Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Israeli rail workers dismissed for being Arabs, while some Canadian "trade unionists" cheer.....

Discrimination against Arabs in employment in Israel : who knew?

And read the comments for an explanation of why the policy is indeed racist. "Veteran" means someone conscripted, and while Arabs are eligible for conscription it's Israeli government policy not to call them up. Yes, some volunteer but they aren't classed as veterans, so even though they had put their lives on the line for their country they would be sacked from these railway jobs.

I was alerted to this story by LabourStart news, a general feed of trade union-related stories. The same issue also carried an ad for a fundraising march by Ontario's "Union Members For Israel" . My first thought was that Israel could hardly be in need of their $1,000, before I realised that the guys are in fact a splinter group from the Canadian university teachers' union, marching to oppose an academic boycott of Israel called by the union's Ontario chapter.

Fair enough, they have the right to do that, but my second thought was: bad timing, chaps. because the signal which this march will have sent to their fellow-Canadians, and to fellow trade unionist around the world, is that "Union Members For Israel" feel that it is so important to score points off their colleagues in a piece of infighting that they are prepared to march in support of a government which is sacking workers on racial grounds. They should hang their heads in shame.


At 27 May, 2009 01:37, Anonymous Union Members for Israel said...

We'd like to correct a couple of statements you made about our group, Union Members for Israel.

We are not "a splinter group from the Canadian university teacher's union". In fact, we have representation amongst our membership from almost all sectors of the Canadian labour movement.

You are also mistaken in suggesting that Israel does not need our $1,000. There are great social needs in Israel, which today has one of the largest divides between rich and poor among developed nations. The money we raised will go to support effective, life-changing educational and social supports for the city of Bat Yam’s Ethiopian-Israeli community to integrate them into mainstream Israeli society, surely a worthy goal.

And on the topic of discrimination against Arab railway workers with which you started your post, we have previously lent our support to the New Israel Fund, an organization which provides grants to a number of groups that have actively protested against this policy within Israel.

No, we should not hang our heads in shame. We should hold them high, knowing that we are helping to make Israel, and the entire world, a better place.

At 27 May, 2009 19:24, Blogger Rob said...

Well, I stand corrected on all that. However, I still maintain that the timing of UMFI's march must have sent the wrong signal to those campaigning for workers' rights in Israel, even if they have provided such campaigners with funds in the past.

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