Monthly Archives: December 2014

NLG Palestine Subcommittee supports UAW 2865 BDS resolution

December 4, 2014

NLG Palestine Subcommittee supports UAW 2865 BDS resolution

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.


Graduate students: Vote yes in solidarity with Palestine (Daily Californian)

Graduate students: Vote yes in solidarity with Palestine

On Thursday, graduate students across the UC system have the opportunity to take a decisive stand in solidarity with Palestinian students and trade unions. Our union, UAW 2865, which represents student workers across the University of California,will be voting Dec. 4 on whether to join the global movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. We urge our fellow graduate students and academic student workers to vote yes.

The movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions has been gaining in strength over the last 10 years as an international nonviolent form of solidarity with Palestine. In July 2005, more than 170 organizations from Palestinian civil society, including all major trade unions, called upon “international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” The groups that made the call include the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions and the General Union of Palestinian Teachers, among many others.

The demands of BDS are simple: the end of the occupation and the dismantling of the separation wall; full, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and respect, protection and promotion for the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. BDS asks only for the minimal rights that international law guarantees the Palestinian people. The so-called “peace process” has been stagnant for decades, with the Palestinian people in the balance: BDS only demands that international institutions fulfill their obligations.

In the wake of Israel’s seven-week attack on Gaza this summer, killing more than 2,100 Palestinians — the vast majority of whom were civilians — and destroying considerable civilian infrastructure, the call to BDS has sounded ever more urgently. A coalition of unions and other organizations in Gaza issued a renewed call for divestment in September. The statewide Joint Council of our union voted 40-0 to endorse the call for BDS and bring the issue to a full membership vote.

The labor movement in the United States is beginning to join its international counterparts in embracing BDS. This summer, members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 played an important role in supporting the “Block the Boat” campaign, which successfully prevented an Israeli shipping line from docking in the Port of Oakland. Other U.S. trade unions have endorsed BDS, as have labor coalitions. These join widespread international support for BDS, including the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the University and College Union, the university lecturers’ union in the United Kingdom.

Our union will be the first in the United States to hold a full membership vote on supporting BDS. The leadership we can take on this issue is consistent with the leadership we’ve taken in supporting other important political movements. We have supported undergraduate organizing against fee-hikes, the Occupy protests of 2011, and we’ve gone on strike in solidarity with other workers on our campuses.

As in these other cases, in supporting BDS, we are responding to a call from other unions specifically asking for our support. This is consistent with our support for Taiwanese student activists facing repression and our calls for justice for Mexican students murdered in Ayotzinapa. In addition, our labor union, the United Auto Workers, has a history of political involvement, supporting the Civil Rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s. Union solidarity played a key role in opposing the military dictatorship in Chile during the 1970s and 1980s and supporting the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Our move to support Palestinian workers and students is not the first nor last time we take part in debates around global issues.

The specific ballot language calls on the university and the UAW international to divest their holdings in Israeli state institutions and international companies complicit in severe and ongoing human rights violations. The vote would also call on the U.S. government to end military aid to Israel.

Members will also have an opportunity to check an additional box at the bottom of the ballot to pledge to join the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, a “voluntary and non-binding individual commitment.” The academic boycott has recently been endorsed by the American Studies Association, the Association of Asian American Studies, the Critical Ethnic Studies Association and the African Literature Association. As the ballot itself states, the academic boycott “does not target individuals” who work in Israeli universities — instead, it is a challenge to the universities themselves, deeply linked to Israel’s military and complicit in Israel’s human rights violations. As explicitly stated in the ballot, the union “condemns discrimination … for any reason including religious affiliation and national origin,” and “affirmatively encourages academic collaboration with individual Israelis, Palestinians, and others in the region who oppose the occupation of Palestine.”

As trade unionists, we act against the widespread violations of labor rights, and the hyperexploitation of Palestinian workers by Israeli employers. As academics, we protest the denial of academic freedom to Palestinian scholars and students. To quote UAW 2865’s joint-council statement in support of BDS, “Working people everywhere have a common interest in opposing oppression and exploitation wherever they are found.”

Daniel Benjamin is a graduate student in the department of English, and Aidin Fathalizadeh is a graduate student in the department of physics at UC Berkeley. They are both rank-and-file members of UAW Local 2865.

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UAW 2865 BDS Vote Materials

uaw local 2865UAW 2865 BDS Vote Materials

At the October JC meeting, the assembly voted 40-0-7 to poll the Local membership on Dec. 4, 2014, regarding whether to support the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.

Further information regarding this ballot can be found here.

Campuses are also offering a variety of educational opportunities to the membership about the issue. Local campuses are implementing processes to approve and advertise these events. Use the “Our Campuses” links at the top of the page to connect with your campus leadership.

The final text of the ballot was amended during the meeting and can be found here.

There were also a number of other proposals that were passed at the meeting, including:

* Adopt BDS FAQ Page
* Adopt Academic Boycott Fact Sheet
* Adopt Labor Movement Statement
* Equal representation of perspectives on the BDS proposal.
* Event Funding for Education on BDS.

All proposals that were presented are available to view in draft form here.

Members are welcome to submit further commentary regarding the proposals, which will be made publicly available within our commentary folder. To submit a comment, you can email or use our submission form. Note that while we appreciate commentary from the public, only submissions from members (which do not include discriminatory or hate speech) will be posted.

Here is a link to an independent, non-Union website of members expressing political opinions opposed to the Union’s stated positions.

UAW Local 2865 members should vote to join BDS movement (Daily Bruin)

UAW Local 2865 members should vote to join BDS movement

December 3, 2014 1:11 am


On Dec. 4, the membership of UAW Local 2865, the University of California-wide student-worker union, will vote on whether to answer Palestinian civil society’s call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. This call demands the Israeli state end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, end discriminatory policies against Palestinian citizens of Israel and grant the millions of Palestinian refugees the right to return to Palestine.

Our union leadership has proposed that we join the BDS call by supporting the boycott of Israeli academic institutions and pressing the UAW, the UC and the U.S. government to divest from financial support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The tireless and impressive organizing work of Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA has, in a matter of years, brought UC divestment to the forefront of public discussion on campus. The tactic of divestment pressures businesses to act with social responsibility and moral awareness. In this case, calling for UC and UAW divestment would not only exert this pressure, but would express powerful solidarity with the Palestinian people.

What’s more, our union will be building upon the successes of SJP and other Palestinian solidarity organizations in the U.S. by asking our members to join the academic boycott. As academic workers, engaging in this boycott is the most significant way that we can use our labor to make a politically powerful statement. Israeli academic institutions are complicit in violence against Palestinian communities in many ways, including the erasure and censorship of Palestinian history, discriminatory funding and support for Jewish students over Arab students and direct collaboration with the Israeli army – which has carried out clandestine wars against Palestinian communities for decades.

Within our union, we have pursued the BDS vote while affirming UAW 2865’s commitment to democratic engagement. The BDS proposal was first approved by an unequivocal majority of the UAW Joint Council’s elected representatives from all UC campuses. The ballot initiative was adopted by a reflective, deliberative and contentious process that included a wide range of perspectives for and against. After deliberation, the Council decided to allow all union membership across the UC to vote on BDS on Dec. 4.

We believe this vote continues our union’s legacy of solidarity with local and international justice struggles. Far from singling out Israel, our union has shown solidarity through protests and statements with numerous justice struggles – Palestinians, South Africans during Apartheid, and Chilean and Taiwanese student movements, respectively. Active members of the union are engaged in struggles supporting economic and social equality, fighting to counter racism, sexism and homophobia in our communities. Our broad commitment to social justice is inspiration for our BDS activism, because support for Israeli state policies implicates us all.

Our government provides the Israeli state over $3 billion in aid annually, which engages in ongoing mass violence against Palestinian communities. Inaction is not neutral.

Our union represents workers for companies that support the occupation – Raytheon and Caterpillar. UAW union workers have reason to be outraged that their companies have leveraged union workers’ employment on the blood of innocents. The union has an opportunity to play a progressive role in influencing these companies to end their collaboration with the Israeli state.

Our privileged position as academic workers is made possible by the taxes and good will of Californians, many of whom are directly affected by these and other important issues of social justice. Our work in academia is often complicit in violence against Palestinian communities, which renders us complicit, often without our consent. The status quo and our silence supports this reality.

Many perspectives have aligned in support of the goals and tactics of BDS. This includes several unions around the world; high-profile artists, intellectuals and scientists; and a number professional academic institutions. By voting for divestment and joining the academic boycott, the BDS caucus of the union asks its members to act on an urgent moral imperative to support the full realization of Palestinian dignity and self-determination. Inaction is no longer ethical.

Elzein is a graduate student in education. Taiwo is a graduate student in philosophy.

Israel’s fear of boycott rooted in tactic’s historic victories against colonialism (Electronic Intifada)

Israel’s fear of boycott rooted in tactic’s historic victories against colonialism

2 December 2014


The 2005 call for BDS from Palestinian civil society was both an acknowledgment and a call for solidarity.

(Ashraf Amra / APA images)

This week UAW 2865, representing thirteen thousand student workers across nineUniversity of California campuses, could become the first labor union in the US to join the Palestinian-led movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

The union’s 4 December vote comes in the wake of a momentous period of organizing for BDS on college campuses and within scholarly associations — a process marked by a spectacular victory for our side when the American Studies Association voted overwhelmingly for BDS in December 2013. This followed the Asian American Studies Association, which in April 2013 became the first scholarly association to adopt BDS.

This is despite, and in response to, the violence unleashed by Israel on Palestinian lives and homes during the summer in the genocidal military campaign against Gaza.

One way to judge our success would be by the measure of outrage of Zionist organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League.

The Anti-Defamation League has made an alphabetical list of all university campuses that in 2014 considered or voted on BDS. That number, just for 2014, was an impressive fifteen, of which five student governments actually passed a BDS motion, usually by huge majorities.

“Perhaps more disconcerting,” according to the Anti-Defamation League, was “the extent to which support for BDS has seeped into the realm of scholars.”

Following the American Studies Association vote, several scholarly organizations — including the Peace and Justice Studies Association, the Modern Language Association and the National Women’s Studies Association, among others — have either passed or are considering voting on BDS resolutions.

As it turns out, 4 December — the day the UAW 2865 will be voting on BDS — marks the first anniversary of the American Studies Association victory.

Tactic of the dispossessed

Undoubtedly, the lead-up to the vote and its aftermath will see an escalation of Zionist propaganda against BDS. So it is important to make two points as we organize towards the future:

First, that historically, boycott is a tactic used by the dispossessed against the powerful.

This is not a new tactic. Boycott has deep roots in anti-imperialist struggle, internationally.

Palestinians stand alongside other anti-imperialist fighters whose rich and fierce history of struggle is worth recalling today — not simply because it ought to be part of our collective historical memory, but also because they won against their oppressors.

Second, that the tactic of BDS presents particular difficulties for Israel and its allies, because it is an international movement and not tied to particular nation states or their rulers.

The 2005 call for BDS from Palestinian civil society was both an acknowledgment and a call for solidarity.

It was an acknowledgement the Palestinian people could no longer depend on Arab ruling elites to deliver a just victory due to their compromises with neoliberalism and US imperialism.

Consequently, it was a call for solidarity to those Palestinians could rely on: an international citizenry who could stand with them, often against their own home governments.

Both these features of BDS deserve unpacking.

Isolating imperialists

Boycott, as a tactic of resistance, derives its name from one Captain Charles Boycott.

Boycott was a land agent in nineteenth century Ireland managing the estates of a large landowner, Lord Erne, in County Mayo. Boycott was known for his singular cruelty and ruthlessness towards the Irish people who worked on his land.

But all did not go well for Captain Boycott in history. When Boycott tried to evict his Irish tenants in 1880, the workers, organized by the Irish Land League, led a “boycott” of Charles Boycott.

The entire community participated in the campaign to isolate the imperialist. Workers stopped work on his land, shops refused to serve him; he even failed get anyone to do his laundry.

Boycott finally left Ireland in 1880 but not before he gave us the verb “to boycott” in celebration of the hundreds of ordinary Irish people who kicked him out of their land.

The next successful mass boycott campaign was the Swadeshi movement in Bengal in British-occupied India. At a packed town hall meeting in Calcutta on 7 August 1905, leading nationalists of Bengal called for a boycott of all British goods and institutions to protest the then Viceroy Lord Curzon’s decision to partition Bengal and fuel Hindu-Muslim religious tensions.

The decision of the Bengali nationalists to boycott the colonial power was, again, rooted in internationalism. Its inspiration came in part from the Chinese boycott of American goods in protest against racist immigration laws — a tactic noted as worthy of emulation by radical Bengali nationalists.

The boycott of 1905 blossomed into a full-scale passive resistance campaign, marked by public burnings of British goods, boycott of British schools, colleges, law courts and places of work and a demand for full independence from colonial rule.

Activists and volunteers addressed massive rallies, organized lectures in villages, composed beautiful songs and poems about the motherland, wrote street plays and even set up their own arbitration courts as parallel judiciaries to the British law courts.

Lord Curzon, known for his racism and imperial arrogance, was forced to revoke the partition and ultimately return to England.

The year 1905 proved to be an inspiration and part-blueprint for the subsequent Gandhian movement of the 1920s and later. In fact the economic boycott of British goods proved to be far more intense in the 1921-22 and 1930s campaigns, worrying the major industrialists in Britain.

Hallmark of freedom struggle

The boycott of British goods and institutions became a hallmark of the Indian freedom struggle in general, inspiring similar tactics internationally — notably in South Africa.

Throughout the 1950s the African National Congress and its allies spearheaded various boycott campaigns against the apartheid state. A 1958 paper by the ANC’s national executive argued that “new methods of struggle must emerge … we can no longer rely on the old forms.”

The movement gained international support slowly through the 1960s, passing through acts of brutal violence of the South African state such as the Sharpeville massacre and despite tenacious opposition from the US and British governments in the 1980s.

Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister, called the ANC a “terrorist organization.” Her spokesperson, Bernard Ingham, famously declared that anyone who believed that the ANC would ever form a government in South Africa was “living in cloud cuckoo land.”

And yet, Nelson Mandela walked out from 27 years of imprisonment into the South African sunshine in February of 1990 — marking the beginning of the end for white minority rule.

Boycott worked.

Boycotting a settler colonial regime, then, has a proud anti-imperialist history and long history of success.

The ANC revolutionaries called the strategy a “devastating weapon” when wielded in concert with “sympathetic organizations overseas.” And rightly so.

Unlike the South Africans and Indians, the Palestinians in historic Palestine do not have the same strategic power over the Israeli state.

In South Africa and India if the indigenous people — Black South Africans and Indians — stopped all work for and with the colonial regime, the regime would fall. The colonized outnumbered the colonizers by several counts.

This is not the case in Palestine.

Palestinians living in the state of Israel now form a minority population, compared to the Israeli settler-colonial population — all the more reasons why the right of return for Palestinian refugees ought to be an absolutely non-negotiable demand. In historic Palestine overall, the Israeli Jewish and Palestinian populations are roughly equal in number.

This means that numerically, Palestinians, within Palestine, cannot pose the same strategic pressure on the settlers as their Indian or South African counterparts could.

But the rest of us can.

We are many

The rest of us who stand for justice in Palestine can honor the call for solidarity from Palestine and campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the apartheid state of Israel.

In my mind, there is no question that Palestinians have provided the fighting edge to the struggles of the late-twentieth century. I would even go as far as to say that the intifadas — uprisings — in particular and the Palestinian resistance in general provided the inspiration and confidence for what came to be called the Arab Spring.

But they cannot win this fight in isolation, and this is not just their fight.

First, there is the fact that Palestinians are largely an unarmed population resisting a state that is one of the most militarized states on the planet and which uses deadly force on everyone, including infants, with impunity.

Second, most of Israel’s arms are supplied by countries of the global North, the US leading that list. This means we can put pressure on our own governments to stop the genocide in Palestine.

We can block Israel’s boats, we can pass BDS resolutions in our student governments, in our labor unions and in our professional organizations. We can force companies to close their factories on illegally occupied Palestinian land.

We can do all this because numerically, we are many. And the people who uphold Israeli apartheid may be powerful, but they are few.

If Israeli apartheid falls, it will not just be a victory for Palestine. Because it will be such a massive blow to global imperialism, it will be a taste of liberation for all of us.

This is why it is important to remind ourselves of the rich and deeply internationalist tradition of boycott, as we get ready to introduce BDS resolutions in our schools, unions and community organizations.

Just like the UAW 2865 will on 4 December.

Because boycotts have a history of winning.

Tithi Bhattacharya is a professor of South Asian History at Purdue University, a long time activist for Palestinian justice and a member of the editorial board of theInternational Socialist Review.


Jewish Students Circulate Letter of Support as Labor Union Prepares for Vote on BDS (Tikkun)


Jewish Students Circulate Letter of Support as Labor Union Prepares for Vote on BDS

by: Katy Fox-Hodess on December 2nd, 2014 |

LFPThis Thursday, members of UAW 2865, the union that represents 13,000 graduate student instructors, readers and tutors at the nine undergraduate teaching campuses of the statewide University of California system, will vote on whether to endorse joining the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement as a labor union. This is the first election of its kind on BDS by a labor union in the United States.

Plans for the election were made this summer, when the statewide Joint Council of UAW 2865 became the first such union body in the United States to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Rather than simply take a position as the elected union leadership, however, the Joint Council decided to put the issue to a vote of the full membership. The original resolution passed by the Joint Council can be found here. At their October meeting, the Joint Council passed further resolutions clarifying their positions on BDS, including a statement on why they view BDS as a labor movement issue, an FAQ on BDS, and a fact sheet on the academic boycott.

In response to the original July resolution calling for a full membership vote on BDS, nearly fifty current and former Jewish members and officers of the union signed on to an open letter in support of the resolution, expressing our solidarity with Palestinian people and people everywhere struggling against Israeli injustice. The letter reflects our belief that we have a responsibility as Jews and as trade unionists to support the struggles of oppressed people around the world.

Open Letter from Jewish Officers and Members in Support of Divestment

As Jewish officers and members, both current and former, of UAW 2865, the UC Student-Workers Union, we are writing to express our support for the recent divestment resolution passed by our local union’s Joint Council.


An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere and none of us is free until all of us are free. As Jews, we understand from our own experiences with discrimination and our own history of resistance to oppression that standing on the right side of history necessitates standing in solidarity with Palestinians. For that reason, we are proud to be counted among the growing number of Jews and trade unionists around the the world who refuse to turn a blind eye to this issue.

We are speaking out today against our government, employer and national labor union’s complicity in Israel’s actions through military aid and investment in corporations that profit from the occupation. Additionally, we are encouraging our fellow members to support the academic and cultural boycott in order to take a stand for Palestinian academics and cultural workers suffering under the apartheid system. Students and workers at the University of California participated vigorously in the global campaign to divest from South African apartheid in the 1980s, and we seek to build upon that legacy and its tactics.

As Jews, we feel an urgent need at the present moment to say “Not in our name” as Palestinian civilian deaths climb past 1000 and Israel commits human rights violations with impunity. And as trade unionists, we feel an obligation to express our solidarity with Palestinians living under a system of legal apartheid, as well as our solidarity with Israelis and people around the world who stand in opposition to this system.


We affirm our right and responsibility as Jews to oppose the State of Israel’s actions and policies that we believe to be unjust. Additionally, we affirm our belief that Israel’s current siege of Gaza does not make Jews safer in Israel or around the world. We hope that honest critique will lead to positive change.

Therefore, we urge all members to support the call for our employer, the University of California, and our national union, the United Auto Workers, to divest from corporations that benefit from Israeli occupation; for our government to end military aid to Israel; and for our members to support the academic and cultural boycott. A statewide membership vote will be held on this issue in the coming months.


Heather Berg, Member, Feminist Studies, UCSB

Michael Berman, Member, Anthropology, UCSD

Josh Brahinsky, Former Campus Recording Secretary (Joint Council), History of Consciousness, UCSC

Robert Cavooris, Campus Recording Secretary (Joint Council), History of Consciousness, UCSC

Mandy Cohen, Former Statewide Recording Secretary (Executive Board), Comparative Literature/Yiddish, UCB

Abigail Collins, Member, Art, UCLA

Barry Eidlin, Former Berkeley Head Steward (Joint Council) and current post-doctoral fellow at Rutgers

Kareem Elzein, Education and Information Studies, UCLA

Lisa Feldstein, Member, City and Regional Planning, UCB

Katy Fox-Hodess, Statewide Guide (Executive Board), Sociology, UCB

Eli Friedman, Former Berkeley member and current Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University

William Girard, Former Member, Anthropology alum, UCSC

Evan Grupsmith, Former Head Steward, History, UCSC

Mariel Gruszko, Member, Anthropology, UCI

Jessie Halpern-Finnerty, Member, Geography, UCD

Christoph Hanssmann, Member, Sociology, UCSF

Amanda Jenkins, Former Member, History alum, UCSC

Hannah Kagan-Moore, Member, Art History, UCD

Sarah Kessler, Member, Comparative Literature, UCI

Jonathan Koch, Member, Music, UCLA

Seth Leibson, Head Steward (Joint Council), Sociology, UCB

Rachel Lesser, Former Head Steward (Joint Council), Classics, UCB

Zachary Levenson, Former Head Steward (Joint Council), Sociology, UCB

Mike Levien, Former member and current Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins

Susie Levy, Member, Public Health, UCB

Roi Livne, Member, Sociology, UCB

Larisa Mann, Former Head Steward (Joint Council), Law and Jurisprudence, UCB

Ramsey McGlazer, Member, Comparative Literature, UCB

Robbie Nelson, Campus Recording Secretary (Joint Council), History, UCB

Kurt Newman, Member, History, UCSB

Dustianne North, Former Member, M.S.W. and Ph.D., School of Social Welfare, UCLA

Micha Rahder, Former Member, Anthropology alum, UCSC; currently Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Louisiana State University

Manuel Rosaldo, Former Head Steward (Joint Council), Sociology, UCB

Jocelyn Saidenberg, Member, Comparative Literature, UCB

Rebecca Schein, Former member, History of Consciousness alum, UCSC; currently Assistant Professor at the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at Carleton University.

Emily Schneider, Member, Sociology, UCSB

Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa, Member, Film and Digital Media, UCSC

Clara Sherley-Appel, Member, Linguistics, UCSC

Emma Silverman, Head Steward (Joint Council), Art History, UCB

Sara Smith, Former Northern Vice President (Executive Board), History Alum, UCSC

Tamara Lea Spira, Former Member, History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies alumna, UCSC

Noah Tamarkin, Former Member, Anthropology alum, UCSC

Rebecca Tarlau, Former Head Steward (Joint Council), Education, UCB

Alisun Thompson, Member, Education, Lecturer and Post-doctoral Researcher, UCSC

Maayan Tsadka, Member, Music, UCSC

Megan Wachspress, Former Campus Recording Secretary (Joint Council), Law and Jurisprudence, UCB

Eran Zelnik, Former Head Steward (Joint Council), History, UCD

Legality of Boycott and Divestment, Frequently Asked Questions UAW 2865 Campaign (Palestine Solidarity Legal Support)

CCR2Palestine Solidarity Legal Support

Legality of Boycott and Divestment, Frequently Asked Questions
UAW 2865 Campaign, December 2014

Increasing calls for boycott and divestment of Israeli institutions and U.S. companies that profit from the occupation of Palestine have triggered a backlash of threats including the allegation that this principled position is somehow “illegal.” This is part of a concerted campaign of legal repression designed to intimidate and silence critics of Israel. Palestine Solidarity Legal Support (PSLS) documents the escalating legal repression, which has included smear campaigns, frivolous lawsuits, unconstitutional legislative proposals, and other attempts to restrict speech critical of Israel. As members of Local UAW 2865 prepare to vote on a boycott and divestment resolution, it is no surprise that the Union faces baseless legal threats, similar to those leveled against the American Studies Association and student groups.

The following addresses frequent accusations against BDS campaigns. This is general legal information, not specific legal advice. If you have specific questions about your campaign, please contact Palestine Solidarity Legal Support.

Full text: FAQ-on-Legalality-of-Boycott-Divestment_12-2-14-PUBLIC

Labor for Palestine Support for UAW 2865 BDS Resolution

To endorse this statement, please click here. Be sure to put your labor affiliation and/or title in the “comment” section.
lfp-sizeuaw local 2865btbblue-300x300




Labor for Palestine Support for UAW 2865 BDS Resolution

“I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963.

As trade unionists and anti-apartheid activists, we salute 13,000 University of California graduate student-workers who vote this Thursday, December 4 on UAW 2865’s resolution to join the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This historic moment is the first time that the membership of any major union body in the United States will have a chance to vote on more than six decades of complicity by their government, university and top labor officials in Israeli apartheid.

UAW 2865’s Joint Council BDS resolution was adopted on July 29 by a vote of 40-0. It answered urgent calls from Palestinian trade unions and Labor for Palestine issued amid last summer’s Israeli war on Gaza — armed and funded by the United States government — that ultimately murdered more than 2000 people, including more than 500 children.

Recognizing that this massacre reflects not only the brutal ongoing Israeli siege on Gaza, but its entire colonial-settler regime, the Joint Council embraces BDS demands for decolonization of all historic Palestine: an end to Israeli military occupation of the 1967 territories; full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, as affirmed by UN resolution 194.

Thereby respecting the worldwide BDS picket line, the Joint Council joins the Congress of South African Trade Unions and labor organizations around the world, including ILWU Local 10 dockworkers who refuse to handle Israeli Zim line cargo. As UAW 2865 BDS Caucus members explain:

“The success of Oakland’s Block the Boat makes clear the centrality of organized labor to the global movement for Palestinian freedom. This, and the upcoming UAW 2865 vote on BDS, signal a sea change in US labor’s willingness to be complicit in apartheid and ethnic cleansing. As the larger Palestine solidarity movement picks up steam, we can expect the grassroots labor mobilization for Palestine to bear greater and greater fruits, until Israeli apartheid is no more.”

UAW 2865’s BDS resolution also builds on Students for Justice in Palestine’s BDS victories at six of nine UC campuses, and is deeply connected to ongoing battles now being waged by UC students and workers against institutional racism, state violence and attacks on public higher education.

As UAW 2865 leaders point out, these struggles are inextricably linked: “Working people everywhere have a common interest in opposing oppression and exploitation wherever they are found. Working together as a global labor movement to oppose injustice around the world strengthens us all in our individual struggles against anti-labor employers and states and in our collective efforts to build the world that working people deserve. An Injury to One Is an Injury to All.”

In support of UAW 2865’s resolution, the Arab Resources Organizing Center (AROC) similarly observes: “When workers reclaim their power and take a position on the side of justice, they are honoring the legacy of worker-community solidarity, and reminding the world that workers are part and parcel of popular movements.”

As one UAW 2865 “Vote Yes” poster simply states: “Palestina & Ayotinzapa & Ferguson & Mi barrio & Tu barrio. Yes on BDS – Dec 4

During the past fifty years, the Free Speech Movement of 1964, apartheid South Africa divestment in the 1970s-1980s, and numerous other social justice campaigns at the University of California have spoken truth to power, inspired millions, and helped change the course of history.

Today, standing in this proud tradition, you will do the same.


Issued by Labor for Palestine Co-Conveners:

Suzanne Adely, U.S.-MENA Global Labor Solidarity Network; Former Staff, Global Organizing Institute, UAW

Monadel Herzallah, former member, Arab American Union Members Council, San Francisco, CA

Michael Letwin, former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325

Clarence Thomas, Co-Chair, Million Worker March; Executive Board, ILWU Local 10

Jaime Veve, Transport Workers Union Local 100, NYC (retired)