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May 2017

Unsayable Truths about a Failing High School A lovely suburb with once-envied schools is facing black as well as white flight. By Kay Hymowitz

Editor’s note: The following piece originally appeared at City Journal. It is reprinted here with permission.

Earlier in the month, my high-school alma mater in the prosperous Montgomery County suburbs of Philadelphia went viral. A video of a student brawl injuring four security officers and eight teachers appeared on YouTube, bolstering long-whispered rumors of the district’s decline. Four students were taken into custody; one of them, 18 and charged as an adult for four counts of aggravated assault, is still in jail as I write. All four of the students were black females.

I haven’t visited Cheltenham High since I graduated in the faraway American Graffiti era, but I ventured back for a packed emergency community meeting about the May 4 events. In addition to memories, I found a stark illustration of the nation’s evasions about racial gaps in education.

It became clear almost immediately that the brawl was no one-off. “Really we have experienced [this kind of fight] our entire high-school career,” said the student council president, the first speaker lined up at the audience mics. “We complained. We never got any response. We were told all disputes were personal and the school was safe. Why now?” she asked tearfully. “Because a video of it was leaked to the media?” Students described rape threats, stalking, kids sent back to classrooms after menacing teachers or classmates, teachers walking past fighting kids, security guards looking the other way. The problems, students insisted, weren’t limited to the high school; they remembered thuggery in middle and even elementary school, too.

There was no way to chalk up these complaints to adolescent theatrics. A February survey of CHS teachers had already revealed a school that resembled Lord of the Flies. Cursing, yelling students roamed the halls, pushing, shoving, ramming each other into walls, sometimes “accidentally” colliding with teachers. Thirty-six out of 79 teachers surveyed believed that they were unsafe in the hallways, and those who didn’t acknowledged either being big enough to stare down students or practiced at minding their own business. “What are you going to do about it? You can’t do anything,” “F*** off, crazy old motherf***er,” were some of the choice rejoinders they told of hearing. “If I feel uncomfortable by the language and noise level a student displays,” one teacher wrote, “I can 1) address it and open myself up to insubordination and/or a verbal retaliation for which no consequences will be delivered or I can 2) choose to ignore it which I struggle with ethically because then I feel complicit. It’s a complete ‘no-win,’ and I battle this every day.”

What could not be said out loud was that the problem kids were all black, though the district superintendent did delicately indicate that the school’s trouble is “racialized.” Like many inner suburbs, once predominantly white Cheltenham has become increasingly African American over the past decades. Back in the day, only about 10 percent of the high-school population was black; Reggie Jackson, who graduated two years before me, remains the school’s most famous alum. The large majority of my classmates were the sons and daughters of second-generation Jews who had followed the immigrant dream into Philly’s northern suburbs in the postwar years. (Yoni “Jonathan” Netanyahu, who would die in the 1976 Entebbe raid, graduated the same year as Reggie; his brother Bibi picked up his diploma three years later. Their unflattering view of their coddled American baby boomer classmates is the subject of this blunt 2015 Washington Post article.)

Today, the district is 53 percent black, though the demographics defy easy generalization. Most of those students are the children of a growing black middle class that had moved to Cheltenham for the same reason postwar Jewish families had: its relatively affordable, attractive homes, and its highly regarded schools, the holy grail of American house-hunting parents of all races. A number of black parents at the meeting spoke poignantly of the hopes that had brought them to the district. “I moved heaven and earth to make sure my child had a chance,” one voluble mother of a twelve-year-old pleaded. “I could have lived in a wonderful house in Philly. No way I’m sending my girl to those schools. I’d rather live in a box and let my kid get a good education.”

Suicide Bomber Kills 22, Including Children, at Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester, U.K. Police say they are investigating whether attacker acted aloneBy Jason Douglas, Robert Wall and Georgi Kantchev


MANCHESTER, England—The suicide bomber who killed 22 people and injured dozens of others outside a pop concert in Manchester on Monday night hit one of the softest of soft targets—a mostly young crowd pouring from the exits at the end of the show, police said.

As the fans—including many teenage girls—of American singer Ariana Grande streamed past, a single assailant detonated an improvised explosive device and unleashed carnage, according to the authorities, sending survivors fleeing as panicked parents searched for their offspring amid the chaos.

Children were among the dead, police said.

Manchester’s top police officer, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, said Tuesday morning that authorities were racing to determine whether the attacker, a man who died at the scene, had acted alone or was part of a broader terror network. He described the investigation as “fast-moving.”

It was the second terror attack in the U.K. this year and the deadliest since suicide bombers attacked the London transport system in 2005, killing 52 people. It took place four years to the day after British soldier Lee Rigby was hacked to death outside an army barracks in London by two Islamic extremists.

Police escort people from the Manchester Arena after an attack outside an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead. Photo: Getty Images

U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd described the explosion as a “barbaric act.”

Prime Minister Theresa May was set to meet with the government’s emergency “Cobra” committee on Tuesday morning, and security was heightened around the U.K. In Manchester, extra police were deployed and armed officers patrolled the city.

The bombing hit in the run-up to national parliamentary elections set for June 8. Mrs. May’s Conservative Party and its main rival, Labour, said they would halt campaigning on Tuesday. Mrs. May condemned the attack as “appalling.”

President Donald Trump expressed “absolute solidarity” with the people of Britain and condemned terrorists as “evil losers.” Mr. Trump said, “Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed.”

Rally for a Parade Celebrating Oscar López Rivera is an intentional insult against his victims. Seth Barron see note please

President Clinton lowered the bar on accepting terrorists. The fact that vermin, terrorist Arafat was such a frequent visitor to the Clinton White House, and now terrorist Mahmoud Abbas is treated so cordially, make the presence of Oscar Lopez predictable…..rsk
The announcement that the 2017 Puerto Rican Day Parade would honor seditionist and Puerto Rican independentista Oscar López Rivera as a “National Freedom Hero” has led several sponsors of the parade to withdraw their endorsements. López Rivera was a leader of FALN, which conducted a campaign of deadly bombings around New York City and Chicago in the 1970s, and he was recently released from prison after having his 75-year sentence commuted by President Obama. Goya Foods, a significant backer of the parade for its entire 60-year history, has backed out, as have the NYPD Hispanic Society, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, and the other police unions representing the NYPD senior ranks. NYPD commissioner James O’Neill announced this afternoon that he will not march in the parade because he deems Lopez Rivera a “terrorist.”

In response, city council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito today held a “rally to defend the parade,” though the parade itself is not in need of defense, its only sticking point being the inclusion of a convicted terrorist as guest of honor. About 50 ardent supporters of Rivera assembled in a meeting hall at the headquarters of 32BJ, the building-service workers local of labor powerhouse SEIU, where they displayed banners and chanted, “We stand with the Puerto Rican Parade/Oscar López is our hero today!”

A number of speakers addressed the press and the few supporters of the rally who were not already on the dais. Estela Vazquez, executive vice president of SEIU 1199 (the nation’s largest union local), explained that “George Washington fought for his country, and Oscar López Rivera fought for his country. He should be celebrated just as George Washington is celebrated.” This parallel might hold up if López Rivera were being celebrated in his homeland of Puerto Rico, but it stretches credulity to demand that New York City celebrate the man who actually blew up Fraunces Tavern (where George Washington bade his officers farewell), and who in fact murdered and mutilated New Yorkers.

Much of the rally consisted of similarly flaccid historical comparisons. Supporters chanted, “Oscar López Rivera/Puerto Rico’s Mandela,” and speakers drew a connection between the fight against apartheid and Puerto Rico’s struggle for independence. The trouble with this parallel, however embarrassing it may be for the Puerto Ricans, is that black South Africans voted overwhelmingly to overturn the apartheid system, while the independence movement in Puerto Rico has virtually zero support. In four referenda held since Oscar Lopez Rivera went to prison, the “Independence” line has received between 2 percent to 5 percent of the vote.

The True Purpose of the University Students would scorn free speech less if colleges honored their mission to transmit knowledge. Heather MacDonald

Yale University’s president recently provided a window into the modern university’s self-conception—an understanding embraced by both liberals and conservatives but flawed in essential ways. A primary purpose of a Yale education, President Peter Salovey told Yale’s freshman class last year, is to teach students to recognize “false narratives.” Such narratives, Salovey claimed, are ubiquitous in American culture: “My sense is that we are bombarded daily by false narratives of various kinds, and that they are doing a great deal of damage.” Advocates may “exaggerate or distort or neglect crucial facts,” Salovey said, “in ways that serve primarily to fuel your anger, fear, or disgust.” (Salovey repeated this trilogy of “anger, fear, and disgust” several times; it was impossible not to hear a reference to Donald Trump, though Salovey tried to stay nonpartisan.)

According to Salovey, the Yale faculty is a model for how to respond to false narratives: they are united by a “stubborn skepticism about narratives that oversimplify issues, inflame the emotions, or misdirect the mind,” he said.

Two things can be said about Salovey’s theme: first, it is hilariously wrong about the actual state of “stubborn skepticism” at Yale. Second, and more important, Salovey mistakes the true mission of a college education.

To assess whether Yale is, in fact, a bastion of myth-busting, it is necessary to return to one of the darkest moments in Yale’s history: the university’s response to a shocking mass outbreak of student narcissism in October 2015. The wife of a college master had sent an e-mail to students, suggesting that they were capable of deciding for themselves which Halloween costume to wear and didn’t need oversight from Yale’s diversity commissars. (Halloween costumes have been the target of the PC police nationally for allegedly “appropriating” minority cultures.)

The e-mail sparked a furor among minority students across Yale and beyond, who claimed that it threatened their very being. In one of many charged gatherings that followed, students surrounded the college master, berating him for the pain that his wife had caused them. One female student was captured on video violently gesturing at the master and shrieking, “Be quiet!” as he gently tries to answer her tirade. She then screams: “Why the fuck did you accept this position [of college master]? Who the fuck hired you?”

Of all the Black Lives Matter–inspired protests that were sweeping campuses at that moment, Yale’s shrieking-girl episode was the most grotesque. In reaction, Yale groveled. President Salovey sent around a campus-wide letter declaring that he had never been as “simultaneously moved, challenged, and encouraged by our community—and all the promise it embodies—as in the past two weeks.” He proclaimed the need to work “toward a better, more diverse, and more inclusive Yale”—implying that Yale was not “inclusive” —and thanked students for offering him “the opportunity to listen to and learn from you.” That the shrieking girl had refused to listen to her college master—or to give him an opportunity to speak—was never mentioned; she suffered no known repercussions for her outrageous incivility. Salovey went on to pledge a reinforced “commitment to a campus where hatred and discrimination have no place,” implying that hatred and discrimination currently did have a place at Yale. Salovey announced that the entire administration, including faculty chairs and deans, would receive training on how to combat racism at Yale and reiterated a promise to dump another $50 million into Yale’s already all-consuming diversity efforts.

If ever there were a narrative worthy of being subjected to “stubborn skepticism,” in Salovey’s words, the claim that Yale was the home of “hatred and discrimination” is it. There is not a single faculty member or administrator at Yale (or any other American college) who does not want minority students to succeed. Yale has been obsessed with what the academy calls “diversity,” trying to admit and hire as many “underrepresented minorities” as it possibly can without totally eviscerating academic standards. There has never been a more tolerant social environment in human history than Yale (and every other American college)—at least if you don’t challenge the reigning political orthodoxies. Any Yale student who thinks himself victimized by the institution is in the throes of a terrible delusion, unable to understand his supreme good fortune in ending up at one of the most august and richly endowed universities in the world.

In Address At Al-Aqsa Mosque, Muslim Cleric Calls On Allah To Annihilate ‘White House Satan’ Trump, Jews

Speaking at Al-Aqsa Mosque on May 19, 2017, Palestinian cleric Ali Abu Ahmad called U.S. President Donald Trump “the White House Satan” and prayed to Allah to “annihilate Trump and the conspirators” and to “annihilate all the Jews.” Calling Trump’s Middle East visit a “Crusader war against Islam and the Muslims,” he criticized Saudi rulers for spending millions on welcoming the “head of heresy.”

The following is the transcript of his statements.

Ali Abu Ahmad: “Oh servants of Allah, the White House Satan Trump, who lacks minimal human and moral values, is about to meet the rulers of the wicked mini-states, in order to talk to them about moderate Islam. Trump will do the rounds in Saudi Arabia, and then will visit the Jewish entity and the Vatican. So he will do the rounds of all three religions. This means that Trump wants to strike a blow against Islam and the Muslims, as if there is no enmity toward Judaism and Christianity, and the summit of tolerance, love, and cooperation can be launched, in order to strike at the Muslims, whom Trump calls ‘extremists.’

“The Muslim prisoners in the prisons of the occupation are on a hunger strike, yet the rulers of Saudi Arabia spend millions on welcoming the head of heresy, Trump. Oh servants of Allah, this is indeed a Crusader war against Islam and the Muslims. Oh servants of Allah, oh nation of Islam, your rulers have taken action, but not in order to support you. Instead, they have conspired against you.

“The Traitor of Jordan [King Abdullah] has mobilized his army, not to liberate the place from where the Prophet Muhammad ascended the heaven, but to kill the Muslims in Syria, in order to please his masters.

“Oh Allah, bestow upon us a rightly-guided Caliphate in the path of the Prophet soon. Oh Allah, annihilate Trump and the conspirators. Oh Allah, annihilate all the Jews.”

Historically Black College Leader: So Far, Trump a Step UP From Obama BY Tom Knighton

Despite the boos for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at Bethune-Cookman, leaders of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are noticing thatTrump is a step up from Obama:

Following his inauguration, Trump’s most overt outreach to African Americans has been his efforts to woo students and leaders of black colleges that were founded in the years after the Civil War and today consist of 101 public and private schools nationwide.

“For [President] Obama, people expected him to come in and fix everything — especially for black people. … But he never campaigned strongly for HBCUs,” said Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans, using the common abbreviation for the schools.

Now, he says, the reverse has happened — Trump came in with no expectations placed on him, and some black educators have been pleasantly surprised. “So people now want to see what’s going to happen because he’s coming in saying he’s going to be the president for HBCUs,” Kimbrough added. “It’s a very different perspective, but it’s still the first 150 days, so we’ll see what happens.”

Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a nonprofit that helps provide financial assistance to students who attend black colleges, says the signs from the White House are encouraging.

“In the first four months of this presidency, the Trump administration has been far more responsive to our community than the past administration,” Taylor said. “I, for one, judge people by what they do — not what they say.”

A Republican president, the party that allegedly hates minorities, is the one actually keeping his promises about expanding minority educational opportunities.

Note that this deliberate outreach is rarely touted by the Trump administration, either — a good argument for Trump’s motivation not being “optics,” but, you know, expanding minority educational opportunities.

The Manchester Arena and the Western Wall BY David P. Goldman

The first rule of intelligence work is that there are no coincidences. A horrifying terror attack at a pop concert Monday night at the Manchester Arena followed by hours the first-ever visit by a sitting American president to the Western Wall of the ancient Temple at Jerusalem. We do not know except in generic terms who bombed the children and teenagers who gathered to hear Ariana Grande, but we know the message: “We will murder your children.” It is a message designed not only to terrify but to horrify. We do not know either what occasioned the timing of the atrocity, But we know how large looms Jerusalem in the civilizational war of our times.

The importance of President Trump’s visit to the Western Wall–in Hebrew, the Kotel–cannot be underestimated. Even though the United States announced the visit as a personal rather than an official one, and even though Israeli officials were excluded from the visit, the image of an American president standing in awe before the embodiment of the three-thousand-year Jewish presence in Jerusalem was a diplomatic gesture on the grand scale. It came on the eve of Israel’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the unification of its ancient capital during the Six-Day War of 1967. While the President of the United States touched the ancient stones in reverence, his Jewish daughter Ivanka prayed a few meters away at the women’s section.

With this gesture, President Trump buried years of diplomatic maneuvering to deny the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple, which is a synecdoche for the Jewish presence in the Holy Land. Jerusalem is the tipping point for American diplomacy. Last December 26 the outgoing Obama Administration refused to veto UN Resolution 2334, which called Israel’s presence in East Jerusalem an illegal settlement. The decisive phrase, which America’s veto had suppressed until then, referred to “Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem,” including the Western Wall. Israel rightly regarded Obama’s abstention as a stab in the back.

Two months earlier, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution that airbrushed away the entire Jewish connection to Jerusalem, in obeisance to Arab claims that no Jewish Temple ever existed in the city. Throughout 2015, a wave of paranoia spread through the Muslim world with rumors that Israel planned to seize control of part of the Temple Mount and turn one of the Moslem mosques build atop the Temple ruins into a synagogue.

President Trump has not acted on his campaign promise to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem and to move Israel’s embassy there, but his Kotel visit sent an electrifying message to the Muslim world: America stands by Israel’s 3,000 year claim to its ancient capital. In stark contrast to the Obama Administration, President Trump repudiated years of Muslim diplomacy focused on the sole objective of evicting the Jews from their holiest site. He did so after telling Muslim leaders assembled in Riyadh that it was their responsibility to extirpate the terrorists from their mosques, communities and countries.

The Manchester bombing well may have been radical Islam’s first response. Through Islam’s religious lens, the Temple Mount embodies Jewish sovereignty, and the Jewish return to Zion challenges the supercession of Islam itself. Did not the Jews and Christians pervert and falsify the original revelation given to them by Allah, and did not Mohammed restore this true revelation as dictated to him by the Archangel Gabriel? Have not the Jews lived as dhimmi in abject humiliation and dependence, as living evidence of the truth of Islam and as punishment for their perversion of the true revelation? Jewish preeminence in arms, science, technology and business humiliates the Muslim world: How is it possible that a few million Jews could defeat the armies of 300 million Arabs in war after war since Israel’s founding in 1947? Innumerable conspiracy theories that blame American imperialism circulated to make sense of this. Parts of the Arab world are reconciled to the permanent presence of Israel, notably the Egyptian government (although not necessarily the Egyptian street). But Arab hope has not died that the existence of the State of Israel is a temporary aberration that will be erased like the Crusader state that persisted from 1090 to 1291. All the bad things that happened to the Arabs, in this vision, will one day come untrue.

At least 19 killed 50 others injured in terrorist attack at Ariana Grande concert in Britain

At least 19 people, including some children, were killed and 59 wounded when a suicide bomber struck as thousands of fans streamed out of a concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande in the English city of Manchester on Monday.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack, making it the deadliest militant assault in Britain since four British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London’s transport system in July 2005.

Police said the attacker detonated the explosives shortly after 10:33 pm (2133 GMT) at Manchester Arena, which has the capacity to hold 21,000 people. Children were among the dead, police said.

“We believe, at this stage, the attack last night was conducted by one man,” Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins told reporters. “The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.

“We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity,” said Hopkins, who declined to answer questions about whether the attacker was British.

A witness who attended the concert said she felt a huge blast as she was leaving the arena, followed by screaming and a rush by thousands of people trying to escape the building.

A video posted on Twitter showed fans, many of them young, screaming and running from the venue. Dozens of parents frantically searched for their children, posting photos and pleading for information on social media.