Scottish Trade Union Congress condemns Histadrut and supports BDS

The Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) condemns the Histadrut and declares its continued commitment to the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel
Sofiah MacLeod, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign Ayr (Scotland) April 20th, 2011

There were blistering attacks on the Israeli Histadrut from the floor of the STUC annual conference. The FBU Scotland has been a consistent supporter of Palestinian calls for boycott. FBU Scotland Organiser, Jim Malone, expressed delegates’ disgust of Histadrut’s complicity with Israel’s crimes.

“The Histadrut through their collusion, through their support of the illegal actions of the Israeli government is an organisation unworthy of the title trade union. The trade union movement is a family, with the Israeli Histadrut, as an even distant cousin, we are a dysfunctional family”.

Mike Arnott of Dundee Trades Council called for “the Histadrut to be struck off the list of organisations that this movement recognises as representing the trade union family”.

Rab Paterson of Midlothian Trade Union Council called on Congress to “remove the cloak of respectability the Histadrut uses to justify Israeli injustices and to further Israeli interests”.

UCU Scotland’s Terry Brotherstone relayed a message from the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) that “the Palestinian people do not want PGFTU’s unbalanced power relationship with the Histadrut to be used as an excuse to maintain normal ties”.

Mike Kirby for the STUC General Council echoed the condemnation from the floor of the Histadrut.

“It’s clear, overwhelmingly, that the Histadrut has failed consistently to criticise the illegal occupation, the erection of the apartheid wall, the siege of Gaza, the attack on the humanitarian flotilla and countless other transgressions…In the General Council’s view this position is inconsistent with the duty of trade unions to support human rights and exhibit global solidarity. Furthermore, the stance adopted by the Histadrut has the effect of normalising the illegal occupation and other serious transgressions committed by the Israelis.”

The STUC General Council, Kirby announced, “remains deeply committed” to BDS and pledged “to the continued promotion of BDS both to its affiliates, wider Scottish society and our sister unions”.

The General Council recommended stopping short of a complete boycott of the Histadrut, but said that a “review will be immediate in the case of fresh developments in Israel/Palestine”.

On the issue of another institution involved in Israel’s ethnic cleansing, the General Council committed to “continue to consider its stance in relation to the JNF [Jewish National Fund]”. Dundee Trade Union Council’s Mike Arnott informed delegates of the official launch on Land Day, 30 March, of “an international campaign to stop the JNF and to strip it of its charitable status worldwide…we call for the JNF to be struck off as a charity in the UK.”

Assessing the progress made during the STUC 2011 gathering, Jim Malone argued that, “we managed, once again, to push the cause of the Palestinian people and our abhorrence of the Israeli Histadrut to the front of the Scottish political agenda”.

End of report.

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