Download in PDF format: 1977.06.06- Detroit Arab Workers March on Palestine Day
DE I HOlT ARAB WORKE–RS . · . ~ MARCH ON PALESTINE DAY . _. . . d
. ~ ~””‘ · ~ . .
The ‘ Arab –community in the Detroit area recently held a
major demonstration and rally to mark Palestine Week.
Palestine Week is observed each year in many American
cities to help publicize and build supportJor the P(llestinian
struggle. . .
The Paleadalana’laacll were occaplecl by leraellD the 1948
and 1967 MJcldJe Eat wars. They waat the rfaht to retu,n to
their bomee aad lo 11111 tbelr owa eoaaby.
In Detroit, thousands of Arabs work in a number of the
biggest auto plants. Many are members of UA W locals l~e
600 (Ford Rouae), 3 (Dodge Main) and 51 (Lynch and M~d
Road Chrysler). . –
Because of the size of the ~b working class and the
strength of community organiZation, the Palestine Week
action probably mobilizes more workers than any other single
political demonstration iJl Detroit. ·
WOlken’ Pew• latervJewed AWeea Jabara [pbolo
abo\’e), • · lawyer who wu oae of the oraankert for the
Some of the posters called
for unity between Arab and
American working classes.
We had statements of
support from workers in the
UAW. In fact, the president of
UA W Local· 600 issue¥ a very
strong solidarity state’1’f!nt. and
someone from Local J Executive
Board was there although they did
not issue a formal statement.
There has been a very sizeable
recent immigration from lebanon,
along with continuing immigration
from Iraq. Yemen and the
territories occupied by Israel in
The process of organizing this
community· actually began ten
years ago. after the June 1967 war.
That war had a very traumatic
effect on the morale and psycho!.”
. ogy of many individuals in this
It is very significant that many of
the resolutions of support (from
unions and local government
bodies) not only support the human Perhaps the single most import·
rights of Palestinian refugees. but ant event during this time. in
also the political rights of the demonstrating to the community
Palestinian people. the power of united activity with
The Arab-apeaklng community workers, was the November, 1973
ln the Delnlll mell’opohtan area u demonstration at Cobo Hall.
the largest In North America, and [This demonstration was held to
haa-b«n !Pl’•iq by leapa_a.ruL_pxotest an_ .aw.ard ,.to. Leona¢
bou.nda. Woodcock, then-UA w· President.
.‘.–.,..!.).‘. . ,.‘. ., …-• –G J.Gil
!Above] Palestine Day march In Detroit, demanding political rights lor the
l>alestlnlan people. [Left] Abdeen Jabara, one of the organizers of the
for the union’s support of Israeli
Betw<‘<‘n two and three thousand
workers. shopkeepers. students.
unemployed, elderly and women
participated from the community.
The participation or Arablespeaking
workers shut down a
whole shift at Dodge Main. We
didn‘t actually realize this at the
That demonstration had a
profound effect on the union
hierarchy. Woodcock was visibly
shaken by the massiveness of the
Here was a mass demonstration
of Black. white and third world
workers protesting the complicity
of the UA W in supporting a racist
regime in the Middle East-that is,
Emil Mazey charged the whole
demonstration was Communist·
in~pired, which of course revealed
where much or the union leadership
was at. That is, out-and-out
McCarthyism and red-baiting.
Among other things, we buJJt
that «\!:monstratlon by putting _ads
In the Black press and circulating
leaOets ezplalnlng how we,.as Arab
workers and UA W members, feel
about dues money deducted from
our paychecks being spent on
Israeli war bonds.
We regard this just as Black auto
workers would feel if money were
taken from their dues to support
the government of South Africa.
Thc”‘B,rgument’ is always used
wid~–~by. -lcadec!> ilf tbe . .uniilnmovement.
that ‘ Israel is a
democracy and has a viable union
movement called Histadrut.
But there arc also unions in
South Africa for white workers.
That doesn’t make it a country with
a viable labor-based union move·
In Israel, there is a labor
structure with European (Ashken·
azi) Jews at the top, Oriental
(Sephardic) Jewish worker$ below
t]Jem, Israeli Arabs further down.
and Palestinian workers from the
occupied territories, with no real
protection from the unions, at the
Today Israel, In fact, Is strength·
enlng Its ties with South Africa.
Just last week it was announced
that Israel is cooperating to build a
military security fence around
For a long time they have
cooperated in the area of intelligence
and military information.
Israel is an importer of over half a
billion dollars worth of South
African goods. •
The union movement in this
country has also used the Histadrut
to come into third world countries
to establish pro-U.S.-government
We have made it clear we intend
to make these facts known. either
by massive demonstrations or by
exposing them, and to show
that these activities are ‘ ·
against the wish'”‘ of raDk ==-
and file workers. 0