ILWU members respond to pro-Israel Dispatcher article
Report by Jack Heyman
|see also: What Willie Adams Missed
ILWU, The Dispatcher
CLARIFYING ILWU’S CRITICISM OF ISRAEL AND IN DEFENSE OF PALESTINIAN RIGHTS
We, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, are writing in response to an article by ILWU International Secretary Treasurer, Willie Adams, in the January issue of The Dispatcher. His article ignores the suffering of the Palestinian people, driven from their homes in 1948 and again in 1967. It also ignores the Israeli-orchestrated massacre of Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1982 in Lebanon. Many Palestinians have lived under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967. A huge “apartheid wall” is carving up the West Bank in violation of international law. And three weeks before Adams’ visit 18 Palestinian civilians were killed in their sleep by Israeli shelling as the Zionist military siege escalated in Gaza.
Adams article is at variance with the official position of our union passed at Conventions in 1988 and 1991. These resolutions characterize the Israeli oppression of Palestinians as “state-sponsored terrorism” and criticize the Israeli trade union federation, Histadrut, for discriminating against Palestinian workers. The 1991 resolution condemns Israeli “suppression of basic freedoms of speech and assembly” of Palestinians, while calling for “the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people”. None of this is mentioned in Adams’ Dispatcher article, nor was it explained that his trip was organized by the Israeli government. We are concerned that this article appears as though it is the official position of the ILWU without any disclaimer.
The ILWU has a proud history of solidarity with the oppressed, most notably our 1980’s anti-apartheid boycott actions against ships from South Africa. And South African workers today are in the forefront of the struggle to defend Palestinian rights against Israeli apartheid. A Dispatcher article supporting Israel just after the recent Zionist attack on civilians in Lebanon and Gaza undermines and causes confusion as to ILWU’s position, a change which can only be made by the Convention, the highest elected body of our union. In the meantime an article clarifying ILWU’s official position is warranted in The Dispatcher.
Jack Heyman #8780 (Local 10), Larry Wright #8534 (Local 91), Al Engler, retired, Past President Local 400, Deborah Stringfellow #82031 (Local 8), Steve Barlow #8301 (Local 34), Michael Hoard #57290 (Local 52), Steve Ongerth #3781 (IBU), McKay Cater #9677 (Local 10,) Gabriel Prawl #57304 (Local 19), Robert Irminger (IBU), Ken Hiebert #38848 (Local 500), Nate Thornton #13317 (Local 34 retired), Corine Thornton, SF Bay Area ILWU Pensioners, Ruth Harer, widow of Asher Harer #2436 (Locals 10 & 34), (’46 & ‘48 Strike Com.) SF Bay Area ILWU Pensioner, Peter Parks #82068 (Local 8), Asif Husain, #33781 (Local 500), Jack Mulcahy #82031 (Local 8), Howard Keylor #20447 (Local 10 retired), Clarence Thomas #8718 (Local 10), Leo Robinson #6461 (Local 10 retired), Mike Vawter #8145 (Local 10), Mario Siguenza #8524 (Local 34), Stan Woods #24873 (Local 6), Herandy Hudson #81780 (Local 8), Jerry Lawrence #81878 (Local 8), Delbert Newton # 78244 (Local 8), Gary Sykes #82585 (Local 8), Charlie Prom #82586 (Local 8), James Lea #82616 (Local 8), Ronald Woods #82577 (Local 8), Roderick Demming #57581 (Local 19), Mikal Ritzhie #82584 (Local 8), Jimmy Lei #82583 (Local 8), Glen Ramiskey #65256 (Local 34), Stan Gow #4498 (Local 10 retired), Rosemarie Wiegman #60953 (Local 98), Bob Gregg (IBU), Mark Downs #55118 (Local 19 retired)