The Guardian’s Quibbling About Security for the Jewish schools

The Guardian is a strange mix.

On the one hand, it once had fine leader articles dealing with antisemitism and yet it has become the favoured online home of many anti-Jewish racists.

After much pressure it implemented some token measures to combat the most extreme racism frequently found in the pages of its Comment Is Free. Recently, it admitted there was a problem, as Chris Elliot wrote:

For antisemitism can be subtle as well as obvious. Three times in the last nine months I have upheld complaints against language within articles that I agreed could be read as antisemitic. The words were replaced and the articles footnoted to reflect the fact. These included references to Israel/US “global domination” and the term “slavish” to describe the US relationship with Israel; and, in an article on a lost tribe of Mallorcan Jews, what I regarded as a gratuitous reference to “the island’s wealthier families”.

Two weeks ago a columnist used the term “the chosen” in an item on the release of Gilad Shalit, which brought more than 40 complaints to the Guardian, and an apology from the columnist the following week. “Chosenness”, in Jewish theology, tends to refer to the sense in which Jews are “burdened” by religious responsibilities; it has never meant that the Jews are better than anyone else. Historically it has been antisemites, not Jews, who have read “chosen” as code for Jewish supremacism.

One reader wrote of the column: “The despicable antisemitic tone of this rant is beyond reason or decency.”

Newspapers have to be aware that some examples involve coded references. They need to ask themselves, for example, if the word Zionist is being used as a synonym for Jew.”

Nowadays if you want to find an article which sneers at Jews or paints them in an unfavourable light then the Guardian is your paper of choice.

I am not surprised that the Guardian quibbles over government funding for security in Jewish schools, but significantly it doesn’t even ask *why* it is necessary, such is the poverty of critical thinking at the Guardian Media Group:

“Michael Gove, the education secretary, awarded £2m of public money to an organisation that he promoted as an adviser for four years.

The education secretary personally made the decision to give taxpayers’ money to an organisation that distributes funds to pay for better security at Jewish schools. Gove has promoted the Community Security Trust (CST) as an adviser since 2007.

Documents obtained by the Guardian show that Gove personally wrote to the trust confirming that the education department was awarding the money to it. He issued a public statement saying that he had “secured the funding” to the trust.

Richard Benson, the trust’s chief executive, replied to Gove twice thanking him for his “personal commitment” to providing the funding. Benson’s letter lists Gove as a member of its advisory board, along with more than 50 others.

All the money is distributed by the Community Security Trust to the schools which then employ the security guards. As the trust’s role is essentially administrative, none of the money is retained by the trust or pays for any of the trust’s work. “

It is hard to fathom the type of thinking that doesn’t ask the question, why in the 21st century do Jewish schools in Britain need such extra security?

Balochistan And The Berber Revival.

The plight of women and girls in Balochistan goes unreported so this piece from the IRIN is all the more important:

“QUETTA, 29 November 2011 (IRIN) – Gehava Bibi, 9, is very excited. She is visiting the city of Quetta, capital of the southwestern province of Balochistan, with her father to buy some basic school supplies. She has never held a pencil or piece of chalk. “This seems like magic,” she told IRIN as she awkwardly drew a few squiggly lines across a piece of paper offered to her by the shop-owner.

Bibi has never been to school; there is no educational facility in her village in the Bolan district, some 154km southeast of Quetta, and like 90 percent of women in rural Balochistan, according to official figures, she is illiterate.

However, recently, an elderly villager, who had spent many years in the southern port city of Karachi, has returned to Bolan and offered to provide the girls in the village with some basic education.

Fazila Aliani, a social activist, educationist and former member of the Balochistan provincial assembly, recently told the media the reason for the lack of educational facilities was the “insurgency” in the province, “while a lack of necessary funds, absence of a well-defined education policy, lack of girls’ schools, acute shortage of teaching staff, and poverty are other factors which contribute to the backwardness”.

She said that except for Quetta, educational institutions were “non-existent in Baloch-dominated areas of the province”. Aliani also said foreign donors seeking to set up schools in Balochistan struggled to do so because of the lack of security and government resistance.”

Elsewhere in Libya, Berbers are hoping to revive their language and culture after decades of repression under Gaddafi:

“After the Arab conquests in the seventh century and Arabization policies promoted by populist, modern-day Middle Eastern leaders, Berber culture has been slowly driven nearer and nearer to extinction. In Libya, Muammar Qaddafi championed the country’s Arab heritage and even its African roots, but would never acknowledge the country’s original inhabitants, savagely suppressing their language and culture.

Qaddafi banned Libyans from writing or owning books in Tamazight and arrested Amazigh activists — including Buzakhar and his twin brother — to suppress the group and keep them from organizing against his rule. It was little surprise, then, when Amazighs became some of the fiercest fighters in Libya’s revolt against Qaddafi’s rule. Brigades from the Amazigh-heavy Nafusa mountains helped lead the final assault on Tripoli in August.

Now with Qaddafi gone, the Amazigh are taking advantage of their newfound freedom and trying to reclaim their long-suppressed heritage. Cultural organizations, spearheaded by eager young people in the Nafusa mountains and Tripoli, are working hard to spark a cultural revival. Women’s groups, arts societies, and education centers are teaching Tamazight script and trying to preserve Amazigh cultural sites.”