Monthly Archives: December 2015

UAW2865 & Palestine-SF Labor (WorkWeekRadio)

Pacifica KPFA WorkWeek On Tuesday 2:30 PM PST

To Focus On UAW International Nullifying UAW 2865 Support For BDS

WW 12/29/15 The UAW And Zionism and Imperialism Trumps Democracy for Union Executives

WorkWeek this week will look at the recent decision of the UAW Executive Board to nullify a democratic vote of the UAW 2865 to support BDS or boycott, divestment and sanctions.
We also will hear from ILWU Local 10 member Clarence Thomas about what labor should do to stop the continued police murders in the Black community.

There is growing support around the world for the BDS movement. Unions in Europe including in Ireland and the UK to support actions against Israeli apartheid policies.
In the US most national unions support the Israeli government and also the Histadrut which represents the majority of unionized Israeli workers.

Last year after a long discussion and debate within the 20,000 member UC graduate students who are members of UAW 2865, the union voted to support BDS.

This was appealed by a supporter of Israel who is a PhD at UCLA.

The appeal to the international union executive board voted that it had indeed been a democratic vote but the action was an economic threat to companies that UAW members worked for and did business with Israel. These included Caterpillar, Boeing, General Dynamics, General Electric, ITT, Lockheed-Martin and Northrup-Gruman.
Workers at these companies are represented by the UAW and supporters of Israel’s position.

The appeal was also supported by other union leaderships including AFGE, the Jewish Labor Committee and the Teamsters California Council. The Teamsters also represent IBT Local 2010 at the UC campuses and in the bay area the Teamster Joint Council President Rome Aloise not only protested the BDS resolution by UAW 2865 but vehemently opposed the protests that stopped the Zim shipping line at the Port of Oakland and other ports on the West Coast arguing that it would cost jobs.

The BDS resolution did have broad support in the vote including many Jewish members of the union who submitted statements of support.

The International also charged that the support of the BDS would subvert the no strike clause of the UAW Constitution and subvert the collective bargaining of the union.

They then nullified the vote.

WorkWeek interviews Kurt Horner who is a steward of the UAW 2865 at UC Irvine and a supporter of the BDS caucus and Alborz Ghandehari who is the recording secretary of the Local and is a graduate student at UCSD.

Also interviewed is Jeff Blankfort a journalist, radio host and former editor of the Labor Bulletin on the Middle East. Blankfort has written extensively on the role of the AFL-CIO on Israel and Palestinians.

For more information:
kora.matrix.msu.edu/files/50/304/32…%2012%20opt.pdf
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United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (Various Employers) Case 06-CC-162236 (NLRB Advice Memorandum)

View in PDF format: 06_CC_162236_12_21_15_.pdf

NLRB

UAW International Executive Board Upholds Integrity of UAW 2865’s Membership Vote to Divest from Corporations Complicit in Oppression of Palestinians, Decides to Nullify Vote Anyway

Tikkun2

Download in PDF format: Appeal Press Release 12-16-15

December 20, 2015

UAW International Executive Board Upholds Integrity of UAW 2865’s Membership Vote to Divest from Corporations Complicit in Oppression of Palestinians, Decides to Nullify Vote Anyway

This statement is issued by the BDS Caucus, a group of rank-­and­-file UAW 2865 members spanning every UC campus dedicated to organizing and advocating for equality and justice for the Palestinian people. As members of the BDS caucus, we know that nothing can erase the voices and will of the UAW 2865 membership, who spoke loudly and clearly in their vote last year to support Palestinian labor unions’ call for solidarity.

After the UC student­-workers’ labor union holds landslide membership vote to endorse BDS, the UAW International Executive Board (IEB) issued a response to an appeal:

● UAW IEB upholds democratic, participatory nature of vote and member engagement in process

● UAW IEB sides with business and military interests and anti­union lawyers to nullify vote because they say it’s bad for business

● Human rights concerns are ignored and social justice not prioritized

● UAW IEB repeats baseless allegations of anti­-semitism, ignores testimony of Jewish students

In December of 2014, UAW 2865, the labor union of over 14,000 teaching assistants and other student workers at the University of California, became the first major U.S. labor union to demand by a majority member vote that their union and employer divest from companies that are complicit in human rights violations against Palestinians. With a higher­ than­ usual turnout, UAW 2865 members voted to endorse divestment in a landslide, by 65%​. This resolution was brought to union leadership by rank­-and­-file members responding to a call from Palestinian labor unions to join the BDS movement.

Over a year later on December 15, 2015, the International Executive Board of United Auto Workers (IEB), which oversees several hundred locals including UAW 2865, issued an appeal decision which unequivocally proclaimed that the charge of an undemocratic election was baseless and that UAW 2865 conducted a fair election with ample opportunity for debate and engagement over several months. In response to the’s claim that the BDS resolution was “approved in an undemocratic fashion,” the International declared, “To the contrary, the case record discloses that the local union made an earnest effort to engage the membership in the BDS discussions…In any event, after examining the testimonies and reviewing the information received from the Appellant and the local union, we can find no evidence that the local union engaged in any improper actions that may have prohibited a fair and democratic vote on the BDS Resolution. Accordingly, the Appellant’s charge of an undemocratic election miscarries for lack of evidence.”

This decision cites the over four months of town hall meetings, debates, and educational forums where members consistently engaged the issue in order to make an informed decision on the vote. UAW 2865’s official website also linked directly to the website of the anti­-BDS opposition caucus “Informed Grads.” UAW 2865 elected leaders also solicited numerous written opinions from members both for and against the resolution, and made all of them directly accessible on the union website. Further, next to the ballot box there were two official pro and con statements, authored by the “pro” BDS caucus and the “anti” Informed Grads caucus, respectively.

In addition, the appellant claimed UAW 2865 leadership acted in a way that encouraged voter apathy. In response, the IEB writes, “Contrarily, the local union introduced information to the I.E.B. hearing officer that showed the previous General Election had produced a lesser turnout than the vote on the BDS Resolution.”

Thus, in its decision, the IEB unequivocally confirmed the democratic and open nature of our vote process, something which as UAW 2865 activists, we worked hard to ensure. We feel that UAW 2865 members’ views were accurately expressed in the BDS vote, and the IEB’s decision confirms this.

Surprisingly, the IEB decided to use its authority to “nullify” what in its own judgement was a free and fair election. And while the IEB did not impose any binding restrictions on the Local’s organizing efforts, it is nevertheless striking that, rather than nullifying the vote on electoral, procedural, or substantive UAW constitutional grounds, the International rehashed political arguments against BDS and Palestinian self-­determination. After naming companies that sell military equipment and weapons including Boeing, Caterpillar, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, ITT, Northrup­-Grumman, and Raytheon, the International claimed that BDS would “lead to a direct economic deprivation for members of the UAW, as well as other organized members by, categorically interfering with the flow of commerce to and from earmarked companies.” The IEB’s support for the profits of these companies­­–their prioritization of the so­ called “flow of commerce”–­­trumps their support for other labor unions, such as the Palestinian labor unions that initiated the call for BDS, and their own members, like the 65% of affirmative voters from UAW 2865.

Nullifying UAW 2865’s vote on this basis contradicts the IEB’s necessary role in supporting UAW and other workers who may be harmed not only by exploitative labor relations but also by socially irresponsible foreign investment. The IEB’s main constitutional argument against the BDS election is clearly based on the interests of the employers rather than those of workers. ​This is representative of a model of business unionism that many have openly critiqued in the UAW, namely the assumption that the interests of employers are one and the same as the interests of employees. Strangely, the IEB decision even invokes the no­strikes clause of the UAW 2865 contract with the University of California—an article which was imposed to undermine the union’s collective bargaining power— to argue that BDS breaches our contract. Claiming that a written request for UC divestment from corporate war profiteers constitutes a serious disruption of the operations of the employer stretches even the wildest imagination.

In making their ruling, the UAW IEB also repeated the same baseless accusations of anti­semitism frequently attributed to anyone who is critical of Israel. Specifically, they claimed that “the local union’s attempt to address the predicament of the Palestinian people appears to be accomplished through biased targeting of Israeli/Jewish UAW members, and the scorning of the state of Israel and all alleged entities complicit in actions against Palestine.” This assertion is presented without evidence, and evidence presented to the contrary which can be seen within the official ruling is simply ignored in the conclusions of the IEB. During the four months of debate before the vote, the BDS caucus stated at length its position against national origin discrimination and anti­-Semitism. In fact, dozens of Israeli and Jewish current and former members of UAW 2865 signed a letter in support of the BDS resolution. Beyond our membership, more than 700 Jewish individuals signed a letter of support for the resolution. Many current Jewish and Israeli union members participated actively in campaigning for the resolution. Dozens of Jewish UAW 2865 members, including many signing this letter as part of the Union’s BDS Caucus, have spoken repeatedly of how their Jewish values encourage them to combat all forms of racism and oppression, including the dispossession faced by Palestinians.

Presumably due to the weakness of their argument, the IEB also chose to grossly misrepresent the actual text of our resolution. For example, the IEB falsely claimed that a voluntary, non­-binding, individual commitment to participate in an academic boycott was somehow a compelling, binding, and discriminatory action. This mischaracterization was presented without support or explanation and is just one of several glaring mischaracterizations plaguing the IEB’s official ruling.

The ballot itself also states:

“In carrying out the activities set forth above and in acting on this proposal, we affirm that this proposal should not be interpreted or applied to seek to influence the hiring or other employment decisions of the University or individual academics or UAW members; nor will it in any way limit or affect the representative functions of the Union including, without limitation, which grievances we pursue, our position on tenure disputes, etc. Additionally, this resolution does not seek to influence or affect what is taught in the classroom or the pedagogy or scholarship of UAW members or of other academics regardless of who they are, while at UC or when involved in UC­sponsored programs or events. Nor does this resolution seek to discourage association with individual Israeli scholars. The UAW is strictly committed to opposing all forms of discrimination including discrimination based on race, religion, national origin or ethnicity, and we affirm our strong commitment to the principles of academic freedom for all in the UC community.”

UAW 2865, in its public statements, repeatedly stressed that this resolution targeted multinational corporations, and that it certainly did not target any individuals on any basis, and explicitly not on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion. UAW 2865 leadership, in a resolution adopted in the lead­up to the vote, also explicitly stated that their commitment to anti­oppression organizing extended beyond the question of Palestinian struggle. The statement reads:

“We believe that as student and labor organizers, we have a duty to stand by principles of anti­-oppression organizing. As we stand in solidarity with Palestinian self­-determination, we also recognize that here in the United States we have our own systems of structural racism and settler colonialism to resist and dismantle​. In the university system in which we both learn and labor, the disparity in access to people of color and working ­class people as well as the existence of our universities on stolen indigenous land alerts us to the importance of making these connections in our movements.”

This broad and consistent commitment to anti­-oppression organizing can be seen in a plethora of resolutions endorsed by UAW 2865 leadership in support of the Ayotzinapa student movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, and gender equity, to name only a few. This anti­-oppression commitment is certainly not limited to support for Palestinian struggle against oppression, as the IEB seems to imply in its ruling.

The IEB acknowledges these repeated statements from UAW 2865 leadership which demonstrate the non­discriminatory nature of the resolution, statements that clearly align the resolution with the UAW Constitution. Despite this acknowledgement, the IEB proceeds to deem these statements irrelevant to claims of discrimination without explanation​.

No letter from the IEB can erase the educational and organizational work we have done over the past year, work we will continue to do, energized no doubt by the IEB’s undemocratic, business­-friendly attempt to nullify this vote. We invite the IEB to join the conversation among union members across the world moved by the Palestinian people’s call for solidarity. Union involvement in this issue is picking up momentum as other Locals have begun similar campaigns, committed to supporting the struggles of Palestinians facing second­-class citizenship inside Israel, of those under occupation and military attacks in the West Bank and Gaza, and of the refugees and exiles in diaspora unable to return to their homes. In the past year, UAW 2865 has been joined by the national union United Electrical and the Connecticut AFL­-CIO which also passed BDS resolutions.

The BDS Caucus of UAW 2865 reaffirms its commitment to fulfill the clear will of UAW 2865 membership and leadership, by standing in solidarity with Palestinian labor unions in their struggle for self­-determination, and continuing to promote boycott, divestment, and sanctions against corporations and institutions complicit in human rights violations in Palestine and beyond. UAW 2865 members’ overwhelming response to the call for solidarity issued by Palestinians and Palestinian unions will continue to inspire other workers. We are part of a growing movement for union solidarity with the people of Palestine and for a democratic and visionary U.S. labor movement. As workers, educators, and students, we know together we can prevail over these forms of repression and continue striving for justice for all peoples.

Sincerely,

The BDS Caucus

UAW International Nullifies Democratic Vote of Graduate Student-Workers for Boycott and Divestment (Palestine Legal)

Palestine Legal

UAW International Nullifies Democratic Vote of Graduate Student-Workers for Boycott and Divestment

UAW

CREDIT: CLYDE ROBINSON

Last December, the labor union representing over 14,000 graduate student workers at the University of California (UC) – UAW Local 2865 – voted by a clear majority to demand that their union and their employer, the UC, divest from companies complicit in human rights violations against Palestinians.

The International UAW, which oversees Local 2865, this week nullified the vote in response to an appeal by a graduate student who opposed the resolution, with the assistance of several attorneys from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s Los Angeles office.

David McCleary, a spokesman for the union, stated that,

We are deeply saddened that a small group of International Executive Board members chose to ignore the 65 percent of our voting members who endorsed divestment…We firmly reject accusations of anti-Semitism, and the evidence presented during the appeal process clearly supports this view. As one of many Jewish members of [United Autoworkers 2865] who supported this divestment campaign, I can say that the accusation is personally hurtful.

The nullification is yet another example of anti-democratic maneuvers by institutional authorities in response to pressure from Israel advocacy groups aiming to quell the rising tide of public opinion in favor of using boycotts and divestment to pressure Israel to respect Palestinian rights.

The International UAW nullified the vote despite its own finding that the Local conducted a fair and democratic election process with ample debate and engagement over several months. The International relied instead on a conclusion that the vote was “biased targeting of Israeli/Jewish UAW members, and the scorning of the state of Israel…”

This opinion parrots the arguments of the resolutions’ opponents and repeats a false accusation commonly attributed to advocates for Palestinian rights. In reaching its conclusion, the International ignored full evidence of the local union’s commitment to anti-discrimination and the plain text of the resolution itself, all of which made clear that the resolution was aimed at securing human rights for all people, and that it targeted international companies and the policies of a nation state, not Jewish people.

Unable to defeat boycott and divestment campaigns through the democratic process, and unable to defend Israel’s human rights record, Israel advocates frequently resort to accusations that boycott and divestment is anti-Semitic. Palestine Legal responded to 159 cases during an 18-month period involving false accusations of anti-Semitism – all allegations based solely on speech critical of Israel, such as the UAW resolution. These findings are documented in a report, the Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the U.S., which illustrates the pervasive suppression of support for Palestinian rights through intimidation and legal bullying.

Israel advocates also commonly resort to anti-democratic measures to put aside or prevent democratic votes in favor of boycott and divestment. For example, a citizen commissioner serving the city of Berkeley California was fired from her position in October 2015 for putting a boycott and divestment resolution on the agenda. Student governments at UC Davis in early 2015, and at UC Santa Cruz in 2014 also nullified democratic votes in favor of divestment.

UCLA student groups face funding cuts over Israel divestment (Electronic Intifada)

Electronic Intifada

UCLA student groups face funding cuts over Israel divestment

141210-divest-posters

Divestment campaigns on University of California campuses continue to grow. (Photo courtesy of Cal SJP Facebook page)

The Graduate Students Association at UCLA in California has put stipulations on funding for student groups based on affiliation with Palestinian rights activism.

Students and civil rights organizations are concerned that such conditions are the result of overt willingness by University of California’s top officials to exceptionalize free speech rights and threaten punishment against student activists.

In mid-October, the president of UCLA’s Graduate Students Association sent an email to a student group that was seeking funding for a diversity caucus event. The association represents thousands of UCLA’s graduate students and provides resources, including funding, to graduate students and organizations. Members pay mandatory fees each academic quarter.

The association’s president informed the group that “GSA leadership has a zero engagement/endorsement policy towards Divest from Israel or any related movement/organization” (emphasis in original) and awarded the group $2,000 in funding based on their “zero connection” to a “Divest from Israel” group.

UCLA does not have an organization or movement specifically called “Divest from Israel,” but the president was most likely referring to the graduate student workers’ union across the University of California system, UAW Local 2865, which passed a historic divestment resolution one year ago.

This condition could also apply to Students for Justice in Palestine as well as graduate student organizations that support the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

In addition to UAW 2865’s successful divestment vote, student governments at seven out of nine University of California undergraduate campuses — including at UCLA in 2014 — have passed resolutions calling for the administration to pull investments from US and international companies profiting from Israel’s violations of Palestinians’ rights.

Despite an expensive public relations campaign waged by anti-Palestinian groups, UCLA’s divestment resolution passed by a landslide vote and was supported by more than 30 student organizations.

“Duplicitous”

A week after the Graduate Students Association’s president, Milan Chatterjee, publicly placed restrictions on funding, the group voted to implement a “neutrality clause” on speech related to “Israel-Palestine.” The clause was not discussed in cabinet meetings, according to a representative member of the GSA who recently resigned in protest.

“Under this resolution, the UCLA GSA — as a governing body — will abstain from taking any stances or engaging in any discussion in regards to Israel-Palestine politics,” the clause states.

Mohannad Ghawanmeh resigned from the association on 30 November in protest of the “neutrality clause,” labeling it as a “duplicitous, disingenuous resolution that cannot be rehabilitated in any form.”

He also said that Chatterjee’s “recent duplicitous actions are inexcusable and signify the need to check the powers of the GSA president.”

Chatterjee, meanwhile, has maintained that his directives are in the spirit of “neutrality” and are ways to “avoid the potentially controversial and divisive topic of Israel/Palestine relations.”

Implicitly condoning actions

Yacoub Kureh, president of UCLA’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, told The Electronic Intifada that because the university administration hasn’t taken any action since Chatterjee’s funding conditions were made public two months ago, “it seems like they’re implicitly condoning this … by not stepping in or saying anything.”

Lawyers with Palestine Legal, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the American Civil Liberties Unionsent a letter last month to UCLA administrators demanding Chatterjee immediately rescind the conditions he has placed on student groups’ funding.

In a public post on Facebook on 21 November, three days after the letter was sent to UCLA, Chatterjee accused Students for Justice in Palestine of “engaging in a smear campaign, mischaracterizing my neutrality position on the Divest from Israel issue. This is leading to unnecessary defamation.” He added that he has filed a legal complaint with the UCLA administration.

Last week, major Israel-aligned groups including StandWithUs, the Zionist Organization of America, theLawfare Project and the American Center for Law and Justice — which was co-founded by right-wing evangelical Christian Zionist Pat Robertson — have jumped in to protect the GSA and Chatterjee’s position. The groups dismissed legal assertions that the association and its president are violating the First Amendment.

Such groups have been at the forefront of pressuring the University of California to punish Palestine rights-based activism on campuses, while linking criticism of Israeli policy with anti-Semitism and smearing students who are involved in Palestine solidarity organizing.

Platitudes

A spokesperson for UCLA emailed a statement to The Electronic Intifada on Friday saying that the university is looking into the allegations of possible First Amendment violations made by the Graduate Students Association.

“There are no university policies restricting funding of events based on political opinion or ideology,” the statement adds. “Any stipulation that infringes on the free expression of ideas is contrary to UCLA’s values of free speech and academic freedom.”

But such platitudes on the protection of free speech on UC campuses ring hollow given the inaction on the association’s position up to this point — and the heightened climate of repression against Palestine rights-based speech and activism sanctified by the top levels of the UC administration.

Just in the last few months, UC Regent Richard Blum openly threatened to suspend or expel students who engage in speech critical of Israel.

UCLA students in particular have been falsely accused of anti-Semitism by right-wing pro-Israel groups. The university’s chancellor has largely ignored the concerns of student Palestine activists at the receiving end of such smear campaigns and harassment, says Palestine Legal.

And in 2014, the Los Angeles City Council threatened to refer Palestine activists to police after Students for Justice in Palestine asked student government representatives not to take paid propaganda trips to Israel.

Liz Jackson, staff attorney with Palestine Legal and cooperating counsel at the Center for Constitutional Rights, told The Electronic Intifada that it is precisely within this climate of repression that such violations of free speech are allowed to proliferate and become normalized. “When the Regents express support for branding criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic, they invite well-meaning university officials to violate student speech rights,” she said.

This latest incident at UCLA, Jackson added, is a classic example of the Palestine exception to free speech.

Kureh said he was concerned that the situation at UCLA is a mere foreshadowing of what’s to come if the University of California maintains this Palestine exception.

“Certain speech is just going to be prohibited on campus when it pertains to Palestine activism,” he said. “It’s not a matter of the [Graduate Students Association] saying ‘we don’t like BDS,’ it’s a matter of them saying ‘we’re not going to fund you. You pay mandatory student fees but your viewpoints are disallowed.’”

Kureh explained that the current and expanding climate of repression based on speech has had a direct chilling effect on students, especially those who are Palestinian.

Some members of Students for Justice in Palestine — and even other student groups that are not associated with Palestine at all — have resigned following targeted smear campaigns by an online group or the general campus-based level of harassment, he said.

“It’s a pretty bad situation for Palestinians,” he said. “We continue to be harassed either by outside organizations or bullied by internal organizations. [However,] it’s had a chilling effect [not just] on Palestinians, but on activists in general.”

Labor for Palestine: Challenging US Labor Zionism (American Quarterly)

Download full text PDF: Labor for Palestine — Challenging US Labor Zionism

Screenshot 2015-12-23 19.45.28

Labor for Palestine: Challenging US Labor Zionism

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Recent years have seen rapidly growing momentum behind the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), particularly in the wake of repeated Israeli attacks on Gaza since 2008–9 that have left thousands dead, maimed, and homeless. In February 2007, as part of this campaign, Palestinian trade union bodies appealed directly for support, including a request for international labor to cut ties with the Histadrut, the Zionist labor federation. Although these calls have received wide-ranging support from trade unionists in South Africa, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Norway, and elsewhere, Labor Zionism remains ubiquitous in the United States. This first dates to the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and establishment of the Histadrut in 1920. Such US Labor Zionism grew rapidly in the 1940s, as a combined result of the Nazi Holocaust, the Cold War, neocolonialism, and the USSR’s pivotal support for establishment of the Israel state. Even then, however, it has never had significant working-class roots. Since the Nakba of 1947–49, Labor Zionism in the United States has been promoted by the Histadrut’s US mouthpiece, the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC). Through such efforts, closely coordinated with Israeli officials, the JLC has organized trade union leaders’ support for Zionism.

Notable challenges to this dominant Labor Zionism began in the late 1960s. These include positions taken by the League of Revolutionary Black Workers in 1967 and wildcat strikes against the United Auto Workers (UAW) leadership’s support for Israel in 1973. Since September 11, 2001, Israel’s wars and other apartheid policies have been challenged by New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW), Labor for Palestine, ILWU Local 10 dockworkers, UAW Local 2865 graduate students at the University of California, the United Electrical Workers, and others. Increasingly, such efforts have made common cause with racial justice and other movements, and—at the margins—have begun to crack Labor Zionism’s seemingly impregnable hold in the United States. These recent developments run parallel to, and draw inspiration from, the American Studies Association’s own endorsement of BDS on December 13, 2013.

Zionist Roots in US Labor

Through the 1930s Jewish workers in the United States were adamantly anti-Zionist. Jewish Bundists viewed Zionism as a “sinister deviation from the true path … a mirage, compounded of religious romanticism and chauvinism,” and after the Nazis took power in 1933, “many Jews within American labor vehemently opposed Zionist efforts.” For example, the JLC, founded in 1934 to oppose the rise of Nazism, noted that

the great bulk of Jewish labor in the United States are … of the opinion that the Jewish question must be solved in the countries in which Jews live and therefore must be solved as part of the more general question of re-adjusting the economic, political, social and cultural life of our country to the needs of a new day.

In the 1940s, however, US labor leaders enlisted in the Histadrut’s well-orchestrated campaign for a Jewish state in Palestine, and finally won support of the previously anti-Zionist JLC. These efforts helped enable the impending Nakba (Catastrophe). Labor leaders established the National Trade Union Emergency Conference on Labor Palestine, which won over Jewish Bundists; silenced anti-Zionist holdouts; exploited rank-and-file workers’ sympathy for Holocaust victims; and helped convince Truman to support partition and lift the US arms embargo against the Zionist militias.

The Zionism of these labor officials was closely linked to their support for US imperialism, anticommunism, and racism against workers of color in the United States. This was consistent with Israel’s self-proclaimed role as “watchdog” for US imperial interests. Meanwhile, nearly all of the US labor Left mirrored the USSR’s indispensable support for establishment of the Israeli state.

In the subsequent decades, US trade union leaders across the political spectrum supported Israeli wars, charged “anti-Semitism” against those who criticized Israel’s close alliance with apartheid South Africa,” and bought huge quantities of State of Israel Bonds, which paralleled overall US government economic and military support for the Israeli state.