Monthly Archives: May 2011

June 13: Picket Israel Bonds “Celebration” in New York City

Support Palestinian Workers:
End U.S. Labor Complicity With Apartheid Israel

Picket NYC Israel Bonds “Celebration”
Monday, June 13, 2011, 5-7 p.m.
Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway (@36 St.)

Download Flyer (PDF)

Just weeks after Israel massacred a score of unarmed Palestinian refugees for exercising their right to return home, Denis Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, is accepting a “Peace Medal” from the “State of Israel Bonds” gang.

Chairing the event is Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, and Israel’s leading trade union mouthpiece in the United States.

Such collaboration violates repeated Palestinian trade union calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against apartheid Israel, and is an ongoing stain on the labor movement in this country.

Please support Palestinian workers by picketing labor officialdom’s support for Israeli ethnic cleansing, racism and apartheid.

Endorsers (list in formation): New York City Labor Against the War; Labor for PalestineDump Israel BondsAl-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network; International Action Center


Statement of UK trade union delegation to Palestine, 17-22 April 2011


The delegation of Senior UK Trade Unionists listed below visited Palestine between17-22 April 2011. The delegation met with/witnessed:

  • The dramatic extent of illegal settlement building in East Jerusalem and the victims of forced evictions;
  • Members of the Palestinian Assembly who are currently under house arrest and have taken refuge at the Red Cross Centre in Jerusalem;
  • The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Palestinian Occupied Territories;
  • A senior lawyer from the Campaign for the Defence of Children who is dealing with some 300 cases of children detained by the Israeli authorities;
  • The illegal Israeli settlements in the centre of the Palestinian city of Hebron and the massive disruption and intimidation they bring to Palestinian residents of the city;
  • Officials of an Israeli based workers rights organisation – Kav La Oved – that aims to publicise the worst abuses of Palestinian workers rights in companies in the settlements;
  • An Arab-Israeli Member of the Knesset – the Israeli Parliament;
  • An economics Professor from Bir Zeit University who explained the desperate economic situation of the West Bank and Gaza;
  • High level representatives of  the Palestine Liberation Organisation;
  • Victims of settlements expansion in Nabih Saleh (including former child detainees) who are having their land taken away and access restricted;
  • The Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU);
  • Refugees from different camps in Nablus;
  • A range of Non-Governmental Organisations – including Stop the Wall and the Boycott National Committee (BNC).


The delegation was deeply concerned about the testimonies and accounts they heard. It is difficult to capture adequately in words the extreme shock and anguish felt when a family shows video details of the violence and repression it has been subjected to for simply trying to access its own lands. It is also difficult to express the shock one experiences when first witnessing the sinister and brutal nature of The Israeli Separation Wall, a Wall that continues to be constructed on Palestinian lands, that continues to divide and effectively imprison Palestinian communities, and causes massive disruption to the lives and economy of the Palestinians. It is no less shocking to witness and experience the continuing and dramatic expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the enormous pressure on Arab-Israeli citizens to vacate East Jerusalem, and the massive illegal use of the Jordan Valley by Israeli settlers to produce agricultural products.


Based on the evidence it has seen the delegation can only conclude that Israeli actions demonstrate no intention of complying with UN Resolutions 242 or 446, and therefore no intention of stopping the expansion of illegal settlements, ending the occupation, and respecting the human and civil rights of the Palestinian people. As a consequence, in relation to trade union actions and activities concerning the Israel-Palestinian situation, the delegation wishes to impress the following points on the TUC, as well as all other national and international trade union organisations:

  • The TUC position as defined in the 2010 Congress motion is absolutely correct and justified in calling for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign of complicit firms. The failure to halt the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and the collapse of negotiations with the Palestinian Authorities, leaves an effective BDS campaign as virtually the only viable option for building international pressure to bring about a change in the situation;
  • The TUC should re-emphasise its support for the BDS position by writing to all national centres – including Histradut and the PGFTU – with a copy of the 2010 motion. The TUC should call again on all its affiliates and allies to maximise their efforts in pursuit of establishing a pro-BDS position in the European and Global Union Federations. The TUC should also raise the issue with the European TUC by calling on it to support the international BDS campaign and pressing the EU institutions to end the EU-Israel regime of trade privileges until the situation is resolved;
  • The TUC must be extremely cautious not to inadvertently legitimise a continuation of the current situation in Palestine through any actions it may undertake to implement the 2010 ITUC Congress motion. The April 20th statement made by the PGFTU removes any doubt about its support for the BDS campaign. In light of the deteriorating situation and the end of the Israel-Palestinian Authority negotiations, together with the strong statement made by the PGFTU, the TUC should call upon the ITUC to re-examine and re-debate its position in the light of changing circumstances prior to taking any actions to implement the ITUC 2010 motion;
  • The PGFTU is operating under enormous pressure and constraints and unions should therefore seek to engage with the widest range of Palestinian unions and NGOs possible, in order to ensure the broadest possible range of engagement with Palestinian civil society. A conference aimed at bringing together all BDS supporting trade unions – including the PGFTU – with the aim of creating one common position, took place in Ramallah on 30th April 2011. The delegation strongly welcomes this initiative, and will seek to engage and work with all involved in the new umbrella coalition.
  • There will be no just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians until Israel’s behaviour changes and the human and civil rights of all Palestinians are respected. Following the most recent collapse of negotiations Palestinian civil society is increasingly speaking with one voice and is now clearly calling for a concerted international BDS campaign as the most effective way of maximising pressure for Israel to change its behaviour. It is therefore incumbent on trade unions outside of Israel to maximise their efforts in support of the BDS campaign in order to bring a just and lasting peace to the region.


Stephen Cavalier – CEO Thompsons Solicitors

Gerry Doherty – General Secretary TSSA

Simon Dubbins – Director International Department, UNITE the Union

Garry Hassell – Executive RMT

Shaun Hoyle – Executive RMT

Hugh Lanning – Chair PSC and Deputy General Secretary PCS

Jonathan Ledger – General Secretary NAPO


Students, labour, academics: Growing Canadian solidarity with Palestine

By David Heap

This article was published on on May 19, 2011.

Events across Canada underline the growing concern on and around Canadian campuses for issues relating to Palestine and in particular, around Palestinian academics and labour unions.

From May 18 to June 2, Dr. Amjad Barham, president of the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE), will be touring Canada and Québec to speak and meet with academics and other members of the labour movement.

The speaking tour, entitled “Building Solidarity from South Africa to Palestine.” (see below for details), includes Barham representing the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) as well as Tahir Sema from the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU), an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

Officials from the Canadian Association of University Teachers will meet Dr. Barham when the tour reaches Ottawa. CAUT already has a collegial relationship with PFUUPE: last year the two organizations signed a reciprocal membership agreement, and CAUT is assisting the PFUUPE in its application for membership in Education International. Last November’s CAUT Council adopted a general motion from the floor to investigate and report back on ways to support academic colleagues in Palestine.

“Dr. Barhams’s visit to Canada will allow us to explore further ways we can work with PFUUPE to develop its capacity to defend the academic and professional rights of staff in the West Bank and Gaza.,” says CAUT President Penni Stewart.

This speaking tour will be an important opportunity for debate and discussion on the question of how we as academics and trade unionists can stand in solidarity with Palestinians. The tour will be an occasion for questions and debate around issues such as: Why are trade unionists around the world increasingly comparing the situation in Palestine with that of South African apartheid? What is the situation of Palestinian academics, students and workers today? Why has there been a call by Palestinian trade unions for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) modeled on the solidarity movement against South African apartheid? What is the role of trade union activists in what is happening in Palestine and South Africa today?

This solidarity tour is aimed at fostering relationships between Palestinian, South African, Canadian and Québécois trade unionists in the hopes of building on the already considerable work of Canadian and Québec solidarity campaigns. It is also an important opportunity for public education on the experiences of workers and trade unionists in Palestine and South Africa.

“Faculty for Palestine is very excited to hear that Dr. Amjad Barham, will be touring Canada as part of an important labour solidarity tour which will also feature a South African trade unionist.” says Alan Sears, a sociologist at Ryerson University who is active with Faculty for Palestine, a network of more than 450 Canadian faculty at more than 40 universities and 15 colleges across the country, which organizes primarily around the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (including academic boycott), the right to education under occupation and building ties with Palestinian colleagues, students and staff, and defending freedom of expression on Canadian campuses around Palestinian solidarity. In Québec, similar work is being done by a group called CUWU (College and University Workers United).

Sears continues: “Dr. Barham is the President of the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees and a strong supporter of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions. In a context in Canada in which student-led divestment campaigns against investment in Israeli apartheid are shaking up many of our university campuses and challenging with Israeli institutions, the tour promises to be an excellent space for strategic debate, analysis of apartheids, and further organizing.”

As was the case in the struggle for divestment from apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, student groups on a growing number of campuses have been taking leadership positions in the movement for divestment from companies involved in violations of Palestinian human rights and the occupation of Palestine. Students Against Israeli Apartheid at the University of Toronto, York University and Carleton University correctly point out that these “complicit companies create military technologies used in the murder of civilians, the destruction of infrastructure and the daily humiliation of Palestinians.” As the growing educational campaigns during Israeli Apartheid Week spread to more campuses each year, they stimulate increased discussion and debate around these issues which lasts much longer than just a week.

At the campus where I work, a student group (Solidarity with Palestinian Human Rights) joined with other community groups to help support the Canadian Boat to Gaza initiative (, a civil society campaign to challenge the blockade of Gaza. While not directly an academic or labour union issue, the illegal blockade of Gaza of course affects students and university staff along with everyone else. Despite marginal improvements since last summer`s flotilla, aid deliveries to Gaza are still a fraction of what was needed before the blockade was imposed in 2007. As my colleague, Ziad Medoukh (head of French and director of the Peace Centre at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza) notes, schools supplies, computer equipment and books are still among the goods which are severely restricted and only sporadically available under the blockade of Gaza. Despite high levels of participation in primary-secondary education and healthy enrolments at the five universities in Gaza, the hopes and aspirations of a whole generation in Gaza are being needlessly stunted due to senseless restrictions which have nothing to do with anyone’s “security”. Those who finish their studies and earn scholarships abroad are often caught by restrictions on human mobility which cruelly curtail travel for academic, medical, commercial or family purposes. While there is now hope that the Rafah border with Egypt will open (and stay open) for people and goods, Palestinians also have the right to free ship traffic through the port of Gaza – the only Mediterranean port which is closed to shipping – and to the use of their own territorial waters.

Ziad Medoukh adds that the Palestinians of Gaza are left with “a hope in international civil society solidarity which is organizing throughout the world in order to try, through peaceful actions, to break this blockade, in particular with, the ‘French Boat for Gaza’, ‘Canadian Boat for Gaza’, an ‘International Boat for Gaza’ campaign – a whole flotilla for Gaza. We in Gaza, given our current situation, are impatiently awaiting the arrival of this international freedom flotilla… with one clear message: the blockade of Gaza must and will be lifted.”

More and more Canadians, on campus and in our communities, are heeding this sort of call from Palestinians, be they in Gaza or from the West Bank. Whether it is by working on civil society campaigns like the Canadian Boat to Gaza, by joining student-led initiatives on campus for boycott, divestment and sanctions, or simply by showing up and listening what our academic colleagues and fellow trade unionists from Palestine have to say, the growing involvement of Canadian faculty for Palestine is a cause in which we can all participate.

Labour tour: Building solidarity from South Africa to Palestine

The speaking tour will begin at the Convention of the Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux (CSN) in Montreal (May 15-19), then travel through Ontario, to Regina and Vancouver. CAUT members and affiliates will be welcome as part of the discussion at the different solidarity tour venues across the country.

TORONTO: Saturday May 21, 6:30p.m.-9:30p.m., Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham St. (Bathurst subway). Thursday May 26, 7p.m.-10p.m., CUPE Ontario Convention, Sheraton Hotel, 123 Queen St. West

WINDSOR: Sunday May 22, 2p.m.-5p.m., Oak Room, Vanier Hall, University of Windsor.

HAMILTON: Tuesday May 24, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., McMaster University.

LONDON: Wednesday May 25, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., Tolpuddle room, 380 Adelaide St. North (at King)

REGINA: Thursday May 27. 7:30 p.m., Regina Union Centre, 2709 12th Ave

VANCOUVER: Sunday May 29, 6p.m., Maritime Labour Centre, 1880 Triumph Street, Vancouver (Victoria and Triumph, two blocks north of Hastings St.)

MONTREAL: Wednesday June 1, 7 p.m., Centre St. Pierre, 1212, rue Panet (metro Beaudry)

OTTAWA: Thursday June 2 7pm. CUPW National Office, 377 Bank St.

Ways you can support this important tour:

Sponsor the tour, host the trade unionists, organize members to come out to the event in your community, donate funds, publicize the tour or write about it in your newsletter or website.

To Sponsor, Donate or Participate in the Tour, please contact:

More information about the tour can be found here.


Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS) formed at historic conference

From the Palestinian Boycott National Committee – May 5, 2011 –  In commemoration of the International Workers’ Day, the Palestinian trade union movement holds its first BDS conference and announces the formation of the:

Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS)*

Statement of Principles & Call for International Trade Union Support for BDS

Occupied Palestine, 4 May 2011 – In commemoration of the first of May – a day of workers struggle and international solidarity – the first Palestinian trade union conference for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel (BDS) was held in Ramallah on 30 April 2011, organized by almost the entirety of the Palestinian trade union movement, including federations, professional unions, and trade unionblocks representing the entire spectrum of Palestinian political parties. The conference marked a historic event: the formation of the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS) as the largest coalition of the Palestinian trade union movementPTUC-BDS will provide the most representative Palestinian reference for international trade unions, promoting their support for and endorsement of theBDS Call, launched by Palestinian civil society in 2005, guided by the guidelines and principles adopted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), of which PTUC-BDS has become a key component.

The global trade union movement has always played a key and inspiring role in its courageous commitment to human rights and adoption of concrete, ground-breaking, labor-led sanctions against oppressive regimes in a show of solidarity with oppressed peoples around the world. The trade union boycott of apartheid South Africa stands out as a bright example of this tradition of effective solidarity. Trade unions today are taking the lead in defending the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, justice, freedom, equality and the right of return of our refugees as stipulated in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194. Many of them have heeded the call from Palestinian civil society, and its labor movement in particular, to adopt BDS as the most effective form of solidarity with the Palestinians in our struggle to end Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Ending Israel’s multi-tiered system of oppression against the Palestinian people — comprising occupation, colonialism and apartheid — has become a test for humanity. For decades, Israel has enjoyed impunity while continuing its gradual ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, particularly in occupied East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and the Naqab (Negev) desert; its 44-year-old occupation; its theft of land and natural resources; its colonization and construction of illegal colonial settlements and walls, its siege of Gaza;  its relentless denial of refugee rights; its endless wars of aggressions and incarceration of political prisoners; and its wanton killings of civilians and demolition of infrastructure. Israel’s systematic destruction of the Palestinian economy, expropriation of the most fertile agricultural land, as well as humiliation of and racist discrimination against Palestinian workers have all become part of its apartheid reality that should never be tolerated by the world today.

Given the complete failure and unwillingness of hegemonic powers to hold Israel accountable to international law, it is up to people of conscience and international civil society, especially the trade union movement, to take concrete action to end international collusion with decades of violations of international law and human rights by Israel, its institutions and international corporations.

The support of the entirety of the Palestinian trade union movement for a full boycott of Israel,[1] as the most effective form of solidarity with the Palestinian people, was the overarching message of this historic gathering.

The Conference was honored to welcome Joâo Felicio, International Relations Secretary of CUT, the Brazilian trade union representing more than 20 million workers, who expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights, and reiterated CUT’s endorsement of BDS. The conference received numerous messages of solidarity from a large number of trade union federations, including the International Federation of Arab Trade Unions, COSATU (South Africa), ICTU (Ireland), and a large number of individual trade unions in Canada, Scotland, Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, Australia, USA and other countries. All major Palestinian political parties also enthusiastically supported the conference and the formation of PTUC-BDS.


The Conference decisively condemned the Histadrut and called on international trade unions to sever all links with it due to its historic and current complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights. The Histadrut has always played a key role in perpetuating Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of racial discrimination by:


  1. Publicly supporting Israel’s violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and other tenets of international law
  1. Maintaining active commercial interests in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise[2]
  1. Allowing Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank to join the organization[3]
  1. Supporting Israel’s war of aggression on besieged Gaza in 2008/9;[4] it has later justified Israel’s massacre of humanitarian relief workers and activists aboard the Freedom Flotilla on 31 May 2010[5]
  1. Illegally withholding over NIS 8.3 billion (approximately $2.43bn) over decades of occupation from wages earned by Palestinian workers from the Occupied Palestinian Territory,[6] deducted for ‘social and other trade union benefits’ that Palestinian laborers from the OPT have never received.

Recalling the trade union maxim “an injury to one is an injury to all”, and given the global trade union movement’s historic role in effective international solidarity with oppressed peoples around the world, PTUC-BDS:

·         Cordially salutes all global trade unions for their solidarity with the Palestinian people, especially those that have endorsed BDSagainst Israel,

·         Calls on trade unions around the world to actively show solidarity with the Palestinian people by implementing creative and context-sensitive BDS campaigns as the most effective way to end Israeli impunity. For example by:

o   boycotting Israeli and international companies (such as Elbit, Agrexco, Veolia, Alstom, Caterpillar, Northrop Grumman, etc.) and institutions that are complicit with Israel’s occupation and violations of international law,

o   reviewing pension fund investments with the purpose of divesting from Israel Bonds and all Israeli and internationalcompanies and institutions complicit in Israel’s occupation, colonization and apartheid,

o   pressuring governments to suspend Free Trade Agreements, end arms trade and military relations with Israel with the intention of eventually cutting all diplomatic ties with it,

·         Calls on port workers around the world to boycott loading/offloading Israeli ships, similar to the heroic step taken by port workers around the world in suspending maritime trade with South Africa in protest against the apartheid regime, and

·         Calls on trade unions around the world to review and sever all ties with the Histadrut.

Such non-violent measures of accountability must continue until Israel fulfils its obligations under international law in acknowledging the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination, and fully complies with international law by:

·         Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied since 1967 (including East Jerusalem), as well as dismantling of the illegal wall and colonies,

·         Recognizing the fundamental right of the Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equity, as well as ending the system of racial discrimination against them, and

·         Respecting, protecting and supporting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UNGA Resolution 194.


* The Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS) is the broadest and most representative body of the Palestinian trade unionmovement and includes the following organisations: General Union of Palestinian Workers, Federation of Independent Trade Unions (IFU), General Union of Palestinian Women, Union of Palestinian Professional Associations (comprising the professional syndicates ofEngineers, Physicians, Pharmacists, Agricultural Engineers, Lawyers, Dentists and Veterinarians), General Union of Palestinian Teachers, General Union of Palestinian Peasants and Co-ops, General Union of Palestinian Writers, Union of Palestinian Farmers, Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE), Union of Public Employees in Palestine-Civil Sector; and all of the trade union blocks that make up the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU): Central Office for the Workers Movement, Progressive Labor Union Front, Workers Unity block, Progressive Workers Block, Workers solidarity organization, Workers Struggle Block, workers resistance block, Workers Liberation Front, Union of Palestinian Workers Struggle Committees, National Initiative (al-Mubadara) Block.

Download PDF of Statement

– Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS)


Palestinians in the US Celebrate International Workers’ Day – May Day

From the US Palestinian Community Network – May 1, 2011 – On May Day, International Workers’ Day, the US Palestinian Community Network – and Palestinian workers in Palestine and in exile – join workers around the world in celebration of the incredible achievements of laborers for their just rights. On its 125th anniversary, we pay special tribute to the eight Haymarket martyrs and to their immense sacrifices. Their voice will never be strangled so long as we continue to fight for labor justice.

In Palestine as elsewhere, workers continue to struggle for and are deprived of their rights, including the right to work and the right to organize. Palestinian workers in the West Bank and Gaza are under siege and occupation, and under the chokehold of neoliberal policies aimed at further disenfranchising them; Palestinian workers in Israel face systematic discrimination and suppression of their independent organizations, and Palestinian workers in exile continue to confront discrimination, racism, and barriers to employment, particularly in Lebanon where Palestinians continue to face extensive legal barriers to employment.

From the earliest days of the Zionist movement in Palestine, Zionist settler colonialism has consistently and continually attacked Palestinian labor. In the 1920s and 1930s, as the Zionist movement, in collaboration with British colonialism, worked to expand its colonization of Palestine, policies and prohibitions against hiring Palestinian workers proliferated and Palestinian small businesses were systematically forced out of business by larger Zionist enterprises, increasing Palestinian unemployment in an attempt to drive Palestinian workers from their homelands in search of work and therefore dispossess them of their land. Palestinian organizing has also been ruthlessly suppressed – before and after the Nakba, in Palestine and in exile. Palestinian labor leaders languish in Israeli prisons, and Palestinian workers’ organizations are heavily suppressed in Jordan.

Even now, Palestinian workers are subject to collective punishment by Israel, including checkpoints, siege, closure and other policies that deepen poverty and increase unemployment, driving Palestinians to leave their homes in search of livelihoods whilst maintaining a reserve force of Palestinian unemployed labor for Zionist exploitation.

Palestinian workers have always been the backbone of the Palestinian national movement. From the strikes in the factories of Haifa in the early resistance to British colonialism, to the labor movements of the 1950s inside Israel, to their continued role as organizers and agitators, Palestinian workers propel the Palestinian struggle. In 1936, as part of the great Palestinian revolt against Zionist settler colonialism, Palestinian workers waged a historic general strike – the longest general strike in the history of the world. Palestinian workers’ organizations also played a key role in resisting occupation – as seen in the first Intifada, when labor organizations, unions, and workers’ popular committees coordinated general strikes, mass closures of stores and factories, and workers’ mobilizations.

International workers’ solidarity with the struggle of Palestinian workers and the Palestinian people is crucial. An increasing number of labor unions around the world have adopted Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. From South Africa to the UK to Canada to Italy to Norway to Brazil to Australia, and elsewhere around the world, trade unions are affirming their commitment to the rights of the Palestinian worker.

At the same time, the Histadrut, the official Israeli labor organization, dating from the earliest mobilizations of “Hebrew labor” to counter Palestinian workers, continues to present itself as a progressive or legitimate part of the international labor movement. To the contrary, the Histadrut is instrumentally connected to the Israeli state, playing a key role in building settlements, stealing and refusing to return millions of dollars in Palestinian workers’ dues, supporting the assault on Gaza and the attack on the Freedom Flotilla, and refusing to combat racism and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel. The Histadrut is not a labor union – it is a racist arm of a settler-colonial apartheid state. We reiterate the Palestinian BDS call, “We are thus asking the international trade unions to boycott the Histadrut…” and salute the international labor unions, including the Scottish Trade Union Congress and the Congress of South African Trade Unions who have announced their boycott of the Histadrut.

As Palestinian workers in exile, we call upon workers and trade unions in the US to support the BDS call and boycott the Histadrut. The historic action of June 2010 at the Port of Oakland, where International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 workers refused to unload an Israeli Zim ship in protest at the assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, was a groundbreaking moment in the U.S. labor movement’s steps toward solidarity with Palestine. “This action stands in the proud tradition of West Coast dock-workers who refused to handle cargo for Nazi Germany (1934) and fascist Italy (1935); those in Denmark and Sweden (1963), the San Francisco Bay Area (1984) and Liverpool (1988), who refused shipping for apartheid South Africa; those in Oakland who refused to load bombs for the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1978); and those at all twenty-nine West Coast ports who held a May Day strike against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2008),” said Labor for Palestine. ILWU Local 10 is currently under attack and facing a lawsuit by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), after the rank and file dock workers’ voluntary action on April 4 in solidarity with the Wisconsin public workers. USPCN expresses its strongest support and solidarity with ILWU Local 10 and its members and commits itself to joining in their defense, as they have joined with us and so many before.

USPCN reaffirms that the voices of Palestinian workers must be heard. Palestinian workers are united in their call for BDS and we demand that any trade union leaders who claim to speak for Palestinian workers reaffirm their full support for the demands and objectives of Palestinian workers in Palestine and in exile – including BDS and the boycott of the Histadrut. The Palestinian labor movement – like the Palestinian national movement as a whole – must be rebuilt on a democratic and inclusive basis. Palestinian workers have an important role to play in the Palestinian national movement, and just as the unions of Palestinian students and women must be reborn, so too must the organizations of Palestinian workers. In this way, the will of Palestinian workers will be legitimately represented, rather than allow appointed and undemocratic leaders to speak in their name.

We are also very conscious of the role of the Palestinian Authority in undermining Palestinian workers’ rights – from political pressure by refusing to pay salaries, to the Ramallah PA’s neoliberal policies of “economic peace” and “industrial zones.” Salam Fayyad, a former representative of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund – known internationally for their anti-worker “austerity” policies – serves as Prime Minister of the Ramallah PA. Despite the recent announcement of a unity agreement between Hamas and Fateh in the West Bank and Gaza, it is clear to us that the PA can never represent the Palestinian people as a whole, and that the PA’s institutional structures are deeply entwined with the interests of the Palestinian capitalist class to the detriment of Palestinian workers or meaningful Palestinian economic popular development.

As Palestinians and Palestinian workers in the U.S., we are particularly appalled by the obvious relations of Palestinian and Palestinian American large capitalists in undermining the Palestinian national movement, and Palestinian labor. We condemn the choice of Bashar Masri, a Palestinian capitalist responsible for the “Rawabi” gated community in the West Bank to speak before the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce in Chicago on May 12, and to therefore encourage greater trade and economic cooperation between the US and Israel. While the Palestinian people are calling for full boycott of Israel, Masri and his ilk are working to undermine that call, and to support their and the Israeli economy’s profiting from occupation and settler colonialism. We call upon all supporters of Palestinian workers to protest in Chicago on May 12 against Masri’s economic collaboration with Israel at the expense of Palestinian workers and the Palestinian people.

In Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and across the Arab world, the movement of Arab workers for dignity and social justice have been central to toppling dictatorships and demanding radical change. We salute our fellow Arab workers for their inspiring victories and pledge to continue the struggle together.

In the United States, recognizing that the demands of justice for immigrants are central to any movement for justice for workers in the U.S., May Day has become a day of workers’ as well as migrants’ struggle. As a result of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, there are now over five million Palestinian refugees, many of whom live without status, all over the world. Issues of status, forced migration and refugee rights have always played a central role in the fight for justice for Palestine, including Palestinian refugees’ right to return home. The migrant struggle is therefore our own; we are indivisible from the call of undocumented workers for their rights.

Indeed, Israel is not only a settler colonial state responsible for dispossession and oppression of Palestinians in Palestine; Israel is also a world leader in ‘homeland security’ and border technology. Israeli technology and weaponry can be found at border fences and immigration detention centers in the U.S. and around the world, with the wall the U.S. government is building on the border with Mexico mirroring the Apartheid wall in Palestine. This technology as made the lives of migrants unbearable, cruelly depriving them of a right to work.

We stand today for full justice, legalization, and rights for immigrants in the US and around the world, an end to federal policies such as “Secure Communities” and 287(g) that create unsafe communities for immigrants and people of color across the U.S., and an end to the racist anti-immigrant policies in Arizona, Georgia and elsewhere that target the Latino, Black community, and Arab community, and other communities of color.

On International Workers’ Day 2011, we stand in solidarity with the international workers’ movement, and call upon that movement to continue and expand its efforts in solidarity with Palestine, including a full embrace of BDS and boycott of the Histadrut, and support for Palestinian workers’ struggles. We salute the workers of our community and commit ourselves to building and organizing Palestinian workers in the U.S. as part of the Palestinian national movement, and as part of the international labor, immigrant justice, and antiracist movements.

Workers’ solidarity can end exploitation and injustice – and will bring down occupation and colonialism in Palestine.