Monthly Archives: August 2006

NYCLAW Statement: U.S. Government and Labor Aid to Israel

U.S. Government and Labor Aid to Israel

Presented by Michael Letwin, Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against
the War; Former President, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys

at the

International Panel to Launch Campaign for Accountability for
U.S./Israeli War Crimes, NYC, August 30, 2006


Israel’s crimes are possible only due to the U.S. aid for Israel.
Here are the essential facts:

Since 1948, the U.S. government -– with full bipartisan support -–
has provided Israel with at least $90 billion – which, if adjusted
for inflation and interest, comes to $247 billion.

For more than thirty years, Israel has been the top recipient of U.S.
government foreign aid, and in the past ten years alone, the U.S. has
given Israel more than $17 billion in military aid.

As a result, U.S. weapons make up the bulk of Israel’s arsenal.
These include:

*364 combat aircraft, including F-16s, F-15s and A-4s.

*261 helicopters, including Cobras, Apaches, Black Hawks and Sea

*More than 700 M-60 tanks.

*More than 6000 APCs.

*350 155mm artillery pieces.

*An unknown quantity of ordnance, including cluster bombs.

And this does not include the nuclear weapons provided to Israel by
the U.S. and Britain.

In addition, Israel receives huge amounts of aid from private
sources – including U.S. labor unions.

State employee retirement plans and union pension funds have as much
as $5 billion invested in State of Israel Bonds.

So it’s not surprising that in April 2002, while Israel butchered
hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Jenin, AFL-CIO president John
Sweeney spoke at a “National Solidarity Rally for Israel.”

Or that the American Federation of Teachers has specifically
supported Israel’s attack on Lebanon. U.S. Labor Against the War, a
major affiliate of United for Peace and Justice, remains silent.

It’s not that the leadership of these labor organizations is
unfamiliar with the realities of Zionism. Rather, their support for,
and/or silence about, Israeli apartheid reflects their overall
alignment with the Democratic Party and U.S. empire.

Fortunately, many labor bodies around the world have responded to
Israel’s recent attacks by standing with the Palestinian and Lebanese

These include the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU),
the General Union of Oil Employees in Iraq, and major British trade
unions. Even before the current escalation, several labor bodies in
Britain, Canada and elsewhere called for divestment from Israel.

New York City Labor Against the War, which was founded in the days
following 9/11, stands with these international labor bodies.

After top U.S. labor officials vocally supported Israel during the
Jenin massacre, NYCLAW endorsed Palestinian self-defense, statehood
and the Right of Return throughout historic Palestine; picketed the
Israeli consul’s speech at the AFL-CIO Executive Council; and hosted
a forum for visiting Palestinian trade unionists.

Together with Al-Awda New York, The Palestine Right to Return
Coalition, NYCLAW is a cosponsor of Labor for Palestine
<> .

And on August 11, we issued a statement
<> arguing
the labor and the antiwar movement must see the wars in Lebanon and
Palestine as inseparable from U.S. wars of empire throughout the
Middle East, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you are a union member or unorganized worker who wants to support
this work, please contact us at: .

The League of Revolutionary Black Workers, Arab-Americans & Palestine Solidarity (Pan-African News Wire)


Pan-African News Wire

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The League of Revolutionary Black Workers, Arab-Americans & Palestine Solidarity

Detroit: I Do Mind Dying: A Study in Urban Revolution
Originally uploaded by panafnewswire. The League of Revolutionary Black Workers, Arab Americans and Palestine Solidarity

Lauren Ray

Palestine solidarity activists face intimidation. If we are talented at what we do, organizing and educating about the nature of Israel’s white supremacy and colonialism, it is a real risk that we may lose our jobs or get thrown out of school. That the media, the twin managers of corporate capital and trade union bureaucracy, and even so-called defenders of intellectual freedom are liable to turn against us is an occupational hazard. John Watson, member of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and student editor of the South End, the campus newspaper of Wayne State University in Detroit, confronted these obstacles in 1968.The paper published an article/editorial favorable toward Palestinian guerrilla operations against Israel. The reaction far outstripped anything before thrown at the South End and set off a series of events that would lead to Watson being pushed out as editor.

Meanwhile in the auto plants of Detroit, thousands of Arab immigrants were laboring, like their African American co-workers, under difficult conditions and represented by a United Auto Workers (UAW) union that was, when not openly hostile, showed willful neglect. By 1973 the number of Arab auto workers had grown significantly. As a sign of increasing militancy, they organized against Leonard Woodcock, then president of the UAW, for accepting an award from B’nai B’rith and against Local 600 for buying Israeli bonds. As well, whereas in the past they had often crossed the picket lines, these Arab auto workers participated in the wildcat strikes called by the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.

Racial and class subordination at home, along with imperialism abroad, produced important and significant activity among Black and Arab workers in the Detroit area. Looking at such a confluence can bring historical weight to the vital strategic importance of a principled and consistent anti-racist democratic perspective which is independent and antagonistic to the permanent hypocrisy of the politicians, local officials, administrators and the union bosses.

The League of Revolutionary Black Workers

The League of Revolutionary Black Workers arose out of the growing militancy of the Black Freedom Movement during the 1960s.[1] The struggle for black autonomy, that found its form in both non-violent direct action and armed uprisings across the U.S., was being unrelentingly repressed by the forces of coercion protecting white supremacy. The so-called progressive moves by the state to expand public welfare and civil rights legislation were finally implemented to subdue rebellious masses (not forge a “Great Society” as the state pretended). Out of continued frustration, anger, and the hopeless limitations of these progressive moves, Black communities exploded from Watts to Newark to Detroit.

The Detroit rebellion of July 1967 was one of the largest Black insurrections this country has seen. It lasted about five days, and during that time African Americans responded to years of police brutality and oppression in the workplace by taking to the streets and battling all the forces of coercion that the U.S. state had to offer—the Detroit police, the National Guard and the U.S. army were called out to suppress the uprising.

Out of the ashes of the city wide rebellion, Black workers brought militant rebellion directly to their capitalist managers. In May of 1968, while the world was watching an epic uprising in France of workers and students which nearly toppled the French rulers, between three and four thousand workers participated in a wildcat strike at the Dodge Main auto plant. This strike was a protest against two main factors. First, black workers were being stifled in the factory by racist policies that kept them in the most back-breaking jobs with no chance of promotion or pay increase. At a time when intellectuals were theorizing about automation making workers obsolete, black workers at another plant were beginning to refer with ironic humor to the conditions of labor they faced as “niggermation.”

Second, Black workers faced racism in the unions, particularly the United Auto Workers (UAW), which the League renamed “U Ain’t White” for its policies of discrimination and exclusion towards black folks. This fact has not always been clear in the historical record because the major leader of the UAW, Walter Reuther, while doing nothing to fight racism where he had the power to do so inside his own union, has been written up more as a symbol of unity between civil rights and organized labor than for his actual substance.[2]

Several of the Black workers decided to organize the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM). A number of other RUMs were soon established at other factories in Detroit including the famous and huge Ford River Rouge Plant, and Chrysler’s Eldon Avenue Gear and Axle plant, but also with spinoffs nationally.[3] With increasing success and popularity of RUM wildcat strikes and popular associations among black workers, an umbrella organization, named the League of Revolutionary Black Workers (LRBW), was created in 1969 to centralize the organizing efforts.

During its short lifetime, the LRBW was to become a radical beacon of light in the struggle for Black autonomy in a turbulent time of political assassinations, state repression, and growing imperialist aggression at the hands of the U.S. state. The founding leaders of the LRBW along with John Watson were Ken Cockrel, Luke Tripp, Mike Hamlin, General Baker, and Chuck Wooten. Ernest Allen and James Forman would play prominent roles subsequently. They would be inspired by such precursors as the Afro-American Student Movement, the ideas of CLR James and James and Grace Lee Boggs, Pan-Africanism, and Third World Marxist ideas associated with China and Cuba. There would be a permanent tension between race and class as a prism for maintaining the direction of the LRBW’s political philosophy which would lead ultimately to its collapse.

On one hand the LRBW with its initial dual unionism approach was not advocating for a progressive ruling class, where folks of color would replace the colonial or white rulers to whom they were currently enslaved. On the other, their dual unionism did not maintain ideals of working class self-management but contributed to the compromise of affirmative action in both union and managerial leadership. However, in keeping focus on their international outlook, they did maintain that the key to worldwide liberation lie in the dismantling of white supremacy and empire, and the creation of societies based on the self-determination of all people. Elements from the DRUM constitution demonstrate this aspect of internationalism within the LRBW. The organizers wrote:

We recognize our struggle is not an isolated one and that we have common cause with the black workers in this racist nation and throughout the world…By being in the forefront of this revolutionary struggle we must act swiftly to help organize DRUM-type organizations…be it in Lynn Townsend’s kitchen, the White House, White Castle, Ford Rouge, the Mississippi Delta, the plains of Wyoming, the tin mines of Bolivia, the rubber plantation of Indonesia, the oil fields of Biafra, or the Chrysler plants in South Africa.[4]

The LRBW’s solidarity with international struggles found its way into many of the organization’s writings. Every organization needs its mouthpiece, and for some time the messenger for DRUM, and later the League, was the Inner City Voice (ICV). A publication distributed mostly among Black workers in the various Detroit auto factories, it was originally published in 1967. When funding began to run out for the ICV a year later, the DRUM organizers sought another outlet through which they could continue to advocate autonomous organization of the Black workers and denounce institutionalized oppressions.

John Watson soon found that opportunity when, as a student at Wayne State University, he ran for editor of the student newspaper and won. The South End was turned into an important outlet for LRBW perspectives and a mass circulation paper. Watson sought to distribute the paper off-campus as well. It would become a platform for which it advocated support for a number of national liberation and guerilla warfare struggles in Mexico, Guatemala, Vietnam, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), South Africa as well as Palestine, making systematic connections between conditions at home and struggles abroad.[5] Making these connections was to lead the League of Revolutionary Black Workers to cultivate links with Arab groups and showing films on the Palestinian struggle. Finally, in 1973, Watson went to the Middle East and met with Palestinian guerrilla organizations.

“Pandora’s Box”[6]

After Watson published the editorial statement on Palestinian resistance to Israel in Wayne State’s student paper, President Keast of the university—already eager to remove Watson because of the publishing of articles on Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Marxism and the struggle in Greece, as well as local controversies such as attacking the United Auto Workers leadership—attacked the paper saying it was “reminiscent of Hitler’s Germany.”[7] City, state, union officials, local papers and television shortly followed suit, culminating in an arson attack on South End offices. The alumni group and state legislature threatened to cut off funding and even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) made a censuring statement. A Pandora’s Box was opened.

Watson’s response cut to the heart of the matter. If all of these people were so horrified by racism then why did all of the critics of the editorial say nothing about the institutional racism against Black and Arab workers in the auto plants or in the city. Official society protested criticism of the abuses committed by the Zionist state, and yet remained silent about the abuses being suffered by Black and Arab workers in Detroit, even though the facts and figures displayed these abuses for all to see. Watson also asked why some critics of the editorial belonged to the exclusive Detroit Athletic Club, which discriminated against Jews, or lived in the exclusive suburb Gross Pointe, known to discriminate against Blacks. For Watson the South End, like the League, took a stand against all forms of racism but the critics only selectively and disingenuously responded to racism when it benefited them. Further, Detroit had the largest Arab population in the United States and he wondered why they were so dangerous that their points of view had to be kept in the closet at all costs.

Considering Watson’s response from a contemporary point of view is rewarding. While today’s politicians, union officials, alumni groups and newspapers piously celebrate jumbled and falsified versions of the African and African American freedom struggles, the Arab struggle is designated still as a major enemy. The discontents and battles fought by Arab Americans are silenced as the state attempts to mold them into another “model minority,” when convenient, leaving suppressed a rich history of resistance, especially surrounding Palestine solidarity. On the other hand, when Palestinians and Arabs do not comply, the state, politicians, experts and “responsible” leaders mobilize the rainbow-colored coalition against the “bad races.” This reflects the structural relations in the Middle East where the Palestinian struggle is in the forefront of fighting imperialism and colonialism. The “Pandora’s Box” is indicative of this important point. The greater the oppression the greater the hysteria over the racial threat found in the Arab peoples and, in particular Palestinians.

We are told that Palestine solidarity arose in the states during the 1980s by white college kids. This historical account offered to us, like most accounts of U.S. history we receive in school and elsewhere, ignores not only the more radical grassroots elements of Palestine solidarity among Arab Americans, but likewise the essential multi-racial alliances forged by Arab Americans with African Americans, among other groups. White supremacy and imperialism cross all racial, ethnic, and geographic boundaries and have been the tools facilitating the oppression of peoples in Detroit and around the globe. As one radical group operating out of the Dodge Main plant put it, “Chrysler figures that no one will try to help an Arab worker when Chrysler attacks him. So now Chrysler is attacking…It’s the same kind of shit they have pulled with black people.”[8]

Many Arab workers in turn honored wildcat strikes called by the League and when their numbers increased they became more organized, like Black workers, independently within the union. The confluence of fighting white supremacy in the union and the auto plant and in Israel/Palestine took shape in organizational form during this period in Detroit. Arab workers like African American workers got the worst jobs and the least pay – something the union facilitated for the management. Union leadership, had since just after the Second World War, worked with capitalist management to discipline workers from any further advance toward control of the union and ultimately production. Further, union bureaucracy worked with management to use people of color workers as strike breaking leverage, while at the same time tried to keep them out of the union or from forming their own organizations.

By the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Arab workers were experiencing this same dynamic. Not only did they get low pay, the worst jobs, and were the first to be fired. But when the local union boss, Leonard Woodcock accepted a Humanitarian Award from B’nai B’rith, Arab and other workers walked off the job as two afternoon shifts were shut down to protest the UAW purchase of Israeli bonds. When Ford local 600 union bought Israeli bonds, only adding to its three-quarters of a million in bonds it already held, Arab workers decided to organize against union leadership. Arab workers made the argument that the Union should not be invested in the Zionist state just like it should not be invested in the Afrikaaner or Rhodesian regime. 3,000 marched to the union’s offices.[9] The ignoring and coercion of Arab workers by the union bureaucrats and the management was part of a long history of racism and class warfare against the rank and file that is still with us today.

This Pandora’s Box in America, its explosive potential for fundamental change, suggests two lessons on some of the key struggles of this period for our own time. The first was in the contradictions within the union between discipline from above and rank-and-file control of the union and, ultimately, moving out into control of production in the plant. The second was the contradictions between two forces. While all along the state and official society talked about democracy and freedom, there was racism directed against Black and Arab workers and students at home along with U.S. support abroad for the racist war in Zimbabwe, Vietnam and the Portuguese colonies, and Apartheid under the Afrikaaner and Zionist regimes. On the other was the struggle by ordinary people against this systematic racial oppression. These two diametrically opposed traditions of democracy still hold their explosive force today – one seeking to enforce racial and class discipline from above in the name of democracy and freedom, and the other the struggle and implementation of self-government towards the abolishment of class and white supremacy from below.


Arab and African American workers never formed an organization coming out of this period of ferment in early 1970’s Detroit. However, what is important is that Black and Arab workers, while coming from different cultural histories, found themselves together under white supremacy and capitalism in the U.S., and African and Arab nations attacked and subordinated by imperialism and settler colonialism abroad. Facing this they began to move in the same direction. The explosiveness of the Palestine/Israel situation was indicative of this. Nowhere in the world are the contradictions of imperialism and liberal and social democracy so sharp and clear than in the oppression of the Palestinians. Watson and the LRBW’s experience shows how the officials who said they support civil rights could say so little about the exploitation of Black people and workers in Detroit and elsewhere, or about the oppression of the Palestinian people. At this point the state had assimilated the civil rights agenda and used it as a way to beat back more fundamental change suggested by aspects of the Black Power movement, including efforts towards an end to imperialism and colonialism abroad, such as that which the Palestinians live under in the Jewish state. We are witnessing a similar trend today, as rulers, politicians and bureaucrats in the U.S. and Palestine/Israel pay lip service to the desire for peace and justice, while blatantly working to destroy any such hopes by denying return of refugees, equal access for Palestinians to land and water resources, open travel, and the support of Arab-only zones, both financially and militarily.

The League of Revolutionary Black Workers was not the only Black radical organization of its era to express support for Palestine’s freedom; numerous groups, from SNCC to the Black Panther Party, likewise expressed solidarity with Palestinians. At the same time the League’s solidarity was unique in several ways that we can draw lessons from today. The organization of workers, both in Palestine/Israel and here in the U.S., will be essential to a successful fight against the institutions, such as white supremacy, which oppress us. This is especially instrumental for divestment campaigns; we cannot organize, isolated on our campuses from the outside world, but must actively incorporate the local communities and the thousands of workers who are involved with and give support to our universities. Likewise, the struggle for a free Palestine is not an Arab or Arab American battle, but must be a multi-racial, multi-ethnic struggle of all justice seeking peoples who are opposed to imperialist and racist agendas. And finally, our struggle must be against all forces which desire to block the self-activity of the Palestinians to liberate themselves—from Arafat and his lackeys, to Western imperialists, to Zionists (leftist, liberal or right-wing). As the League wrote so many years ago, we must continue to battle those enemies “who would further impoverish the poor, exploit the exploited, and take advantage of the powerless.”

Thanks to Aaron Michael Love and Matthew Quest for their assistance with this article.


The definitive study of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers is Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surkin’s Detroit: I Do Mind Dying. 2nd ed. Boston: South End Press, 1998. The other major full length account is James Geschwender’s Class, Race and Worker’s Insurgency: The League of Revolutionary Black Workers. Cambridge University Press, 1977. The following are two other important accounts. Ernest Allen. “Dying for the Inside: the Decline of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.” In They Should Have Served that Cup of Coffee. Dick Cluster ed. Boston: South End Press, 1979.; Akbar Muhammad Ahmad. “The League of Revolutionary Black Workers: A Historical Study.” Circa 1979. Collective Action Notes. 13 October, 2003 .
Walter Reuther was the major representative speaker for organized labor at the Dr. Martin Luther King led March on Washington of 1963 – one of the many reasons Malcolm X’s assessment of it as “The Farce on Washington” needs to be remembered. For a vision of Walter Reuther seen at his most progressive see Nelson Lictensstein’s The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor. New York: Basic Books, 1995. For a critique of this study see “Walter Reuther and the Decline of the American Labor Movement.” In Martin Glaberman’s Punching Out and Other Writings. Staughton Lynd, ed. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 2002. 64-92.
These national spin off included RUMS in the steel mills of Birmingham, Alabama, and auto plants in Fremont, California, Baltimore, Maryland, and Mahwah, New Jersey. For insight on the latter see “Wilbur Haddock on the United Black Brothers.” Souls. 2.2 (Spring 2000): 27-33.
DRUM Constitution (1968) quoted in “Black revolutionary union Movement: Drum, The League, BWC.” EBlack Studies. 1 September, 2003 . Lynn Townsend was the corporate chairman of Chrysler at that time. Biafra was predominately Igbo republic breaking away from the nation-state in the Nigeria Civil War which began in 1967.
John Watson (Sept. 26, 1968) quoted by Nicole Lanctot in “Revolution at Wayne State’s Student Newspaper from 1968-1969.” In South End. 13, November, 2002. 1 September .
Quoted in Georgakas and Surkin, p. 51. The phrase was used by a comrade of Watson’s, Nick Medvecky, at the South End: “When John Watson and myself, as the Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor of last year’s South End, came out with a front page news/editorial statement on Al Fatah, little did we realize at the time what a Pandora’s Box had been opened.” Inner City Voice, November 1969.
Ibid.; pg. 51-52.
Ibid.; pg. 30.
Ibid.; pg. 65

Against the US-Israeli War On Lebanon (TGWU)

Against the US-Israeli War On Lebanon

Report by Jimmy Kelly
Chairman, General Executive Council, Transport and General Workers Union
Published: 21/08/06

*15 Aug 2006*

With the murderous Israeli assaults on Gaza and Lebanon over the last
number of weeks, the veil has finally slipped from US foreign policy in
the Middle East and that of its closest ally in the region.

Israel has slaughtered over 1,000 mostly innocent civilians and forced
well over half a million to flee their homes in terror.

Israel’s assault on Gaza and Lebanon has nothing whatsoever to do with
the capture of three of their soldiers.

Israel’s decision to collectively punish the entire Palestinian
population for electing Hamas was encouraged by the US, UK and EU who
refused to recognise the Palestinian Government and removed all aid from
them knowing this would inflict desperate suffering on the already
impoverished and suffering Palestinians.

In the attempt to blame Hizbollah for the current conflict, what is
forgotten is that Hizbollah only came into existence in response to the
murderous invasion and occupation of Lebanon from 1982 until 2000. It is
also not mentioned that Israel holds Lebanese prisoners that Hizbollah
have asked to be released and had warned they would capture Israeli
soldiers for the purpose of prisoner exchange if Israel refused. Israel
has exchanged prisoners with both Hizbollah and Palestinians in the
past. So the claim that the hostage taking or Hizbollah’s incursion into
Israel justified this devastating attack on civilians and civilian
infrastructure just does not stand up. In reality, just like Weapons of
Mass Destruction in Iraq, the hostages issue is a pretext for a war that
Israel and it’s backers in the Bush and Blair administrations had
planned for some time before.

Direct US support for the atrocities being committed by Israel is
confirmed by the US rushing an emergency shipment of bombs to Israel to
help bolster up the assault.

Finally, here in Ireland, we must point once again to the ongoing
complicity of the Irish Government in facilitating tens of thousands of
US troops at Shannon Airport and strike a blow against the war machine
by forcing an end to that complicity.

Jimmy Kelly
Chairman, General Executive Council, Transport and General Workers Union.

Labor and the Middle East War (NYCLAW)

[To endorse the following statement, please send your name, location, affiliation and title (if any) to, or NYCLAW, PO Box 3620166, PACC, New York, NY 10129]


Labor and the Middle East War
New York City Labor Against the War
August 11, 2006

For weeks, Israel has turned Lebanon into a killing ground, slaughtering and maiming thousands of people, destroying the civilian infrastructure, and turning a quarter of the population into refugees in their own land. At the same time, it continues to brutalize Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel’s crimes are carried out with U.S.-made F-16s, Apache helicopters, and cluster bombs. These high-tech lethal weapons are part of $5 billion that Israel gets each year from the United States, courtesy of the Republican and Democratic parties, with enthusiastic support from Neo-cons and right-wing Christian fundamentalists.

The U.S. does not arm Israel to “promote democracy” or for “self-defense.” Even Zionist historians now admit that Israel’s origins are rooted in dispossession of the Palestinian people — whose labor then built the Israeli economy — through an unrelenting campaign of ethnic cleansing: exile, squalid refugee camps, imprisonment, torture and murder.

Since the 1970s, Israel has also pursued territorial expansion by repeatedly invading and devastating Lebanon, as exemplified by the slaughter of thousands of Palestinian refugees at Sabra and Shatilla in 982. That occupation lasted until 2000, when Hezbollah forced Israel to withdraw.

Since then, Israel has killed thousands of Palestinians, taken thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese political prisoners, and tried to strangle the democratically-elected government of Hamas. When Hamas and Hezbollah responded by capturing a few Israeli soldiers, Israel unleashed a new, bloody, long-planned attack on Lebanon; only then did Hezbollah respond by firing crude rockets at Israel.

Behind its empty platitudes, the U.S. government supports this Israeli racism and state terrorism because, along with dictatorships in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, it is a cornerstone of U.S. domination over the world’s most important oil-producing region.

Now, with the Iraq war in shambles, the U.S.-Israel partnership seeks to break Lebanese and Palestinian resistance, while recklessly provoking confrontations with Syria and Iran. The U.N. has done nothing to stop this war of empire — what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sickeningly calls “birth pangs of a new Middle East.”

It is not surprising, therefore, that Hezbollah has won tremendous support in and beyond the Arab world, even amongst those who question some aspects of its ideology or tactics. For this spiraling cycle of oppression and resistance evokes Iraq, Afghanistan, Soweto, Vietnam, Algeria, the Warsaw Ghetto, or David and Goliath.

Horrified by the images from Palestine and Lebanon, international labor has strongly denounced Israel’s attacks.

On July 10, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) urgently called for sanctions and boycotts against the “apartheid Israel state,” which it branded worse than the former racist regime in South Africa.

On July 31, the General Union of Oil Employees in Iraq issued an “appeal to all the honorable and free people of the world to demonstrate and protest about what is happening to Lebanon.”

On August 5, major British trade unions supported a massive London protest against Israel’s attacks. Even before the current escalation, several labor bodies in Britain, Canada and elsewhere called for divestment from Israel.

In the United States, however, nearly all labor bodies either support Israel or say nothing at all.

State employee retirement plans and union pension funds invest hundreds of millions of dollars in State of Israel Bonds. In April 2002, while Israel butchered hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Jenin, AFL-CIO president John Sweeney spoke at a “National Solidarity Rally for Israel.” The American Federation of Teachers has specifically embraced Israel’s new assaults.

In the antiwar movement, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), which consistently segregates the Palestinian cause, has organized no mass response. U.S. Labor Against the War, which promotes union resolutions against the war in Iraq, remains disturbingly silent.

Fortunately, growing protests have been organized by the Arab-Muslim community, people of color, anti-Zionist Jews, and other activists who recognize that Lebanon and Palestine are inseparable from Iraq and Afghanistan.

New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) is part of this grassroots movement, and with Al-Awda New York, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, a cosponsor of Labor for Palestine <>.

NYCLAW believes that the labor and antiwar movements in the United States have a special obligation to speak out and demand:

1. End the U.S.-Israel war against the Palestinian and Lebanese people.

2. No aid for Israel.

3. Boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

4. End Israeli occupation, and fully implement the Palestinian right of return.

5. Out Now from Iraq and Afghanistan — No timetables, redeployment, advisors, or air-war.

NYCLAW Co-Conveners (other affiliations listed for identification only):

Larry Adams
Former President, NPMHU Local 300

Michael Letwin
Former President, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys

Brenda Stokely
Former President, AFSCME DC 1707; Co-Chair, Million Worker March

Next NYCLAW Meeting: Monday, 8.7

Wed Aug 2, 2006 4:41 am (PST)

The next NYCLAW meeting will take place Monday, August 7,
2006, 6:30 p.m., at CUNY Grad Center, 365 Fifth Avenue
(between 34th and 35th Street), DSC Lounge, 5th floor,
Rm. 5414 (photo ID required to enter building).

The agenda will focus on mobilizing labor against the
U.S.-Israel war on Lebanon and Palestine.

All NYCLAW members and friends are encouraged to attend.

National Day of Action – U.S. OUT of the Middle East

Make the weekend of August 5
National Days of Actions to say

*Support the Palestinian and Lebanese Peoples’ Right to Resist!
*End the Occupation of IRAQ, PALESTINE and LEBANON
*Support the Palestinian People’s Right to Return
*U.S./Israeli Troops Out Now
*No More Fighting and Dying for Oil Profits
*STOP U.S. aid to Israel

*New York – Los Angeles – San Francisco – Boston – Detroit – Buffalo –
Denver – Philadelphia – Tucson – Washington DC – Raleigh – Atlanta – San Diego – Rochester – and dozens of other cities

*In New York – August 5 – Rally at Times Square at 4 pm, march to
ExxonMobil Building at 5 pm

In Los Angeles – August 5 – Rally at Westwood Federal Building at 2
pm, march to Occidental Petroleum

Details of other actions to be listed soon.

Partial list of endorsers:
(to add your endorsement, go to  )

International Action Center
Al-Awda The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
Arab American Muslim Federation
NJ Solidarity – Activists for the Liberation of Palestine
Defend Palestine
AWS, Albuquerque, NM
Proyecto Guerrero Azteca Por La Paz, Escondido, CA
Wael Mosfar, Arab American Muslim Federation
Millions 4 Mumia
Birmingham Interfaith Human Rights Comm, Hoover, AL
Guyanese-American Workers United, New York, NY
Nellie Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council
Chris Silvera, Chair National Teamsters Black Caucus*, Sec-Treas.
Teamsters 808*
Justice 4 Homeless San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Charles Barron, City Council Member, NYC
Martin Luther King, Jr, Bolivarian Circle Of Boston, Boston, MA
Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice
New England Human Rights Organization For Haiti, Boston, MA
Action Center For Justice, Charlotte, NC
Brenda Stokely, Million Worker March East Coast Chair
Million Worker March Movement
Peoples Video Network
Chuck Turner, Boston City Council, District 7, Boston, MA
Tony Van Der Meer, Prof. Africana Studies, U Mass Boston; Co-director,
Boston Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee*, Boston, MA
Teresa Gutierrez, May 1 Coalition, NYC
All Peoples Congress, Baltimore
NYCHRP – New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
St. Pete For Peace, St. Petersburg, FL
Veterans For Constitutional Respect, Wilcox, PA
Chito-Quijano, Spokesperson Bayan-USA;
Ishmail Kamal, founder Sudanese-American Society*;
Javier Rodriguez of March 25th Coalition and May 1st Boycott;
Puerto Rican Alliance;
Rev. Meri Ka Rah Byrd
Howard Guidly, Texas Death Row Activist
KRST Unity Center LA
Unity Center for African Spirituality
Hilton Head For Peace, Hilton Head, SC
Incarceration In Question, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT
World Homeless Union, Mansfield, PA
Troops Out Now Coalition
Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire*, Detroit, MI
Leslie Feinberg, Author and Co-Chair LGBT Caucus, Nat’l Writers Union/UAW*
Mary Lou Finley, Peace And Freedom Party*, San Diego, CA
Chuck Mohan, President, Guyanese-American Workers United, New York, NY
Reza Namdar, Dele.Executive Council, Washington/Baltimore Newspaper Guild*,
Gloria Rubac, Steward, Houston Federation Of Teachers, Local 2415*,
Houston, TX
Rev Max Surjadinata, Clergy, United Church Of Christ*, New York, NY
The Most Rev. Filipe C Teixeira,  Diocesan Bishop, Diocese Of Saint
Francis Of Assisi,
Juyeon Rhee-Korean Action Network for Unification
Thomas Rockriver, Vets for Peace*, NC
New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW)