Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, May 2012
The United Jewish Kingdom of Michael Gove
By Gilad Atzmon
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, May 30, 2012
The Telegraph reported yesterday that “ministers have criticised Britain’s biggest exam board after pupils were asked to explain ‘why some people are prejudiced against Jews’ as part of a GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education).
Apparently more than 1,000 teenagers are believed to have sat the religious studies test papers, which challenged pupils to assess the reasons behind anti-Semitism.
The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, which set the exam, rightly said that the question acknowledged that “some people hold prejudices” – they probably expected the students to examine the reasons that lead to anti Jewish feelings rather than simply justifying them.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary who is notorious for his pro Israeli stand and his intimate relationships with the Jewish lobby, has managed to produce a particularly lame statement that should disqualify him from any holding any position related to education.
To suggest that anti-Semitism can ever be explained, rather than condemned, is insensitive and, frankly, bizarre,
Gove told The Jewish Chronicle. The ‘education’ minister should actually accept that every social phenomenon or tendency should be subject to an academic scrutiny, scientific research and critical examination. The education minister should actually encourage critical thinking and freedom of thought, however, being one of the pillars of the CFI (conservative Friends of Israel) we shouldn’t really expect a drop of integrity from Minister Gove.
Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the infamous ultra Zionist Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD), said:
Clearly this is unacceptable and has nothing whatsoever to do with Jews or Judaism.
Benjamin and the BOD have been pouring news about the ‘rise’ of anti Semitism for years. One would wonder why are they now tormented by the attempt to question the reasoning behind the phenomenon that concerns them so much and for so long.
The exam board insisted that the question was part of a paper focusing on Judaism and the “relevant part of the syllabus covers prejudice and discrimination with reference to race, religion and the Jewish experience of persecution”.
But here comes the interesting bit. While the question is fully legitimate and deserves a thorough examination, one may wonder how would the exam board expect to mark some academically valid possible answers. For instance, how would a board’s examiner mark a young truth telling British student who may suggest that anti Jewish feelings could be realised as a direct reaction to the concerning facts that it was the Jewish Lobby led by Lord Levy that financed the Labour government that took us into an illegal War in Iraq? The student may argue that some people mistakenly identify Jews (as a collective) with the horrendous non-ethical acts of just a few Jews, this is where prejudice, plays its role. Bearing in mind it was also Jewish chronicle writers such as David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen who were supporting this criminal act in the mainstream media, such an answer is coherent and consistent with the facts. Another honest student may suggest that with 80% of the Tory MPs (including education minister Michael Gove ) being CFI members there is a reason to believe that the British Government is under the control of a foreign power. Following the pressure of the CFI, the Tory government recently amended the British Universal Jurisdiction law just to allow Israel war criminal to visit the Kingdom. I guess that some students must be clever enough to notice that acts taken by British politicians who shamelessly attempt to appease their pro Israeli paymasters on the expense of British values and ethical consideration actually expose Jews in this country to some potential animosity. How would the exam board mark such a reasonable and critical young and innocent thinking?
It seems as if the exam board is not really prepared to tackle the issue seriously. Its representative told the Jewish Chronicle
we would expect [students to refer] to the Holocaust to illustrate prejudice based on irrational fear, ignorance and scapegoating.
In other words, the British education system admits here openly that it expects students to repeat textbook ready-made answers rather than thinking critically and thoroughly. Is it really ‘irrational’ to be tormented by the irritating idea that the vast majority of your leading party MPs are friends of a non-ethical, racist and expansionist foreign power? Is it reasonable to wonder why Jewish Chronicle Writers were over represented in some pro war advocacy? Is it really unreasonable for a young British student to ask why the American Jewish Lobby AIPAC is pushing for a war against Iran that can escalate into a nuclear conflict? Shouldn’t British students try to examine the relationships between the Jewish Lobby and the Jewish community? Shouldn’t Religious students try to examine the complex relationship between Jews, Judaism and Jewishness? Shouldn’t they look into the relationship between The Old Testament and IDF’s crimes against humanity? For sure they need do, this is actually the real meaning of education. To educate is to teach how to learn said Martin Heidegger, but in Britain 2012 Education means to teach student how to answer the appropriate kosher answer.
As it happens the exam board reacted quickly and submissively to Jewish pressure. Its representative said
the board is obviously concerned that this question may have caused offence, as this was absolutely not our intention.
I guess that the exam board who were obviously subject to some relentless pressure may now be able to form their own answer to the question. They may grasp by now what is to root cause of ‘anti Jewish prejudice’ and it has nothing to do with the ‘holocaust’, ignorance’ or ‘irrationality’. It is actually the natural reaction to abuse of our most precious intellectual right, the freedom to think.
Another uniquely banal mind Rabbi David Meyer, the executive head of Hasmonean High School, told the Telegraph that the question had “no place” in an exam.
The role of education is to remove prejudices and not to justify them,” he said.
It is pretty amusing or actually sad to find out that a Rabbi and an executive head of a Jewish school doesn’t know the difference between ‘question’ and ‘justification’. However, Rabbi Meyer, surely knows that Rabbinical and Talmudic education encourages debate and critical thinking. I wonder why Rabbi Meyer doesn’t approve the idea that Goyim teenager should also learn how to think critically and even learn how to debate?
Seemingly, the Telegraph found only one single voice of reason in the entire kingdom. Clive Lawton, formerly an A-level chief examiner for religious studies, said: “I do understand why people might react negatively to the question, but it is a legitimate one.”
If anyone including Michael Gove and the BOD want to prevent the rise of anti Jewish feelings and prejudice in general they may want to look briefly in the mirror. It is their attitude that put Jews at a growing risk. As it happens, it is always Jewish power exercised by just a very few that introduces danger to the entire Jewish community and beyond.
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