Monthly Archives: April 2010

Urgent Appeal: Support Labor for Palestine

As listed below, Labor for Palestine representatives are traveling far and wide to build trade union support for the growing international campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against apartheid Israel.

This is particularly important in the United States, where labor officialdom — often without the knowledge or consent of union members — has invested billions of our union pension funds and retirement plans in State of Israel Bonds.

These same labor officials actively encourage the U.S. to provide the money and weapons that maintain the brutal siege on Gaza, ever-expanding settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, discrimination in the 1948 areas, and threats of war against Iran.

Those who back apartheid Israel have unlimited funds at their disposal. But Labor for Palestine relies entirely on your support.

Please fight for justice by making a tax-deductible contribution, of whatever you can, by clicking on:

Thank you.

Monadel Herzallah, Charlotte Kates, Michael Letwin
Interim Coordinators, Labor for Palestine


Labor for Palestine 2010 Calendar

April 16: Debate v. the Jewish Labor Committee, Irish Congress of Trade Unions Conference, Dublin

April 23-25: Panel at the Labor Notes Conference, Detroit

June 19-22: First National Jewish Anti-Zionist Gathering, Detroit

June 22-27: United States Social Forum, Detroit

October: Second National Palestinian Popular Conference, Chicago

Fall 2010 (tentative): LFP national organizing conference.

TBA: PGFTU, COSATU North American tour.

Arab American Union Members Council: Gascon’s Apology Is Not Enough

As the San Francisco Chief of Police George Gascon rushes from one community group to another offering “apologies and clarifications” of “misunderstandings” for the second week in the diverse city of San Francisco, members of The Arab American Union Members Council continue to be appalled by San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon’s March 24 remarks. Gascon spoke, allegedly in favor of an earthquake-retrofitting bill, alleging that the Hall of Justice is susceptible to “members of the city’s Middle Eastern community parking a van in front of it and blowing it up.” (San Francisco Chronicle, March 26, 2010)

Gascon later attempted to “clarify” his comments by claiming his remarks did not apply to the entire Arab, Muslim and broader Middle Eastern community, but instead to the Yemeni and Afghan communities in San Francisco – blatantly singling out these communities for further targeting, discrimination and injustice.

We are appalled by Chief Gascon’s racist remarks and believe that he is chasing federal “anti-terrorism” funding by putting our communities at risk. This is unacceptable, and we will not stand for members of our community being held up as threats based on national origin in a cheap grab for federal funds.

These statements illustrate an approach toward our community that is discriminatory and dangerous, indicating that we are viewed not as members of the community deserving of respect and protection, but instead subject to criminalization and demonization at the highest levels of the city’s police force.

Such statements by public officials, particularly public officials charged with protecting and serving the people of our city, are absolutely unacceptable. They place members of our community at risk of targeting and discrimination, and make it clear that members of our community are viewed as threats rather than part of the fabric of our city.

Naji Daifullah, the historic labor organizer of Arab American farm workers in California who sacrificed his life with other farm workers from Asia and Latin America to build a union for farm workers with Cesar Chavez as his mentor, was a member of the Yemeni community and the inspiration for today’s Arab American Union Members Council. As union members, workers and members of the Arab community, we cannot and will not tolerate racism from the police force, let alone blatantly expressed racism from the city’s Police Chief.

We are well aware that these comments are part and parcel of the ongoing racism and discrimination that characterize the San Francisco Police Department’s approach to people of color and other oppressed communities. AAUMC stands side by side with all people of color communities and other oppressed groups in San Francisco to say that formal apologies are necessary to assure safety to a targeted community, but continue to be disingenuous and insufficient. Racial profiling and harassment by law enforcement are a constant threat faced by communities of color in our city, and they are unacceptable. It is time that a real commitment is made to ending racial profiling and holding the police accountable when our communities are targeted.

We demand that the San Francisco Police Department  demonstrate real commitment, beyond mere words, toward treating our communities – and all oppressed groups and communities in our city – with respect. Such steps must include disallowing any reconvening of the SFPD intelligence unit, creating a public advisory/accountability forum for the SFPD and a strict policy preventing police referrals to immigration authorities/ICE.

The people united will never be defeated.

Monadel Herzallah
President of Arab American Union Members Council (AAUMC)
Member of Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)
And board member of Arab Cultural and Community Center (ACCC)

How many Israel Bonds does your union own? (USACBI)

If you’re in a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers it’s at least $300,000. The national union holds that amount. Amounts held by state and local affiliates are unknown. What about AAUP, NEA and other unions and union-like bodies? What about the AFL-CIO in your state?

If you’re a member of one of those institutions could you find out? Just write to the Treasurer or Secretary-Treasurer of the group and ask. I think they’re obligated to answer. And start bringing it up at union meetings.

I tried this resolution at our union meeting:

Union Funds Should Support U.S. Workers

The CT AFL-CIO owns $60,000 worth of bonds in the State of Israel. The AFT has $300,000 of the bonds. The CT AFL-CIO owns no other bonds of a foreign country.

This is money that could be invested to help Americans.

Last fall the New Haven Central Labor Council voted unanimously to call on the CT AFL-CIO to sell off its Israel bonds and use the money to benefit U.S. workers

Resolved, AFT-CT calls on the CT AFL-CIO and the national AFT to sell off the bonds invested in the state of Israel and to use the funds in safe investments that will benefit U.S. workers.

After a little debate the matter was tabled pending “clarification” of certain questons. Interestingly the opponents of the measure didn’t defend Israel but raised questions where the money came from and what alternatives there might be for the money.

Please let me know about your union for posting at and we at “The Struggle” just posted this billboard (see above) in New Haven.