Andrew Ross, a professor and director of NYU’s American Studies Program, came up with a novel and utterly bizarre reason why Arabs should control Israel.
Writing in The Nation, he notes that Arab labor had, and has, been often used to build buildings in Israel and in the territories. He essentially calls this tantamount to slavery.
There is nothing optional about this kind of employment. Technically, it may not be forced labor, but when the few alternatives offer little more than a starvation wage, it is certainly not free labor.
The idea that the general wages in the territories are “starvation wages” is not borne out by any facts, of course. It is a simple assertion meant to evoke feelings of hate for Israeli Jews. I have yet to find a single case of a Palestinian starving to death, not in Gaza and certainly not in the West Bank, although the accusations of Israel starving them are made so often that, like any Big Lie, they are accepted as truth.
If Palestinian wages are “starvation wages,” then it is a miracle that Jordanians aren’t dropping like flies of starvation, because they get paid on the average only 78% of what those starving Palestinians make.
Ross is part of the tradition of lying propaganda meant to evoke hatred for Israeli Jews.
Moreover, Israeli wages are close to triple Palestinian wages. If Israelis were trying to squeeze all the value they can from the Arabs, why would they pay such a large disparity in wages – they can get the same workforce for half the cost!
Logic (and economics) is clearly not Ross’ strong suit. Like so many other articles about Israel in The Nation, the only important information is that Israelis are evil and there are some facts that can be cherry picked to pretend to prove the point. (He states flatly that Israel expelled 750,000 Arabs in 1948, a complete lie.)
As so many academics do, Ross wants to break new ground in finding reasons for readers to hate Israel. So he makes up an entirely new theory and pretends it is one that the bad guys (Israelis and Americans) have been using forever:
How does that long record of labor contributions feed into the debate about a single, democratic state on the lands of historic Palestine? Should those who build countries acquire rights within them? This proposition lies at the heart of the labor theory of property that drove settler colonialism (both in the United States and Israel): If you “improve” the land through your labor, you could rightfully claim it….If and when “final status” negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians are revived (admittedly, a big “if”), all the claims for past injuries and wrongs will still be on the table; restitution for 70 years of lost property, compensation for moral suffering, the right to return, and so on. These debts must be repaid. But the creation of a new kind of unitary state with full citizenship for all will require transitional as well as reparative justice. The political equity earned from the long inventory of Palestinians’ compulsory labor ought to be part of that reckoning.
According to this academic fraud, people who were and are paid to do work – and who generally moved their families to be closer to where they can make higher wages, as so many did before 1935 – are actually exploited and deserve to be compensated today as if they were slaves.
It’s like saying that Seattle residents are enslaved by Microsoft because they can generally expect to be paid 70% more by the software giant than they can at other jobs in Seattle on average ($118K/year vs. $69K/year.)
As with all anti-Israel arguments, it doesn’t stand even the slightest scrutiny. But this ‘academic” is not interested in the truth. He doesn’t welcome people who point out that his logic and facts are wrong, leading to incorrect conclusions.
No, Andrew Ross is just another propagandist, but he hides his hate behind academic gobbledygook, hoping that no one calls him on it.
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