December 4, 2014
The Palestine Subcommittee of the National Lawyers Guild expresses its support for the resolution on boycott, divestment and sanctions (“BDS”) being considered by UAW Local 2865, the graduate student workers’ union at the University of California.
The membership vote on BDS, which will take place on December 4, is historic for the U.S. labor movement. UAW 2865 is the first U.S. labor union to vote on supporting BDS in response to the call of Palestinian trade unions and Palestinian civil society. It comes shortly following the victory of the Block the Boat movement, a community-led initiative in Oakland, in stopping the arrival of Israeli ZIM ships in the Port of Oakland, with the support and participation of the members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).
As noted by the UAW 2865 Joint Council as it prepares for the membership vote, “All major Palestinian trade unions have issued the following statement: ‘We call for a final end to the crimes and oppression against us. We call for: Arms embargoes on Israel, sanctions that would cut off the supply of weapons and military aid from Europe and the United States on which Israel depends to commit such war crimes…[and] Boycott, divestment and sanctions, as called for by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society in 2005’…We believe it is our duty as a labor union to support our Palestinian counterparts.”
The National Lawyers Guild strongly supports the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions as a grassroots initiative to support the struggle of the Palestinian people for liberation, and as a necessary mechanism of popular action to enforce and implement international law in the face of the complicity of the U.S. government in the ongoing and rapidly expanding Israeli occupation and colonialism, including the creation of an apartheid society, mass incarceration, long-term military rule, and and war crimes, including indiscriminate military assaults, particularly in Gaza.
We commend the BDS Caucus of UAW 2865 for bringing this resolution, the Local’s Joint Council for approving it and bringing it to the membership, and urge members of UAW 2865 to vote “yes” in the membership vote December 4. We also urge all labor organizations to:
1. Fully support Palestinian national, democratic and labor rights, including the stated goals of the Palestinian call for global BDS: ending the Israeli “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194;”
2. Demand an end to U.S. military and economic support for the Israeli occupation; and
3. Divest all labor investments in the Israeli occupation.