Monthly Archives: February 2015

Vote for the Academic Boycott of Israel: stand on the right side of history (Palestinian Student and Academic Unions)

23 February 2015

Vote for the Academic Boycott of Israel: stand on the right side of history

We the undersigned Palestinian student and academic unions, with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), strongly urge all the University of London, SOAS community to vote for the institutional academic boycott of Israel in the campus wide referendum taking place 23-27 February. We take this opportunity to salute all campaigners who have worked tirelessly to promote the Yes vote and explain to the wider student, faculty and staff body both the necessity and urgency of a boycott of Israel’s academic institutions.

We who endure the brunt of Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid policies in the academic sector can attest not only to  Israel’s deliberate, decades-long policies of stifling Palestinian academic life and repressing Palestinian academic freedom, but also to the deep complicity of Israel’s academic institutions in planning, implementing and whitewashing this regime of oppression.


During Israel’s latest military assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014, that left entire neighbourhoods levelled to the ground, destroyed schools, university buildings and UN shelters, as well as killed more than 2,168 Palestinians and injured over 10,895 people, Israel’s academic institutions came out in support of the Israeli military while it deliberately bombed universities and other civilian infrastructure in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip.


Hebrew University specifically, with whom SOAS has an institutional link, is partially built on stolen Palestinian land and has an army base on its campus; its complicity in Israeli violations of international law are well documented. Hebrew University stood by the Israeli army during the attack on Gaza; a notice circulated at the university announced a collection of goods including hygiene products, snacks and cigarettes “for the [Israeli] soldiers at the front according to the demand reported by the IDF [Israeli army] units.” Hebrew University maintains close ties to the Israeli military industry and collaborates with the Israeli army in training officers and recruits. Further, staff from the Hebrew University take part in the supervision and promotion committees of students and staff at the colony-college of Ariel, which was established on confiscated Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. These are only some of the most obvious reasons that the SOAS community should vote for ending such tainted collaborations with Hebrew University.

We restate that our call for an academic boycott is an institutional one. It targets the privileged status of Israel’s academic institutions and the image of normality they project while being deeply complicit in a colonial context built on the subjugation of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian academic boycott against Israel does not target individuals, so it clearly does not target the very few courageous Israeli academics that have come out in support of Palestinian rights. On the contrary, we strongly support their academic freedom and stand against the censorship and intimidation they face from their own institutions when they express dissenting views that support Palestinian rights, let alone any form of boycott to achieve those rights.

We are thankful to all campaigners who opened up this important discussion and debate at University of London, SOAS. While opponents of the academic boycott of Israel’s institutions often complain that it infringes on open dialogue, in reality it is clear that such referendums open up space for debate on a topic often side-lined and silenced on university campuses. We know that the wider SOAS community has a long history of backing Palestinian rights, including one of the first positive votes in a UK student union in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). The first conference calling for the academic boycott of Israel was held at SOAS in 2004. We are happy to see the continuation of this tradition with dynamic, practical and effective campaigns.

Finally, we reiterate that Israel’s academic institutions, far from being “bastions of liberalism,” are a pillar of Israel’s system of colonial oppression. The least that people of conscience can do to support our struggle for freedom, justice and equality is to end all complicity in these institutions’ role in our oppression.

We strongly urge the SAOS community to vote Yes to end such complicity and to stand on the right side of history, as was done against apartheid South Africa.


  • Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
  • Palestinian Federation of University Unions of Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)
  • University Teachers’ Society in Palestine (UTSP)
  • Abnaa el Balad Student Movement
  • Almubadara Youth
  • Al-Najah National University student union
  • Alquds University Student Union
  • Arab American University Student Union
  • Beirziet University Student Union
  • Bethlehem University Student Union
  • Fateh Youth and Student Movement
  • Hebron University Student Union
  • NDA Student Movement
  • Palestine Polytechnic University Student Union
  • Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)
  • Palestinian Youth Struggle Union
  • Palestinian Democratic Youth Union
  • Palestinian Students’ Liberation Front
  • Student Department of CPI (Communist Party of Israel) & DFPE (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality)
  • Student’s Struggle Block
  • Students Unions in Alquds open university in the following branches : Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Ramallah, Nablus, Salfeet, Toubas, Qalqilia, Jenin, Toulkarem, Bedia, Doura, Yata, Biet Sahour, Alezarieh.

Posted on 24-02-2015

Labor for Palestine to NYC Council Members: Don’t Tour Apartheid Israel

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Don't Tour Apartheid Israel

NYC Council Members: Don’t Tour Apartheid Israel
Labor for Palestine, February 22, 2015

We condemn the participation of fifteen NYC council members* in an all-expense-paid junket to Israel this month, sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. As a coalition of grassroots organizations have pointed out, “this trip is the equivalent of crossing an international picket line,” thereby betraying both the labor and racial justice movements that City Council members claim to support.

Fatin Jarara of Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition explains: “On this trip they would no doubt be shielded from the checkpoints, the settlements, the separation wall, the refugee camps, the destroyed homes and schools, and all of the other elements that make up the apartheid, colonial state that continues to occupy Palestine.”

The Dream Defenders’ 2014 delegation to Palestine says: “We believe this City Council trip would be a dangerous symbolic gesture of normalizing Israeli’s apartheid state. . . . We know Israeli training forces have a long mentoring relationship with NYPD, and if you stand with oppressed people and against police brutality here at home, you must stand with oppressed people and against state violence abroad.”

Indeed, Israel’s systematic violation of human rights parallels, on even larger scale, police brutality against communities of color in this country that claims the lives of one African American every twenty-eight hours.

Thus, while police murdered Eric Garner in Staten Island and Mike Brown in Ferguson last summer, Israel massacred at least 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza (including more than 500 children), while killing many other Palestinians in the West Bank and 1948 PalestineSince 2000 alone, Israel has killed more than 8,896 Palestinians; at least 1,895 have been children.

Just as police violence in the U.S. reflects the ongoing system of racial injustice upon this country was founded, Israel’s crimes are rooted in more than a century of Zionist colonialism, ethnic cleansing and genocide, including Israel’s very establishment through the uprooting and displacement of more than 750,000 Palestinians during the 1947-1948 Nakba (Catastrophe).

For all these reasons and more, veteran South African freedom fighters report that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is “worse than apartheid.”

That is why Palestinian trade unions and civil society echo earlier civil rights and anti-apartheid movements by calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) until Israel recognizes the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with international law by:

1) Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
2) Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3) Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

That is why BDS is championed by the Congress of South African Trade Unions and numerous other trade unionists around the world, including West Coast dockworkers who refuse to handle Israeli Zim line cargo, and UAW 2865 at the University of California.

That is why City Council members must end their complicity with all forms of racist violence and get on the right side of history, from New York City to Palestine. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Initial NYC-Based Signers (Affiliations for identification only || *Labor for Palestine Co-Convener)

Larry Adams, Former President, NPMHU L. 300; Co-founder, NYC Labor Against the War; People’s Organization for Progress

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

Marty Goodman, Former Executive Board member, Transport Workers Union L. 100 (retired)

*Michael Letwin, Former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325; Co-founder, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, NYC Labor Against the War

Chuck Mohan, President, Guyanese American Workers United

Brenda Stokely, Former President, AFSCME DC 1707; Co-founder, NYC Labor Against the War; NE Regional Co-Organizer, Million Worker March Movement

*Jaime Veve, Transport Workers Union L. 100 (retired)


*Participating in the apartheid tour are City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Members Mark Treyger, Brad Lander, Antonio Reynoso, David Greenfield, Rafael Espinal, Darlene Mealy, Mark Levine, Helen Rosenthal, Corey Johnson, Ritchie Torres, Andrew Cohen, Donovan Richards, Eric Ulrich, and James Van Bramer.

International Trade Union Solidarity For Resistance, Dignity, and a Better Life (Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign)

PFN1International Trade Union Solidarity
For Resistance, Dignity, and a Better Life

Trade Unions are an important part of the civil resistance against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and international solidarity is a crucial part of it. 

Israeli control

Palestine suffers from Israeli restrictions on production, transport, and export and unemployment is a major problem.



Textile workers in a Palestinian business

Confiscation of houses and land threatens not only food production but as well employment in the rural areas. Therefore, many villagers are forced to move from their farming communities to the Palestinian cities in order to try to find jobs.
No rights in Israel

Still, in order to have an income, many are forced to work in settlements or for Israeli employers across the Green Line, which defines the borders of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.

Palestinian workers employed there by Israeli business or in the illegal settlements earn much less than the Israeli workers and are given no proper contracts or rights under Israeli labour laws. They have to travel for hours and pass degrading control barriers staffed by heavy armed Israeli soldiers every day.


Training course for representatives of textile workers union

Building independent union

Most of the Palestinian unions suffer from attempts by the Palestinian Authorities to exert control over the trade unions. They are part of or have close ties to the authorities, political organizations, and parties, but there are some independent unions.


New Unions

One of them is «The Palestine New Federation of Trade Unions», or «New Unions» in short, that has affiliates and members from most of the professions throughout the West Bank and Gaza.



President of New Unions; Mohammad Bleidi

It is a relatively new federation, but fast growing. It emphasizes democracy, training of workers’ representatives, high level of member activity, strict rules against corruption, and work for better labour and wage conditions. A Norwegian solidarity group of trade unionists currently funds basic training courses for the New Unions and a member of the group, comments:

“Visiting the New Unions in various areas and assisting their training courses, I have seen that the New Unions and it´s leaders are met with great respect from the workers everywhere.”



Norwegian Trade Unions members in Palestine

New Unions main tasks

In its program New Unions says it shall:

  • Struggle against the system of work recruitment through agents and intermediaries.
  • Stop the illegal union fees to the Israeli trade union, Histadrut, and to have these contributions of the workers directed to the Palestinian trade unions.
  • Struggle for the right to social security systems and a decent minimum wage.
  • Struggle to enact labour laws, fixed deadlines to finish labour law court processes, and change the legal system through political pressure.



Resistance against occupation; Bilin

Solidarity for freedom

The representative of the Norwegian group concludes that:

“In the spirit of real international solidarity and to be a part of the resistance against the inhuman occupation of Palestine, contact with, mutual visits, and friendship ties between unions can be an important contribution to a better world and a step forward towards freedom for Palestine.”


Spread the word – to your union and organizations
– and post it on social media.
To discuss types of cooperation and mutual projects with the New Unions, please mail to:
To contact the Norwegian trade unionists solidarity group «Workmates Norge Palestina» for information and their experiences, please mail to: