Monthly Archives: July 2014

NUMSA calls for the immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in South Africa, Arthur Lenk

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NUMSA calls for the immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in South Africa, Arthur Lenk

16 July 2014, Posted in Press Releases

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is outraged at the Israeli Defence Force’s bombing of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, and the ongoing administrative detentions, house raids, and murder of Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

We reject the Israeli Apartheid State’s pretext that the military attacks in Gaza are acts of self-defence. We lend our unequivocal support to the Palestinian people in Gaza as they face and resist the military nuclear power of Israel with no official military of its own.  The Israeli Apartheid regime fails to acknowledge the true origins of Palestinian resistance, i.e. the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

Having experienced Apartheid, we express our revulsion at the bloodletting of the Israeli regime. Even at the height of Apartheid in South Africa, such brutality was not experienced.  We will never forget that it was the Israeli government’s close military ties with the South African Apartheid Regime that prolonged Apartheid and the oppression of the masses of South Africa. Neither will we forget that it was our Palestinian comrades who supported our liberation struggle, at a time when many had deserted our liberation movements.

NUMSA calls for the immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in South Africa, Arthur Lenk, and the recall of Comrade Sisa Ngombane from Tel Aviv. Israel must be politically isolated in the same way that Apartheid South Africa was. We also call on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to follow-up and investigate the Gaza Docket, and prosecute all South Africans conscripted to the IDF, and participating in Israel’s war-crimes against the Palestinians.

We support Palestinian civil society’s call for an immediate, full military embargo on Israel. South African citizens and businesses must be discouraged from supporting Israeli settlements – illegal under international law. Products from Israeli settlements must not be sold in South Africa, this ban must immediately be implemented by the Department of Trade and Industry.

We call on the South African government and Non-Aligned Movement to support the implementation of a comprehensive Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel until the Israeli government:

(i) releases all Palestinian political prisoners immediately;

(ii) ends its occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and dismantles the Apartheid Wall;

(iii) Acknowledges the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

(iv) relinquishes its nuclear weapons, and accedes to the Non-Proliferation Treaty;
Silence is complicity, and we will not remain silent in the face of Israeli Apartheid aggression and occupation.  An injury to one is an injury to all.

NUMSA supports and will be part of the upcoming Nelson Mandela Day Protest in Solidarity with the Palestinian people being organised by BDS South Africa at the Israeli Embassy Trade Office in Sandton.
Contact:

Hlokoza Motau
International Officer: 0832978729

As bombs fall on Gaza, take action: Endorse the academic and cultural boycott of Israel

As bombs fall on Gaza, take action: Endorse the academic and cultural boycott of Israel
USACBI, July 15, 2014

Once again, Israel has launched a massive bombing campaign,  killing and injuring hundreds of innocent Palestinian men, women and children in Gaza, while viciously racist mobs incited by the government and religious leaders have gone on a violent rampage in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israel’s most recent military assault on Gaza, a densely-populated besieged area, where children make up over 50% of the population, is not an act of “defense,” but an act of collective punishment, which is a war crime. The bombing comes on the heels of the vicious torture and murder of 16 year-old Palestinian Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was burned alive by Israeli nationalists in Jerusalem.

The international community is enraged. The brutality and violence of the genocidal war by Israel against Palestinians must stop.  Now is the time to act.  The call for global solidarity with the Palestinian people, in the form of a comprehensive boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) on Israel until it comply with international law, allows for effective solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle for justice, dignity, and equality.

If you haven’t already done so, please endorse the United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.  Join more than 1,500 academic, artists and cultural workers who have said no to Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism, and no to Israeli state violence. If you’ve already joined, please share this plea with your friends and networks.

You can sign your support at the USACBI website here: http://www.usacbi.org/

You can also make a tax-deductible donation to support our volunteer efforts.  Please give anything you can, however small by donating here:

http://www.usacbi.org/donate/

Below is a statement published in The Nation on July 10  by the USACBI Organizing Collective demonstrating why the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement against Israel, of which USACBI  is one arm, is critical to educating the world about Israeli crimes and stopping them:

http://www.thenation.com/article/180590/responses-noam-chomsky-israel-palestine-and-bds#

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

USACBI Organizing Collective

http://www.usacbi.org/2014/07/as-bombs-fall-on-gaza-take-action-endorse-the-academic-and-cultural-boycott-of-israel/

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Listen: WW7-15-14 US Trade Unions, Zionism And Palestinian Workers (WorkWeek Radio)

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WW7-15-14 US Trade Unions, Zionism And Palestinian Workers

WorkWeek Radio looks at the history of US labor, Zionism and the fight of Palestinian workers with Jeffrey Blankfort, past editor of the Middle East Labor Bulletin and Michael Letwin of Labor For Palestine. For more information on Labor For Palestine go to www.laborforpalestine.net
Production of WorkWeek Radio
workweek@kpfa.org
@workweek-radio

https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio/ww7-15-14-us-trade-unions-zionism-and-palestinian-workers

US Labor, Zionism and the Fight of Palestinian Workers (WorkWeek Radio, KPFA)

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WorkWeek Radio looks at the history of US labor, Zionism and the fight of Palestinian workers with Jeffrey Blankfort, past editor of the Middle East Labor Bulletin and Michael Letwin of Labor For Palestine. For more information on Labor For Palestine go to www.laborforpalestine.net

Production of WorkWeek Radio
workweek@kpfa.org
@workweek-radio

https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio/ww7-15-14-us-trade-unions-zionism-and-palestinian-workers

Urgent call from Gaza civil society: Act now!

Urgent call from Gaza civil society: Act now!

12 July 2014

Palestinian relatives mourn over the body of Mahmud al-Sewati during his funeral

Palestinians mourn victims of Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, 12 July.

(Mohammed Asad / APA images)

We Palestinians trapped inside the bloodied and besieged Gaza Strip call on conscientious people all over the world to act, protest and intensify the boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it ends this murderous attack on our people and is held to account.

With the world turning their backs on us once again, for the last four days we in Gaza have been left to face massacre after massacre. As you read these words, over 120 Palestinians are dead now, including 25 children. Over 1,000 have been injured including countless horrifying injuries that will limit lives forever –- more than two thirds of the injured are women and children.

We know for a fact that many more will not make it through the next day. Which of us will be next, as we lie awake from the sound of the carnage in our beds tonight? Will we be the next photo left in an unrecognizable state from Israel’s state-of-the-art flesh-tearing, limb-stripping machinery of destruction?

We call for a final end to the crimes and oppression against us. We call for:

  • Arms embargos on Israel, sanctions that would cut off the supply of weapons and military aid from Europe and the United States on which Israel depends to commit such war crimes;
  • Suspension of all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel such as theEU-Israel Association agreement;
  • Boycott, divestment and sanctions, as called for by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society in 2005

Without pressure and isolation, the Israeli regime has proven time and time again that it will continue such massacres as we see around us now, and continue the decades of systematic ethnic cleansing, military occupation and apartheid policies.

We are writing this on Saturday night, again paralyzed in our homes as the bombs fall on us in Gaza. Who knows when the current attacks will end? For anyone over seven years old, permanently etched on our minds are the rivers of blood that ran through the Gaza streets when for over three weeks in 2009 over 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including over 330 children.

White phosphorous and other chemical weapons were used in civilian areas and contaminating our land with a rise in cancers as a result. More recently 180 more were killed in the week-long attacks in late November 2012.

This time what? 200, 500, 5,000? We ask: how many of our lives are dispensable enough until the world takes action? How much of our blood is sufficient? Before the Israeli bombings, a member of the Israeli Knesset Ayelet Shaked of the far-right Jewish Home party called for genocide of the Palestinian people.

“They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes,” she said. “Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.” Right now nothing is beyond the murderous nature of the Israeli State, for we, a population that is mostly children, are all mere snakes to them.

As said Omar Ghraib in Gaza, “It was heart shattering to see the pictures of little boys and girls viciously killed. Also how an elderly woman was killed while she was having her iftar at Maghreb prayer by bombing her house. She died holding the spoon in her hand, an image that will need a lot of time to leave my head.”

Entire houses are being targeted and entire families are being murdered. Early Thursday morning the entire al-Haj family was wiped out — the father Mahmoud, mother Bassema and five children. No warning, a family targeted and removed from life. Thursday night, the same again, no warning, five more dead including four from the Ghannam family, a woman and a seven year old child amongst them.

On Tuesday morning the Kaware family did get a phone call telling them their three-story house would be bombed. The family began to leave when a water tank was struck, but then returned with members of the community, who all came to the house to stand with them, people from all over the neighborhood.

The Israeli jets bombed the building with a roof full of people, knowing full well it was full of civilians. Seven people died immediately, including five children under 13 years old. Twenty-five more were injured, and eight-year-old Seraj Abd al-Aalsuccumbed to his injuries later that evening.

Perhaps the family was trying to appeal to the Israeli regime’s humanity, surely they wouldn’t bomb the roof full of people. But as we watch families being torn apart around us, it’s clear that Israel’s actions have nothing to do with humanity.

Other places hit include a clearly-marked media vehicle, killing the independent journalist Hamed Shehab, injuring eight others, a hit on a Red Crescent rescue vehicle and attacks on hospitals which caused evacuations and more injuries.

This latest session of Israeli barbarity is placed firmly in the context of Israel’s inhuman seven-year blockade that has cut off the main life-line of goods and people coming in and out of Gaza, resulting in the severe medical and food shortages being reported by all our hospitals and clinics right now.

Cement to rebuild the thousands of homes destroyed by Israeli attacks had been banned and many injured and ill people are still not being allowed to travel abroad to receive urgent medical treatment which has caused the deaths of over 600 sick patients.

As more news comes in, as Israeli leaders give promises of moving onto a next stage in brutality, we know there are more horrors yet to come. For this we call on you to not turn your backs on us. We call on you to stand up for justice and humanity and demonstrate and support the courageous men, women and children rooted in the Gaza Strip facing the darkest of times ahead. We insist on international action:

  • Severance of diplomatic ties with Israel
  • Trials for war crimes
  • Immediate international protection of the civilians of Gaza

We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign to hold this rogue state to account that is proving once again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged.

Join the growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the day when Palestinians do not have to grow up amidst this relentless murder and destruction by the Israeli regime.

When we can move freely, when the siege is lifted, the occupation is over and the world’s Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice.

ACT NOW, before it is too late!

Signed by:

Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (Umbrella for 133 orgs)
General Union of Palestinian Women
Medical Democratic Assembly
General Union of Palestine Workers
General Union for Health Services Workers
General Union for Public Services Workers
General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
General Union for Agricultural Workers
Union of Women’s Work Committees
Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum)
Youth Herak Movement
Union of Women’s Struggle Committees
Union of Synergies—Women Unit
Union of Palestinian Women Committees
Women’s Studies Society
Working Woman’s Society
Press House
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
Gaza BDS Working Group
One Democratic State Group

UNITE (UK/Ireland): Statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people

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Statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people

11 July 2014

Unite, the biggest union in the UK and Ireland, has issued the following statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people, today (Friday 11 July):

“Unite unreservedly condemns the continuing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and calls for the military strikes and the military build up to be halted immediately.

“Unite further calls on the UK government to demand the Israeli government halt its military action and to make it clear that should it fail to do so then a move for international sanctions will be launched within the United Nations Security Council and the European Union.

“The killing of the three Israeli youths was tragic and deplorable, but the retaliation from Israeli settlers and the Israeli authorities is utterly disproportionate and unjustified. In just three days, 81 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes. By mid-day on Wednesday 9 July 2014, the Israeli air force announced that they had dropped 400 tonnes of explosives on one of the most densely populated areas in the world, an area the size of the Isle of Wight. Horrifying death and destruction is raining down on the 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza who, trapped in a brutal siege, cannot escape this bombing.

“There will be no peace and no justice unless the root causes of the conflict are addressed. The roots of the conflict lie in Israel’s decades-long illegal occupation of the West Bank, the building of illegal settlements in the occupied territories, the forced take-over of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, and the effective establishment of an apartheid system that systematically removes the most basic human rights of Palestinians.

“Responsibility for the collapse of the recent ‘peace talks’ lies firmly with Israel and its unwillingness to find a settlement based on the recognition of the rights of the Palestinians and a respect for international law. Israel’s continued construction of more illegal West Bank settlements during the whole process was nothing short of a provocation and a declaration of intent.

“Unite notes that US Secretary of State John Kerry referred to the possibility of Israel becoming an apartheid state when the peace talks collapsed. In Unite’s view, Israel is already an apartheid state.

“Unite believes Israel’s attack on the Palestinian people is nothing more than a cover up for their intransigence during the peace talks and a signal of their future intent. Israel is clearly concerned that the Palestinian people are finding a new unity and that the justness of their cause is gaining increasing international recognition and support.

“At its recent Policy Conference (30 June – 4 July 2014) Unite re-asserted its solidarity with the Palestinian people and its determination to do all it can to support their struggle for peace, justice and equality.

“Unite is clear about its understanding of the current situation. This isn’t about rockets from Gaza. It’s about Israel fighting to maintain its control over Palestinian lives, and Palestinian land.

“It’s about Israel feeling able to commit war crimes with complete impunity. It’s about the world media indicating that Palestinian lives are worth less than Israeli lives. It’s about the fact that Palestinian children are being killed at the rate of one every three days. It’s about millions of Palestinians living under illegal occupation.

“It’s about the brutal siege on Gaza, and the third military assault on a trapped population in less than 6 years. It’s about more than sixty laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

“It’s about Israeli-state racism and apartheid. It’s about ethnic cleansing. It’s about colonisation, and over 500,000 settlers. It’s about Israel’s systematic violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.

“Unite now urges all like-minded people to join the fight for Palestinian justice by demanding an end to the military aggression and supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, specifically support:
•    the boycott of any goods produced from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank;
•    divestment from financial holdings in any companies, funds or organisations complicit in the ongoing illegal occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people;
•    sanctions against Israel for its continued illegal occupation, flouting of international law, and construction of an apartheid regime.”

ENDS

For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1

Notes to editors

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

http://www.unitetheunion.org/news/statement-of-solidarity-with-the-palestinian-people/

COSATU Statement on Israel bombings of Gaza – Do unto apartheid Israel what you did to apartheid South Africa

cosatuCOSATU Statement on Israel bombings of Gaza – Do unto apartheid Israel what you did to apartheid South Africa

10 July 2014

On the night of the 8th July, 2014, Gaza woke up to the tremors of earth-shaking bombings by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). It is said since then more than 27 Palestinians, including more than 6 children amongst them, were killed and more than 200 have been injured as a result of the airstrikes by Israel. Dozens of homes have been demolished and several families lost relatives.

The Israeli cabinet has further authorised the reactivation of 40 000 army reservists in anticipation or signalling a possible ground offensive, to top up those already deployed in and around Gaza. How do we explain 60 airstrikes in one day?

The intensification of the mass arrests against Palestinians in various parts of the occupied territories, such as in West Bank where about 500 Palestinians have been arrested in a space of 3 weeks. Mohammed Abu Khdier a Palestinian child was kidnapped, tortured and burnt alive in Jerusalem. Mohammed is amongst millions of Palestinian children who have for years been murdered by the state of Israel in the name of self-protection against “terrorists”.

We firmly support the ANC statement that, “In line with our 2012 policy resolutions, that called on “all South Africans to support the programmes and campaigns of the Palestinian civil society which seek to put pressure on Israel”, branches and structures of the ANC across the country will be joining the Palestine solidarity and boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in organizing protests and pickets calling for the immediate end of Israeli violence against the Palestinian people. We call on all South Africans, Black, White, Jewish, Muslim, Christian and all others to join us in expressing our solidarity. Solidarity will bring us together as different South Africans just as how the international anti-apartheid movement brought people together”.

It is only those who have lost their humanity who cant feel or share in the pain felt by the suffering people of Palestine from the barbaric and savage attacks by what has become the most acceptable, deliberate and legalised murder and deliberate violation of international law by a country.

Israel is only able to commit all these ruthless atrocities because of the licence from the US, EU and allies. The UN must be ashamed of itself for failing humanity and the people of Palestine, always pleading for restraint from the victim, equally. We cannot equate an aggressor to a victim or coloniser to a colonised. Nelson Mandela was also called a terrorist for fighting for freedom, hence the natural task of oppressed people to wage a liberation struggle and our natural responsibility is to support them.

We call on the international trade union movement, various civil society organisations, international religious bodies and even business to speak out against savagery and barbarism against fellow human beings. We support the call to recall South African ambassador to Israel, kick out the Israeli ambassador from South Africa and move with speed to decisively isolate Israel and all who sympathise with racism and Zionist occupation all over the world.

Now is the time for the world to stop words of pity and lamentation, but take action by doing what it did to apartheid South Africa when its policies were declared a crime against humanity. Indeed, apartheid remains a crime against humanity wherever it happens. If apartheid cant outrage us, our humanity is called into question and our morality is hollow.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Streets
Braamfontein
2017

P.O.Box 1019
Johannesburg
2000
South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Fax: +27 11 339-6940
Mobile: +27 82 821 7456
E-Mail: patrick@cosatu.org.za

– See more at: http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=9102#sthash.7t0vwHJO.dpuf

Why Labour should boycott G4S as a provider of security to its conference

Why Labour should boycott G4S as a provider of security to its conference

G4S_bloody_logo-e1394110080578G4S is mired in scandal, but the company will provide security at Labour Party conference in September. Stop G4S campaigners Greg Dropkin and John Nicholson ask trade unionists and party members to demand Labour withhold contracts until, at least, the company pulls out of Israeli prisons and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

During the recent UNITE Policy Conference in Liverpool, campaigners received confirmation that Labour intend to use G4S for security at Conference, as in Brighton last year and Manchester in 2012. The company’s involvement in fraud and human rights abuse is a matter of public record, sketched below. G4S is also a prime contractor for public services, with privatisation the real agenda behind the Coalition’s austerity programme. Ignoring the danger signals is an unforced error, and flies in the face of policy commitments from unions supporting Labour.

Two years ago, at an RMT fringe meeting on renationalisation of the railways, Maria Eagle MP told John Nicholson that Labour continued to use G4S for security at its annual conference because they’re “very good”. That opinion was not credible in 2012, and would be incredible now. Over the past year:

  • G4S remains under criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for receiving public funds for tagging dead people.
  • In July 2013 the Group 4 Training officer who fatally restrained Gareth Myatt, a 40 kg boy, was promoted to Health and Safety Manager G4S Children’s Services.
  • In October 2013 a G4S guard was jailed for life in Scotland formurdering a conference delegate.
  • In November 2013 the South African Government took over from G4S after they lost control of Mangaung prison where reports of human rights violations including electric shocks and forced injections of psychiatric drugs became an international scandal.
  • In January 2014 a Prison Officer reported that the ‘disturbance’ at G4S Oakwood Prison was a ‘full scale riot’. Oakwood prisoners find it easier to get drugs than soap.
  • In February 2014 the Australian Government removed the contract for the incarceration of asylum seekers and refugees in Manus Island after a riot which resulted in the death of Reza Berati. According to the Amnesty International report published in Australia in May 2014, G4S guards were implicated in physical abuse of detainees.
  • Again in February 2014 following tireless campaigning, the National Audit Office published a scathing report exposing how G4S has provided filthy and unfit housing for people awaiting outcomes of asylum claims or appeals and ensured the company will be fined.
  • In March 2014 three G4S guards were charged with manslaughter over their role in the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan man who was unlawfully killed while being ‘restrained’ during a deportation run by G4S.
  • In May 2014 a BBC Scotland investigation revealed that a guard who murdered two colleagues in Iraq had not been properly vetted by G4S, who had been warned of the danger prior to his deployment to Iraq.

Then there’s the ongoing scandal of G4S complicity with Israel’s defiance of the 4th Geneva Convention, including the torture of Palestinian prisoners, some of whom are children. G4S provide security services to businesses in the illegal Israeli settlements and checkpoints along the Apartheid Wall in the occupied West Bank. The settlements and Wall breach the 4th Geneva Convention. The company also provides electronic security systems for Ofer prison in the West Bank, and in prisons within Israel. Palestinians including children, have been arrested in the West Bank and Gaza and transferred to these prisons in further breach of the 4th Geneva Convention. Torture is documented within facilities supplied by G4S. For details see the Palestine section of the Briefing for Trade Unionists.

UNITE’s Policy Conference adopted a composite resolution which named G4S, amongst others, as appropriate targets for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in solidarity with Palestine. UNISON policy (2013) pledges the union to “develop guidance for branches on campaigns to stop public service contracts being awarded to companies which are complicit in Israeli violations of international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention, for instance by contracts which service the illegal settlements, construct the Apartheid Wall or provide security in prisons holding Palestinians illegally transferred from the Occupied Territories.”

At the recent G4S AGM, the company announced it intends to exit its Israeli prison contracts when they expire in 2017. That’s a promise under pressure. Until it actually happens, there is no reason for Labour to reward G4S with further contracts. There are other companies. The BBC recently awarded security guarding at all its UK sites to a rival firm.

Why does Labour remain committed to G4S? They’ve known each other for a while. During the Inquest into the death of Jimmy Mubenga, the Coroner was appalled to discover that the Home Office had sanctioned the use of unaccredited guards to remove detainees. The senior Detainee Custody Officer in the Mubenga case was not accredited and therefore acting illegally. The decision to dispense with accreditation in the interests of speed was taken in June 2006 soon after John Reid was appointed Home Secretary. In 2008 he was a Group Consultant for G4S and in 2010 became G4S Director Regional Management (UK and Ireland Limited), resigning on 1 April 2013 just before the Inquest.

Ending the relationship is long overdue.

With the backing of the UNITE National Executive, Stop G4S produced a Briefing for Trade Unionists with details of the company’s activities in UK prisons, asylum housing, welfare, the death of Jimmy Mubenga, Palestine, South Africa… It is available here: www.stopg4s.net/node/116

For more information, see www.stopg4s.net

Britain’s biggest trade union slams Israeli apartheid, commits to BDS campaigning

[LFP Editor’s note: Significantly, UNITE’s statement embraces all three BDS demands: an end to the 1967 occupation, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and refugees right to return. (See highlighted areas below.) Related materials at Labor for Palestine.]
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Britain’s biggest trade union slams Israeli apartheid, commits to BDS campaigning Friday, 04 July 2014 12:33 The motion commits Unite to taking ‘bolder steps like those that were taken against the South African apartheid regime’ as part of the fight against ‘the Israeli ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people’


Unite, Britain’s biggest trade union, has slammed Israel as “guilty of the crime of apartheid” and committed itself to BDS campaigning. The Labour party’s biggest union backer considered three motions related to Palestine at its annual policy conference in Liverpool this week, of which two were carried. The main ‘Israel and Palestine’ motion condemned Israeli violations of international law such as settlement construction, “crimes of persecution against the Palestinian people”, and the Israeli military’s detention and “torture” of Palestinian children. As well as the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Unite also highlighted the “racist laws” affecting Palestinian citizens of Israel. The motion commits Unite to taking “bolder steps like those that were taken against the South African apartheid regime” as part of the fight against “the Israeli ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people”. The union will work with others to develop a “campaigning and leverage strategy around BDS within the next 12 months”, notably “against complicit companies involved in the occupation, the apartheid wall and the illegal settlements (such as Veolia, G4S and Sainsbury’s)”. Unite also passed a motion on the “inhuman conditions of siege” in Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, where Palestinians have been killed in military attacks and died from malnutrition. The conference urged “all parties to withdraw and allow humanitarian aid to reach [camp residents] without further delay.” As part of the Yarmouk resolution, Unite also reaffirmed “its commitment to Resolution 194 which asserts the rights of Palestinians [expelled by Israel] to return to their land”. A motion titled “Israeli-Palestinian Co-operation” was not carried, however. The motion expressed support for the stricken U.S.-led peace talks and encouraged engagement with both Israeli and Palestinian trade unions. – See more at: http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/12552–britains-biggest-trade-union-slams-israeli-apartheid-commits-to-bds-campaigning#sthash.G1x2r5Ce.dpuf