism of the bust is unclear.

The Maritime Museum explained its removal of the bust because it contained “Imagery of a powerful white king with two subservient black men that is a hurtful reinforcement of enduring racial stereotypes.” Such images, the Museum said, overshadow the determined actions and  huge sacrifices of black people to end   slavery.  It  also said  the BLM protests last year hastened its decision to remove the bust from display.

The Royal yacht was finally broken up om 1905. The bust was removed from the Museum.

Was George III mad? The case is argued in the play The Madness of George III by Alan Bennett, dealing with the unravelling of his mind in the latter part of his life and the inability of the Court to handle the condition. Certainly, he had periods of mental illness, convulsions, depressions, when he was unable to govern in coherent fashion, and his mental health problems induced a regency to replaced him in 1810. By his end he was mostly deaf and blind. He might have had a blood disease, one which attacked the central  nervous system, called porphyria. This theory has been challenged or discarded and it is most likely he suffered from bipolar disorder which incapacitated him.

George III was a complex figure but then of course so was  Jefferson, owner of slaves with  a long term affair with  his black  mistress, Sally  Hemings, starting when he was 43 and  she was 14. George was not responsible for policies that annoyed the colonists, not the Stamp Act  of 1765 that proposed a direct tax on the colonies and required a revenue stamp on paper produced in London, or the Townshend tax, 1767, the first internal tax levied directly on the colonists. one  to help pay for the cost of the Seven Years war.

The  life of George III was nuanced, but he was not a bloodthirsty tyrant of an evil figure . He never exceeded  his constitutional powers. George was not the noblest man that ever lived in the tide of times, but he was not  cruel or criminal like Richard III..

Andrew Roberts   in a new biography of the king, refers to him as Britain’s  most  misunderstood monarch , a ruler who was wise, humane, and even  enlightened , a monarch unfortunate    to have    enemies and   to  suffer from mental illness. It is intriguing to recall that  no writer in the colonies      was imprisoned or shipped to England because of their criticism of George III.


Posted on 12/26/2021 2:10 PM by Michael Curtis
Sunday, 26 December 2021
Turkey turns another church into a mosque on Christmas Eve

From Greek City Times

Turkey turned on Christmas Eve the Church of Hagia Sophia in Ainos (Enez), in Adrianoupoli (Edirne), into a Mosque (Mosque-i Sharif) after the completion of its restoration by the General Directorate of Institutions. Edirne is in eastern Thrace, where, according to genocide scholars, the Greek genocide commenced in 1913, before the First World War.

The church of Agia Sophia of Ainos (Enez) is a Byzantine building of the 12th century. Mehmed the Conqueror Changed into the Mosque of Conquest in 1456 and now opens again with its former name.

“After last year’s inauguration of the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul (sic), we are meeting here again today, for the inauguration of the Hagia Sophia mosque in Ainu-Edirne”, said Turkish President of Religious Affairs Ali Erbas.

The historic Christian church was not used due to damage from an earthquake. It was restored 56 years later and opened for the (Muslim) Friday prayer by Ali Erbas. According to during his speech, Erbas stated that Islamic culture is a culture that focuses on the mosque: 

“A few months ago, we visited the Balkan countries. Where our eyes see a minaret, our hearts begin to flutter. Wherever we see a mosque or minaret, we are happy. We are now reopening the Hagia Sophia mosque in Edirne for worship. May Almighty Allah bless it. What a beautiful unity and solidarity we have that we are all here as institutions”. 

After Erbas’ prayer and speech, the official ribbon was cut, and the mosque’s opening took place.

In 2015 when the project to repair the ancient building to be used as a mosque was approved, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily reported thus:

Following the conversion of two Hagia Sophia into museums, which were initially built as churches and then turned into mosques and, subsequently, museums, the third Hagia Sophia in Edirne’s Enez district will be reconverted into a mosque, according to Foundations General Director Adnan Ertem, despite previous debates on turning it into a museum after reconstruction. 
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Ertem said the Edirne Culture Assets Protection Regional Board approved the reconstruction project of the structure, which he called a “mosque” during the interview.

 Explaining why it should be re-opened as a mosque, Erdem said the building was a “sanctuary that was consecrated as a mosque. . . . Thus its function will be preserved,” 

Enez’s Hagia Sophia is located inside the ancient city of Ainos and although there are no records, it is thought to date back to the 12th century. It is located along the border with Greece and stationed on top of a hill seen from all around.  As the Ottomans did not conquer the area until the 15th century any original foundation in the 12th century would have been as a Christian church.

Is it significant that the three churches (cathedral in Instanbul) turned into mosques in Turkey recently have all been dedicated to Hagia Sophia, Holy Wisdom, a name of Christ in the eastern Orthodox church? Is it coincidence, being a popular dedication of the Byzantine/Greek Orthodox Church? Or does Holy Wisdom pique the rapacity of Turkish Muslims more than a dedication to, say, St John the Theologian? If one of our readers knows, I would be interested to hear. 

Posted on 12/26/2021 10:17 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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