Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A pro-terror rally on a Palestinian campus

by Jeff Jacoby

THEY WEREN'T wearing swastika armbands or chanting "Sieg Heil!" during the Islamic Jihad rally this month on the campus of Al-Quds University. They didn't need to. Everything about the event reeked of fascism and anti-Semitic bloodlust. Demonstrators at the Palestinian school paraded in paramilitary gear, with massed black flags, mock assault weapons, and arms extended in Nazi-style salutes. There were banners lionizing suicide bombers, and hand-drawn Israeli flags on which students trod. Islamic Jihad — long identified as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union — posted photos of the rally on its website. In one, students representing dead Israelis sprawl on the ground as black-clad jihadists brandishing weapons stride past.

Such celebrations of terrorism and incitement to violence are pervasive in Palestinian society. Children raised under the Palestinian Authority are indoctrinated from an early age to regard Israelis and Jews as enemies to be destroyed and infidels to be loathed. Nothing about the nearly three-hour rally at Al-Quds would likely have surprised the estimated 1,000 students who saw it. Most of them have been fed a steady diet of such poison all their lives, and not just in schools and mosques. From TV shows and popular music to the naming of sports clubs and public squares, the next generation of Palestinians has grown up amid the most violent culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich.

A fog of political correctness usually keeps events like the Al-Quds rally from getting much attention in the Western media. But this one, first reported by veteran British journalist Tom Gross, made news last week when it led Brandeis University into suspending a longstanding academic partnership with the Palestinian school. It wasn't the grotesque rally itself that provoked Brandeis to pull the plug, though that should have been sufficient: One of Islamic Jihad's many innocent victims was a 20-year-old Brandeis undergraduate, Alisa Flatow, who was one of eight people murdered in 1995 when an Islamic Jihad bomber blew up the bus in which they were riding.

What finally forced the issue was the refusal of Sari Nusseibeh, the president of Al-Quds and a well-known Palestinian intellectual, to condemn the hate-drenched rally even after being asked to do so by Brandeis president Frederick Lawrence. Nusseibeh replied instead with an outrageous letter that denounced "vilification campaigns by Jewish extremists," and suggested their only purpose in raising the issue was to "prevent Palestinians from achieving our freedom."

Nusseibeh is often described as a Palestinian "moderate." But in a culture as poisoned with vitriolic anti-Semitism as the Palestinian Authority, moderation doesn't go very far. It doesn't even go as far as repudiating the Nazi-like salutes and tableaux of dead Israelis during a public rally on an East Jerusalem college campus. Not even to retain the goodwill of an institution as dovish and liberal as Brandeis, a Jewish-sponsored university that was proud of its relationship with Al-Quds.

The genocidal values of Islamic Jihad are no anomaly. They are the values of Hamas and the PLO.

They are the values that led the Arab League to spurn the UN's proposed two-state solution in 1947, and to announce that it would crush the newborn Jewish state in "a war of extermination and a momentous massacre." They are the values that induced Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the leader of the Palestinians in the 1930s, to form an alliance with Adolf Hitler, eagerly collaborating with the führer in the hope of importing the Final Solution to the Jews of the Middle East.
"Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany," Husseini wrote in his journal, "was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world." He asked Hitler "for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem … according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews."

There may have been no actual swastikas at the Islamic Jihad rally, but the lethal values represented by the swastika have been a part of the Palestinian national movement for the better part of a century. They still are, however much people of goodwill might wish otherwise. So long as even famous Palestinian "moderates" cannot bring themselves to bravely defy those values, Palestinian sovereignty will remain a reckless gamble — and peace as far off as ever.


Universities 'can segregate men and women for debates'

Universities can segregate students during debates as long as the women are not forced to sit behind the men, university leaders have said.

Segregation at the behest of a controversial speaker is an issue which arises "all the time” and banning men and women from sitting next to each during debates is a "big issue" facing universities, Universities UK has said.

As a result they have issued guidance which suggests that segregation is likely to be acceptable as long as men and women are seated side by side and one party is not at a disadvantage.

In a new guidance on external speakers, vice-chancellors' group Universities UK says that universities face a complex balance of promoting freedom of speech without breaking equality and discrimination laws.

When considering a request for segregation, they warn, planners must think about whether a seating plan could be discriminatory to one gender - for example if women were forced to sit at the back of the room it could prove harder for them to participate in the debate.

The report adds: "Assuming the side-by-side segregated seating arrangement is adopted, there does not appear to be any discrimination on gender grounds merely by imposing segregated seating. Both men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way."

Earlier this year, a student equality group claimed that preaching by extremists and discrimination through segregation at student events has become a "widespread" trend at many UK universities.

Student Rights, which carried out the research, found that radical preachers spoke at 180 events at universities including Cardiff and University College London (UCL) between March 2012 and March 2013. Segregated seating for men and women was promoted or implied at more than a quarter of the events, at 21 separate institutions.

Among the events highlighted in the Student Rights report was a gender-segregated event at UCL on March 9.

The lecture, Islam vs Atheism, was organised by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), and pitted writer Hamza Tzortzis against Prof Laurence Krauss in a debate.

Apart from the controversies surrounding segregation, Universities UK say that academic institutions are facing a legal minefield when organising external speakers and their guidance aims to help them find the balance.

An example of the fine balance is illustrated when the report goes on to say that if side-by-side seating was enforced without offering an alternative non-segregated seating area, it could be deemed as discriminatory against men or women who hold feminist beliefs.

It adds: "Concerns to accommodate the wishes or beliefs of those opposed to segregation should not result in a religious group being prevented from having a debate in accordance with its belief system."

The report presents some hypothetical case studies which come up on campuses, including whether a speaker from an ultraorthodox religious group requests an audience is segregated by gender.

"These are issues that are arising all the time and these are really difficult issues," said Universities UK chief executive Nicola Dandridge.

"What emerged from our work on this particular issue is that there is no clearly defined right or wrong here as to whether to allow or outlaw segregation. It is going to very much depend on the facts of the case."

She added: "External speakers play an important role in university life, not least in terms of encouraging students to think for themselves, challenge other people's views and develop their own opinions.

"Although most speakers are uncontroversial, some will express contentious, even inflammatory or offensive views. Universities have to balance their obligation to encourage free speech with their duties to ensure that the law is observed, the safety and security of staff, students and visitors secured, and good campus relations promoted. In practice, achieving this balance is not always easy.



British schools failing to provide science experiments

Pupils are struggling with advanced science because of a lack of time spent undertaking traditional experiments, according to Ofsted.

The education watchdog warned that too many schools fail to allocate proper space in the timetable for practical lessons and often reduce the subject to little more than taking notes from the teacher.

In a highly-critical report, it was claimed that the same experiments were also repeated by schools throughout primary and secondary education, leaving pupils bored.

The testing of thermal insulation – lagging containers of warm water and recording how long they take to cool – "can be seen in classrooms from reception to year 13" in a move branded a "waste of students’ time".

Ofsted levelled particular criticism at existing GCSE courses which fail to properly explore the subject of experimentation – creating little incentive for schools to develop pupils’ practical skills.

It means that many teenagers do not have the knowledge needed to continue studying the subject at A-level, inspectors warned, with girls in particular shunning the subject in "alarmingly high" numbers.

In a damning conclusion, the report warned that the sciences were now largely the preserve of fee-paying schools.

"Opportunities for illustrative and investigative scientific enquiry were limited, and so was the achievement of students," the report said.

"They achieved their GCSE grades but not the science practical skills they needed at the next stage. Sixth-form teachers told inspectors that this lack of practical skill is revealed starkly for many students at A-level, as they try to catch up with the demands of accurate, individual practical and experimental work."

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector, suggested that a shortage of high-level science skills risked damaging the economy.

But the Department for Education insisted it was introducing a new science curriculum to address the failings and had encouraged schools to ensure pupils take GCSEs in the three separate sciences.

The report – Maintaining Curiosity – was based on inspections of 91 primaries and 89 secondary schools in England.

In all, standards of science were not good enough in more than a quarter of those visited.

It told how experiments were relegated to special one-off "science days" in some primary schools. Inspectors gave the example of one school that only allowed two pupils to carry out practical works while other children "just sat on the carpet and watched and drifted away".

In secondary schools, GCSE "exams do not test scientific practical skills enough, so that teachers often do not see the need to teach those skills to pupils thoroughly", Ofsted said.

This leads to too many pupils being "poorly prepared for any science learning or for any job that involves science", it was claimed.

A DfE spokesman said: "Ofsted is right – pupils must learn through high-quality practical work if we are to produce the brilliant scientists vital for our economic prosperity.

"That is why there is a real focus on practical science in our new curriculum, at both primary and secondary and we are also strengthening practical elements in our new science GCSEs."


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