Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Batty Britain again: Unruly school pupils will be punished with... a foot massage

Pupils who create mayhem in the classroom are to face a punishment that will make them quake in their shoes. They will be asked to slip off their socks before being given a foot massage designed to control their unruly behaviour. Medical experts say there is little evidence that such treatment can improve the behaviour of young tearaways.

Yet Labour-run Lambeth Council in South London is to spend 90,000 pounds next year sending reflexologists into its schools to practise their soothing art. The team, from a company known as Bud-Umbrella, will work in 60 primary and 14 secondary schools, with children under 13 deemed to be badly behaved. The firm is run out of a flat [apartment] in Brixton and its website claims reflexology 'releases energy blockages', 'can calm aggressive feelings, improve listening skills, concentration and focus' and 'relieves headaches and sinus problems'.

Tory MP John Penrose is unimpressed. 'The idea that a foot massage is going to keep a hoodie happy is laughable,' said the member for Weston-super-Mare. 'Experienced teachers have a range of ways of dealing with badly-behaved pupils and stroking their feet is not one of them. 'Dealing with bad behaviour should not look like a reward to those who misbehave. Discipline should be brought back into schools.'

Mark Wallace, spokesman for the TaxPayers' Alliance campaign group, said: 'How on earth is the education system going to succeed if there are luxuries given out for naughty children and nothing at all given to those who work hard and do well? 'With everyone struggling in the financial crisis, this is crazy money being paid out on a crazy scheme.'

Despite Lambeth's enthusiasm for foot massage in schools, reflexology sessions are not provided for the wider public by the local primary care trust. The traditional healing art dates from the ancient Egyptians and Chinese. It involves manipulation of pressure points in the hands and feet and is often used to ease period pain, headaches, sinus and back problems as well as the effects of chemotherapy. By massaging different points on the feet, therapists claim they can unblock energy pathways and help the body regain its natural balance and heal itself. Reflexology is not a regulated therapy and medical authorities have raised concerns that qualifications are not needed to perform the massages.

However Lambeth Labour councillor Paul McGlone said the council was right to provide the alternative treatment. 'It's incredibly important that we address young people's behavioural problems and we make no apologies for using different and innovative methods but this obviously won't replace more traditional ways of dealing with anti-social behaviour. 'We need to deal with the root causes of young people's behavioural problems and nip them in the bud - prevention is better than cure.'



When it comes to radical trends including anti-Zionism, Australian campuses are like most other Western universities, only even more extreme. The ubiquity of left-wing politics in Australian academia means that writing about campus Israel-phobia requires discrimination since the range of subjects is so large. The focus here will be on just a few of Australia's most egregious academic anti-Zionists.

Evan Jones

The most virulent is the University of Sydney's Evan Jones. Although his field is economics, he maintains a political web-log called Alert and Alarmed.[1] Its name is a play on the slogan of an Australian government public awareness campaign on terrorism-"alert, but not alarmed." Jones detests the Bush administration and the Australian government of John Howard. His hostility toward Israel runs so deep as to apparently render him unaware of the anti-Semitic overtones of his rhetoric.

For example, Jones often claims that the Jews dominate press coverage on issues relating to Israel. In a blog posting called "The Wall and `topographical considerations,'" he asserted: "All university programs in politics should have a compulsory unit on propaganda, and all such units should include a compulsory component on Israeli propaganda. The Israeli propaganda machine makes the Nazi apparatus under Geobels [sic] look like amateur hour."[2]

The Israelis are not very skilled at public relations. The opinion pages of Australia's newspapers regularly feature leftist critics of Israel. ABC, the country's main publicly funded broadcast network, models itself on the BBC, with predictable results in its Middle East coverage.

Nevertheless, Prof. Jones upholds the idea that pro-Israeli Jews dominate journalism. He refers to the "reactionary war-mongering Zionist Wall Street Journal."[3] The British writer of a pro-Israeli letter to the editor of TheIndependent is nothing more than a "lobotomised Zionist."[4] ....

Jones also constantly equates Zionism with Nazism. In his view, Israel was established through conscious collaboration with Hitler's Germany. In support, Jones cites an assertion by the radical Israeli anti-Zionist Uri Davis: "Zionist leaders made themselves accomplices by default, and sometimes by deliberate design, to the mass murder of Jews by the Nazi annihilation machinery."[7]

Amin Saikal

Other academics cloak their animus toward Israel in a pseudosophistication that facilitates their access to the media as commentators. One such anti-Zionist op-ed contributor is Amin Saikal, who heads the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (CAIS) at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. Founded in 1994 as the Centre for Middle East and Central Asian Studies, CAIS assumed its current name six years later. This reflected a radical shift in orientation that stemmed from an influx of funding from various Middle Eastern sources.

In December 2000, the Centre announced the receipt of an A$2.5 million donation from Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the Emir of Dubai and brother of the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.[10] This sum not only purchased the name change but also the creation of a Chair of Arab and Islamic Studies that was eponymous with the Centre's new title. The government of Iran contributed another US$350,000,[11] which underwrote the establishment of the Centre's perpetual foundation in Persian Language and Iranian Studies. In both these cases, the ANU's Endowment in Excellence provided matching funds for these foreign donations, bringing the total amount generated in support of the CAIS to almost A$6 million.[12]

Centre director Amin Saikal's view of both U.S. and Israeli policies is profoundly negative. But if the Americans can at times be excused for their folly because of naivety, Israel receives no such leniency. Saikal takes a "less is more" approach that is more pernicious because it seems reasonable on the surface. At first glance he appears simply to be deploring the violence that plagues the Middle East. But a closer look reveals that his regrets are selectively applied to serve his anti-Zionist views.

This reticence to condemn Palestinian violence against Israelis is so deeply ingrained in Saikal's worldview that it infuses his vocabulary. Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, he accused Israel of using disproportionate force "to contain what it calls terrorism, including suicide bombing."[14]

Saikal demonstrates ignorance of simple geostrategic matters. Again in the Sydney Morning Herald, he asserted that the Israeli navy has deployed "nuclear-powered submarines" to launch preemptive strikes against Iran.[15] The Israeli submarine fleet, however, consists of three German-built Dolphin-class diesel boats. Although the Germans' submarines are world-class, their own navy does not possess nuclear vessels.

Saikal also praises the Islamic Republic of Iran as "a sort of democracy which may not accord with Western ideals, but provides for a degree of mass participation, political pluralism and assurance of certain human rights and freedoms which do not exist in most of the Middle East."[16] He has nothing to say about the reign of terror that is inflicted on political opponents, and the many other human rights abuses.....

Scott Burchill

In Melbourne, as in other venues of Australian academia, there are many anti-Zionist academics. A notable example is Scott Burchill, who teaches international relations theory at Deakin University. In the wake of 9-11, Burchill argued in the Sydney Morning Herald that any American military reaction would constitute a "myopic and undemocratic" exercise of extrajudicial injustice.[25] Moreover, he claimed in the Australian Financial Review that these were "not irrational, cowardly or random attacks"; instead, "the rational logic of cause and effect" made 9-11 an understandable response to "US aggression."[26]

In October 2003, The Age published Burchill's thoughts on the first anniversary of the Bali bombing, which killed eighty-eight Australian tourists among others. It was, he wrote, an inevitable reaction to "Washington's support for Israel's brutal occupation of Palestine," and to a "Western collective of terror whose leaders had bombed Islamic states such as Afghanistan and Iraq."[27]

Yet, however profound Burchill's hostility toward the United States, he does not challenge the legitimacy of its existence. He does, however, in the case of Israel. Burchill describes the Palestinians as a "looted people" who justly refuse to "reconcile themselves to occupation and humiliation, regardless of the odds stacked against them."[28] Israel, then, is a "thief" who must return the "stolen property" of Palestine to its rightful Arab owners.[29] ....

Andrew Vincent

A final example is Prof. Andrew Vincent, who heads the Centre for Middle East and North African Studies at Sydney's Macquarie University. Last year in the Macquarie University News, he put forward a viewpoint that: "the Israelis quite possibly murdered Yasser Arafat."

Typically, in the wake of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Vincent wrote an apology for this aggression in Melbourne's Herald newspaper. Citing Iraq's small coastline and Kuwait's historic association with Baghdad, Vincent argued that Saddam's expansionism was legitimate.[34] More recently, Vincent invited blogger Antony Loewenstein - a far-Left freelance writer - to join the board of the Centre that he heads.

Antony Loewenstein

It was "bigotry, hatred and intolerance," Loewenstein suggested, that motivated Jewish opposition to Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi's receipt of the Sydney Peace Prize in 2003.[35] He apparently could not conceive of honest opposition based on Ashrawi's statements and deeds. In Loewenstein's view, Israel is a nation of "apartheid-like policies."[36] This author, after publishing an article in The Australian on the impact of Ariel Sharon's stroke, was characterized by Loewenstein as one of the "dutiful Zionists who are already lining up to praise the unindicted war criminal."[37]

Loewenstein's superficial knowledge of the Middle East was evident last December when he referred to a senior female Israeli cabinet minister as a man. In an article for the leftist online magazine New Matilda, he wrote:
Yet more evidence of Israel speaking the language of "peace" but acting entirely differently came from a senior ally of Sharon, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. He [sic] told a legal conference in early December that, despite years of Israeli denials, Sharon himself imagines the 425-mile separation barrier as the future border between Israel and a potential Palestinian state.

As one commentator on his blog pointed out: "if Loewenstein can't even get the gender of an Israeli cabinet minister right, then what does it say about the quality of his analysis of the Israeli political scene? Nothing good." When confronted with evidence of his gaffe, Lowenstein pleaded that he was "rushed" and that "mistakes do happen."[39]


In their anti-Zionism, Evan Jones, Amin Saikal, Scott Burchill, and Andrew Vincent[42] are some examples among many in Australian academia where radical Leftist ideology is monolithically predominant. A core element of the far-Left doctrine is a relentless hostility to Jewish national self-determination. With Australia's youth being exposed to this outlook during their university years, it remains to be seen how this will affect the next generation of Australian leaders.

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