WAC-Ma'an and Organized Labor in Israel
A Position Paper by the Workers Advice Center
Issue 103, May/June 2007
In the Occupation's 40th Year
An investigative committee condemns PM Ehud Olmert for haste in embarking on the second Lebanon War. The Right condemns him for not hitting Hezbollah hard enough. He wasn't willing to pay a high price in casualties, for Israel can no longer stand casualties. Yet it cannot stand, either, the price of peace, and he isn't willing to pay that either. In his Janus-faced unwillingness, Olmert is an authentic slice of post-Zionist Israel, The Leader It Deserves.
Cementing itself into limbo, Israel continues building its Wall around the West Bank. It has cut 75,000 Palestinians off from Jerusalem, on which they depend for livelihood. The workers rebound into settler Sweatshops, where they earn a fourth of the minimum wage. Welcome to the Occupation's 40th year.
WAC recently organized and accompanied an international delegation of trade unions to study Israeli agriculture. In the fields we saw workers from Thailand, some of the 26,000 (soon to be increased), who go into debt to come here but earn far below the legal minimum. The delegates studied the effect on the Israeli Labor Market. We record some of the main voices in this journey and present the group's recommendations.
Our spring has blossomed into a "Future Vision" for this country, proposed by the Arab Elite. We test it against Reality.
We also explore some Last-Ditch Myths of the Zionist Left, including the notion that Israel can be both Jewish and democratic.
Finally, after almost ten years of grass-roots organizing, WAC-Ma'an publishes its Principles for Organized Labor in Israel.