Sunday, January 27, 2013
More antisemitism from the British Left
A Liberal Democrat MP faces expulsion from the party for saying ‘the Jews’ had not learned from the murder of six million in the Holocaust, in their treatment of the Palestinian people.
David Ward, MP for Bradford East, wrote on his own website that he was ‘saddened’ that they ‘could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians…on a daily basis.’
He defended his comments in interviews saying they were a ‘just a statement of fact and said ‘it appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated.’
His remarks were made ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday, although Mr Ward who said he had attended events to remember its victims and had visited Auschwitz twice.
He has been summoned to a meeting with party whips on Monday, but today insisted he did stood by the statement and its timing and claimed it was ‘regrettable’ he had been reprimanded.
Mr Ward wrote yesterday: ‘Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.’
A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: ‘This is a matter we take extremely seriously. The Liberal Democrats deeply regret and condemn the statement issued by David Ward and his use of language which is unacceptable.’
Holocaust Memorial Day marks the 68th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where more than one million people, mostly Jews, were killed – many shot, starved or victims of the gas chambers. Homosexuals, political dissidents and the handicapped were also victims.
The MP, who said he had attended a Holocaust memorial event in Bradford yesterday which was ‘extremely moving’ said he hoped the chief whip would respect his views.
In an interview yesterday he said: ‘What better day to raise the issue of learning from one of the worst examples of inhumanity.’ He told The Commentator website: ‘It appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated.’
On his website, Mr Ward said he had ‘signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day’ and describes Auschwitz as ‘the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history.’
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: ‘I am deeply saddened that at this sombre time, when we remember those who were murdered by the Nazis, Mr Ward has deliberately abused the memory of the Holocaust causing deep pain and offence - these comments are sickening and unacceptable and have no place in British politics.’
Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: ‘We are outraged and shocked at these offensive comments about Jewish victims of the Holocaust and the suggestion that Jews should have learned a lesson from the experience.
‘For an MP to have made such comments on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day is even more distasteful, and we welcome the fact that the Liberal Democrats have sought to disassociate the party from David Ward's comments.’
Tory MP Robert Halfon said his comments were ‘a tragic trivialisation of real evil.’ He said ‘It should be remembered that Israel withdrew from Gaza completely and yet has faced a barrage of 7000+ missiles from Hamas and been the victim of hundreds of terrorist suicide bombers and been attacked by all its neighbours in 1948, 1967 and 1973.’
Mr Ward has previously described Israel as an ‘apartheid regime.
British teachers may face dismissal under human rights laws if they refuse to promote gay marriage in schools
Teachers could lose their jobs if they express views that they oppose gay marriage, it has been revealed. It is feared that they could be sacked for refusing to promote same sex weddings despite reassurances from Education Secretary Michael Gove.
A senior source in Mr Gove's department said that the ultimate decision over whether teachers could lose their jobs would be down to the European Court of Human Rights rather than the Government.
News of the Mr Gove's fears come as the Coalition prepares to publish a bill legalising same sex marriage today.
Opponents to the proposed law say that those who take a stand over the issue could face the sack under law.
In a report compiled by the Coalition for Marriage campaign group, human rights lawyer Aidan O'Neill QC said that schools may have the right to sack staff who refuse to promote gay marriage in class, according to the Daily Telegraph.
But legal advice given to Equalities Minister Maria Miller suggested that staff would not be forced to act against their beliefs.
A Department for Education spokesman told the Daily Telegraph: 'Schools will not acquire a power to dismiss teachers who refuse to teach views about gay marriage which are against their conscience.'
But a DfE source added: 'These (decisions) are all under the control of nine guys in Strasbourg, it is just fundamentally uncertain and Britain isn't in control of this.'
Mr Gove is said to be fully in favour of the gay marriage bill but is also said to oppose teachers being forced to endorse it.
He is expected to tell schools and councils that the Government will oppose attempts to discipline teachers for their views.
David Cameron has fast tracked the bill which could allow gay marriage from as early as next year.
It would see exemptions for the Churches of England and Wales, and other faiths, to opt out if passed.
Ministers have insisted they will ensure no discrimination claims can be brought against faith groups which choose to opt out. It is understood the 2010 Equality Act will be amended to do this.
The Church of England will get a ‘quadruple lock’ of measures to prevent legal challenges, under which it will be illegal to allow same-sex weddings on CofE property.
The Blood-Smeared Glass Ceiling - Women in Combat
For cowardice beyond the call of duty, Leon Panetta has shamed himself and his country. In one of his last acts as Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta today will revoke the last of the policies that prevent women from serving in combat arms.
Make no mistake about it: this action isn’t about civil rights, equal opportunity, or any of the laudable things America has done in the past fifty years to remove false barriers within the military. This is different. It’s a purely political act that will make our military — and the military families liberals claim to venerate — much weaker than they are today.
Panetta is acting in response to feminists’ demands that women be able to serve in any capacity men do because they will be denied promotion to the higher ranks if they lack combat experience. It’s true that there is a huge number of women of flag rank among the services, some at the top four-star rank. But there surely is a “glass ceiling” in the combat arms that women haven’t broken through.
The problem with this statement of the issue is that the military “glass ceiling” is streaked with blood. If women are to be warriors — and thus earn the right to command other warriors — they have to train like men, live like men, and be able to survive the intense dangers of the modern battlefield as many men do. If they don’t, they cannot gain the respect and admiration that commanders of warriors must have to be effective. Should they be permitted to do that?
There are two components to the question. First and foremost is whether the presence of women will add to or detract from the readiness and capability of the unit to perform its mission. The second is a moral question: Will having women serve in harm’s way benefit our military and society at large?
The question of benefit to society has been mooted politically. To even suggest that women are different from men in important ways — such as the instincts for motherhood and nurturing — is to be outside the realm of permissible political thought. To ask whether those natural instincts should be subordinated to the skills of war is unthinkable, at least to those who want to “gender neutralize” the military.
So we are left with the first question, which has to be answered with a resounding “no.”
Even the Clinton administration had sense enough to keep women out of most of the combat arms. In 1991, legislation lifted the historic ban on American women serving in combat. Congress, under pressure from feminists, declared that women should be able to serve on combat ships and in combat aircraft and told the Defense Department to come up with a scheme to implement it and other criteria for women in combat.
In 1993, Clinton Defense Secretary Les Aspin promulgated DoD policy that allowed women to serve in all but a few categories. First, from assignments at lower than brigade level in units whose principal purpose was combat. Next, where the cost of providing women privacy (in berthing on ships, for example) was prohibitive. In addition, they could be prohibited from serving in units co-located with combat units.
Women were barred, under Aspin’s policy, from long-range reconnaissance and special forces and where job-related physical requirements would necessarily exclude the vast majority of women. Note that all women were barred: there was no exception made for those few who could meet the tough physical and mental standards it takes to qualify for spec ops.
Over the intervening twenty years, women have served in more and more combat roles. They serve as fighter pilots in the Navy and Air Force, and were aboard every Navy warship except submarines until, just a little over a year ago, they were allowed to serve on subs as well. The Army has gradually — and in contravention of Aspin’s directives — allowed women into more and more combat roles.
Panetta’s action will probably complete the destruction of the warrior culture on which the success of our military depends. That culture, developed over the past two thousand years or so, is not uniquely American but our brand of it is. Our warriors take pride in what they do because they do it for America and because they do it better than anyone else. Thus, one of the most important parts of that culture is the objective standards someone has to meet to qualify to join the combat arms.
Every Marine in a rifle platoon, every pilot in a squadron, every special operator has had to meet the standards set for all the others. At least they did until the services began to cave under political pressure to enable women to join combat units.
Perhaps the worst example is what happened to the Navy after the 1990 “Tailhook Convention” scandal in which naval aviators acted like, well, every fighter pilot who ever lived. They drank too much and did dumb things such as publicly shaving the legs of some too-willing ladies they’d invited. It was a frat party worthy of Animal House, but no worse.
Liberals — led by California’s Babsy Boxer and a few others — raised a media feeding frenzy and the Navy’s pusillanimous leaders caved in to their demands. The result was that the Navy let its standards slip in order to shove women into combat roles. Lt. Kara Hultgreen was pushed through training and certified for combat, the first female naval aviator to reach that qualification. But she was certified despite the fact that her superiors knew she wasn’t ready. Hultgreen was killed when she lost control of her aircraft attempting to land on the USS Abraham Lincoln in 1994. The Navy learned its lesson, and its standards were restored.
Eleven years ago I wrote about the danger of “gender neutralizing” the objective tests for entry into combat arms. That article reported on a British Ministry of Defence study authored by Brigadier Seymour Monroe. In that study, Monroe reported that when the British were trying to fit women into combat roles, they “gender neutralized” — i.e., lowered — their standards so that women who couldn’t qualify under the men’s standards did so under their own.
Who can doubt that the Obama Pentagon will do exactly the same? Why should the men accept anyone — woman or man — who can’t make the same grade they did? They shouldn’t, and they won’t. It will destroy unit cohesion and pride.
That is the principal objection to what the Obama Pentagon is up to. And it will have two effects, both of which are a threat to our national security.
First, by pushing standards down to enable women to qualify, Obama’s Pentagon will reduce the units’ ability to fight. Our guys — and I use the term with malice aforethought — win because they’re better trained and more capable than the enemy. Whenever you reduce the qualifications, you reduce the level of capability and the unit’s ability to win. To lower standards is to increase the risk of defeat.
Second, whether or not standards are relaxed, allowing women into combat arms will break the spirit of many of our warriors whether they be ground pounders, airmen, or sailors.
Our guys do what they do — and do it so well — in part because they’re guys who are members of the most exclusive club in the world: the warriors, the real 1%’ers. Their club’s membership has been 100% men since before Thermopylae. These men understand that they are different — mentally and physically — from women and want to stay that way. They have wives and girlfriends at home. They don’t have them as fellow warriors who they train and fight alongside.
To put women among them would force them to break with their ancient customs, traditions, and beliefs. In short, it would fundamentally change what they are and how they function in combat. The price will be paid in resignations, in declining re-enlistments, and in lives and battles lost.
There’s one more aspect to this, which is the strain Panetta’s act will put on military families. When he decided to allow women to serve on submarines, a lot of Navy wives were really angry. They know their men, and they know that our elite submarine force would become a fleet of submersible Love Boats, and, in too many instances, they have.
What higher price will more military families pay when women are allowed into the rest of the combat arms, serving in remote places in tough conditions with the men beside them?
Panetta’s decision has to be stopped by House Republicans. They can do it if they bar the use of any authorized or appropriated funds for DoD to implement the Panetta policy, a provision that should be in every bill they pass until it becomes law. If they don’t, we should throw the lot of them out.
That’s so short and clear that not even the House can muck it up. Or maybe I’m giving them too much credit.
Somewhere over the rainbow in a utopia called Europe
"The genie is out of the bottle: the fight for our country's liberty starts today," said Nigel Farage this week. He is the leader of the UK Independence Party, a party whose members British Prime Minister David Cameron once dismissed as "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists".
Well, they are running the asylum, now. Cameron's speech on Europe finally promised what Farage had long been seeking, and what was once unthinkable: a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.
It is amazing what some decent polling will do. The UKIP has surged lately, claiming as much as 16 per cent support - in some polls even sitting above the Tories' coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats.
Cameron has a problem with conservative voters jumping ship and Conservative backbenchers jumping down his throat. The forces of populism and party have finally cornered him.
This isn't really about policy. It's not even about the EU's failings, which are undeniable. It's about a pervasive sense of British alienation from the European project; a sense that belonging to the EU denies Britain its sovereignty. It forces it to do things like accept European immigrants. That's why Farage can speak with a straight face of Britain reclaiming its "liberty" as though it's the beginning of World War II. What is Britain if it can't deny the invading hordes from Poland?
Beneath every argument Britain will now have about Europe is an unstated, but essentially important fact: that deep down, most Britons don't feel very European. They do not see a continent of fellow European citizens. They see a continent of foreigners who now have an unwelcome claim on their lives and their space.
Britons have long had a reputation for that separateness. The trouble, though, is they are far from alone. In fact they are a mild case. Head east to Greece, where the financial crisis is really biting and you'll meet Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi party, which has claimed parliamentary seats and now consistently sits third in polling. There has been a spike in anti-immigrant violence, much of it ignored by sympathisers in the police force. But beyond the violence, this is a solidarity movement. Hence Golden Dawn's "solidarity projects": food for the poor, employment services, blood drives - available to Greeks only. Yes, Greeks don't feel especially European either.
The EU can talk all it likes about better economic integration. Indeed, it is right to do so. But there's a problem here that is being laid bare in different extremes in Britain and Greece. Economic integration rests ultimately on social commitments. Economies work because the people within them feel connected enough to make sacrifices for each other; to redistribute wealth within them, perhaps even to bail each other out of trouble. This relies on something that Golden Dawn in its crudely violent way understands instinctively: solidarity. Economics, like politics, is very much about identity.
Hereabouts Europe has a problem that might just be insurmountable: it doesn't exist. It never really has. It's a term with no clear story and no clear meaning. To see this, you need only take a moment to examine a euro note and consider the artwork. Note the series of generic, non-descript arches and bridges. This is a continent with some of the world's most stunning, iconic architectural landmarks, all of them instantly recognisable symbols, and yet none of them symbolise Europe. The exquisite architecture of Westminster has no business being on any legal tender used in Paris. The Colosseum is an awesome monument with an awesome history, but to tell its story properly you would have to spend much of the time talking about Africa.
However you approach Europe, its identity is elusive. It can't be geographic because it simply becomes Asia at some entirely arbitrary point. It's not ideological because, depending on where you are, it is the wellspring of both communism and market liberalism. Christianity seems a good candidate until you consider that most Christians aren't European and that so many of Western Europe's churches are empty (and that's before you worry about any Catholic-Protestant complications). It could almost be secularism, but you would have to pretend Orthodox nations like Greece with strong establishment churches are the same as France with its staunch anti-clericalism. And on it goes.
This is precisely the appeal of parties like Golden Dawn. Neo-Nazism is not just about racial or ethnic supremacy: it's about returning to some imagined natural, organic way of being. It's an attempt to reclaim something real in an environment that seems contrived and imposed. Europe, by contrast, is never described as "us". Europe is them - distant bureaucrats who do things to you rather than for you. Europe doesn't run blood drives. Europe doesn't feed poor people in your area.
These are the consequences of deformed globalisation, where economics globalises out of step with sociology. If Europe wants to command the genuine commitment of its members, with all the sacrifice that entails, it needs to offer its people an identity. Currently, there's no telling what that would be, or who exactly is willing to fight for it. It's dead easy, though, to say who'll fight against 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, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.