Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Pseudo-Research by the Left about "Discrimination"
Pseudo-Research at the IDI about "Discrimination"
By Steven Plaut
I am sure that you all recall the "research" at the Hebrew University from a few years back that claimed to find "evidence" showing that the reason Israeli soldiers do not rape Arab women is because the Jews are such racists. That "research" was done by a graduate student, Tal Nitzan, in sociology. Her thesis supervisor was Eyal Ben-Ari. If his name is familiar it was because he was later convicted of raping his own Hebrew University students and was dismissed. I guess he was just trying to prove he was not racist. (see http://www.isracampus.org.il/third%20level%20pages/HebrewU%20-%20Eyal%20Ben-Ari%20-%20the%20non-rapist.htm)
Well if you enjoy reading about "research" in Israel that derives conclusions that directly contradict the evidence, then you will love the latest "research" coming out of the Israel Democracy Institute or IDI. This is a leftwing "think tank" that promotes the political agenda of Israel's remaining Left. The new "research" was written by one Tanya Steiner, who is the IDI's point-gal for churning out "research" about inequality in Israel. Steiner also is the IDI's promoter of affirmative action programs in Israel. The new "research" in question was supervised by Prof. Mordecai Kremnitzer, who is a senior IDI honcho and also a professor or law at Tel Aviv University (http://en.idi.org.il/about-idi/idi-staff/management/mordechai-kremnitzer/).
The new IDI "research" by Steiner (with input from Kremnitzer) concerns the activities of Israel's Commission on Equal Opportunities in Employment. This is a relatively new regulatory body set up supposedly to promote equality in the workplace. The Commissioner is sent complaints by people who feel they have been victims of discrimination. Steiner's "research" on the commission appears as a chapter in a propaganda book that has been published by Macmillan called "Palestinians in the Israeli Labor Market." You will not be surprised to hear that the book has nothing to say about Palestinians in the Israeli Labor Market. Rather it discusses Israeli Arabs in the Israeli labor market. It adopts the now trendy rhetorical invention by Israel's far Left of referring to Israeli Arabs as Israeli Palestinians. That book also includes chapters written by some of the worst far-leftist Marxist sociologists in Israel.
A Hebrew synopsis of the "research" appears in a report in Haaretz' Marker today (in Hebrew this is at http://www.themarker.com/career/1.2032423 ). The main "finding" of Steiner is that Israel is such a racist and discriminatory place that only 3% of all of the complaints from people claiming to be victims of discrimination come from Israeli Arabs (who are around 18% of the workforce)! Really!
Yes, it turns out that only a tiny proportion of complaints sent to the Commissioner on Equal Opportunity in Employment in 2011 (the year investigated) were submitted by Arabs. A full 46% were sent in by Jewish women, the rest by others (she does not report how many were sent in by Orthodox Jews!). Only three of the complaints received in the entire 2011 year by the commission about alleged discrimination against Arabs were deemed worthy of investigation. Now an ordinary citizen might be tempted to interpret this as a great success for Israel and for Israeli Arabs, where the numbers indicate how rare are cases where there are even allegations of discrimination against Arabs in the workplace.
Ah, but not for the IDI and for Sistuh Steiner. Her "research" concludes that the low numbers just show how hopeless Israeli Arabs regard their dire circumstances, where they do not even think it is worthwhile filing complaints about the massive universal discrimination against them. In short, the absence of complaints about discrimination against Arabs in Israel proves how widespread and awful is discrimination against Arabs.
Take the University of Haifa (please!). It just became the first university in Israel to decide to shut down for all the holidays of Israel's non-Jewish minorities. So it will not hold classes or exams on Christian, Moslem, or Druse holidays. The local tenured Left had been pushing for this for years, as well as demanding that Christmas trees be displayed all around the campus in late December and that all signs on all buildings appear not only in Hebrew and English but also in Arabic (never mind that Hebrew and English are the only languages of instruction).
As you can imagine, this creates a number of logistics problems. What happens during Ramadan? Will the campus shut down for a full month while Moslems fast during daylight hours? And remember that Ramadan can fall any time of year because the Islamic calendar is divorced from the solar cycle.
But the really serious problem the University of Haifa will have involves Christmas. The problem is this: which Christmas? For universities in the west where all Christians are Catholic or Protestant, the problem is simple - you make it December 25. But remember that the Christian community in Israel is a dazzlingly diverse crew. And different churches hold Christmas on different days using different calendars. The Russian Orthodox hold Christmas in mid-January and there are plenty of such Russian Orthodox folk in Israel. I think the Greek Orthodox hold theirs on a different date in January and there are also plenty of Greek Orthodox in Israel. Then there are the Copts, the Armenians, the Caucasus Georgians, the Assyrians, and a dizzying list of other traditions, each with their own dates and calendars.
If the University of Haifa ONLY shuts down on December 25, would not all these other groups of Christians have legitimate grievances and sue for discrimination? And if the university shuts down for ALL possible dates of Christmas, the whole semester might as well be cancelled.
And we have not even asked about Kwanzaa. Surely there are "Black Hebrews" in Dimona who celebrate that! And Festivus, for people who watch the Seinfeld show. And how come atheist or pagan holidays do not count? How about the solstices or Wiccan celebrations?
Ah, the dilemmas of the sensitive!