Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Ireland’s Public Sector. By Eoghan Harris.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of our public sector. By Eoghan Harris. Irish Independent, April 7, 2013.


Beyond bad there is ugly. Last Thursday, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland became the first academic union in Europe to call for an academic boycott of Israel. The motion, passed unanimously, referred to Israel as an “apartheid state.”

The aim of calling Israel an “apartheid” state is to smear it with the same brush as South Africa. But as someone who strongly supported the Irish Anti-Apartheid Association I can categorically state there is not the slightest comparison between South Africa and Israel. Passing this motion simply peddled propaganda.

That’s because the motion conflated two separate groups. First, Israeli Arabs who form one-fifth of the population of Israel and have full civil rights. Second, Palestinians who live in Gaza under Hamas and who get a hard time for many reasons, including sending rockets into Israel.

South African non- whites under apartheid were separated by law. They could not vote, form parties or serve in government. The notion that a non-white woman could give birth in the same hospital as a white south African woman would be literally beyond the imagination of anyone in apartheid South Africa.

By contrast, Israeli Arabs, who make up 20 per cent of Israel’s population, are full citizens. They can vote, form parties, hold government posts, become civil servants and lawyers. The judge who sentenced a former Israeli prime minister for sexual transgressions was an Arab. Some apartheid.

From birth there is no apartheid in Israel. Jewish and Arab babies are born in the same delivery room, looked after by the same doctors and nurses. Jewish and Arab mothers recover side by side in adjoining beds. Some apartheid.

To call Israel an apartheid state is an attack on truth. As wrong as teaching that 2+2 makes 5. It confirms my belief that there are a lot of good teachers out there, but you won’t find them at conferences.