Category Archives: BDS

CANADIAN LABOUR CONGRESS ENDORSES “PEACE IN PALESTINE” CAMPAIGN (CJPME)

Montreal, October 5, 2017 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is thrilled to announce that the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) has officially endorsed its Peace in Palestine campaign. The campaign is a strategy to get Canada’s parliamentarians to pass a motion calling for an end to Israel’s illegal “settlements” (a.k.a. colonies.)

The CLC is the largest labour organization in Canada, representing 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC’s endorsement of “Peace in Palesine” follows on more than 50 years whereby the CLC has supported policies and programs that seek to promote positive social change. CJPME President Thomas Woodley responded enthusiastically, “We are excited to see Canada’s largest labour organization boldly stand up for human rights at home and abroad.”  CJPME encourages other Canadian civil society organizations to stand up for social justice as the CLC has.

A core component of the Peace in Palestine campaign is a Parliamentary ePetition calling on the government to “demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.” The ePetition mirrors the wording of UN Security Council resolution 2334 (December 2016), and has the sponsorship of NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Helène Laverdière. CJPME has launched a four-month cross-Canada campaign promoting this Parliamentary petition and the follow-up Parliamentary motion CJPME hopes this campaign inspires.

Over 70 unions and organizations have already endorsed the Peace in Palestine campaign. Other organizations wishing to endorse the campaign may do so on-line.  Canadian individuals are also encouraged to sign the Parliamentary ePetition, thus demonstrating support for the “Peace in Palestine” campaign, respect for Palestinian human rights, and promoting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

 

About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.

For more information, please contact Miranda Gallo, 438-380-5410
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org

The whole or parts of this press release can be reproduced without permission.

– 30 –

Canadian teacher Nadia Shoufani defeats silencing campaign against her advocacy for Palestinian freedom (Samidoun)

Canadian teacher Nadia Shoufani has won a significant free-speech victory after a year-long battle and a prolonged campaign by pro-apartheid Zionist organizations attacking her and attempting to have her fired from her job for speaking about Palestinian prisoners at a public rally in 2016.

“A victory for myself, for the Palestine solidarity movement, for freedom of expression! A victory for the Palestinian cause and the struggle of Palestinians!” said Shoufani in a Facebook post on 8 September offering thanks to friends, colleagues and supporters for their consistent support throughout a year of struggle. Shoufani kept her job and defeated the allegations that targeted her as well as ongoing racist campaigns of harassment carried out by far-right groups and individuals. Organizations including B’nai Brith Canada, the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center Canada were actively involvedi in the campaign to silence Shoufani.

“Their goal was to destroy my reputation and livelihood and ultimately make me lose my job, but they were defeated! It’s true they targeted me but their ultimate goal was to send a silencing message to intimidate and scare anyone who speaks in support of Palestinians and to put a chill on people,” Shoufani wrote, but the attack in fact led to “more support and created more awareness of the Palestinian cause.”

“The attack that I was put through was not just an attack against me, it was ultimately against every voice that speaks and calls for the freedom and justice of Palestinians who are living under and suffering daily from a brutal occupation and apartheid, with the ultimate aim to silence them and silence any criticism of ‘Israel’, the occupying power,” Shoufani wrote in her social media post.

Shoufani was attacked for her remarks at the 2 July 2006 Al-Quds Day protest, particularly her comments about Ghassan Kanafani and her support for imprisoned Palestinians and strugglers for Palestine, specifically Bilal Kayed – then on hunger strike – and Georges Ibrahim Abdallah.

Shoufani quoted Ghassan Kanafani, the Palestinian writer, political leader in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and intellectual assassinated by Israel on 8 July 1972: “The Palestinian cause is not a cause for Palestinians only, but a cause for every revolutionary…a cause of the exploited and oppressed masses in our era.”

“On this day…we need to salute and acknowledge, stand in solidarity and demand the release of prisoners, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons,” said Shoufani in her speech. “We salute and demand the freedom of Bilal Kayed…who was scheduled to be released on June 13th after 14 and one-half years of imprisonment. Instead of being released, he was ordered to six extra months of adminsitratioe detention without charge or trial…Bilal Kayed has launched an open hunger strike demanding his freedom. This illegal Israeli order of administrative detention is seen as an attempt to set a precedent of the future indefinite detention of Palestinian prisoners after the completion of their sentence.”

She linked the attack on Kayed and fellow Palestinian prisoners to the imprisonment of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, Lebanese Arab struggler for Palestine, imprisoned in French jails for 33 years, demanding his immediate release.

“I urge you to speak up, to resist this occupation, and support the steadfastness of Palestinians, support their resistance, in any form that is possible. I urge you to support BDS – boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. This is the least we can do here in Canada,” said Shoufani, closing with a rousing chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

Shoufani was defended after being suspended with pay by her Toronto-area Catholic school board by her trade union, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.  Union activists, Palestine solidarity organizers, professors and organizers collectively spoke out in support of Shoufani and against the attacks from right-wing organizations attempting to silence her and force her from her teaching position.

The attack on Shoufani has come in the context of ongoing attacks on freedom of speech about Palestine in Canada, including attempts to legislate against BDS and parliamentary resolutions denouncing boycott campaigns.  This comes amid an ongoing, relentlessly pro-Zionist policy pursued by the Liberal government under Justin Trudeau, continuing the notoriously anti-Palestinian policy of Conservative Stephen Harper. Canadian support for Israeli occupation didn’t begin with Harper, but dates back to the Balfour Declaration and Lester Pearson’s recommendation to the United Nations to create the Israeli state. This role has always been distinctly related to the Canadian state’s own settler colonial nature, based on the continuing dispossession and genocide of Indigenous peoples.

Recently, Niki Ashton, a leading candidate for the leadership of the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Canada, was attacked by B’nai Brith and other pro-apartheid organizations for participating in a rally commemorating the Nakba and in support of Palestinian political prisoners.

In particular, right-wing Zionist organizations attacked Ashton for speaking in front of a sign urging freedom for imprisoned Palestinian leader Ahmad Sa’adat, the General Secretaty of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Following the attacks, rather than backing down, Ashton reiterated her support for Palestinian rights and noted that it was “powerful to join many at a rally in solidarity with those on hunger strike in Palestine.” Ashton is one of the front-runners in the NDP leadership campaign and has won support from many youth and progressive voices.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Nadia Shoufani and all of those involved in the campaign to defend her right to speak and right to teach. Her clear and principled voice in defense of Palestinian rights and freedom – and the struggle of Palestinian prisoners in particular – is one that cannot be silenced. As she noted, “Our fight for justice and a free Palestine will not be over and the path ahead will always have obstacles and difficulties, but as long as we believe in a cause so embedded in us, we will persevere! No such attacks will stop us, nor will they intimidate or silence us. On the contrary this will make us stronger believers in our fight for justice and freedom. We will never be silent until we win and justice prevails!”

Unifor Canadian Council passes BDS motion at Winnipeg convention

Unifor Canadian Council passes BDS motion at Winnipeg convention

Congratulations to the Unifor’s Canadian Council on easily passing a pro-Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) motion at their recent convention in Winnipeg, between August 18-20.

Submitted by Unifor Local 222 (Oshawa), Unifor Resolution No. 5 is titled “Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions,” and reads in part:

“… BE IT RESOLVED that Unifor supports the use of divestment, boycott and sanctions (“BDS”) that are targeted to those sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the ongoing occupation of the OPT; and […] BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Unifor will support such a form of BDS until such time as Israel implements a permanent ban on further settlement construction in the OPT, and enters into good faith negotiations with representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state ; and THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that Unifor opposes all efforts to prohibit, punish or otherwise deter expressions of support for BDS.”

During the summer 2014 bombing of civilians in Gaza, the Palestinian trade union movement, with support from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and its affiliates, unanimously called on international trade unions to take immediate action to stop the Israeli massacre in Gaza and hold Israel to account for its crimes against the Palestinian people.

They wrote: “… civil society solidarity is the only force that can help stop the ongoing slaughter of our people and send them a message that they are not alone, exactly as effective international solidarity had done in supporting the struggle for freedom in apartheid South Africa […] In the face of this international inaction, we, the Palestinian trade unions, call on trade unions around the world to take urgent measures, and in particular to intensify Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, until it complies with international law.”

The entire resolution as passed can be downloaded here:

http://www.unifor.org/sites/default/files/attachments/final_resolutions_eng_2017-07-27.pdf

See the complete list of Unifor resolutions: http://www.unifor.org/en/whats-new/news/canadian-council-resolutions

Our heartiest congratulations to members of Unifor Local 222 who crafted, submitted and argued in favour of the successful motion supporting BDS tactics.

Updated: 100 Groups Call on Congress to Oppose Israel Anti-Boycott Act

Updated: 100 Groups Call on Congress to Oppose Israel Anti-Boycott Act

IABA statement logos3.jpg

Updated August 31, 2017 

One hundred national and local civil and human rights organizations endorsed a joint statement to members of Congress expressing strong opposition to the Israel Anti-Boycott Act and calling on lawmakers to reject – rather than amend – the bill.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, introduced in the U.S. Congress in March 2017, amends anti-boycott provisions of the federal Export Administration Act (EAA), enacted in 1979. Those provisions prohibit specific actions taken to comply with or support a boycott of Israel “fostered or imposed” by a foreign country. The sponsors of the new Act propose to add new restrictions on boycotts “fostered or imposed” by an international governmental organization (IGO), such as the European Union or the United Nations. Violations are punishable by exorbitant fines and up to 20 years in prison.

Due to widespread outrage over the bill, its chief Senate sponsor, Maryland Senator Benjamin Cardin, has stated that he is open to amending the bill to remove criminal penalties. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand withdrew sponsorship from the bill in early August, saying that she could not support it “in its current form.” But amending the bill does not resolve its underlying problems, including the chilling effect it will have on constitutionally-protected speech.

The full statement is below. Click here for a PDF version.

Note: We will continue to update the statement with new endorsements. If your organization would like to endorse the statement, please fill out this form.


Oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act

We are a diverse group of civil and human rights organizations writing to express our strong opposition to the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720 and H.R. 1697) (Act). We call on you to publicly oppose this unconstitutional, draconian bill and to affirm the First Amendment right of all people in the United States to support political boycotts as a means to achieve justice and equality for Palestinians.

The Act amends anti-boycott provisions of the federal Export Administration Act (EAA), enacted in 1979.1 Those provisions prohibit specific actions taken to comply with or support a boycott of Israel “fostered or imposed” by a foreign country. The sponsors of the new Act propose to add new restrictions on boycotts “fostered or imposed” by an international governmental organization (IGO), such as the European Union or the United Nations. Violations are punishable by exorbitant fines and up to 20 years in prison.

This amendment would seriously threaten fundamental First Amendment freedoms and discourage U.S. individuals, businesses, nonprofits or others from supporting boycotts for Palestinian rights. Even if the bill were amended to remove penalties, its passage would still send a message that political boycotts for Palestinian rights are disfavored by the government, causing a severe chilling effect on constitutionally protected speech.

The Act would chill protected speech despite the fact that under its terms, it should not reach the vast majority of boycott activities related to Israeli government policies. Most boycotts for Palestinian rights are not conducted in response to a call for boycott from a foreign country or IGO, but are acts of conscience seeking justice and equality for Palestinians and Israel’s compliance with international law. Indeed, people across the United States are increasingly using strategies involving boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to respect Palestinian rights.

The United States has a long and rich history of boycotts being used to take collective action to advance social justice and secure civil and human rights. Boycotts helped end racial segregation in the United States and apartheid in South Africa. More recently, boycotts helped end a regressive North Carolina law targeting transgender people, and boycott and divestment campaigns have been organized to end university investments in the private prison and fossil fuel industries.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that peaceful political boycotts are protected by the First Amendment.2 The government may not enact laws that would punish those who support political boycotts or compromise the right to support political boycotts.

The Act’s chief Senate sponsor, Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, has written that the Act does not target political boycotts.3 Instead, he claims, it merely expands preexisting law to prohibit U.S. businesses from complying with boycott requirements imposed by IGOs. In other words, he argues that the bill does not prohibit political speech but targets “commercial conduct,” which is afforded a lower level of constitutional protection.4

Senator Cardin’s interpretation fails to consider the following:

·         Political speech activities would be directly prohibited by the Act.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act would directly prohibit political speech activities, in violation of the First Amendment. Consider the situation of a human rights organization that distributes research on companies operating in illegal West Bank settlements. This organization could be in violation of the Act if the organization’s intent is to support a call by an IGO to boycott settlements.

·         The Act would empower overzealous presidential administrations to target supporters of political boycotts.

We have no doubt that the Act would be used as a pretext for overzealous presidential administrations, lobbied by Israel advocacy groups (including those that support this bill), to investigate and even punish supporters of Palestinian rights, whether or not they actually support a call for boycotts by an IGO, which they must do to trigger the Act. Arab and Muslim communities will likely face the brunt of this potential for overbroad enforcement.

From 2014 through 2016, Palestine Legal responded to 650 incidents of suppression nationwide targeting speech supportive of Palestinian rights, an additional 200 requests for legal assistance in anticipation of such incidents, and dozens of efforts to enact federal, state and local laws aimed at punishing BDS activism and chilling speech supportive of Palestinian rights.5 Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights documented this pattern of suppression of Palestinian rights advocacy in a 2015 report, The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the U.S.6

As such, our belief that the Act, if enacted, would be enforced in this way is based on a well-researched pattern of suppression of First Amendment-protected speech and actions in support of Palestinian rights involving heightened government surveillance, investigations and prosecutions of individuals due to their support for Palestinian freedom, as well as private harassment and targeting, including by organizations that support the Act.

·         The Act will have the effect of chilling First Amendment-protected political speech.

Despite Senator Cardin’s efforts to insist the Israel Anti-Boycott Act doesn’t target political conduct, the leading lobby group for U.S. support of Israel, America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), itself frames it as a measure to “Combat the BDS Movement.”7  In the past two years, 21 states have enacted laws aimed at punishing participation in political boycotts for Palestinian rights.8 Together with these state laws, the Act will create a severe chilling effect on people across the country who are otherwise inclined to support First Amendment-protected boycotts for Palestinian rights, or who are merely curious to learn more. The wave of anti-BDS legislation, promoted by Israel advocacy groups to undermine the movement for Palestinian rights in the United States aims to send a clear signal that support for Palestinian rights is disfavored by our government and is potentially punishable.

Statements by state officials and Israel advocates illustrate their intent to thwart grassroots boycott campaigns. For example, when a state senator in Washington introduced an anti-BDS bill, he said, “If students want to protest on campus and do what students do, that’s just fine. But we’ll settle the question for them, the adults in [the] legislature.”9 The leader of one Israel advocacy group boasted, “[w]hile you were doing your campus antics, the grown-ups were in the state legislature passing laws that make your cause improbable.”10

Amending the Act to reduce the associated penalties or otherwise will not solve the underlying problems listed above, which illustrate how it is unconstitutional. We call on members of Congress who currently support the Act to withdraw their sponsorship. And we call on all members of Congress to publicly oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act and to affirm the First Amendment right to support political boycotts – including those aimed at achieving justice and equality for Palestinians.

Signatories (listed alphabetically)

  • American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • American Muslims for Palestine
  • Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
  • Center for Constitutional Rights
  • CODEPINK
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • Defending Rights and Dissent
  • Friends of Sabeel – North America
  • Jewish Voice for Peace
  • Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
  • Labor for Palestine
  • National Lawyers Guild and the National Lawyers Guild Palestine Sub-Committee
  • Palestine Legal
  • Project South
  • Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
  • United Church of Christ
  • United Methodists for Kairos Response
  • U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
  • U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights
  • U.S. Palestinian Community Network
  • War Resisters League

 

This statement has been endorsed by the following organizations, listed by state (updated August 31, 2017):

Alabama

  • Birmingham Peace Project

Arizona

  • Arizona Progressive Coalition – AZPC Inc.

California

  • 14 Friends of Palestine
  • Arab American Civic Council
  • Buena Vista United Methodist Church
  • Chico Palestine Action Group
  • Culture and Conflict Forum
  • Democrats for Palestinian Equal Rights
  • Friends of Sabeel, Sacramento Region
  • International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity
  • Israel Palestine Task Force of the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
  • Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area Chapter
  • Jewish Voice for Peace, Los Angeles Chapter
  • Jewish Voice for Peace, Sacramento Chapter
  • Jewish Voice for Peace, San Diego Chapter
  • Northern California International Solidarity Movement
  • QUIT: Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism
  • Sacramento Area Peace Action
  • Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights
  • Students for Justice in Palestine at California State University, Fullerton
  • United Methodists’ Holy Land Taskforce
  • Wellstone Progressive Democrats of Sacramento

Connecticut

  • Connecticut Peace and Solidarity Coalition
  • Greater New Haven Peace Council
  • Ironworkers Local 15
  • Jewish Voice for Peace, New Haven Chapter
  • Promoting Enduring Peace
  • Tree of Life Educational Fund
  • We Refuse to be Enemies

District of Columbia

  • U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations

Florida

  • Jewish Voice for Peace, South Florida Chapter
  • National Lawyers Guild, South Florida Chapter

Illinois

  • Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East
  • Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy
  • Committee for Just Peace in Israel-Palestine
  • Jewish Voice for Peace, Chicago Chapter
  • National Lawyers Guild, Chicago Chapter
  • Students for Justice in Palestine at UIUC

Kentucky

  • Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

Maryland

  • Baltimore Palestine Solidarity
  • Committee for Palestinian Rights
  • Freedom2Boycott Maryland
  • Friends of Sabeel DC Metro Area

Massachusetts

  • Adalah Justice Project
  • Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine
  • Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights
  • Common Ground for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land, Inc.
  • Jewish Voice for Peace, Boston Chapter
  • Massachusetts Peace Action
  • Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment

Missouri

  • Mid-Missourians for Justice in Palestine

New York

  • Adalah-NY: Campaign for the Boycott of Israel
  • Black Movement-Law Project
  • Brooklyn for Peace
  • Columbia/Barnard Jewish Voice for Peace
  • Columbia University Apartheid Divest
  • Columbia University Students for Justice in Palestine
  • Community of Living Traditions at Stony Point Center
  • Concerned Families of Westchester
  • Jewish Voice for Peace, Westchester Chapter
  • Jews Say No!
  • The Majlis Ash Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of New York
  • Muslim Peace Fellowship
  • Palestine Solidarity Alliance of Hunter College
  • Peace Action New York State
  • Queers Against Israeli Apartheid
  • Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
  • Syracuse Peace Council
  • USA-Palestine Mental Health Network
  • WESPAC Foundation
  • Westchester Coalition against Islamophobia

Oregon

  • Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights
  • Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land

Pennsylvania

  • Bryn Mawr Peace Coalition

Vermont

  • Green Mountain Solidarity with Palestine

Virginia

  • Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace
  • Virginia Coalition for Human Rights

Washington

  • Vancouver for Peace

 


1 ↩ The EAA expired in 2001. 50 U.S.C. §4622 (1977). It has been purportedly continued by executive order.

2 ↩ NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886 (1982).

3 ↩ Ben Cardin, Setting the Record Straight: Nothing in the Israel Anti-Boycott Act restricts constitutionally-protected free speech, Medium, July 20, 2017, https://medium.com/@SenatorBenCardin/setting-the-record-straight-nothing-in-the-the-israel-anti-boycott-act-restricts-constitutionally-13bfa7428d8.

4 ↩ Although one provision of the EAA was upheld on commercial speech grounds, the law was never challenged for its restrictions on political speech. Briggs & Stratton Corp. v. Baldridge, 728 F. 2d 915 (7th Cir. 1984). As described in this document, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act would significantly increase the law’s infringement on political speech.

5 ↩ Palestine Legal, Year-in-Review: Palestine Legal Responded to 258 Incidents in 2016, available athttp://palestinelegal.org/2016-report.

6 ↩ Palestine Legal and Center for Constitutional Rights, The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the U.S. (2015), available athttps://www.palestinelegal.org/the-palestine-exception.

7 ↩ See AIPAC, Fight The Boycott of Israel, http://www.aipac.org/learn/legislative-agenda/agenda-display?agendaid=%7BB499D12C-C5ED-4CA6-93CF-61266D842328%7D.

8 ↩ www.RightToBoycott.org.

9 ↩ Dyer Oxley, Senator: Colleges are being used as ‘politically-correct batons,’ MyNorthwest.com, Jan. 2, 2017, http://mynorthwest.com/500618/senator-baumgartner-bds-bill.

10 ↩ Eitan Arom, As BDS opponents move from campuses to state capitols ,California is up next, JNS.org, April 13, 2016, http://www.jns.org/latest-articles/2016/4/13/as-bds-opponents-move-from-campuses-to-state-capitols-california-is-up-next-1#.VzyMuULfjww=.

Why the Democratic Socialists of America Vote for BDS Is a Turning Point in American Left Politics (Alternet)

America’s largest socialist organization votes to stand in solidarity with Palestine.

DSA members vote almost unanimously to support BDS at their 2017 convention in Chicago (photo by Annie Shields via Twitter)

For a few veteran members of the Democratic Socialists of America like Eric Lee, this year’s annual convention in Chicago was a rude awakening. The DSA’s ranks suddenly swelled with thousands of new members, mostly younger activists mobilized by the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders and inspired by the success of socialist Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K. Lee shared their excitement about Sanders, and about the prospects of socialism gaining traction among middle-class voters worn down by decades of neoliberal austerity. What he could not stomach, however, was the new DSA generation’s enthusiastic support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Forged out of a consensus of Palestinian civil society organizations, BDS is a movement sweeping grassroots activism in the West that calls for the right of return of Palestinian refugees, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel and an end to the occupation. On August 5, DSA members voted almost unanimously in support of a resolution to back BDS.

Immediately after the measure passed, spontaneous cheering erupted along with chants of “Free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” as someone waved a giant Palestinian flag.

The vote to endorse BDS passes! 

The vote sent Lee into a rage, and ultimately out of an organization he had been affiliated with for decades. “I cannot in good conscience be a member of an organization which promotes a boycott of the Jewish state,” he wrote in a post on his personal blog. “I consider the BDS campaign to be antisemitic and racist. I oppose it as a socialist and as a Jew. I am appalled that DSA would take such a position.” (In a previous blog entry, Lee boasted of his service in the Israeli military and defended its occupation of the Palestinian West Bank.)

Though the old DSA had its share of anti-Zionists, it has typically avoided contentious votes that might have rankled the sensibilities of left Zionists like Lee. But at the DSA’s convention this year, its members voted to end the party’s 35-year relationship with the Socialist International, a constellation of center-left parties that include the corruption laden Mexican PRI, the increasingly neoliberal Socialist Party of France and Germany’s SPD—all parties that supported the special relationship with Israel in one form or another. The vote set the stage for approving the resolution in support of BDS.

Formed in 1982, DSA grew out of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee and the New American Movement. Membership has more than tripled in the last two years to over 25,000, owing largely to the momentous energy behind Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, anger with Trump and widespread disillusionment with the Democratic Party. The new members have brought fresh life and vital new perspectives to the group, allowing it to shake off whatever vestiges of Zionism remained among members, particularly that handful who still believed in the ethnically exclusive “socialism” of the kibbutzim. For the new generation of DSA members, supporting the Palestinian civil society boycott of Israel made more sense than seeking common ground with liberal-left Israeli parties like Meretz or Labor whose leadership had thrown their weight behind Israel’s past three wars on the Gaza Strip.

The question of how to respond to Israel has long been an issue that divided DSA members. The breakdown among the ranks went something like this: certain members (usually older), tried to reconcile socialism with Zionism by condemning the Israeli right while ignoring the many human rights abuses carried out by so-called leftists in the name of engineering a demographic majority for Jews in Palestine. Other members (usually younger), supported BDS unequivocally, recognizing it as the latest manifestation of a time-tested means of nonviolent protest and the most powerful force to combat Israeli apartheid in the 21st century. These contradictory stances led to some interorganizational disputes, but without a vote on the official stance, determining how many people believed what, and what they thought DSA should do about it, remained a challenge.

Support from France’s Mélenchon and a direct challenge to Democrats

Chip Gibbons joined DSA earlier this year after being involved in BDS activism since 2007. An architect of the BDS resolution, he sees Palestine solidarity as an essential component of the socialist tradition of internationalism.

Gibbons told me that a representative of La France Insoumise, the party of French leftist presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, commended the delegates after they passed the measure.

The text’s other main author, Delé Balogun from DSA’s North Chicago chapter, saw Israel’s occupation up close when he joined the African Heritage Delegation to Palestine, a special trip to Israel-Palestine aimed at fostering Black solidarity for the Palestinian struggle. At this past weekend’s convention, Balogun was elected to the 16-person National Political Committee, DSA’s primary governing body.

DSA’s resolution arrives at a crucial moment for the BDS movement. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland recently introduced a bill called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act that would make boycotting Israel a felony punishable by up to a $1 million fine or 20 years in prison. After a major public backlash, Cardin amended the bill so it would not apply to individuals and would not apply criminal penalties to violators, but the language remains disturbingly vague.

The DSA resolution took direct aim at Cardin, declaring that “DSA strongly opposes the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would make it a felony to advocate or support boycotts targeting Israel, as well as all similar legislation at the state and local levels.” With this statement, DSA has recorded its formal objection to the reactionary brand of hate speech laws that have already led to the arrests and convictions of BDS activists in France.

Rising anti-imperialism in DSA’sranks

Though DSA has come under fire from some quarters for its perceived indifference to imperialism, the organization’s critics may surprised to learn that over 90% of the delegates voted for the BDS resolution on Saturday morning. The 700 delegates’ votes, representing 42 local and statewide chapters, were so close to unanimous than an official tally wasn’t necessary.

“Those who struggle against oppression and for equality will always have our support,” said DSA Deputy National Director David Duhalde in an official statement. “Just as we answered the call to boycott South Africa during apartheid, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.” Rawan Tayoon, a Palestinian activist with DSA’s youth wing (known as Young Democratic Socialists, or YDS), added, “Democratic socialists aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo and demand what’s right. We stand against imperialism, we stand against racism, and so we must stand against Israeli apartheid and occupation.”

An informal group within DSA calling itself Democratic Socialists for Justice in Palestine workshopped and revised the text multiple times in order to maximize the impact of the statement and ensure that it represented the spirit of democratic socialism. Olivia Katbi Smith, a Portland delegate and member of the group, felt a sense of urgency in drafting the document: “As an Arab woman and a democratic socialist, it was incredibly important to me that the BDS resolution passed, especially in the face of the disgusting anti-BDS legislation that’s currently being pushed nationally.” She saw the vote as a chance for DSA members to participate in campaigns with concrete goals and demonstrated successes—an opportunity to go beyond moral symbolism and performative politics.

“Frankly this organization should have endorsed BDS a decade ago,” says Smith, reflecting the mood of many longtime DSA members. “As socialists we have a responsibility to side with the oppressed and commit to their unconditional liberation, and it’s about time that DSA takes a public stand in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters.”

Rob Bryan is a journalist who has written for Jacobin and Mondoweiss among other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @rbryan86

DSA BDS Resolution

DSA BDS Resolution

The Resolution of the Democratic Socialists for Justice in Palestine to the 2017 DSA National Convention

Whereas, on July 9, 2005 all major Palestinian civil society groups, including all major trade unions, issued an open letter calling for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights (BDS Call);

Whereas, July 9, 2005 marked the first anniversary of the International Court of Justice finding that  Israel’s construction of a wall annexing Palestinian territory in the West Bank to be illegal;

Whereas, the BDS Call noted one year later, Israel continued “construction of the colonial Wall with total disregard to the Court’s decision;”

Whereas, according to the BDS Call “all forms of international intervention and peace-making have until now failed to convince or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine;”

Whereas, in light of this failure, Palestinian civil society has asked for global civil society and people of conscience to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel until it recognized the basic human rights of the Palestinian people by: ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall, recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and; respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194;

Whereas, Palestinian trade unions are unanimous in their support of BDS and all three major Palestinian trade union federations are part of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions National Committee (BNC);

Whereas, DSA would be joining other US-based groups and unions in supporting BDS, including the United Electrical Workers, the Connecticut AFL-CIO, UAW Locals 2865, 2110, 2322, AFT Local 3220, the National Lawyers Guild, the American Studies Association, the African Literature Association, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, the Association for Asian American Studies, Jewish Voice for Peace, among others;

Whereas, since 1948 Israel has denied the right of return to Palestinian refugees;

Whereas, today there are five million refugees registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees;

Whereas, since 1967 Israel has militarily occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the Golan Heights;

Whereas, Israel has engaged in a program of rapacious colonization (“settlements”) of the Occupied Palestinian Territories,

Whereas, Israeli settlers in the West Bank are given the rights of Israeli citizenship, subject to civilian law, and are permitted to drive on roads barred to Palestinians;

Whereas, Palestinians in the West Bank are not Israeli citizens, are subjected to military law, including being tried in military courts with a 99% conviction rate, are forced to drive on different roads, go through military checkpoints, are subjected to collective punishment, such as house demolitions, and have their land annexed and colonized to build settlements in which they are forbidden to live;

Whereas, there are today at least 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship;

Whereas, all of the aforementioned constitutes apartheid;

Whereas, since 2007 Israel has maintained a ruthless siege of Gaza, home of 1.9 million Palestinians, including 1.3 million Palestinian refugees, limiting access to food, electricity, and other basic materials, restricting movement, and transforming Gaza into an open air prison;

Whereas, Israel has since the blockage engaged in three wars against Gaza, which included sustained aerial bombing and the use of white phosphorous;

Whereas, since Gaza, is one of the most densely populated areas on Earth any widespread bombing is by its very nature a war against civilians;

Whereas, Democratic Socialists of America has condemned Israeli settlements and its bombings of Gaza;

Whereas, Democratic Socialists of America already supports “partial BDS” (boycotts of settlement goods);

Whereas, Democratic Socialists of America has endorsed the Movement For Black Lives Platform, which includes support for BDS;

Whereas, Democratic Socialists of America and Young Democratic Socialists played an important role in the historic international movement against South African Apartheid, upon which the BDS call is based;

Whereas, BDS is an inclusive, anti-racist human rights movement that is opposed on principle to all forms of discrimination, including anti-semitism and Islamophobia;

Whereas, Israel is the largest recipient of US military aid, making the US complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights;

Whereas, socialists have a responsibility to side with the oppressed and are committed to their unconditional liberation:

 

BE IT RESOLVED:

  1. Democratic Socialists of America declares itself in solidarity with Palestinian civil society’s nonviolent struggle against apartheid, colonialism, military occupation and for equality, human rights, and self-determination.
  2. Democratic Socialists of America responds to Palestinian Civil Society’s call by fully supporting BDS.
  3. Democratic Socialists of America affirms that any political solution to the ongoing crisis must be premised on the realization of basic human rights, including all rights outlined in the BDS call.
  4. Within 30 days after passing, a copy of this resolution shall be sent to the BNC.

Will Labor Stand for More Limits to Boycott Rights? | Stanley Heller

first published at  www.peacenews.org

Will Labor Stand for More Limits to Boycott Rights? | Stanley Heller

 

About The Author

Stanley Heller Administrator of and writer for Promoting Enduring Peace and hosts “The Struggle” TV News, at www.TheStruggle.org. He can be reached at stanley.heller@pepeace.org.

After the Wagner Act was passed in 1935 trade unions had tremendous freedom in organizing, striking and encouraging act of solidarity. A key tactic was the boycott, where union members asked the public not to buy products made by replacement “scab” labor during strikes, or when a union picket line would confront workers from suppliers and insist they not deliver supplies across a picket line. Sometimes a union would picket the supplier itself or call on the public to boycott the products of the supplier.

In 1947 Congress took up the Taft-Hartley Act. One part of it banned unions from calling for “secondary boycotts” from picketing companies supplying a company that was using scab workers or otherwise causing a worker. Trade unions called the bill the “slave labor” law. They spent a million dollars (roughly $11,000,000 in today’s money) in ads to try to defeat it. It didn’t work. President Truman did veto the bill, but Congress overrode the veto and it became the law.

For years getting rid of Taft-Hartley was a major goal of labor, but after a while trade union leadership just tried to get along with it. Over the decades there were many boycotts called like the grape boycott, Hormel, Farah pants, the boycott of Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, etc. Some helped to win strikes. Other solidarity actions were limited and weak because of Taft-Hartley.

Now a new bill going through Congress is a further threat to boycott rights. On the face of it, the bill doesn’t have anything to do with unions. It would ban people for calling for support of the U.N. or the European Union or any international governmental organization boycott of Israel. The penalties are incredible. The American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes the bill, says there is a possible penalty of a $250,000 civil fine, a criminal fine up to a million dollars and jail time of up to 20 years in prison!

Why should Congress have any power to limit our free speech right to call for a boycott, whether it’s a cruel government of a foreign country or a rotten company in the U.S. mistreating workers? This limit on boycott rights is outrageous and the penalties are grotesque. You could rob a bank and get less punishment.

Now while you won’t find the words “union” or “labor” in the bill there is a possible direct connection. The International Labour Organization is a U.N. and hence governmental organization. If it called for a boycott of Israel (and many unions around the world have done so), calling for support of the ILO boycott could get you in jail.

Even if there’s no immediate connection with labor, there’s the matter of “precedent,” an event or action that can be used as an example for further action. The right wing assault on unions is picking up. At the start of the year a major anti-worker rights law passed in Kentucky. It is all too believable that if this anti-boycott law concerning Israel passes, one day it will be used as a precedent for a law to ban calling for a boycott of some dear little billionaire whose workers have the gall to walk out for decent pay and working conditions.

So far the big trade unions are ignoring the issue. It’s up to us to educated them. You can contact the “Change to Win” federation at info@changetowin.org. The AFLCIO contact page is here: https://aflcio.org/contact-us. The Teamsters contact page is https://teamster.org/about/contact-teamsters. You can always tweet @aflcio @teamsters @change2win.

There is one trade union that should be sympathetic because it’s already boycotting Israel. The union is the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers. One of its activists spoke at a rally for Palestine in Hartford on July 25. Here’s their contact page: https://www.ueunion.org/ueform.html. Best email might be uewashington@ranknfile-ue.org. They’re having a convention in Pittsburgh in August. Maybe they can put forward a resolution against the bill in Congress at their convention.

Of course, if you’re a union member you can make your local union aware of the issue and call on it to bring it up with the folks who do legislation in DC.

(Full disclosure. I’ve been a member of three trade unions, Retail Clerks, Machinists and the American Federation of Teachers, the last one continuously since 1969)

Investigate groups with “Jewish-sounding” names, says Nevada lawmaker (Electronic Intifada)

Investigate groups with “Jewish-sounding” names, says Nevada lawmaker

Despite allegations of dirty tricks by lobbyists, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed an anti-BDS bill into law on 2 June. (via Facebook)

This month, Nevada became the 20th state to adopt legislation against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, after an Israel advocacy organization allegedly made threatening remarks to lawmakers if they opposed the bill.

Meanwhile, The Electronic Intifada has obtained a memo from a Nevada lawmaker to fellow Jewish lawmakers across the United States giving advice on how to fight back against the movement for Palestinian rights – including the Jewish activists who support it.

According to the Las Vegas Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, state assembly member Edgar Flores said he was threatened by the Israeli-American Coalition for Action, which told him that his political career would be ended if he did not support the anti-BDS bill.

Flores was one of only three lawmakers to abstain in a vote on the bill.

Though no other legislators have revealed they were threatened, Seth Morrison, of Jewish Voice for Peace in Las Vegas, suspects Flores was not alone.

Morrison points out that assembly member Skip Daly voted against the bill during a committee meeting, but joined Flores in abstaining for the final vote.

Jewish Voice for Peace in Las Vegas believes that Dillon Hosier, the Israeli-American Coalition for Action lobbyist, secretly recorded private meetings with at least two assembly members.

Morrison outlined these allegations of dirty tactics and intimidation in a letter to the governor, urging him to veto the legislation. But on 2 June, Governor Brian Sandoval signed the bill into law.

Blacklist

The law prohibits the state from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel. Nevada will now prepare a blacklist of companies that are said to boycott Israel.

Other states that have passed similar laws have included companies on their blacklists that withdrew from Israel for their own economic interests, such as G4S.

The world’s largest security firm, G4S announced it was dumping almost all of its business in Israel following a sustained campaign against its involvement in human rights abuses against Palestinians.

The Nevada bill was opposed by Jewish Voice for Peace, the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada and the Culinary Union, which all argued the bill infringes on constitutional rights to speech and association.

The Culinary Union is one of the largest in Nevada and represents workers in the Las Vegas hotel and casino industry. It also describes itself as the state’s largest immigrant organization.

The union argued that boycotts are a fundamental tool for organizing for justice.

Despite this broad opposition, the state assembly passed the bill 39-0 with 3 abstentions, and the senate voted 19-2 in favor.

The two dissenting senators were Yvanna Cancela and Tick Segerblom, both of whom have records of advocating for civil liberties.

“They are both very progressive and very brave,” JVP’s Morrison told The Electronic Intifada.

Spiegel memo

Less than two weeks after the bill became law, Nevada assembly member Ellen Spiegel sent an internal memo to the National Association of Jewish Legislators listing key lessons to the bill’s success. (The memo is attached below.)

The National Association of Jewish Legislators, of which Spiegel is an officer, has placed combatting BDS on the top of its agenda.

Spiegel writes that even though the bill passed by such wide margins, “it required a lot of work.”

Spiegel encourages direct collaboration with Israel lobby organizations, including the Israeli-American Coalition for Action, the Israel Action Network and The Israel Project.

The Israeli-American Coalition for Action has already spent $50,000 in 2017 to lobby for anti-BDS legislation in Congress – five times as much as it spent last year. It is the lobbying arm of the Israeli-American Coalition, which is backed by wealthy anti-Palestinian donors Adam Milstein and Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Spiegel says these groups can “provide back up support throughout the process.”

She claims that the legislation passed in states across the country is “seeking to protect Israel from harm,” and urges advocates to “talk about Israel as a ‘safe haven’ for Jews” and as an “important trading partner.”

But she also encourages lawmakers to advance arguments that Israel should be entitled to keep “contested” land – the occupied West Bank – because it “won” it during the 1967 war.

Opposition research

Significantly, the memo indicates Spiegel’s discomfort with the fact that not all Jewish Americans support the anti-BDS agenda.

She recommends trying to discredit groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, urging lawmakers to “do some research on the people presenting the opposing testimony.”

“If they are members of an organization with a Jewish-sounding name, try to determine whether it really is a Jewish group,” she writes.

Spiegel also suggests that anti-BDS legislation should appear to represent a “bipartisan” consensus and that proponents should “invite the participation of the state’s Jewish and non-Jewish communities.”

Spiegel advises Israel advocates to prepare to answer why all Jews do not support anti-BDS legislation. She suggests invoking the words of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, who several years ago expressed opposition to a total boycott of Israel.

But she fails to mention that in the same statement – which was widely criticized by Palestinians – Abbas nonetheless expressed support for boycotting products from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

According to Spiegel, opponents of the anti-BDS bill “spoke with legislators about the importance of using boycotts as free speech and were privately telling African Americans and Latinos that they wouldn’t have equal rights if not for use of boycotts.”

Boycotts did indeed play a major role in the civil rights movement – leading to the landmark 1982 US Supreme Court decision ruling that boycotts intended to bring about social, political and economic change are constitutionally protected free speech.

Seth Morrison says that while he is disappointed the bill passed, he is also energized. He helped found the Las Vegas chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace last year, and says this was the first time that people mobilized to oppose a pro-Israel bill in Nevada.

“We’ve shown legislators that they can’t do things like this without being called out for it.”

UCU Congress rejects “confusing” definition of antisemitism (Free Speech on Israel and BRICUP)

UCU Congress rejects “confusing” definition of antisemitism

Press Release from Free Speech on Israel and BRICUP (British Committee for the Universities of Palestine)

for immediate release – 29th May 2017

UCU Congress rejects “confusing” definition of antisemitism

Support for Palestinian professor denied entry to Israel

Free Speech on Israel, a Jewish-led organisation which defends the right to criticise Israel, and the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, which campaigns for academic and cultural boycott of Israel, today welcomed the vote by the University and College Union (UCU) to reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

Motion 57, submitted by UCU branches at the University of Leeds, Goldsmiths, and the University of Brighton, along with two strengthening amendments from Queen’s University Belfast and London Retired Members Branch, was carried overwhelmingly in the closing minutes of UCU’s annual Congress in Brighton.  Only one delegate spoke against the motion.

UCU Congress delegates standing up to racism

UCU had previously, in 2011, rejected the “Working Definition of Antisemitism” of the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).  The IHRA definition strongly resembles the EUMC version.  Today’s vote strengthens UCU’s existing policy.

Both these definitions are considered highly problematic because they seek to conflate criticism of Israel with genuine anti-Jewish racism: examples cited in them make explicit reference to Israel.  The UK Government has adopted the IHRA definition, and in February this year Universities Minister Jo Johnson wrote to Universities UK insisting that university activities must respect the definition.  In particular, he alleged that “anti-Semitic incidents … might take place under the banner of ‘Israel (sic) Apartheid’ events.”  Some universities have banned or curtailed campus events during Israeli Apartheid week or subsequently, and campaigners for Palestinian human rights consider that the definition is being used to censor legitimate political activity and debate which criticises the Israeli occupation and human rights abuses.

In moving the motion, Mark Abel of Brighton UCU noted that an event organised by Friends of Palestine had been cancelled by the University of Central Lancashire, who cited the IHRA definition as making the event ‘unlawful’.

Reacting to this wave of censorship the new, Jewish-led organisation Free Speech on Israel, along with Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Independent Jewish Voices, and Jews for Justice for Palestinians, obtained a legal Opinion from the eminent human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC.

The Opinion is devastating: it characterises the IHRA definition as confusing, not legally binding, and putting public bodies that use it at risk of “unlawfully restricting legitimate expressions of political opinion”.  A public body that bans a meeting under the IHRA definition without any evidence of genuine antisemitism could be breaching the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees freedom of expression (Article 10), and freedom of assembly (Article 11).

In concluding his speech, Mark Abel said: “This is a dangerous conflation of anti-Zionism and anti-semitism. … It is a definition intended to silence those who wish to puncture the Israeli state’s propaganda that it is a normal liberal democratic state.”

Mike Cushman, a UCU member and co-founder of FSOI, said: “Free speech on Israel welcomes UCU’s recognition that fighting antisemitism is a separate struggle from defending the rights of Palestinians, and that both these struggles are important. Putting these in opposition to each other assists both antisemites and war criminals.”

Les Levidow, a UCU member speaking for BRICUP, said: “Congratulations to UCU for defending free speech on Israel/Palestine by rejecting the government-IHRA agenda to weaponise antisemitism, conflated with anti-Zionism.”

UCU Congress also passed a motion in support of Professor Kamel Hawwash, a UCU member at the University of Birmingham, who was prevented from entering Israel on 7th April on a trip with his wife and young son to visit relatives in occupied East Jerusalem.  It seems likely that Prof. Hawwash was banned under the new Israeli boycott law, which prevents activists accused of supporting BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) from entering Israel.  Prof. Hawwash was until recently the vice-chair of PSC.  The General Secretary of UCU will now be writing to the Israeli Embassy and the FCO to urge that the ban on Prof. Hawwash and all non-violent human rights campaigners be lifted.

ENDS

Motion 57 As amended and agreed

Composite: International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism

Congress notes:

  1. UCU’s exemplary anti-racist work, eg. Holocaust Memorial Day materials
  2. policy (2011) dissociating UCU from the ‘EUMC working definition’ of anti-semitism
  3. the close similarity between the IHRA and EUMC definitions, including their conflation of antisemitism with criticism of Israel
  4. that government has formally adopted the IHRA definition of anti-semitism
  5. that this definition conflates anti-semitism with criticism of the state of Israel and has been used to intimidate academics who are engaged in activities that are critical of the policies of the Israeli government but that are not anti-semitic
  6. government-inspired attempts to ban Palestine solidarity events, naming Israeli Apartheid Week
  7. The legal opinion from Hugh Tomlinson QC, obtained by PSC and other groups, characterising the IHRA definition as confusing, not legally binding, and putting public bodies that use it at risk of ‘unlawfully restricting legitimate expressions of political opinion’.

Congress re-affirms:

  1. UCU’s condemnation of all forms of racial or religious hatred or discrimination
  2. UCU’s commitment to free speech and academic freedom
  3. the importance of open campus debate on Israel/Palestine.

Congress resolves that UCU dissociates itself from the IHRA definition and will make no use of it (eg. in educating members or dealing with internal complaints).

Congress instructs:

  1. NEC to contact all members in a dedicated communication urging report to NEC of all repressive uses of the IHRA definition
  2. conduct research about the implications of the use of the IHRA definition
  3. general secretary to write to VCs/principals urging staff protection from malicious accusations, and freedom of political criticism
  4. president to issue, and circulate to members, a detailed press statement on UCU’s criticism of the IHRA definition
  5. lobby government to seek a review of its endorsement of the IHRA definition and to replace it with one that will both protect free speech and combat anti-semitism.

Recalling the experience of Fraser vs UCU, we call upon the NEC to take a position against any university management that reacts to spurious accusations of anti-semitism by banning speakers who are opposed to the policies of the state of Israel but who have not in any way expressed racism against Jewish people.

Victory! We salute the striking Palestinian prisoners (Labor for Palestine)