Fw: Racism, bigotry and globalization

Paul Flewers hatchet.job at SPAMvirgin.net
Wed Jun 28 12:00:45 MDT 2000

List members may be interested in this from Moshe Machover.   Paul F  
The following article was downloaded from the economic page of today's issue of
the English-language e-version of Isreal's leading daily, Ha'Aretz.
See my comment below.
          Foreign workers needed for high-tech
                    By Nehemia Strasler
The high-tech industry was naturally one of the topics discussed yesterday
at the annual Caesarea economic conference, held this year in Nazareth.
Some 60,000 Israelis worked in this sector in 1999, half of them engineers
and scientists.  Sales reached totalled [sic -MM] $8.5 billion, including
some $7 billion in exports.
It is clear that the hightech industry represents the future of the country
and that everything should be done to encourage its unfettered development.
During a discussion on some of the obstacles the high-tech industry faces
in Israel, it became clear that one of the major problems is a shortage of
manpower.  Another 5,000 people are needed with training in the fields of
electronics and computer science.
It is clear that local industry would be developing faster if it could draw
from a larger pool of qualified workers.  The service industries associated
with the high-tech sector would also grow, providing more places of
employment for non-technical workers.
This raises a big question: Why are high-tech workers not brought in from
abroad?  Foreign workers are already employed in agriculture, construction,
cleaning and food industries.  The panel discussing this issue at the
conference did not have a ready answer for this question.  So permit me to
suggest an answer to this enigma.
The Ministry of Labor and Welfare is opposed to all foreign workers to [sic
-MM] Israel.  This ministry, which has been run for many years by Shas
minister Eli Yishai, has no real interest in economic matters.
On the other hand, the minister and his officials are very sensitive to
ethnic issues.  In principle, they don't want Christian, Muslim or Buddhist
workers in the country. [See my comment below -MM]
So why did the Labor Ministry approve the entry of foreigners for
agriculture and construction work?  Because the agriculture and
construction lobbies are powerful enough to change the ministry's basic
policy.  And the high-tech lobby is weak and nowhere to be seen.  The
high-tech lobby has not yet learned how to bang on tables and it is not
ready to hire foreign workers without the proper licenses.
The unfortunate result is that the Labor Ministry has power over the
inappropriate sector.  Blocking the entry of software programmers from
India and electronic engineers from Eastern Europe stymies the development
of the high tech industry in Israel.
              © copyright 2000 Ha'aretz. All Rights Reserved
Comment.  Orthodox Judaism--alone of all present-day major religions--is an
ethnic and ethnocentric religion.  And it is Israel's official state
religion.  It is therefore typical that a mainstream Israeli-Jewish
journalist confuses religion with ethnicity even where non-Jews are
Of course, this is just a side issue.  The main point of the article is
that it illustrates how, under global capitalism, in which capital and goods
already flow freely across borders, economic pressure is building up
against traditional racist and bigoted-religious barriers to the free flow
of the human commodity, labour power.

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