Friday, July 25, 2014

France's Jews Flee As Rioters Burn Paris Shops, Attack Synagogue

France's politicians and community leaders have criticised the "intolerable" violence against Paris' Jewish community, after a pro-Palestinian rally led to the vandalizing and looting of Jewish businesses and the burning of cars.

It is the third time in a week where pro-Palestinian activists have clashed with the city's Jewish residents. On Sunday, locals reported chats of "Gas the Jews" and "Kill the Jews", as rioters attacked businesses in the Sarcelles district, known as "little Jerusalem".

Manuel Valls, France's prime minister said: “What happened in Sarcelles is intolerable. An attack on a synagogue and on a kosher shop is simply anti-Semitism. Nothing in France can justify this violence.”

Francois Pupponi, the mayor of Sarcelles, told BFMTV that the violent attacks were carried out by a "horde of savages."

"When you head for the synagogue, when you burn a corner shop because it is Jewish-owned, you are committing an anti-Semitic act," interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters at a press conference at the local synagogue.

Eighteen people were arrested for attacks on shops, including a kosher supermarket, a Jewish-owned chemist and a funeral home. Rioters, who carried batons and threw petrol bombs according to eyewitnesses, were yards from the synagogue when they were driven back by riot police who used tear gas.

“They were shouting: ‘Death to Jews,’ and ‘Slit Jews’ throats’,” David, a Jewish sound engineer told The Times. “It took us back to 1938.”

“We called our town 'Little Jerusalem' because we felt at home here,” Laetitia, a longtime Sarcelles resident, told France 24. “We were safe, there were never any problems. And I just wasn't expecting anything like this. We are very shocked, really very shocked."

Roger Cuikerman, head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France told Radio France International: "They are not screaming, 'Death to the Israelis' on the streets of Paris. They are screaming, "Death to the Jews." The community was not just scared, but "anguished."

The government had banned a demonstration planned in Paris for Saturday, but posters were seen around the area which said “Come equipped with hammers, fire extinguishers and batons" and promised a "raid on the Jewish district”.

France has around half a million Jews, the biggest population in Europe, and around five million Muslims.

The Society for the Protection of the Jewish Community's figures suggest that anti-Jewish violence is seven times higher than in the 1990s, and 40% of racist violence is against Jews, despite them making up just 1% of the population.

In March 2012, a shooting spree by Mohammed Merah in the south of France left three French soldiers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi dead. The gunman claimed a connection to al Qaeda.

More than a thousand Jews have made aliyah (the term used when Jews immigrate to Israel) in the past 10 days, according to the Israeli government.

"I came because of anti-Semitism,” said teary-eyed Veronique Rivka Buzaglo, one of 430 immigrants who arrived from France the day before. "You see it in the eyes of people. I see it in everything," she told HuffPost.

Buzaglo says nothing would have stopped her from becoming an Israeli citizen this week - not even the rocket sirens frequently blaring in the south of the country, where she plans to live.


Public backs British bakery in 'gay cake' row, says poll: Six in ten believe proposed court action over owners' refusal to bake cake is wrong

A majority of the country thinks the persecution of a bakery for refusing to make a cake advertising gay marriage is wrong, a poll found yesterday.

Six out of 10 think that it is ‘disproportionately heavy-handed’ to drag a bakery company to court because its Christian owners declined an order for the cake with a message.

Those who deplore the state-backed legal action against the bakers outnumber supporters by more than four to one, it said.

Most people also believe David Cameron was wrong to assure Parliament that his gay marriage laws would not ‘cause discrimination’ against dissidents who do not believe two people of the same sex should be able to marry.

The warning to the Prime Minister that equality laws are beginning to offend large numbers of people follows the outbreak earlier this month of the gay marriage cake scandal.

The Belfast-based Ashers Baking Company refused an order placed by a gay rights group for a decorated cake bearing the slogan ‘support gay marriage’.

The cake was also to have had pictures of two characters from Sesame Street, the name of the group, Queerspace, and the year it was founded, 1998.

The order from an activist, Gareth Lee, was accepted by shop staff.

However, the owners of the family-run company, Colin and Karen McArthur, and their son Daniel, who is manager, decided the message on the cake was contrary to their beliefs.

Mrs McArthur phoned Mr Lee to tell him the firm would not bake the cake, and to offer a refund.

Shortly afterwards the Northern Ireland branch of the state equality watchdog, the Equality Commission, wrote to the owners saying they had broken the law by discriminating on grounds of sexual orientation and that legal proceedings were to start within a week.

The threat provoked widespread anger because the bakery company did not refuse to serve a gay customer, the behaviour which the sexual orientation regulations, passed by Tony Blair’s government in 2006, were supposedly designed to stop.

Instead the company is being dragged to court because it declined to bake a cake intended to advertise a political message which ran against the religious beliefs of the owners.

Mr Cameron has signalled his support for the legal action, telling MPs that he has a commitment to equality and that ‘tolerance of and equality for people with different sexualities is a very important part of being British.’

However, the Prime Minister appears to be far out of line with majority opinion, according to the poll conducted by ComRes.

It said that 60 per cent believe the equality quango’s legal threat is disproportionate and heavy-handed, while just 14 per cent disagree. Just over a quarter, 26 per cent, didn’t know.

More than half those polled, 56 per cent, said businesses that decline to supply goods and services designed to promote gay marriage should not be at risk of legal action, together with high costs and compensation bills. Just 21 per cent thought that failing to fulfil an order for same sex marriage propaganda should be punished in the courts.

Another majority, 54 per cent, said the Prime Minister was wrong to assure Parliament that gay marriage ‘would not cause discrimination against those who believe it wrong.’ Fewer than one in five, 19 per cent, backed Mr Cameron.

The strong response suggests that the gay marriage cake affair has left the Prime Minister exposed to the charge that his same sex marriage laws have left opponents exposed to persecution.

The poll found 45 per cent think Christian businesses are being singled out for legal attack by gay activists, while 25 per cent disagreed. Some 55 per cent think the law should protect people from the compulsion to produced goods or services that violate their conscience, with 22 per cent against.

Only 30 per cent think enforcement of equality laws should always take priority over individual conscience, and 41 per cent say there should be legal room for conscience.

One senior judge, Supreme Court Deputy President Lady Hale, has said she believes there should be a ‘conscience clause’ in the law for Christians.

A think tank, the Christian Institute, is trying to raise the £30,000 required to mount a legal defence of Ashers.

Lawyers estimate the company faces a fine of £5,000, as well as legal costs if it loses in court.

Christian Institute director Colin Hart said: ‘These poll findings demonstrate huge public support for the Ashers bakery and they also demonstrate that David Cameron and the Equality Commission are completely out of touch with public opinion.

‘Gay marriage was introduced on the grounds of promoting equality. But this and other cases demonstrate that all it is doing is promoting divisions between people and fanning intolerance.

‘The Prime Minister assured the public that his gay marriage laws would not punish people who believe in the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. As we warned, these assurances are proving worthless. Innocent people are being bullied for attempting to live by their Christian conscience.’

Mr Hart added: ‘Mr Cameron should follow the advice of Baroness Hale and introduce a conscience clause to the law to ensure that families like the McArthurs can safely conduct their lives and business unmolested by meddlesome equality police.’

The ComRes poll was taken among 2,007 people on 16 and 17 July.
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Duck Dynasty’s Missy: We Were Virgins Until Marriage – No Baggage, No Diseases, and God Recommended It

 Duck Dynasty’s Missy Robertson said she “definitely recommends” chastity before marriage and added that she and her husband, Jase Robertson, maintained their virginity until their wedding night and, in this way, they “have no baggage, we have no diseases,” and “God recommended” such self-discipline for couples “many, many moons ago.”

Missy Robertson also said the highly popular Duck Dynasty television program was an opportunity that God provided to the Robertson family to spread a pro-family, pro-Christian message – “a way for us to get that message out” – stressing that the family hopes “to appeal to people, so they can want to learn more about this Jesus, who is this character, and why our family works, why are we not broken apart?”

At a Capitol Hill event to raise awareness about children born with cleft palates and lips – a condition the Robertson’s daughter, Mia, was born with –, in an exclusive interview,  asked Missy Robertson, “In your husband’s book, Good Call,  he talks about your courtship and how the both of you maintained your virginity before you were married. And I wanted to know if you would recommend that for all young couples and, if so, what specific advice or counsel could you give to young folks today who are considering getting married and are trying to stay chaste before marriage?”

Missy Robertson said, “Well, I would definitely recommend it, although it’s not easy. It was very difficult. We dated for almost three years. But, you know, God had this plan before we were ever born. So, if you trust God with all your heart, soul, and mind, He’s not going to do you wrong. And so, we tried. We’re not perfect, and we tried very hard to do that, and that’s one thing we did accomplish and we waited until our wedding night. “

“We have no memories of anyone else, in our past; we have no baggage; we have no diseases that we have to take care of,” she said.  “So, yes, I would definitely recommend it. God recommended it many, many, many moons ago. It just works out that way.”

Missy Robertson continued, “Jase said, his buddies would make fun of him, when we were dating, they’d say, ‘How are you going to know what to do?’ He says now, ‘Look, I’ve got three kids, I figured it out.’  So, it’s not rocket science.”

“Would I recommend it, yes,” she said.  “I recommend it to my own children, and, so far, they have also. It’s a big goal but it’s very attainable.”

Asked whether maintaining virginity during her courtship strengthened their marriage, Missy Robertson said, “Oh, no doubt about it, no doubt, definitely. We built it on a spiritual foundation and we’ve both been married for 23, almost 24 years. So, I wouldn’t regret any of it.”

Jase Robertson is the second oldest son of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson and the author of Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl.  He and his wife, Missy, have three children: Reed, Cole and Mia.  The 10-year-old Mia has undergone several corrective surgeries for her cleft palate and lip, and her parents launched the Mia Moo Fund this year to raise awareness and funds to help advance  medical research for the condition.

Duck Dynasty is in its sixth season and reportedly is viewed by an average 10.5 million viewers per episode.  At the end of each show, the family gathers at the dinner table and says a prayer of thanksgiving to God.


The MYTH of the glass ceiling: Think women get a raw deal at work? In this ferocious blast, a pioneering woman boss - who eats sexist pigs for breakfast - says it's time we stopped whining

The distinguished author below, Dame Stephanie Shirley, is a hard-driving Jewish lady who fails to take account of the fact that very few women would have her drive.  Her point however remains valid:  Even in the old days it was a lack of ambition to succeed in a male world that held women back.  So the present practice of handing jobs on a platter to women who may or may not be good at those jobs is a stupid and destructive form of bigotry

Early one afternoon on a quiet stretch of road in Oswestry in Shropshire, a 16-year-old schoolgirl walks briskly along, making the journey from a day’s lessons at the local girls’ school to the boys’ grammar a quarter of a mile away.

She’s dreading the moment she’ll take her seat to the jeers and caterwauls of her 30 male classmates.

Maths may be her best subject, but her school thinks it unfeminine, so she has won special dispensation to study it at a boys’ school — and will withstand no end of daily abuse for the privilege.

However far removed this scene may seem from the modern world, it is one that happened within living memory — my own.

That determined girl was me, less than  65 years ago. And recalling those uncomplaining first steps on my long slog to the top of the career ladder makes me despair at the grumbles of modern women.

We’ve all heard the bleatings: sexist working environments, long hours and the tough ride to the top they say they have to endure.

The complaints seem to grow louder every year. I read last week about a furious former City personal assistant who has written her memoirs, determined to settle scores with the sexist bosses she claims wronged her — criticising her work and keeping her in the office until 6.45pm, no less.

Quite frankly, these women have nothing to complain about. They really have never had it so easy. If only she and other aggrieved women like her knew what I had to put up with just a generation before, they might moan less and, instead, focus on the giddy heights now firmly within their grasp.

As an 80-year-old business leader, I have spent the past 50 years fighting sexist, out-dated attitudes towards women in male-dominated industries.

Those first maths lessons taught me much more than just arithmetic.  They were an invaluable schooling in the inherent sexism I was to meet head-on throughout my working life — which I refused to be cowed by.

After studying advanced mathematics at London’s Sir John Cass College and computer logic at Birkbeck College, I embarked on a career in computer programming and became inured to working in male-only environments. I’ve hit the glass ceiling so many times that I joke my head is now flat.

But it was the glass ceiling that broke — not me. And, believe me, women today would baulk at some of the blatant, institutionalised sexism that not only existed, but was actively encouraged back then.

Rather than allow myself to be patronised or overlooked, in 1962 I launched my own  IT services company,  Xansa, which, when it peaked  in the Eighties, meant I was  worth £150 million.  I achieved this with a £6 bank loan and a very thick skin.

My aim was to employ women, letting them work from home and manage their own workloads. To empower them, long before such corporate buzzwords were ever voiced.

This was at a time when fewer than nine million women worked (today that number is well over 13  million), and those who did manage to win themselves a role other than wife, mother or cleaner were paid far less than men, prevented from holding positions of power and even from opening a bank account without their husband’s written permission.

When I think of what I could have achieved today, it makes me long to be young again, and all the more frustrated at modern women counting their grievances, rather than their blessings.

What holds back any other woman from trying to emulate — or outdo — me?

The law is clear: The 1970 Equal Pay Act and 2010 Equality Act enshrined our rights to any job we set our minds to — from bus driver to stock broker and now even bishop — safe in the knowledge that maternity leave and childcare benefits will help us along.

Girls are outperforming boys from primary school to medical school, powering into top law positions and FTSE 100 companies.

Even in industries such as IT, where there is some distance to go, we are moving in the right direction. Indeed, we seem to have swung so far the other way that the European Commission is now threatening to force boards and businesses to comply with quotas for female employment or face penalties.

Quotas have already been imposed in Belgium, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain — and, quite frankly, it’s a tragedy.  There should be no place for such positive discrimination in professional life.

As a firm believer in equality, and no matter how tough the climb, I want to be promoted on my performance — and that alone — and evaluated in the same way as everyone else.

It’s because of all this nonsense that reverse sexism is creeping into certain corners of industry and business where women are being hired simply because they are female.

There’s pressure to get women on the payroll and recruiters want to tick boxes.

Take the recent Cabinet reshuffle, where David Cameron appeared to be going out of his way to push up female numbers.

From three female Cabinet members, we now have six. Fine, so long as it is for the right reasons.

It’s all very well to enjoy chivalry, but if you really want to be accepted as an equal in the workplace, you need to work hard and not expect special treatment. No one became a CEO in my day for working a three-day week and leaving at 5pm.

I confess I employed reverse sexism myself when I set up Xansa. I hired only women for 13 years. It was a decision borne of desperation and frustration — it was the only way to show what working women could achieve in a culture when they were viewed  as plankton.

Now the world recognises both our right and our ability to succeed, women should never be there to just make up the numbers — whether that’s in the recently reshuffled Tory Cabinet or any other corner of industry.

There’s no doubt the only thing holding many women back is themselves. I remember interviewing a shortlist of candidates for a new finance director position at Xansa on a hot summer’s day, years ago.

Several women were in the running, and as each of them arrived, one after another, I almost choked: each was in a little dress revealing their legs or décolletage.  How could I have them representing me looking like that?

How you dress sends out a strong message. People judge on appearance and dressing seriously means being taken seriously. Thigh flashing is an obvious no-no.

Nor, now maternity leave and the right to ask for flexible working hours are a given, should work be a place to bring family problems (rather than being unheard of, as they were when I gave birth to my only son, Giles, in 1963).

My upbringing undoubtedly played an enormous part in shaping my beliefs. I arrived in Britain as a five-year-old Jewish refugee on one of the last Kindertransport trains from Germany at the start of World War II, after waving goodbye to my parents.

Placed with foster parents in the West Midlands who answered a local newspaper advert asking if anyone would put up ‘two sisters, brought up in a nice family’, I quickly learned that to survive I had to deal with change.

Picked up from one family and one language and parachuted into another, there was little choice. I was determined to make mine a life worth saving, which gave me all the drive I needed to fight my way to the top.

I learned right from my first job to adapt to one rule for men and another for women.

In 1951, I started working for the scientific civil service, where we were paid by age and gender. I got £4 a week, while a man of the same age doing the same job would get £5 — 25 per cent more.

Of course, I was livid. Often I had to carry heavy computer equipment along a corridor and men would offer to help. I would bat tetchily back, ‘I believe in equal pay and I will carry my own equipment,’ before struggling off.

Throughout my 20s I got used to the idea that the more I became recognised as a serious young woman who was aiming high, the more violently I was resented and more implacably I was kept in my place by men in senior positions.

Probably the sagest advice from one colleague early on was ‘never forget you are an honorary male’ — by which he meant don’t rest on your laurels because you’ll never truly be ‘one of us’.

That never rang truer than in 1963, the year after I started up Xansa. I was sending out business development letters but getting no response. It was demoralising and I knew they were just being thrown into the wastepaper bin.

My husband, Derek suggested it might be because of my very feminine name: Stephanie Shirley. On his suggestion I began signing my name Steve, a family nickname, to see what happened. It worked.

The replies and invitations to meet began to arrive. There was always the frisson of excitement when I arrived into a crowded meeting room full of suits and the men realised I was not one of them. But by then, I was through the door.

Considering myself one of the boys didn’t stop men in senior positions putting their arms around me and pinching my bottom. But I developed a thick skin and sharp tongue and learned to deal with it. I certainly didn’t run crying to the loos or the nearest solicitor, threatening to sue.

Young women now in the City complain they find some male environments oppressive and difficult. They are quick to fight loudly against it or throw in the towel. Sometimes, all that’s required is the backbone to cut men down to size. We are more than capable of speaking up for ourselves — I’ve spent a lifetime doing it.

Conditions have never been more in our favour, yet where men dive in head first, women are hesitant.

Official data shows female membership of FTSE 100 boards is on course to hit the Government target of 25 per cent by next year.

Frankly, with the education and employment prospects of today, it’s a disgrace that women don’t achieve 51 per cent — our share of the population.  We’ve never had it so good. It’s time we stopped whinging and got on with it.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's like 1938, says Israeli ambassador to Germany: Outbreaks of anti-Semitism on the rise across Europe

Jewish people are being attacked and abused on the streets of Germany as though the country were back in the Nazi era, political and religious leaders warned yesterday.

Escalating violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has prompted a disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in Europe in the last few days.

Murderous slogans dating back to the days of Hitler have been chanted at pro-Palestinian rallies in Germany. Jewish-owned shops were attacked and burned in riots in France at the weekend.

The Israeli ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, said: ‘They pursue the Jews in the streets of Berlin… as if we were in 1938.’

Jewish groups expressed disgust over the tide of hate crimes and warned of ‘a new level of hatred and violence in all of Europe’.

Foreign ministers from Germany, France and Italy yesterday issued a joint statement condemning the rise in anti-Semitic protests and violence and vowed to combat hostility against Jewish people.

In Germany, there have been reports of protesters chanting ‘Jews to the gas chambers’. Police in Berlin have banned race-hate slogans that reappeared after being originally used in the days of the Nazis.

Officers had to protect an Israeli tourist at the weekend after protesters spotted his yarmulke (a small, round cap) and reportedly charged towards him shouting ‘Jew! We’ll get you.’

Fourteen people were arrested in the western city of Essen on suspicion of planning an attack on a synagogue. The imam of a Berlin mosque is under investigation after allegedly calling on Muslims to murder ‘Zionist Jews’.

Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said the rise in attacks was a terrifying reminder of an era that was thought to be in the distant past.

He said: ‘We are currently experiencing in this country an explosion of evil and violent hatred of Jews, which shocks and dismays all of us.

‘We would never in our lives have thought it possible any more that anti-Semitic views of the nastiest and most primitive kind can be chanted on German streets.’

The Jewish population of Germany has increased in the past two decades to around 250,000, most of them migrants from the former Soviet Union who came after German reunification.


Court: ‘No Obligation’ Under European Convention to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

The European Convention on Human Rights “enshrines the traditional concept of marriage as between a man and a woman,” and there is ”no obligation on Contracting States to grant same-sex couples access to marriage,” the European Court of Human Rights ruled last Wednesday.

Article 12 of the European Convention, which governs the Council of Europe, states that “men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.”

The Council of Europe is a regional human rights body composed of 47 nations, 28 of which are also members of the European Union. Currently, only 11 European nations recognize same-sex marriage, while 39 others do not.

“While it is true that some Contracting States have extended marriage to same-sex partners, Article 12 cannot be construed as imposing an obligation on the Contracting States to grant access to marriage to same-sex couples,” noted the majority opinion in Hämäläinen v. Finland.

The case came before the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg, France in 2009 after Finland - which does not recognize same-sex marriage - refused to recognize Heli Hämäläinen’s sex change without a divorce or a civil partnership.

Hämäläinen, who married a woman in 1996 and had a child with her, underwent a male-to-female operation in 2009 but wanted to stay married instead of getting a divorce. A same-sex marriage “was an unintended and accidental outcome of legal gender recognition,” Hämäläinen argued.

According to court documents, since Hämäläinen’s “wife had not given her consent to the transformation of their marriage into a registered partnership,” as required under Finnish law, “the applicant’s new gender could not be recorded in the population register.”

The Court ruled that since a registered partnership “was a genuine option which provided legal protection for same-sex couples that was almost identical to that of marriage,” Hämäläinen’s rights had not been violated.

In an open letter to the court, Hämäläinen said that the couple would stay married, adding that "the easiest option this time could be detransition and adoption of the former male forenames."

However, transgender rights advocates like Amnesty International decried the ruling, calling it “disappointing and unjust.”

Jezerca Tigani, deputy director of Amnesty’s Europe and Central Asia Program, noted in a press release that “with this deeply disappointing and unjust ruling, the European Court of Human Rights is condoning Finland’s repressive laws affecting transgender people and reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes.”

“These laws are disproportionate and discriminatory,” Tigani added. “They are forcing Heli to choose between legal recognition of her gender identity and staying married with her partner. Having to choose one over the other is a violation of her rights….The discriminatory laws preventing same-sex couples from marrying should not be used to deny Heli the enjoyment of her right to private and family life."

But social conservatives, including Ireland’s Iona Institute, supported the court’s decision.

“While the ruling still leaves it up to signatory countries to decide what form marriage should take in their legal systems, it makes it harder for campaigners to argue that same-sex marriage is a ‘fundamental right’ let alone ‘the civil rights issue of this generation',” the Institute said in a Friday newsletter.


Do Blacks Need Favors?

By Walter E. Williams

Earlier this month, the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act was celebrated. During the act's legislative debate, then-Sen. Hubert Humphrey, responding to predictions, promised, "I'll eat my hat if this leads to racial quotas."

I don't know whether Humphrey got around to keeping his promise, but here's my question: Is it within the capacity of black Americans to make it in this society without the special favors variously called racial preferences, quotas, affirmative action and race-sensitive policies? What might a "yes" answer to that question assume and imply about blacks? Likewise, what would a "no" answer assume and imply? Let's look at it.

There are some areas of black life in which excellence can be found without the slightest hint of racial preferences. Young blacks dominate basketball, football and some track-and-field events despite the fact that there has been a history of gross racial discrimination in those activities. Blacks are also prominent in several areas of the entertainment industry. Those observations mean that racial discrimination alone is not an insurmountable barrier to success. By the way, I can't think of any two fields with more ruthless competition.

You say, "OK, Williams, everyone knows about the success of blacks in sports and entertainment, but what about the intellectual arena?" A few inner-city junior high and high schools have produced black champion chess players, schools such as Philadelphia's Roberts Vaux High School and New York's Edward R. Murrow High School. Last year, two black teens — from Intermediate School 318 Eugenio Maria de Hostos in Brooklyn, New York — won the national high-school chess championship. All of this is in addition to quite a few black international masters and grandmasters in chess. Moreover, there's a long list of former and current black inventors and scientists. So there's no question that black people have the capacity to compete intellectually.

Civil rights organizations and their progressive allies, who all but suggest that blacks cannot achieve unless they are given special privileges, grossly insult and demean black people.

But worse than that, when civil rights organizations and their progressive allies pursue special privileges for blacks in college admissions and when they attack academic performance standards as racially discriminatory, they are aiding and abetting an education establishment that delivers fraudulent education. They let educators off the hook, thereby enabling them to continue to produce educational fraud.

You say, "What do you mean by educational fraud, Williams?" There are many inputs to education that are beyond the control of educators, such as poor home environment, derelict parental oversight and students with minds alien and hostile to the education process. But there's one thing entirely within the control of the education establishment. That is the conferral of a high-school diploma.

When a school confers a diploma upon a student, it attests that the student has mastered the 12th-grade levels of reading, writing and arithmetic. If, in fact, the student cannot perform at the seventh- or eighth-grade levels, the school has committed gross fraud. Even worse is the fact that black people, including those holding fraudulent diplomas, are completely unaware. It has absolutely nothing to do with racial discrimination. In fact, black education is the worst in cities where blacks have been the mayor, chief of police and superintendent of schools and where most of the teachers and principals are black.

Racial preferences in college admissions give elementary schools, middle schools and high schools a free hand to continue their destructive educational policy. If colleges did not have special admissions practices for black students, there would be far fewer blacks in colleges, and the fraud would be more apparent to parents. They might begin to ask why so many blacks with high-school diplomas could not get into college.

If the civil rights establishment and the progressives have their way, blacks will have to rely on special privileges in perpetuity.


Moral Equivalence Is Usually Moral Negligence

By David Limbaugh

Efforts to proclaim moral equivalence are not always misguided; sometimes each side is equally at fault or close enough. But these efforts are often misguided and unhelpful — and sometimes harmful.

Throughout my life, there has been an increasing trend to attach moral equivalence to all kinds of disputes and conflicts, such as Israel vs. Hamas, which is the subject of a future column. I assume this is mostly an outgrowth of our culture's descent into moral relativism, but it's also a product of our intellectual laziness.

We see it everywhere. It is a common practice in describing marriages gone wrong. "It takes two." "Who's to say who is more at fault?" Well, that sounds good and is often true, but how about in the case of the spousal or child abuser?

But where I find it most troubling is in partisan politics. There the trend toward moral equivalence is the wrongdoer's best friend. If we dismiss every despicable and corrupt act with the mindless cliché "everyone does it," then we excuse the wrongdoer for his misconduct and encourage further misbehavior.

Sure, both sides are often at fault, but that isn't always the case, and it doesn't make you a better person to say otherwise if it isn't true.

For example, I don't know a single conservative who supports muzzling leftist thought or speech, no matter how repugnant he may find it. Yet leftists are strongly supportive of various measures to suppress, even outlaw, conservative speech, from campus speech codes to the Fairness Doctrine. There is no way to describe this disparity in terms of moral equivalence.

I sincerely believe there is a reason liberals engage in this behavior far more than conservatives. It is because many of them believe that their ends, which they believe are vastly superior, justify their means. I've seen it so much that I suspect it is inherent in leftist ideology.

See the irony? Liberals, who are usually the first to throw up moral equivalency arguments when caught red-handed, are skilled practitioners at judging us — their political opponents — all the while claiming they just want everyone to get along. Through such moral shaming about moral judgments, the left intimidates conservatives from making and articulating their own moral assessments.

Modern manifestations of this practice are the left's virtual weaponization of political correctness, its obsession with so-called "diversity" and multiculturalism, and its rejection of the idea of American exceptionalism.

Multiculturalism is, for many of its most ardent leftist proponents, an Orwellian tool to disparage Western civilization and Western culture. The multiculturalist professes that all cultures are equal and in the next breath condemns Western culture because, in his view, it is unfairly exclusive, intolerant and bigoted.

He sees no conflict in making this negative judgment, because to him, it's not intolerant to refuse to tolerate cultures and worldviews he believes to be intolerant.
It's the exact type of warped and muddled thinking that leads him to justify muzzling conservative speech; in other words, conservative ideas are so despicable that they don't deserve protection. But his argument is self-defeating because while he says it's intolerant to judge other cultures, he is judging ours.

But there's a big difference between treating everyone — all people and cultures — with respect and treating their ideas as equally valid and profitable. Though I agree that we can borrow and have borrowed great things from other civilizations and peoples, I believe that the American idea is exceptional and that it has led to the freest, most prosperous and most beneficent nation in world history.

That's hardly a racist or nativist idea, for Americans truly are — at least up until recent times — a melting pot of all races and ethnicities. It is the American idea that is superior, not the American people. America is about freedom, made possible by limited government, established by a Constitution anchored in Judeo-Christian values.

Our nation, based on a superior system of government, has been the beacon to the world. This system was crafted by 18th-century giants who knew that certain ideas are superior to others and that the political history of the world provides the clues. They designed our system to allow what is great about human beings to flourish and to keep in check our evil propensities.

But when we abandon our God-given gift to make intellectual distinctions, when we surrender our duty to make discriminating moral judgments, we forfeit our own intellectual integrity and moral authority. When we can't hold up certain standards as preferable, we descend into irrelevance and meaninglessness.

The United States, despite its faults and missteps, has, among nations, been the greatest force for good in history and can continue to be if we return to our roots and our founding ideals.

President Barack Obama and his leftist ilk outright reject these ideas. They don't believe in American exceptionalism and the superiority of the American idea, which explains why they have no problem managing the decline of our military power and refusing to zealously protect our borders.

Conservatives, for their part, need to overcome their timidity and quit trying to appease and emulate the left and mollify the gods of political correctness. It's time that we start championing our ideas — based on the American idea — as if we believe they are superior.

We must remember what has made us unique and great and rededicate ourselves to re-establishing those founding principles. There is no room for moral equivalence here and nothing moral about pretending there is. We forsake the American idea at our peril.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Some multicultural shopping in Britain

David Sadiku

A gang of armed robbers who repeatedly fired a stun gun at a pawn shop manager in a £43,000 raid have been jailed for a total of 94 years.

David Sadiku, 41, and Kelly Day, 36, posed as a couple selling a Rolex watch to con their way into a pawnbroker’s in Ilford, Essex.

Once inside Maxcroft Securities Ltd, Sadiku pulled out a gun and dragged manager Naom Margolin out of his office while Day let fellow gang members - Paulius Strasunskas, 27, Francis Carbon, 32, Amjit Bharj, 47, and Aamir Kayani, 31 - into the shop.

Mr Margolin was shocked up to ten times with the stun gun and pistol-whipped in the face but managed to press the panic button, while a woman employee was stunned in the face.

The gang escaped with £43,000 worth of cash and jewellery, but were today behind bars after they were foiled during another robbery at a convenience store.

Sadiku and Day pleaded guilty to taking part in the Maxcroft robbery and the others were convicted following a nine-week trial at Old Bailey.

Another man, Michael Carbon, 26, who was involved in the mini-supermarket raid confessed to armed robbery, and was found guilty of a gun charge.

During the raid on July 5, last year Carbon told at staff at Maxcroft ‘I will f****** kill you’ as he demanded they empty their desks, while Strasunskas demanded: ‘Where’s the f****** money’.

He then put a stun gun to the face of one of the female members of staff and fired it at point blank range, the court was told.

‘She heard a cracking noise and felt a lot of pain. What had happened is he had used the stun gun on her face,’ said prosecutor Kerry Broome during the nine week trial.  ‘Her face was swollen and painful.

‘There was no need at all for anyone to administer a Taser, led alone to the face.  ‘He also administered the same gun to Mr Margolin’s head and neck area.’

Two customers were also forced to hand over wedding jewellery they were attempting to retrieve from the pawnbroker’s.

On June 25, just a few days before the attack at the pawnbroker's, the gang had tried to raid a Muslim wedding celebration after it had been announced in the local paper.

One wedding guest was Tasered in the face by the gang, but still managed to stop them from entering the home.

Then on August 8, officers from the Flying Squad - who had been following the gang since the Maxcroft robbery - swooped on gang members during a raid on Milap mini-supermarket in Chadwell Heath, east London.

Sadiku, Strasunskas, Carbon, Kayani, Day, and Bharj, were linked to the Maxcroft raid, while Michael Carbon was identified as part of the gang in the third robbery.

Michael Carbon and Strasunkas threatened staff with a handgun, stealing cash and other valuables before were stopped by armed police as they tried to escape.

Francis Carbon and Kayani, who were acting as a getaway driver and a lookout, were arrested nearby.

Sadiku, of Walthamstow, east London, admitted to aggravated burglary, burglary, two counts of robbery, two counts of carrying a firearm with criminal intent, two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon and one count of possessing a firearm with intent to commit an offence.  He was jailed for a total of 13 years.

Day, of Ilford, admitted robbery and carrying a firearm with criminal intent and was jailed for six years.

Strasunksas, of Clayhall, Francis Carbon, Barking, and Kayani, 31, of Romford, were convicted of aggravated burglary, two counts of robbery, burglary, two counts of carrying a firearm with criminal intent, two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon, and one of possessing a firearm. 

Strasunksas was jailed for 15 years, Francis Carbon was sentenced to 18 years in prison, and Kayani was jailed for 17 years.

Bharj, 47, from Upminster, Essex, was found guilty of two counts of robbery, one of burglary, carrying a firearm with criminal intent, possession of a prohibited weapon, and possession of a firearm.  He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Michael Carbon, 26, of Plaistow, east London, was convicted of burglary, robbery, and possession of a firearm. He was jailed for ten years.

Sentencing, Judge Nigel Seed QC told the gang: ‘The stun gun was used in the face of a female employee as well as several times on the manager.

‘The female employees were terrified, and one heard a shout of “I’ll f****** kill you”.  ‘The employees were subjected to violence and forced at gunpoint to hand over the contents of their desk drawers.

‘An innocent couple of customers there redeeming family jewellery and gold had that taken as well.

‘This had been carefully planned.’


British government minister to cut 'penal' death tax on pensions

George Osborne, the Chancellor, will cut the 'penal' 55 per cent death tax on pension funds in his Autumn Statement

Hundreds of thousands of pensioners will be able to leave more of their money to their children under government plans to cut “penal” death taxes.

George Osborne will announce in his Autumn Statement that the 55 per cent rate on drawdown pension funds due when the holder dies will be reduced.

It is expected to fall in line with the 40 per cent inheritance tax rate in an attempt to encourage more people to take advantage of the Government’s pension reforms.

Under the reforms, Mr Osborne has scrapped rules that force most Britons to use their pension savings to buy an annuity.

The freedoms will make it easier and cheaper for people to withdraw money directly from their pension pots. Mr Osborne said on Monday that people will be given free, independent advice on how to invest their pensions. He added that it was time to end the “patronising” view that the “state knows best how people should spend their money”.

The Chancellor said that the reforms would “give people who have saved hard all their lives greater access to their pensions”.

More than 400,000 people have drawdown pensions, which remain invested in the stock market when people retire. They can then draw an annual income.

Drawdown pensions are seen as a more attractive option than annuities, which lock people into a fixed annual income for the rest of their lives. The Treasury believes that more people will take advantage of drawdown pensions under the government’s reforms.

At present if people die without exhausting their pension funds, their inheritance to their children or grandchildren is taxed at 55 per cent.

In a consultation document published on Monday, the Treasury acknowledged that the rate may be “too high” and “needs to be changed”.

The document states: “This is an important issue which could have implications for many people under the new system.

“The government will therefore continue to consider the options for altering the rate and will confirm its intention at the Autumn Statement 2014.”

Mr Osborne said: “We are talking about trusting people here. It’s not my money, it’s your money, this is the money of people who have worked hard and saved hard.

“We have reached a major milestone today in these reforms, which are going to come in and give people who have saved hard all their lives greater access to their pensions.”

Ros Altmann, a pensions experts and the Government’s “older people’s tsar”, said: “The 55 per cent rate is penal and we are trying to make pensions more popular.

“If someone is unlucky to pass away before they use their pension fund that shouldn’t mean that you penalise their estate. If they had their money in an Isa they would just face inheritance tax.”

The Government is also preparing the way for a new generation of more flexible “super annuities”, which could allow pensioners to withdraw lump sums.

Ministers also disclosed that they will be increasing the earliest age at which people can start withdrawing their pensions from 55 to 57 by 2028.

It comes after the Office for Budget Responsibility warned that people will have to work longer to help pay off Britain’s debts. The OBR suggested that the state pension age is likely to rise to 70 within 50 years.


UK: Civil servants more productive after spending cuts

Workers in the public sector have become more productive since the Government began wielding the axe on the sector, according to the head of its independent fiscal watchdog.

Robert Chote, chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), said the financial crisis and subsequent spending cuts had made the civil service more efficient and forced people to “respond” to these changes by working harder.

“In terms of, has it made a difference to the way people perform their jobs, I’m sure it does,” he told The Telegraph.

According to official data, productivity in the public sector showed zero growth between 1997 and 2010, meaning the only way the Government has been able to increase productivity is by hiring more staff.

While Mr Chote stressed that it was not up to the OBR to make a judgment about whether civil servants were providing more “value for money” than they were before the crisis, he said he was “sure” workers had changed their behaviour.

Mr Chote also said the OBR had been “surprised” that public sector spending cuts had not “acted as the drag on economic growth” that it had anticipated.

He said post-crisis output in the public sector had held up relatively well despite the reduction in input costs such as labour and capital spending, suggesting that public bodies have been able to squeeze the same amount of growth out of fewer resources.

Mr Chote also warned that Britons faced a permanent reduction in living standards if productivity growth remained weak across the whole economy.

He said that was the “biggest risk” to the UK economy getting back towards stable growth.

“In the medium term, [the question is] are we going to get back to a position where productivity growth grows reasonably healthily, and wages pick up as well? Because in terms of having a sustainable outlook for household consumption, you need to see that return to real income growth.

“It’s fundamentally productivity growth that determines living standards.


About Those Dirty Little Sisters of the Poor

Boy, our political debate is getting crasser by the moment.

And so it is that the National Organization for Women has put the Little Sisters of the Poor, an international congregation of Roman Catholic nuns who have devoted their lives to caring for the elderly poor, on its "Dirty 100" list.

NOW is upset that the Little Sisters sued the federal government, arguing that new ObamaCare mandates are inhibiting their constitutional right to freely practice their faith - that their vow to advance the dignity of life for every person, no matter how weak or unwanted, means they can never provide insurance policies that fund contraception, abortive drugs and sterilization, which ObamaCare was forcing them to do.

So NOW is calling the Little Sisters dirty - though the group should have done its research before attempting to tarnish some of the most remarkable women who have ever graced this Earth.

Little Sisters of the Poor was founded in France by Jeanne Jugan in 1839, when Jugan's association offered care and dignity to her first house guest.

Her mission, after all, was to dedicate her life to providing hospitality, dignity and care to the aged poor who could no longer care for themselves.

Born to modest circumstances, she trusted that God would provide the housing and resources she would need to care for her residents and she was correct.

To provide for the needs of the aged poor, she began a tradition still practiced today by which the Little Sisters visit merchants and others seeking alms of every kind - food, clothing, donations.

By 1849, she founded six more homes for the elderly. By 1850, she had 500 associates and houses as far away as England. By 1879, the year she died, she had 2,400 associates providing care.

Today, Little Sisters of the Poor operates 200 homes in more than 30 countries providing care to more than 13,000 elderly residents - including a wonderfully cheerful operation on Pittsburgh's North side.

For Jugan's efforts, she was canonized a saint in 2009.

Her "dynamism is continued today across the world in the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor, which she founded and which testifies, after her example, to the mercy of God and the compassionate love of the Heart of Jesus for the lowliest," said Pope Benedict XVI at her canonization ceremony.

What is most striking about Jugan's legacy is how her worldview was so different from that of NOW and so many others in our culture today.

Jugan's interpretation of the term "rights" was that every individual is a child of God and has a right to experience dignity and love in his or her final days. She never demanded her government establish mandates to care for the elderly poor or even provide funding. She simply did everything she could as a private individual to provide dignity and love.

In the United States, her organization has always been free to operate according to its principles. It has provided health insurance policies for its employees for years that did not fund contraception, abortive drugs or sterilization (though employees were, and still are, free to purchase such items on their own).

This was never a pressing problem until our ever-encroaching federal government demanded these things be included in insurance policies with the passage of ObamaCare.

So NOW, which considers government-mandated birth control a greater right than that of religious groups to run their organizations according to their religious principles, is calling some of the most humble and accomplished women on the planet dirty.

And that's why, as our government expands into our personal and religious lives, our political debate is getting crasser by the moment.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Multicultural accountancy in Britain

An accountant at a chain of academies championed by Michael Gove is at the centre of a fraud investigation after £4million of school funds ended up in his personal accounts.

Nigerian-born Samuel Kayode is said to have spent much of the cash on an extravagant lifestyle and buying a string of properties.

The 57-year-old part-time pastor was told by the High Court to pay £4.1million back to the Haberdashers’ Aske’s chain of academies more than a year ago.

He has failed to do so, and it is feared most of the cash has been transferred to Nigeria.

The case, kept secret for almost two years, is believed to be Britain’s biggest ever education fraud.

Although Kayode was arrested in October 2012, police have yet to charge him with any crime.

Critics of academies – state schools which have control of their own finances – say the massive loss of cash calls that entire system into question.

Questions were also asked about whether Mr Gove – who lost his job as Education Secretary last week – took close enough interest in the case.

The vast sum of money is missing from the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust in South London.

It is named after 17th century silk merchant Robert Aske who left much of his wealth to create an educational charity fund run by the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers.

The Haberdashers’ Aske’s public schools for boys and girls in Hertfordshire were founded with his money.

Three Haberdashers’ Aske’s state secondaries in South-East London – Hatcham College, Knight’s Academy and Crayford Academy – are run by the trust as a separate charitable wing funded by Mr Aske’s endowment. They were often referred to by Mr Gove in speeches.

Kayode went to work at Hatcham in 1997 and rose to become accounts manager for the whole chain.

He was paid £57,000 a year, and told colleagues of his work as a pastor in the Christ Apostolic Church, South London, peppering his conversations with ‘praise the Lord’.

In October 2012 it emerged that a large sum of money was missing from the academies’ funds.

Kayode’s assets and those of his wife Grace, who died aged 53 last year, were then frozen.

It appeared that huge sums of school money had been paid into a bank account in Nigeria and a company called Samak, which is said to be run in Nigeria by Kayode’s second wife Yoni, although he denies any wedding has taken place.

The trust launched a High Court case to reclaim the missing cash but the accountant denied wrongdoing and claimed ‘all transactions had been authorised by the finance director’.

However, the judge found in the trust’s favour last July and ordered Kayode and the estate of his late wife to pay back more than £4million plus interest.

He remains at large and is not facing any charges, although he is due to speak to detectives again this week.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman would say only that a man from Lambeth was on police bail.

Adrian Percival, chief executive of Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust, said: ‘The civil case found in favour of the federation and we are trying to recover the money that has been taken from us. We are obviously shocked and saddened.’

But furious parents say Haberdashers’ Aske’s has tried to hush the scandal up.

Jill Rutter, who has several children at the Hatcham academy, said in an online blog: ‘The fraud strikes at the heart of the educational establishment and shows that the current system and the freedom afforded to academies is not working. Ultimately it is our children that suffer.’

Kayode’s boss at Haberdashers’ Aske’s, former chief finance officer Paul Durgan, is now working for a new academies chain.

He said: ‘Sam Kayode completely had me taken, like everybody else. Nobody from the police or school has spoken to me.’


Racial Politics May Determine Who Controls Senate in 2014

It is no accident that rhetoric about race has been ramping up at a time when racial politics can be the key determinant for control of the Senate this year.

At least three states – North Carolina, Louisiana, and Arkansas – are red states with vulnerable Democrat Senators up for re-election that have large black populations.

Can racism really be as rampant in America as all the current rhetoric implies?

A Google search for “racism” will produce a long list of articles from the most recent week’s news claiming racism on issue after issue of national concern.

We need to dig deeper and give more careful thought about whether racism is as pervasive as all the rhetoric seems to imply or whether other factors are driving the problems that continue to plague non-white communities. And if so, perhaps all the rhetoric about race we’re hearing reflects more Democratic political operations than realities of America.

In important ways, American attitudes on race have changed dramatically.

According to Gallup, in 1958 only 4 percent of Americans believed marriage between individuals of different races was acceptable. Today 87 percent say interracial marriage is okay.

A society, in which almost ninety percent of people believe it is just fine for individuals of different races to marry and have children together, can hardly be called a racist society.

And, of course, a black man today sits in the White House serving his second term as president.

Granted, in 2012 the Republican candidate, Romney won 61 percent of the white vote. But 39 percent of whites voted for the black, Democrat candidate.

It turns out, as the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza wrote last year, that in every presidential election since 1972, the average percentage white vote for the Democrat candidate was just about the same as what Obama got in in 2012 – around 39 percent.

So a real headline about election of our first black president was that race had hardly had any impact at all on voting patterns. The percentage of whites voting Republican was around the norm as was the percentage of whites voting for the Democrat. A black Democrat did not drive away white Democrats.

The Post’s Cillizza shows that the driving political reality of recent presidential elections has been the growing non-white percentage of the electorate and that most of these non-white Americans support Democrats.

In 1980 88 percent of the electorate was white compared to 72 percent in 2012.

In 1980, 23 percent of Democrat voters were non-white compared to 44 percent in 2012. In 1980 4 percent of Republican voters were non-white compared to 11 percent in 2012.

The growing percentage of our voters is not white and they largely vote for Democrats.

If the key difference between the two parties is about big government versus limited government, much of what America’s future will look like will ride on whether Republicans can make any headway with non-white voters with a limited government message.

I believe there is much potential for doing so if Republicans would get down to the work that needs to be done.

Since the Civil Rights Act in 1964, black economic progress on average compared to the white population has been dismal. The gap in black household income compared to white household income has grown, average black household wealth as a percentage of average white household wealth has shrunk, and the percentage of black poverty has remained almost constant at three times greater than white poverty.

These realities reflect destructive big government policies that grip these communities. But Democrats who want to continue to sell these policies will continue on the racism message and claim that this is what limited government ideas are about.

Republicans need to get truth to black populations in these key vulnerable states. They need to hear about limited government reforms that will help them. This can determine who controls the Senate next year


The Coming Christian Revolt

From behind a smoking sniper rifle high atop his ivory tower peers the secular-”progressive.” He surveys his many victims, strewn across the American landscape below and mockingly sneers, “War on Christianity? What war on Christianity?”

He then resumes shooting, all the while insisting that those uncooperative Christians who scatter for cover behind the word of God and the U.S. Constitution somehow suffer from a “persecution complex” (the baker, the photographer, the florist, the innkeeper, the Christian school administrator, etc.).

Though there are many, it is plain for all to see that abortion and “sexual liberation” remain the two principal theaters in the ongoing culture war battlefront.

To fully advance the causes of radical feminism, abortion-on-demand, unfettered sexual license, “gay marriage” and the like, the pagan left must do away with religious free exercise altogether. Under the guise of “anti-discrimination,” Christians today face discrimination at unprecedented levels.

Let’s see if we can make this abundantly clear. Christians, true Christians – regenerate, Bible-believing Christians who strive their level best to maintain fidelity to the word of God and honor His commands – will not, indeed cannot, participate in, approve of, facilitate or encourage certain behaviors deemed by the Holy Scriptures to be immoral or sinful.

This is both our constitutionally affirmed human right and our Christian duty.

It is not done from hate. It is not done from bigotry. It is done neither from a position of superiority nor a desire to “impose our beliefs” upon others.

It is done from both obedience to Christ and compassion for our fellow fallen who yet wallow in folly.

Central to Christianity, and clearly delineated throughout both the Old and New Testaments, is the unambiguous and timeless proposition that any sexual practice outside the bonds of true man-woman marriage constitutes sexual immorality and results in separation from God. This, of course, includes sexual acting out between members of the same sex, whether or not such acting out is tied to the novel notion of so-called “same-sex marriage.”

Likewise central to Christianity is the relatively easy-to-understand concept that a Christ follower must neither take the life of a pre-born child nor aid and abet, in any way, the taking of such life.

It is not so much that Christians wish, willy-nilly, to call abortion, homosexual behavior, fornication, adultery, bestiality, incest or any other disordered sexual proclivity “sinful.” It is, rather, that we must. For the true Christian, God’s objective truths will always trump man’s subjective desires.

Newton’s Third Law states: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

For every law, regulation, activist court ruling or presidential edict that demands Christians violate their sincerely held religious beliefs and adopt a postmodern, moral relativist way of life, there increases, in exact proportion, the likelihood of widespread civil disobedience – disobedience of the sort we haven’t seen since the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and ’60s.

Indeed, if, in the spirit of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., we, his fellow Christian travelers, must again face the water hoses, then face them we shall.

As the recent Hobby Lobby decision reaffirmed, the government cannot legislate away religious free exercise. Where your desire, intense though it may be, for me to employ you despite your antagonistic values system, pay for your abortion, or host, photograph or otherwise bake a rainbow cake for your faux “wedding,” comes into conflict with my absolute right to religious liberty, the result is a forgone conclusion.

I win, you lose.

We have seen and will continue to see an exponential increase in Christian business owners refusing to violate God’s commands by complying with unconstitutional, immoral and unjust government dictates.

For 2,000 years, whenever such conflicts have arisen, Christians have placed the laws of God above the laws of man.

What makes you think we’re about to change now?

As many in the early church refused to bow a knee to Caesar in worship, so, too, will many modern Christians refuse, under any circumstances, to obey any law that presumes to make sin obligatory.

If the ancient church, through the power of the Holy Spirit, was able to face the lions in hopeful anticipation of joining Jesus, then we, too, under the same Spirit, will face anything today’s pagan left can threaten.

In the ongoing culture war, it seems there are no rules of engagement. The secular left will accept nothing short of unconditional surrender. That is to say, the pagans demand that we Christians abandon the biblical worldview altogether, and adopt their own.

This will never happen.

Martin Luther King Jr. famously declared, “One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

In 2012, after the Obama administration unilaterally issued its now gutted HHS contraception/abortion mandate, Catholic priests from across the nation, to their great credit, read from the pulpit a letter that contained the following declaration: “We cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law.”

As our secularist government increasingly imposes similar laws, so, too, increases the certitude of civil disobedience.

While there are those who will give way out of fear, weakness or a desire to conform to the world, there are many others who will not. Christians must peacefully come together, lock arms and redouble our resistance to evil.

Even when that evil is adorned with the presidential seal and signature.


A Question for Israel’s Critics

In light of the murderous actions and intentions of Hamas, what would you like Israel to do?

I wholeheartedly concur that the death of even one unarmed civilian is tragic, let alone the death of scores or of hundreds. And I affirm without hesitation that Arab blood is as precious as Jewish blood.

That being said, since Hamas is sworn to Israel’s destruction, since Hamas initiated the recent hostilities, since Hamas rejected cease fire offers, since Hamas is using civilians, including women and children, as human shields, and since Hamas is actively attempting to infiltrate Israel and murder, kidnap, and maim its people, what do you suggest that Israel does?

Would you prefer that Israel simply turned the other cheek and let its people be slaughtered?

Would you rather that Israel’s Iron Dome defense system was not as successful, so that an occasional missile landed in a heavily populated area and wiped out some Israelis?

Did you like things better in the days of the Second Intifada, when 1,100 Israelis were killed, the vast majority of them non-combatant civilians?

Is the whole problem that there are not enough dead Jews? (Click here for my November, 2012 article by that title; click here for a recent, similarly-titled article by Melanie Phillips.)

Reading a recent article in the New York Times, which provides a daily scorecard of Palestinian and Israeli casualties and bombings since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, one gets the distinct impression that Israel is not playing fairly. Indeed, “After 11 days of fighting, 336 Palestinians and 5 Israelis had died.” How is that fair?

The photographs in the article generate sympathy almost exclusively for the Palestinians, with tragic images of a Palestinian man carrying the dead body of a little boy and of Palestinian women grieving, while the written text is hardly unbiased, with statements like, “Egypt’s proposal for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas collapsed a few hours after the Israelis had accepted it. Palestinian militants launched rockets on Israel, some of which are shown above, and Israel resumed its airstrikes on Gaza.”

It would have been more accurate to say, “Israel accepted Egypt’s cease-fire proposal but Hamas rejected it, responding to the proposal with more attacks on Israel.” To say that the proposal simply “collapsed,” expressed passively without blaming the guilty party, is to mislead.

Even fellow-Muslims have been critical of Hamas’s actions, with an Egyptian TV host (who was solidly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel) saying, “We are sick and tired of you.”

In the past, Israel’s critics denied or downplayed the Jewish nation’s attempts to protect Palestinian civilians, as if the IDF was making up reports that it dropped thousands of leaflets warning civilians to flee or called houses that were about to be bombed, urging those inside to get out.

Today, however, the IDF’s humanitarian actions are undeniable, as both Hamas and Fatah have urged civilians to ignore those warnings or, if they have evacuated, to return to their homes. Watch for yourself here as Hamas leaders say, “We call on our Palestinian people, particularly the residents of northwest Gaza, not to obey what is written in the pamphlets distributed by the Israeli occupation army. We call on them to remain in their homes and disregard the demands to leave, however serious the threat may be.”

So, Israel warns civilians to flee, not wanting to hurt them, while Hamas launches rockets from heavily populated neighborhoods, including schoolyards and hospital parking lots, urging civilians to return to these places of danger, yet Israel is somehow the guilty party, drawing violent, even blatantly anti-Semitic protests in cities like London and Paris.

One Palestinian woman commented on my AskDrBrown Facebook page that Hamas was not using its people as human shields. Instead, the people were willingly standing with their leaders, closing her post with, “Long live Palestine!” After all, the Israelis did not put Hamas in power, the people of Gaza did.

Sadly, if the citizens of Gaza wanted to live in peace with Israel and empowered a government that would act in their best interests, their standard of living would improve dramatically. As it is, in the midst of the warfare, Israel still sends humanitarian aid into Gaza on a daily basis and continues to provide medical care to wounded and sick Palestinians.

And, the truth be told, given Israel’s firepower, if Israel wanted to inflict casualties on civilians in Gaza, the death toll would be in the hundreds of thousands, as opposed to the hundreds. (Again, I do not for a moment minimize the current civilian casualties.)

Conversely, to put this in perspective, what would happen if the tables were turned and Hamas had Israel’s military capabilities? How many dead Israelis would there be?

Murderous sentiments like this, expressed in 2012 on Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV after one of their bombs wounded 22 Israelis in Tel Aviv, provide a vivid and gory answer to the question.

As the TV report showed footage of the bloody scene, the announcer said: “These are scenes of the casualties. God willing, we will soon see black body bags. I pray to God the exalted we will see body bags in a short while. . . . Right now in these moments, the mosques in the Gaza Strip, their minarets are loudly sounding cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’ and cries of joy, and the residents of the Gaza Strip are bowing down to Allah for this offering [or, gift]. The morale of the Gaza residents is in the sky right now, and is rising just as the rockets of the resistance.”

As expressed more recently by a Muslim cleric in Lebanon (addressing Prime Minister Netanyahu), “We will give the skulls of your midgets as gifts for our children’s feet to play with.”

So, to rephrase my question, since 70% of the people of Israel have had to take refuge in bomb shelters and respond to sirens, and given the fact that Hamas is sworn to Israel’s destruction, what you would like Israel to do?



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Monday, July 21, 2014

British Justice Secretary  vows to 'slay health and safety culture'

Employees who do “something dumb” and hurt themselves at work will no longer be awarded damages if their bosses have taken sensible steps to keep staff safe, under new laws designed to “slay the health and safety culture”.

Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, warned that society has become “too inclined to blame someone else” when something goes wrong, leading to a compensation culture that needs to be broken.

His new Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill, to be debated by MPs for the first time on Monday, will make it harder for ambulance-chasing lawyers to win cases in the courts, the Cabinet minister told the Telegraph.

The Bill will protect people from being sued if something goes wrong when they try help in an emergency. It is also intended to give teachers confidence that they will not face legal action if they have taken reasonable safety steps when organising a school trip.

In a blunt message to the trade union officials who bring thousands of negligence cases against employers every year, Mr Grayling warns that their readiness to pursue “every opportunity” to take legal action is putting companies off hiring staff.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Grayling said: “This is a Bill that’s out to try and slay the health and safety culture.

“It is about trying to restore common sense to the kind of situations which happen all too often and very seldom get to court - where somebody has an accident at work, it’s entirely their own fault, they have got a perfectly responsible employer who has the normal health and safety procedures in place but that person does something dumb, hurts themselves and sues the employer anyway.

“For responsible small businesses it is a real headache and most of the time they just pay up because it is less hassle to do so. This is meant to be a big message to them because if you do the right thing, we are making sure that the balance of the law is in your favour.”

Under the measures contained in the Bill, a court deciding a negligence case will have to consider whether the defendant was acting for the benefit of society, had demonstrated a generally responsible approach to safety, or was trying to help in an emergency situation.

Mr Grayling argued that small businesses are frequently put off hiring new staff for fear of taking on the added legal liabilities.

He criticised legal firms and agencies for trying to persuade more members of the public to sue over minor accidents, through advertising on daytime television and offering free iPads and other gifts to encourage clients to sign up with lawyers.

“There is an industry out there that’s trying to get you to claim,” he said.

“I think generally speaking we have become a society where people are more willing to have a go, where there’s marketing to encourage them, and I think perhaps too little inclination to say ‘it was me that messed that up’. We are a bit of a society that is a bit too inclined to blame someone else.”

The Bill, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech last month, has had a mixed reaction.

It was welcomed by voluntary groups who have warned that fear of litigation stops many people from offering their services but opposed by trade unions, who raised concerns about its potential impact on employees injured at work.

Mr Grayling said unions had “too much of an inclination to chase every opportunity” to win pay-outs for their members.

“My message to the trade unions would be we are fortunate in our society that we have some of the safest workplaces in the world - that’s clearly a good thing and we shouldn’t compromise on health and safety standards.

“We should certainly go after the people who are the health and safety rogues,” he added.

“But if we overdo the regulation and make people liable for things where common sense says they have got no responsibility then you just have fewer people in jobs and that can’t be right.”

The changes follow attempts by ministers to reduce high insurance premiums which have been blamed for making it too expensive to run a car or organise an event.

The new law changes could have a further impact on insurance premiums by reducing the amounts insurance companies expect to make in pay-outs, encouraging the industry to pass on savings to customers, as they have previously promised to do.


Obama Administration Suppresses Talk of Muslim Persecution of Christians

Along with an especially egregious list of atrocities committed against Christian minorities throughout the Islamic world, March also saw some callous indifference or worse from the U.S. government.

President Barack Hussein Obama was criticized by human rights activists for not addressing the plight of Christians and other minorities during his talks with leaders in Saudi Arabia, where Christianity is banned.

According to the Washington-based International Christian Concern (ICC) advocacy group, Obama did not "publicly broach the subject of religious freedom" during talks on March 28 with Saudi King Abdullah, despite a letter from some 70 members of Congress urging him to "address specific human rights reforms" both in public and in direct meetings with Abdullah and other officials.

"This visit was an excellent opportunity for the president to speak up on an issue that affects millions of Saudi citizens and millions more foreign workers living in Saudi Arabia," said Todd Daniels, ICC's Middle East regional manager, adding that it was "remarkable that the president could stay completely silent about religious freedom" despite pressure from Congress "to publicly address the issue, as well as other human rights concerns, with King Abdullah..."

U.S. officials reportedly responded by saying that "Obama had not had time to raise concerns about the kingdom's human rights record."

Separately, after the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) brought together the governors of Nigeria's mostly Muslim northern states for a conference in the U.S., the State Department blocked the visa of the region's only Christian governor, Jonah David Jang, an ordained minister, citing "administrative" problems.  The USIP confirmed that all 19 northern governors were invited, but the organization did not respond to requests for comments on why they would hold talks without the region's only Christian governor.

According to Emmanuel Ogebe, a Nigerian human rights lawyer based in Washington, the Christian governor's "visa problems" are due to anti-Christian bias in the U.S. government:  "The U.S. insists that Muslims are the primary victims of Boko Haram. It also claims that Christians discriminate against Muslims in Plateau, which is one of the few Christian majority states in the north. After [Jang, the Christian governor] told them [U.S. authorities] that they were ignoring the 12 Shariah states who institutionalized persecution ... he suddenly developed visa problems...  The question remains-why is the U.S. downplaying or denying the attacks against Christians?"


The “Jewish” Question

A prophecy that has come true:  "O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee"  Psalm 122:6.


These ongoing pogroms, anti-Semitic attacks, the noisy and often violent demonstrations, and the individual attacks on Jews in Europe and elsewhere, apparently occur in cycles. But they especially explode when Jews fight back and take steps to trounce their tormentors. As Israel is doing now against Hamas in Gaza. How dare they?

Now, as an atheist, I have no special regard for any religion. The one I hate - and I hate it because I fear it, and fear that it is making inroads in my Western culture, because it is a malignant, death-worshipping, nihilist evil - is Islam. All the others, including Judaism, don't worry me, because not a one of them is telling me to defer to it, walk on the other side of the street, or threatens me with death. All those others exist on the periphery of my consciousness and of my concerns. I try to imagine an Amish farmer in a suicide vest. It doesn't compute. The idea is laughable. Although I suspect that if Muslims try to collect jizya from the Amish, I think Amish pacifism will come to an end, and Islam will have a problem. I especially look forward to the Quakers' reaction to submission.

But, I am otherwise indifferent to religion. I was raised in a Catholic household without having become a Catholic. The contradictions, arbitrary restrictions, hypocrisies, scandals, and corruption prevalent in that creed alienated me permanently from any species of mysticism.

Jews? I don't even regard them, collectively, as a "race." In my mind, Judaism is a religion, first and foremost. Anyone can become or be a Jew: Caucasians, Latinos, Blacks, Asians. I wouldn't know a Jew on a street unless he wore his religion on his sleeve, as Hassidic Jews do.

But it is also true of Islam, that it isn't reserved to a specific race. Except the difference is that Judaism isn't seeking rabbinical hegemony over the globe. Jews are not telling me that I'd better convert and wear a kippah, or lose my head, or see my daughter raped, or my son's hands chopped off.

Jews just want to be left alone, and, incidentally, to benefit the rest of the world with their work and humanity.

But no one wants to leave them alone. Jews are the one-size-fits-all historical scapegoats for whatever miseries or catastrophes have beset mankind or brought about on himself. History abounds with instances of how Jews have benefited man, yet were banished or subjected to riotous murder. They have loaned money to bankrupt princes and spendthrift governments, yet were snubbed, insulted, or worse. They have excelled in medical and scientific research and technology, and in business and finance. They are generous to a perilous fault, such as the foolhardy supplying of their enemies in Gaza - and that includes all the hapless shnorers, Hamas's human shields - with medical supplies, food, and other necessities.

Jews can also be foolish, such as the American ones who oppose Israel, and the ones in Israel itself who subscribe to the fantasy that Hamas and Gazans and Muslims of whatever suasion can be pacified and made tolerant of Jewish and Israeli existence. I don't know where their heads are, and I'm so fastidious in some respects that I don't even want to explore their self-evident delusions.

They don't seem to realize that if Israel were ever destroyed, they, the helping-hand Jews, would be among the first to be exterminated. Islam does not tolerate "but-you-said" complaints. The same goes for the leftards in this country who have "allied" themselves with Islamic supremacists simply because Israel contradicts . They'll be among the first to be sent to the wall or over the cliff, come an American caliphate. Except for the ones who have mastered the art of groveling.

The world owes Jews and Israel an incalculable debt for everything they've done for it, yet our response is to stab them in the back, betray them, and tell them to parley for peace with killers who do not want peace, who are certifiable psychotics who want to kill for the sake of killing, and act and exist for no other reason.

The world owes Jews and Israel that incalculable debt, and, rather than create a pitifully partial list of their achievements here - achievements which improve and advance man's existence - I offer here links to various sites that itemize everything they've done. Readers may peruse the lists at their leisure:


Nobel Laureates (191, in all categories):

A collection of achievements:

Israeli medical achievements:

The Israeli high-tech industry:

The Methodist Friends of Israel:

What have been Muslim contributions to man's condition, to increase his happiness and well-being, other than the inculcating a neurosis of terror, and developing weapons with which to kill Jews, attack Israel, and slaughter infidels? For 1,400 years, not much, except, perhaps, to filch algebra from the Indians and also what are called "Arabic" numbers. The tally of Muslim Nobel Laureates comes to an underwhelming eleven: Seven Peace Prizes, two in literature, one in physics, and one in chemistry.

What can explain this virtual absence of Muslim achievements? Aside from the mind-numbing nature of Islamic ideology, which I've discussed in past columns, one Muslim offers this credible and honest explanation for it:

    "...Today's common Muslim mind, including the intellectual Muslim mind, is quite insular, and is focused on protecting an "Islamic" (and quite closed) mental sphere from influences from the outside world. The result is a defensive culture that refuses to engage with the ideas of "the unbelievers," and therefore only repeats what it has learned from its own forebears. If we Muslims want more Nobel Prizes - and all the knowledge, sophistication and success that they imply - we must begin with challenging this closed-mindedness, and strive to have more open minds."

I don't think this fellow is a true, practicing Muslim. If he were, he wouldn't have been able to write those words.

Hamas's solution to the "Jewish Question" is the same as was Hitler's: Kill all the Jews. We envy the Jews, can never hope to match their achievements and determination to live, and not merely "survive," we are but mere manqués pretending to live. We have no purpose in our existence but to kill, kill, kill. We have no values but the sight of Jews in pain and writhing in death.

The vicious ideology of Islam gives Hamas a specious rationale for their chosen psychosis. Israelis have proven in virtually every realm of human endeavor that they are pro-life men of reason. Reason, too, is what Hamas, ruled by an anti-life philosophy, wishes to extinguish.


There’s something very ugly in this rage against Israel

The line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism gets thinner every day.

hy are Western liberals always more offended by Israeli militarism than by any other kind of militarism? It’s extraordinary. France can invade Mali and there won’t be loud, rowdy protests by peaceniks in Paris. David Cameron, backed by a whopping 557 members of parliament, can order airstrikes on Libya and British leftists won’t give over their Twitterfeeds to publishing gruesome pics of the Libyan civilians killed as a consequence. President Obama can resume his drone attacks in Pakistan, killing 13 people in one strike last month, and Washington won’t be besieged by angry anti-war folk demanding ‘Hands off Pakistan’. But the minute Israel fires a rocket into Gaza, the second Israeli politicians say they’re at war again with Hamas, radicals in all these Western nations will take to the streets, wave hyperbolic placards, fulminate on Twitter, publish pictures of dead Palestinian children, publish the names and ages of everyone ‘MURDERED BY ISRAEL’, and generally scream about Israeli ‘bloodletting’. (When the West bombs another country, it’s ‘war’; when Israel does it, it’s ‘bloodletting’.)

Anyone possessed of a critical faculty must at some point have wondered why there’s such a double standard in relation to Israeli militarism, why missiles fired by the Jewish State are apparently more worthy of condemnation than missiles fired by Washington, London, Paris, the Turks, Assad, or just about anyone else on Earth. Parisians who have generally given a Gallic shrug as French troops have basically retaken Francophone Africa, stamping their boots everywhere from the Central African Republic to Mali to Cote d’Ivoire over the past two years, turned out in their thousands at the weekend to condemn Israeli imperialism and barbarism.

Americans who didn’t create much fuss last month when the Obama administration announced the resumption of its drone attacks in Pakistan gathered at the Israeli Embassy in Washington to yell about Israeli murder. (Incredibly, they did this just a day after a US drone attack, the 375th such attack in 10 years, killed at least six people in Pakistan. But hey, Obama-led militarism isn’t as bad as Israeli militarism, and dead Pakistanis, unlike dead Palestinians, don’t deserve to have their photos, names and ages published by the concerned liberals of Twitter.) Meanwhile, hundreds of very angry Brits gathered at the Israeli Embassy in London, bringing traffic to a standstill, clambering on to buses, yelling about murder and savagery, in furious, colourful scenes that were notable by their absence three years ago when Britain sent planes to pummel Libya.

Such are the double standards over Israel, so casually entrenched is the idea that Israeli militarism is more bloody and insane than any other kind of militarism, that many Western liberals now call on their own rulers to condemn or even impose sanctions against Israel. That is, they want the invaders and destroyers of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere to rap Israel’s knuckles for bombing Gaza. It’s like asking a great white shark to tell off a seal for eating a fish. America must ‘rein in Israel’, we are told. ‘The international community should intervene to restrain Israel’s army’, says a columnist for the Guardian, and by ‘international community’ he means ‘a meeting of the UN Security Council’ – the Security Council whose permanent members are the US, UK and France, who have done so much to destabilise and devastate vast swathes of the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade; Russia, whose recent military interventions in Georgia and Chechnya suggest it is hardly a devotee of world peace; and China, which might not invade other countries but is pretty adept at brutally suppressing internal dissent. On what planet could nations whose warmongering makes the current assault on Gaza look like a tea party in comparison seriously be asked to ‘rein in’ Israel? On a planet on which Israel is seen as different, as worse than all others, as more criminal and rogue-like than any other state.

The double standards were perfectly summed up last week in the response to an Israeli writer who said in the UK Independent that Israel’s attack on Gaza and its ‘genocidal rhetoric’ made her want to burn her Israeli passport. She got a virtual pat on the back from virtually every British activist and commentator who thinks of him or herself as decent. She was hailed as brave. Her article was shared online thousands of times. This was ‘common sense from one Jew’, people tweeted.

No one stopped to wonder if maybe they should have burned their British passports after Yugoslavia in 1999, or Afghanistan in 2001, or Iraq in 2003, where often more civilians were killed in one day than have been killed by Israel over the past week. Why should Israel’s bombing of Gaza induce such shame in Israeli citizens (or Jews, as some prefer) that burning their passports is seen as a perfectly sensible and even laudable course of action whereas it’s perfectly okay to continue bounding about the world on a British passport despite the mayhem unleashed by our military forces over the past decade? Because Israel is different; it’s worse; it’s more criminal.

Of course, Western double standards on Israel have been around for a while now. They can be seen not only in the fact that Israeli militarism makes people get out of bed and get angry in a way that no other form of militarism does, but also in the ugly boycotting of everything Israeli, whether it’s academics or apples, in a way that the people or products of other militaristic or authoritarian regimes are never treated. But during this latest Israeli assault on Gaza, we haven’t only seen these double standards come back into play – we have also witnessed anti-Israel sentiment becoming more visceral, more emotional, more unhinged and even more prejudiced than it has ever been, to such an extent that, sadly, it is now becoming very difficult to tell where anti-Zionism ends and anti-Semitism begins.

So in the latest rage against Israel, it isn’t only the Israeli state or military that have come in for some loud flak from so-called radicals – so have the Israeli people, and even the Jews. In Paris on Sunday, what started as a protest against Israel ended with violent assaults on two synagogues. In one, worshippers had to barricade themselves inside as anti-Israel activists tried to break their way in using bats and planks of wood, some of them chanting ‘Death to Jews!’. Some have tried to depict such racist behaviour as a one-off, a case of immigrants in France losing control. But on that big demo at the Israeli Embassy in London last week some attendees held placards saying ‘Zionist Media Cover Up Palestinian Holocaust’, a clear reference to the familiar anti-Semitic trope about Jews controlling the media. On an anti-Israel protest in the Netherlands some Muslim participants waved the black ISIS flag and chanted: ‘Jews, the army of Muhammad is returning.’

In the virtual world, too, the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has become blurrier during this latest Gaza conflict. When a Danish journalist published a photo of what he claimed to be a group of Israelis in Sderot eating popcorn while watching Israeli missiles rain on Gaza, it became a focal point of fury with Israelis – every newspaper published the pic and Amnesty tweeted about it – and it generated the expression of some foul views. Israelis (not Israel in this case) are ‘disgraceful’, ‘murderous, racist’, ‘inhuman scum’, ‘pigs’, etc, said angry tweeters.

It wasn’t long before actual bona fide anti-Semites were getting in on this rage against Israeli people, with one racist magazine publishing the Sderot picture under the headline ‘Rat-Faced Israeli Jews Cheer and Applaud Airstrikes on Gaza Strip’. The speed with which what purported to be an anti-war sentiment aimed at Israel became a warped fury with Israeli people, and the ease with which demonstrations against Israeli militarism became slurs against or physical attacks on Jews, suggests there is something extremely unwieldy about fashionable anti-Israel sentiment, something that allows it to slip, sometimes quite thoughtlessly, from being a seemingly typical anti-war cry to being something much uglier, prejudiced and ancient in nature.

Such is the visceral nature of current anti-Israel sentiment that not only is the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism becoming harder to see – so is the line between fact and fiction. As the BBC has reported, the wildly popular hashtag #GazaUnderAttack, which has been used nearly 500,000 times over the past eight days to share shocking photographs of the impact of Israel’s assault on Gaza, is extremely unreliable. Some of the photos being tweeted (and then retweeted by thousands of other people) are actually from Gaza in 2009. Others show dead bodies from conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Yet all are posted with comments such as, ‘Look at Israel’s inhumanity’.

It seems the aim here is not to get to the truth of what is happening in Gaza but simply to rage, to yell, to scream, to weep about what Israel is doing (or not doing, as the case may be), and the more publicly you weep, the better, for it allows people to see how sensitive you are to Israeli barbarism. It’s about unleashing some visceral emotion, which means such petty things as accuracy and facts count for little: the expression of the emotion is all that matters, and any old photo of a dead child from somewhere in the Middle East – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon – will suffice as a prop for one’s public emotionalism.

How has this happened? How has opposing Israeli militarism gone from being one facet of a broader anti-imperialist position, as it was in the 1980s, to being the main, and sometimes only, focus of those who claim to be anti-war? Why does being opposed to Israel so often and so casually tip over into expressions of disgust with the Israeli people and with the Jews more broadly? It’s because, today, rage with Israel is not actually a considered political position. It is not a thought-through take on a conflict zone in the Middle East and how that conflict zone might relate to realpolitik or global shifts in power. Rather, it has become an outlet for the expression of a general feeling of fury and exhaustion with everything - with Western society, modernity, nationalism, militarism, humanity.

Israel has been turned into a conduit for the expression of Western self-loathing, Western colonial guilt, Western self-doubt. It has been elevated into the most explicit expression of what are now considered to be the outdated Western values of militaristic self-preservation and progressive nationhood, and it is railed against and beaten down for embodying those values. It is held responsible, not simply for repressing the Palestinian desire for statehood, but for continuing to pursue virtues that we sensible folk in the rest of the West have apparently outgrown and for consequently being the source of war and terrorism not only in the Middle East but pretty much everywhere. A poll of Europeans discovered that most now consider Israel to be the key source of global instability.

This is where we can see what the new anti-Zionism shares in common with the old anti-Semitism: both are about finding one thing in the world, whether it’s a wicked state or a warped people, against which the rest of us might rage and pin the blame for every political problem on Earth.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here