Monday, 9 November 2009

Israeli historian describes the birth of Israel as 'the result of a rape'

Tel Aviv University history professor Shlomo Sand, author of 'The Invention of the Jewish People' spoke to Andrew Marr on this morning's Radio 4 programme 'Start the Week'.

In his history of the Jewish people, an area supposedly out-of-bounds for an Israeli professor of 'general' history, he describes the birth of Israel as 'the result of a rape' but goes on to explain that he would not refuse to recognise the illegitimate son. Describing himself as neither a Zionist nor an anti-Zionist he argues that the story of the diaspora of the Jews from Palestine in the first century AD is a myth, that modern Palestinians are partly descended from jews, that European jews were converted and are not descendants of 'Palestinian' jews and that the idea of the Jewish people as a 'people-race' is a fiction. Thus, he argues, these myths have been created by Zionists and are necessary for "political and historical reasons" to justify the existence of the Israeli state.

Many of the myths that Sand discusses have already been exposed by the British writer John Rose in his book 'The Myths of Zionism' and Sand is not offering a solution to the situation in the Middle East but it is surely significant that an Israeli academic has written a book of this nature.

Friday, 6 November 2009

The Deal

Well having seen the CWU website and what Dave Ward has to say about the 'interim' agreement I still think everything I said yesterday stands. The deal doesn't really say anything other than that change will be agreed. Well Royal Mail have said that before and then gone back on it so why should it be any different this time? It calls for the CWU to suspend industrial action but it doesn't even insist Royal Mail suspend 'executive action'. For a similar view to mine see Socialist Worker.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

CWU 'postpones' industrial action

What lies behind the postal workers' union's decision to call off the strikes that were planned for tomorrow and Monday and begin a 'period of calm'? There isn't much information yet but at the moment it seems like another shoddy deal.

What do Royal Mail get out of the deal? A guarantee of no strikes until after Christmas.

What do postal workers get? A promise from Royal Mail to negotiate changes with the union.

If this is all there is to it then this is indeed a terrible deal. Royal Mail always make promises to negotiate with the union, like they did in the shoddy deal they agreed in 2007, and then they ignore them and impose 'executive action'. They lie. By agreeing to postpone industrial action until next year, the union are throwing away all the momentum built up through the sacrifices postal workers have made up to now, especially those involved in local disputes in London and elsewhere, as well as throwing away the best chance of making strike action effective by doing it at the busiest time of the year.

Postponing the strikes without getting most of our demands met would have been bad enough, but with this deal it feels as though the union have thrown away all our efforts for absolutely nothing. If, as seems likely, Royal Mail drag their feet and go back on their demands, it will be much harder, if not impossible, to get postal workers to go out on strike again in January.

This deal, with the limited information available at the moment (and I sincerely hope I am proved wrong), has the stench of betrayal about it.