Category Archives: LFP Statements

U.S. Labor Must Stand With Palestine! (Updated Endorsers)


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U.S. Labor Must Stand With Palestine!
Labor for Palestine, Nakba Day, May 15, 2021

As workers, labor, and anti-apartheid activists, we join millions around the world to unequivocally condemn Israel’s genocidal attacks on the Palestinian people: mass evictions in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods of Jerusalem, storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque, waves of state-sponsored violence throughout the West Bank and the ’48 areas (stolen from Palestine in 1948), and merciless bombardment of Gaza that has already killed and wounded hundreds of people, many of them children.

Recent reports by B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch only belatedly acknowledge what Palestinians have always said: this is not an “Arab-Israeli conflict,” an “Israel-Hamas war,” “communal clashes,” or a “civil war,” but rather another chapter in more than a century of Zionist settler-colonialism — as symbolized by Israel’s very establishment through the uprooting and ethnic cleansing of over 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba (“Our Catastrophe”), whose 73rd anniversary is today, May 15, 2021.

These crimes are only possible because of $3.8 billion a year (or $10+ million *per day*) in bipartisan US military aid that gives Israel the guns, bullets, tanks, ships, jet fighters, missiles, helicopters, white phosphorus and other weapons to kill and maim the Palestinian people.

This is the same system of racist state violence that — with direct Israeli support — brutalizes BIPOC and working class people in the United States and around the world. With Israel’s knee on their neck, Palestinians can’t breathe since 1948, and we unconditionally stand with their resistance in all parts of Palestine, just as they have stood with our struggles for Black and Brown Lives, Standing Rock, migrant rights, and beyond. 

We urge workers and labor bodies in the US to join the growing mass protests against apartheid Israel, and to support the Day of Action in Solidarity with the Palestinian Uprising and General Strike: Tuesday, May 18. We uplift the Italian dockworkers who refused to ship weapons to Israel on April 14, thereby answering the urgent May 13 appeal for international solidarity, signed by Palestinian trade unions, to support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS).

BDS is inspired by the worldwide divestment campaign that helped topple apartheid South Africa, and reflects decades of Palestinian boycott and mobilization against Israeli colonization. It requires not only an end to the 1967 Israeli occupation, but an end to Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and implementation of the right of Palestinian refugees to return. 

On this 73rd anniversary of Nakba Day, as Palestinians courageously resist brutal Israeli attack, we urge the labor movement to respect the BDS picket line by:

• Endorsing BDS, along with UAW 2865, the Connecticut AFL-CIO, the United Electrical Workers, IWW, and other US labor bodies, and with labor organizations around the world, who have already done so.

• Ending, once and for all, US labor officialdom’s long and shameful complicity in Zionism by divesting labor bodies from Israel Bonds, and severing all ties with Israel’s racist labor federation, the Histadrut, and its US mouthpiece, the Jewish Labor Committee.

• Mobilizing our collective power at the workplace, as demonstrated by dockers in South Africa, India, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, Italy, the ILWU on the West Coast of the United States who have refused to handle Israeli cargo, and AROC’s Block the Boat campaign against an upcoming Zim Lines arrival at the Oakland Port.

AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL: 
FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA, PALESTINE WILL BE FREE!
________________________________

On behalf of Labor for Palestine
(organizational affiliations listed for identification only)

Suzanne Adely, Al-Awda-NY; Arab Workers Resource Center; Food Chain Workers Alliance (staff); President-Elect, National Lawyers Guild; 

Monadel Herzallah, Arab American Union Members Council

Ruth Jennison, Department Rep., Massachusetts Society of Professors, MTA, NEA; Co-Chair, Labor Standing Committee Pioneer Valley DSA

Lara Kiswani, Executive Director, Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)

Michael Letwin, Former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325; Organizing Collective, USACBI: US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; DSA Palestine Solidarity Working Group

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

Endorsements (as of May 23, 2021)

Organizations
Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
AFSCME 3800 – UMN Clerical Workers Union
ALAA/UAW Local 2325, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem Union, Family Defense Practice Unit
DSA AfroSocialist & Socialists of Color Caucus
DSA Palestine Solidarity Working Group
Black Attorneys of Legal Aid (BALA) Caucus, ALAA/UAW 2325
Attorneys of Color of Legal Aid (ACLA) Caucus, ALAA/UAW 2325
LGBTQ+ Caucus, ALAA/UAW 2325
CUNY Adjunct Project
Labor Against Racist Terror
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
CAIR-NJ
Central Jersey DSA
NYC DSA Labor Branch

Individuals (list in formation; organizational affiliations listed for identification only)

  1. Daniel Ashworth, ALAA/UAW 2325
  2. Ellyn Kessler, ALAA/UAW 2325
  3. David Klein, California Faculty Association (CFA)
  4. Steve Brier, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334; School of Labor & Urban Studies, CUNY
  5. Susan Morris, Former Executive Board Member, ALAA/UAW 2325 (Retired)
  6. Lisa Edwards, ALAA/UAW 2325
  7. Jamila Hammami, Steward, Co-Organizer for Labor & External Relations, CUNY Graduate Center PhD Social Welfare Program, PSC-CUNY
  8. Ryan Kelly, National Writers Union
  9. Nora Carroll, ALAA/UAW 2325
  10. Lauren Restivo, Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325
  11. Michael Shannon, ALAA/UAW 2325
  12. David Sole, Past President, UAW 2334 (Retired)
  13. Erin Tomlinson, ALAA/UAW 2325
  14. John King, UAW-ACT 7902
  15. Dennis Gallie, UAW 249 (Retired)
  16. Goetz Wolff, Board Member, UC-AFT 1474 (UCLA); LA County AFL-CIO
  17. Ed Kinchley, Delegate, SF Committee on Political Education (COPE), SEIU 1021; Delegate, SF Labor Council
  18. Win Heimer, A&R, AFT 4200R
  19. Azalia Torres, Former Executive Board Member, ALAA/UAW 2325 (Retired)
  20. Eli Nadeau, SENS UAW 7902
  21. Susan Stout, Unifor 2002 (Retired)
  22. David Walsh, NALC 214; Delegate, SF Labor Council
  23. Dan Kaplan, Executive Secretary (retired), AFT 1493
  24. Dave King, Co-Chair, Climate Jobs PDX
  25. Lauren S. King, Climate Jobs PDX; Portland Jobs with Justice
  26. David Clennon, Convention Delegate, Screen Actors Guild-AFTRA
  27. Judith Ackerman, AFT and 1199SEIU
  28. Amy Muldoon, CWA 1106
  29. Val Sanfilippo, Retired Steward, SEIU 221
  30. Francis Cook, UFT, AFT Local 2; MORE Caucus (Movement of Rank and File Educators in the UFT)
  31. Hayat Bearat, Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325
  32. Milad Momeni, CLSWU
  33. David Laibman, PSC-CUNY (retiree chapter)
  34. Mike Gimbel, AFSCME 375, Retired Executive Board member
  35. Elizabeth-Ann Tierney, Alternate Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325
  36. Ayami Hatanaka, ALAA/UAW 2325
  37. David McKeown, IBEW Local 6 (retired)
  38. Greg Giorgio, Delegate and Secretary, IWW Upstate NY Regional
  39. Carol Elaine Gay, President, NJ State Industrial Union Council; CWA retiree
  40. Alexander Hu, Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325
  41. David Letwin, Executive Board Member, Rutgers AAUP-AFT Local 6324
  42. Alexandra Smith, ALAA/UAW 2325
  43. Joshua Strassman, Steward, Amherst Pelham Education Association, Massachusetts Teachers Association
  44. Aaron Goodwin, UAW 2865
  45. Diana Dooley, IBEW Local 6
  46. Gabriel Camacho, Political Director, UFCW Local 1445; LCLAA member at large
  47. Ron Jacobs, Steward, AFSCME 1343
  48. Naomi Sharlin, UFT, AFT Local 2
  49. Nicole Camera, UFT, AFT Local 2; MORE Caucus (Movement of Rank and File Educators in the UFT)
  50. Mark D. Stansbery, Board Member and Chair of Organizing and Mobilization, CWA 4502; Ohio AFL-CIO and Central Ohio Labor Council
  51. Jane Rubio, UFT, AFT Local 2
  52. Joan Hwang, Organizer, Workers Assembly Against Racism
  53. Rebekah McAlister UFT, AFT Local 2
  54. Jennifer Kovacs, ALAA/UAW 2325
  55. Hollis Higgins, NALC Branch 442 (retired)
  56. Leah Martin, Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325
  57. Danielle Bullock, UFT, AFT Local 2; MORE Caucus (Movement of Rank and File Educators in the UFT)
  58. Brian Lewis, Steward and Delegate, AFSCME DC37, Local 375; DC37 Progressives; NYC-DSA Labor Branch
  59. Malcolm Sacks, UFT, AFT Local 2; MORE Caucus (Movement of Rank and File Educators in the UFT)
  60. Aisha Lewis-McCoy, Alternate Representative, LGBTQ Caucus, ALAA/UAW 2325
  61. Sara Catalinotto, Retired Delegate, UFT, AFT Local 2; Labor Against Racist Terror
  62. Susan Moir, Massachusetts Teachers Association (retired)
  63. Leah Margulies, ALAA/UAW 2325
  64. Monica Shah, Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325
  65. Andrea Alajbegovic, LSSA/UAW 2320
  66. Lucy Herschel, Delegate, 1199SEIU, UHWE
  67. Calypso Taylor, ALAA/UAW 2325
  68. Alex Jallot, Delegate, Pace High School, UFT, AFT Local 2
  69. Yessenia Mendez, LSSA/UAW 2320
  70. Ian Spiridigliozzi, ALAA/UAW 2325
  71. Hoda Mitwally, Delegate, LSSA/UAW 2320
  72. Royce Adams, International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1291; CBTU/APRI
  73. Josh Komarovsky, LSSA/UAW 2320
  74. Will Chaney, GEO/UAW 2322 UMASS-Amherst
  75. Robert F. Williams, GEO/UAW 2322 MSCA Westfield State University
  76. Erik Mears, UFT/AFT Local 2
  77. Cherrene Horazuk, President, AFSCME 3800 – UMN Clerical Workers Union
  78. Annie Zirin, CTU/AFT Local 1
  79. Meaghan Whyte, Delegate, LSSA/UAW 2320
  80. Hector Agredano, Pasadena City College Faculty Association
  81. David McNally, Texas State Employees Union/CWA Local 6186
  82. Jessie Muldoon, Site Rep., Portland Education Association
  83. Brenda Stokely, Social Service Employees Union local 371 DC 37 AFSCME, AFL-CIO; Million Workers Movement NE Region co-organizer
  84. Camila Valle, UAW 2110
  85. Alejandro Coriat, NOLSW 2320; Legal Workers’ Rank and File
  86. Vish Soroushian, NOLSW/UAW 2320
  87. Hector Agredano, Pasadena City College Faculty Association
  88. Ramzi Babouder-Matta, Steward, CWA 1180; Labor Against Racism and War
  89. Sarah Soliman, Worker Advocate, Worker Justice Wisconsin
  90. Elly Wong, Steward, NPEU (IPFTE Local 70)
  91. Naib Mian, Unit Council, Bargaining Committee, New Yorker Union, News Guild NY Local 31003, CWA
  92. Lucas Koerner, Harvard Graduate Students Union – UAW 5118
  93. Martha Grevatt, Retired Executive Board Member, UAW 869
  94. Dianne Mathiowetz, UAW 10 (retired); Producer and Host, The Labor Forum, WRFG 89.3FM
  95. Stephen Terry, ALAA/UAW 2325 (retired)
  96. Gabriella Ferrara, Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325
  97. Patricia Lavelle, ALAA/UAW 2325
  98. Spencer Eliot Smith, Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325
  99. Meghna Philip, Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325
  100. Kevin Duffy-Greaves, LSSA/UAW 2320
  101. Amanda Lipari, Civil Vice President, ALAA/UAW 2325
  102. Lindsay Cowen, Delegate, LSSA/UAW 2320
  103. Karen Sullivan, PSC-CUNY
  104. Mimi Rosenberg, ALAA/UAW 2325; Producer and Host, WBAI radio, 99.5 FM’s labor program Building Bridges
  105. Benjamin Bisaro, ALAA/UAW 2325
  106. Andrew Smith, Shop Steward, AFSCME, DC 37, Local 1503
  107. Shayan Mirzahaidar, Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325
  108. Basir Mchawi, PSC-CUNY/AFT
  109. Emily Woo Yamasaki, LSSA/UAW 2320
  110. Susan Williams, MD, Former Delegate, Doctors Council, SEIU Local 10MD (retired)
  111. Hoang Gia Phan, Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP-UMass Amherst)
  112. Michael Novick, former steward and member, house of reps, former member of Human Rights Committee, United Teachers Los Angeles (joint NEA-CTA/AFT-CFT)
  113. Robin Strauss, PSC-CUNY/AFT
  114. Maria Amor, UAW 2320
  115. Estee Ward, Make the Road New York – NOLSW/UAW 2320
  116. Noha Arafa, ALAA/UAW 2325
  117. Terry Fitzgibbons, Building Rep., NJEA/Education Association of Passaic
  118. Sherry J. Wolf, CWA 1032
  119. Damon Fillman, Steward, CWA 1032; Rutgers AAUP-AFT
  120. Alan Maass, CWA 1032
  121. BJ Walker, CWA Local 1032
  122. Lauren Tomkinson, CWA Local 7799
  123. Alexandra Haridopolos, Delegate, UFT/AFT Local 2
  124. Marty Goodman, Former TWU Local 100 Executive Board (1997-2006)(retired)
  125. Caryn Schreiber, ALAA/UAW 2325
  126. Emma Goodman, Vice President, ALAA/UAW 2325
  127. Ray Siqueiros, AFT Local 8002
  128. Stephane Barile, Site Rep., New Haven Teachers Association, CTA
  129. Nora Christiani, ALAA/UAW 2325
  130. Gregory Butterfield, NOLSW/UAW 2320
  131. Kathleen Shannon, Staff Organizer, Rutgers AAUP-AFT Local 6323; CWA local 1032
  132. Marie E. Kelly, At Large Member, National Nurses United
  133. Katherine Fitzer, ALAA/UAW 2325
  134. Pooja Patel, ALAA/UAW 2325
  135. Daniella Korotzer, ALAA/UAW 2325
  136. Angelica Barrios, 1199SEIU (Forensic Social Worker)
  137. Lauren Katzman, ALAA/UAW 2325
  138. Gloria Banasco, ALAA/UAW 2325
  139. Maureen Stutzman, ALAA/UAW 2325
  140. Omar Alam Rana, Alternate Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325
  141. Monica Bustos, 1199SEIU
  142. Matt Caldwell, ALAA/UAW 2325
  143. Michael Gibbons, Representative, LGBTQ+ Caucus, ALAA/UAW 2325
  144. Mirna Haidar, ALAA/UAW 2325
  145. Kip Bastedo, ALAA/UAW 2325
  146. Jonathan McCoy, ALAA/UAW 2325
  147. Joe Piette, NALC Branch 157
  148. Naila Siddiqui, Vice President, ALAA/UAW2325
  149. Hannah Deegan, ALAA/UAW 2325
  150. Mallory Harwood, ALAA/UAW 2325
  151. Titus Mathai, ALAA/UAW 2325
  152. Michael Pate, Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325
  153. Rebecca Kurti, 1199/SEIU
  154. Kar Nowakowski, ALAA/UAW 2325
  155. Keith Malonis, 1199/SEIU
  156. Katharine Kuhl, ALAA/UAW 2325
  157. Angie Rodriguez, 1199/SEIU
  158. Mik Kinkead, ALAA/UAW 2325
  159. Sophie Cohen, ALAA/UAW 2325
  160. Neil Friedman, PSC-CUNY Retired Chapter
  161. Jordan Manalastas, ALAA/UAW 2325
  162. Leon Pulsinelle, NJEA
  163. Brianda Guzman, 1199/SEIU
  164. Larry Hales, 1199/SEIU
  165. Aissatou Barry, Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325
  166. Benjamin Jarvis, Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1520
  167. Elena Landriscina, ALAA/UAW 2325
  168. Susan Kingsland, 1199/SEIU
  169. Alex Washington, ALAA/UAW 2325
  170. Grover Francis, ALAA/UAW 2325
  171. Taylor James, Former Executive Board Member, ALAA/UAW 2325
  172. Haley Pessin, Interim Delegate, 1199/SEIU; Legal Workers Rank and File
  173. Tarini Arogyaswamy, ALAA/UAW 2325
  174. Ferdinand Cesarano, 1199/SEIU
  175. Lori Masco, ALAA/UAW 2325
  176. Patrick Matutina, ALAA/UAW 2325
  177. Kathleen Wahl, ALAA/UAW 2325
  178. Hilary Dowling, ALAA/UAW 2325
  179. Raissa Carpenter, ALAA/UAW 2325
  180. Khouloud Ballout, 1199/SEIU
  181. Laurie Dick, ALAA/UAW 2325
  182. Samantha Plummer, UAW 4100; Central Brooklyn DSA
  183. Hannah Hussey, ALAA/UAW 2325
  184. Stephanie Hedgecoke, Recording Secretary, CWA 14156
  185. Bill Riggin, ALAA/UAW 2325
  186. Ivan Pantoja, Former Executive Board Member, ALAA/UAW 2325
  187. Marlen S. Bodden, ALAA/UAW 2325
  188. Candace Graff, ALAA/UAW 2325
  189. Jeff Schuhrke, Representative, UIC United Faculty, AFT Local 6456
  190. Norman Koerner, Alliance of Charter School Employees, AFT
  191. Whitney Powers, Steering Committee Member, CWA 7799
  192. Alex Wolf-Root, President, CWA 7799
  193. Bri Dobson, CWA 7799
  194. Hypatia Ostojic, Systemwide Chair, Peace and Justice Committee, UPTE CWA 9119
  195. Patrick Langhenry, ALAA/UAW 2325
  196. James Lauderdale, Lead Senior Civil Service Advocate (retired), SEIU Local 721
  197. Amanda Achin, Classified Staff Union, Massachusetts Teachers Association; Boston DSA Labor Working Group
  198. Darrin Hoop, Building Rep., Seattle Education Association; National Educators United
  199. Richard Blum, ALAA/UAW 2325
  200. Catherine Khella, Organizing Committee, NYC DSA Labor Branch
  201. David Guerrero, Delegate, 1199SEIU
  202. Asa Mendelsohn, UC-AFT 3299
  203. Helen Scott, Department Rep., United Academics: AAUP/AFT Local 3203; VT AFL-CIO State Labor Council
  204. Nancy Welch, UVM United Academics AAUP/AFT, Local 3203; Upper Valley Democratic Socialists of America
  205. Liz Medina, Executive Director, Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO; UAW 2322
  206. Ron Jacobs, President, AFSCME 1343
  207. Heidi Fox, Vermont State Employees Association
  208. John Davy, Vermont State Employees Association
  209. Shannon Dufour-Martinez, AFSCME 1674
  210. Kit Andrews, Vermont State Employees Association
  211. Stephanie Higgins, union staff, GEO-UAW 2322
  212. Stanley Heller, AFT 1547, retired; Middle East Crisis Committee (Connecticut)
  213. Susan Klein, Unite HERE Local 34, Yale Unions Retirees Association
  214. Frank Panzarella, Former President, IAM Local 1990; New Haven Energy Task Force / Fight the Hike
  215. Martha London, Professional Staff Union/Massachusetts Teachers Association (Retired)
  216. Dylan Kupsh, UAW 2865; NSJP, UCSB SJP, UCLA Grad SJP
  217. Marsha Love, United Association of Labor Educators

CONTACT: info@laborforpalestine.net
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Labor for Palestine Statement at NYC May Day 2019

Presented by Michael Letwin, Labor for Palestine

From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go!

On May Day 2019, I first want to remember Bud Korotzer, who was present at NYC May Days for some 70 years through 2018, and who is very much here today in spirit. To his lifelong partner, Fran, and their family, please join me in saying: Bud Korotzer, presente!

There are many organizations and struggles represented here. That’s how it should be, because the whole meaning of May Day is to show unity between all struggles for justice, to reaffirm, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that “justice is indivisible.”

Today, from Jim Crow to Jerusalem, from the Mexican border to Gaza, Palestine is on the cutting edge of such justice movements. And Palestine is a workers’ issue!

At the forefront of that intersectionality are Dr. Angela Y. Davis, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Dr. Michelle Alexander, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, Black for Palestine, and other Black supporters of Palestinian liberation.

Their leadership, in turn, reflects more than half a century of Black solidarity with Palestine, as exemplified by Malcolm X, SNCC, the Black Panther Party, and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. And that is why those leaders are being smeared by Zionists with charges of anti-Semitism, and even being cynically blamed for recent attacks on Jewish synagogues in this country.

To the contrary: blame for those attacks lies squarely with Trump and his mob of  anti-Semites, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and rightwing politicians—all of them openly allied with Israel—who have whipped up and/or tolerated a frenzy of racist violence against Muslims, People of Color, Jews, and others.

These alliances echo Israel’s long-standing and well-documented complicity with rightwing dictatorships and apartheid South Africa.

Let’s be clear: none of this started with Netanyahu. It is rooted in Zionism, a settler-colonial ideology that has practiced “ethnic cleansing, destruction, mass expulsion, apartheid, and death” against Palestinians, an ongoing Nakba (Catastrophe) has been carried out since 1948 by an Israeli apartheid regime that veteran South African freedom fighters have called “worse than apartheid.”

Nowhere is this clearer than at the Gaza fence, where for the past year, Palestinians have demanded an end to the siege, and their right to return to their homes throughout historic Palestine. In response, Israeli snipers have killed hundreds, and maimed thousands, using $3.8 billion each year in U.S. weapons. In exchange,  Israel serves as watchdog for imperialism throughout the region and beyond.

But none of this can stop the Palestinian freedom struggle and the mushrooming Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which call for (1) ending Israel’s 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.

Together, we will win.

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!

Socialist Zionism Panel at Socialism 2017 Conference

Socialist Zionism Panel at Socialism 2017 Conference
Michael Letwin, Labor for Palestine
Chicago, July 7, 2017

Let’s start at the beginning: In the narrative of the oppressed – in this case, the Palestinian narrative — “Israel” is not a place, but a colonial-settler regime. Just as Zimbabwe was never “Rhodesia,” all “Israel” is occupied Palestine, and there is no such thing as “Israel-Palestine.”

Therefore, the “Occupation” is not just the West Bank and Gaza, which have been Israeli-occupied since 1967, but every inch of land stolen by the Zionist state since 1948. In the Palestinian narrative, “Israel” or “Israel proper” are known as 1948 Palestine, or simply ’48. Conversely a free Palestine refers to *all* of Palestine, from the river to the sea, with equal rights for all its inhabitants.

Think: Make Israel Palestine Again.

Against that narrative is “Progressive Except for Palestine” (PEP), which reflects Zionism’s long-term impact on the U.S. left, specifically through the misappropriation and misapplication of  the right of national self-determination, civil rights, even “socialism” itself, to Israeli settler-colonialism, and often linked to the notion of binationalism.

As discussed by Tikva Honig-Parnass and others, this misappropriation was spearheaded by the Histadrut, the Zionist labor federation, which was the Israeli state-in-waiting until 1948, and then ruled the Zionist regime for its first 30 years. Even before that, the social democratic Second International supported Labor Zionism as part of its overall support for imperialism: both the First World War “at home,” and colonialism abroad. Indeed, imperialist regimes like Britain saw Zionism as a way to undermine Bolshevism and the October Revolution of 1917. It’s no surprise that, to this day, the Histadrut is closely aligned with the Second International.

In the late 1930s and 1940s, at the Histadrut’s behest, social democratic garment union leaders in this country enlisted both the AFL and CIO — they were separate federations until 1955 — to loudly demand establishment of a “Jewish state” in Palestine.

This misappropriation of the right to national self-determination and other genuinely-socialist principles was also adopted by the non-Social Democratic left. In the 1920s and 1930s, virtually all communists and socialists had staunchly denounced Zionism as a reactionary, colonial movement. But during the Second World War, Stalin supported a “Jewish state” in Palestine, mainly in the delusional hope of helping Russia replace Britain as the dominant imperial power in the Middle East.

Toward that end, he sent 142,000 displaced Eastern European Jews – willing or not – to displace indigenous Palestinians, organized the necessary two-thirds majority for UN partition in 1947, armed the Zionist militias that carried out the Nakba, and made Russia the first country to recognize the Israeli regime. As U.S. Communist Party chief William Z. Foster boasted in the early 1950s:

“The only true friend of the Jewish people in their fight for national freedom was the Soviet Union, which steadfastly supported the setting-up of the longed-for homeland of the Jews. . . . Eventually, the Jewish masses themselves virtually settled the matter by establishing the Republic of Israel, in May 1948. They then defended their government, arms in hand, against the British-inspired attacks from the neighboring Arab governments. . . . Within the United States. . . . [t]he Communist Party took a very active part in the whole struggle.”

Ironically, some Trotskyists took a virtually identical position. Amidst the Nakba, Hal Draper stated the majority view of the Independent Socialist League: “We not only support the Palestine Jews’ right to self-determination but draw the necessary conclusions from that position: for full recognition of the Jewish state by our own government; for lifting the embargo on arms to Israel; for defense of the Jewish state against the Arab invasion in the present circumstances.”

Now obviously, Draper did not share Stalin’s motives for supporting a Jewish state in Palestine. Rather, his position was rooted in binationalism — the same premise shared by Socialist Zionists of the Hashomer Hatzair — that Jews have an equal right to self-determination in Palestine, including a right to a *separate* state. Jewish and Palestinian workers were to unite for a “socialist” Israel. To put this into perspective, it is like saying that, as communities suffering oppression in Europe, the Boers in apartheid South Africa, or European immigrants in Americas, had the right to a separate — i.e., apartheid — state on stolen indigenous land.

Though common on the left, this premise didn’t go unchallenged. During the 1936-1939 Arab uprising in Palestine, the South African Trotskyists noted that some Marxists had “been swept off their feet by the widespread anti-Semitic wave [in Europe] and have fallen victims to nationalism,” and reminded readers that, “[a] clear, unambiguous stand in support of the colonial people in their struggle against imperialism is the first duty of revolutionary socialism.”

Palestinian Marxists asked how “socialist” were kibbutzes — or “Jewish states” — built on top of the ruins of Palestinian villages like Deir Yassin, site of the most infamous Zionist massacre of the Nakba?

As documented in Black Liberation and Palestine Solidarity, this same position was upheld in the 1960s by Malcolm X, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Black Panther Party, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and others, who condemned not only particular Israeli policies, but Zionism itself. This was based on the understanding that Palestinian oppression — and resistance – was part of the same international system of racism and colonialism inflicted on Black South Africans, Vietnamese, Latin Americans and African Americans. Indeed, in 1973, thousands of Arab and Black workers held a wildcat strike in Detroit to protest UAW support for Israel.

Who defended Israel against these protests? Labor/Left/Socialist Zionists and social democrats, including black moderate civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, the Jewish Labor Committee, and the Workmen’s Circle – the same “left” forces who jumped on the bandwagon for U.S. and Israeli wars in the wake of 9/11.

However, 9/11 and its immediate aftermath also sparked the first visible labor anti-Zionism since the 1973 UAW wildcats, including New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) and Labor for Palestine, both co-led by Black radical activists from the 1960s.

And since the most recent Israeli massacre Gaza massacre in 2014, we have seen a small, but growing number of labor bodies standing with Palestine, including the refusal of the dockers in ILWU Local 10 to handle Israeli Zim Line cargo, and the adoption of BDS resolutions by a small but growing number of labor bodies. This has paralleled growing intersectional solidarity from Black4Palestine, the Movement for Black Lives, Labor for Standing Rock, immigrant rights and other grassroots social justice movements in the United States.

That kind of solidarity with Palestinian resistance is the antidote to Socialist Zionism.

Victory! We salute the striking Palestinian prisoners (Labor for Palestine)

Victory!

An Injury to One is an Injury to All: Workers Support Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike (Labor for Palestine)

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An Injury to One is an Injury to All: Workers Support Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike (Labor for Palestine)

“We urge all labor organizations and workers’ movements to express their solidarity and support for the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, for the Palestinian people’s struggle for liberation and for the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.”
Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS), April 28, 2017

Labor for Palestine joins workers around the world to stand with 1,500 Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike since April 17 to protest conditions that Amnesty International calls “unlawful and cruel.” After more than a month, their health is failing, but their steadfastness remains unshakable.

From workers’ rights and women’s rights, to anti-racism and anti-colonialism, hunger strikes are a time-honored form of protest against injustice.

But the Israeli government — which receives $3.8 billion per year in U.S. weapons and closely coordinates with the same police agencies that systematically terrorize Black and Brown communities in the United States — threatens to force-feed the strikers, and is gunning down their supporters in the streets of Palestine. Such relentless state violence reflects the continuing Nakba, Israel’s 69-year-old ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinian people.

Undeterred, the prisoners have vowed: “Our chains will be broken before we are, because it is human nature to heed the call for freedom regardless of the cost.”

They know that, like Jim Crow and apartheid South Africa, Zionist settler colonialism will one day fall to the unstoppable tide of popular mass resistance.

Labor bodies around the world have risen to their defense, including the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Canadian Labour Congress, 26 European trade unions and labor organizations, World Federation of Trade Unions (representing 92 million workers in 162 countries), International Trade Union Confederation (representing 181 million workers in 163 countries), and the Trabajadores-Confederación Nacional de Trabajadores (PIT-CNT) of Uruguay.

Their outpouring is accompanied by rising international labor respect of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) picket line, which demands an end to occupation and apartheid, full equality for all, and Palestinian refugees’ right to return to the homes and lands from which they were expelled.

In the U.S., BDS has been embraced by West Coast dockers refusing to handle Israeli Zim Line cargo, the United Electrical Workers, CT State AFL-CIO, UAW 2865, UAW 2322, GSOC-UAW 2110, AFT 3220, and thousands of other union members.

This parallels growing intersectional solidarity with Palestine from the Movement for Black Lives, Standing Rock, #NoBanNoWall, and other U.S. grassroots social justice movements.

Today, we affirm:
*Victory to Palestinian Political Hunger Strikers!
*From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free!

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Issued May 21, 2017 by Labor for Palestine Co-Conveners:
(Affiliations below for identification only)
*Suzanne Adely, Global Workers Solidarity Network
*Michael Letwin, Former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325; Labor for Standing Rock
*Clarence Thomas, Co-Chair, Million Worker March; Executive Board, ILWU Local 10 (retired)

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Endorsing Organizations (list in formation)

Labor for Palestine
Labor for Standing Rock
GSOC-UAW Local 2110
Al-Awda New York, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center
Black4Palestine
Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100)
CUNY4Palestine
Decolonize This Place
Existence is Resistance
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Jewish Voice for Peace-New York City
LA4Palestine
NYC Solidarity with Palestine
NYC Students for Justice in Palestine
Palestinian Youth Movement – USA
Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
TOLEF: Tree of Life Educational Fund
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
US Palestinian Community Network

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E-mail: info@laborforpalestine.net
Web: http://laborforpalestine.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaborForPalestine/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Labor4Palestine
Donate: http://laborforpalestine.net/donate-to-lfp

May Day Speech NYC

May Day Speech
Michael Letwin, Labor for Palestine; Labor for Standing Rock; Former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325
Union Square NYC, May 1, 2017

*From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go!
*Viva, Viva Palestina!

As we gather here today, more than 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners are in their 15th day of a hunger strike against conditions that Amnesty International calls “unlawful and cruel.” Their action is part of a long international tradition, including the hunger strike held last fall by prisoners in the United States.

But the Israeli government — which receives $3.8b/year in U.S. weapons, and closely coordinates with the NYPD and other police agencies that systematically target Black and Brown communities in this country — has branded the strikers “terrorists,” just as the South African apartheid regime once labeled Nelson Mandela and thousands of other political prisoners.

Despite all this, unjust and oppressive regimes — no matter how powerful they may appear — always fall: Jim Crow fell, South African apartheid fell, Zionism will fall.

That’s why, like Biblical Davids, the Palestinian prisoners have answered today’s Goliath by saying: “Our chains will be broken before we are, because it is human nature to heed the call for freedom regardless of the cost.”

I am proud to say that a growing number of workers in the United States are joining them in to stand against the apartheid regime.

Since 2014 alone, West Coast longshore workers have refused to handle Israeli Zim Line cargo; UAW 2865, 2322, and GSOC-2110; the United Electrical Workers, CT State AFL-CIO, and AFT 3220 have endorsed the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) picket line, which demands 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.

These actions are in the highest tradition of solidarity, from Black Lives to Standing Rock, from New York City to Palestine.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, on April 16, 1963, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

As trade unionists have always said, “An Injury to One is an Injury to All!”

As we say today:
*Free, Free Palestine
*From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be Free!

Urgent Call on the AFL-CIO: Reverse Support for the Dakota Access Pipeline

[To sign the statement below, please click here, including your trade trade union and/or other affiliation in the comment box]

stand2

Urgent Call on the AFL-CIO: Reverse Support for the Dakota Access Pipeline
Labor for Palestine, September 17, 2016

As trade unionists and social justice activists, we urgently call on the AFL-CIO to reverse its disgraceful support for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

DAPL continues more than 500 years of settler-colonialism, dispossession, and genocide against indigenous people in the Americas, who are defending the Earth’s vital resources against the same corporate greed, state violence, and repression that violate workers’ rights on a daily basis.

Like the Black and Brown Lives, Immigrant Rights, Palestinian, and other freedom struggles, the courageous Sioux resistance at Standing Rock has become a worldwide beacon for all who fight injustice.

In solidarity, numerous trade union bodies — including the Amalgamated Transit UnionCalifornia Faculty AssociationCommunications Workers of AmericaIndustrial Workers of the WorldIWW Environmental Unionism CaucusNational Nurses UnitedNew York State Nurses AssociationNational Writers Union/UAW Local 1981United Electrical WorkersSEIU 503 OPEUBorder Agricultural Workers; and the Labor Coalition for Community Action, which includes the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and Pride at Work — #StandWithStandingRock.

Workers’ rights are inseparable from indigenous rights. We need decent union jobs that protect, rather than destroy, the Earth — there are no jobs on a dead planet.

An injury to one is an injury to all: #NoDAPL!

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Labor for Palestine Co-Conveners:

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

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

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

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

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See also:

From Standing Rock to Occupied Jerusalem: We Resist Desecration of our Burial Sites and Colonizing our Indigenous Lands (Palestinian BDS National Committee, September 9, 2016)

Open Letter from U.S. Trade Unionists to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: Boycott Apartheid Israel (Labor for Palestine, December 4, 2009)

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info@laborforpalestine.net
http://laborforpalestine.net/
https://www.facebook.com/LaborForPalestine/
https://twitter.com/Labor4Palestine
Donate: http://laborforpalestine.net/donate-to-lfp/

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This petition will be delivered to:

  • AFL-CIO President
    Richard Trumka

Labor for Palestine: Against Apartheid, For International Solidarity (Western Mass Labor for Palestine brochure)

View in searchable PDF format: 2016 — WM LFP Brochure.OCR

Screenshot 2016-06-29 16.34.41

Labor for Palestine Opposition to Gov. Cuomo’s Anti-BDS Blacklist, NY MTA Board Meeting

  • Marty Goodman (TWU Local 100) at 5:48 min.
  • Suzanne Adely (Labor for Palestine) at 8:10 min.
  • David Letwin (Jews for Palestinian Right of Return at 10:46 min.
  • John Mooney (TWU Local 100) at 13:22 min.(Written text of some statements, below video)

Marty Goodman (TWU 100)

My name is Marty Goodman. I am a retired Station Agent and a former TWU Local 100 Executive Board member.

I am here to oppose Governor Cuomo’s undemocratic gag act on State funding to supporters of the worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against apartheid Israel.

I, like many Jews, fervently support BDS. Israeli Occupation, terror and racism must go.

In 2003, I used vacation time to go to Nablus in the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank of Israel. I stayed with a Palestinian family. I protested occupation every day and roamed its’ bullet ridden streets, learning of outrage after outrage. When I left Nablus, the Palestinian father said, “Marty, you’re family now.”

I’ve learned that yet another illegal Israeli settlement is being built in Nablus, defying international law.

I’m angry as hell. I demand that the MTA reject and repudiate Cuomo’s gag order and the creation of a black list of BDS supporters!

Free speech is a first amendment right!

I also demand that this Board vote down purchases of IBM technology (p213) and Goldman Sachs services as underwriter for the Hudson Rail Yard’s “Trust Obligation” (p33).

Both IBM and Goldman are heavily involved in the Israeli garrison state.

MTA, DIVEST NOW!!!

Spend money on a decent contract for TWU Local 100. Transit workers need wage hikes above inflation to keep up with rising costs, extend maternity leave for women, improve medical care, and remove second class pay for new hires.

I say, Equality for all in Palestine!

End U.S. aid to apartheid Israel!

No to Cuomo’s McCarthyite gag act!

Long live BDS!

Suzanne Adely (Labor for Palestine)

Labor for Palestine, a national workers network, joins members of Transit Workers Union Local 100 who are here today calling on the MTA Board to reject compliance with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order #157, an unconstitutional blacklist against those who support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

BDS is a global human rights movement which demands an end to the brutal Israeli military occupation of the 1967 territories; full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

It has gained growing momentum in recent years, particularly the wake of Israel’s massacre of 2200 Palestinians — including 500 children — in Gaza in 2014, and a 10-year high in Palestinian casualties in the West Bank in 2015.

These crimes reflect a system that veteran South African freedom fighters call “worse than apartheid.” That is why BDS is closely aligned to Black Lives Matter and other racial justice movements, and many of its supporters are Jews of conscience.

In the past two years alone, the BDS picket line has been embraced by West Coast longshore workers of the ILWU; thousands of academic workers in the United Auto Workers and American Federation of Teachers; the United Electrical Workers; and Connecticut AFL-CIO.

Such boycotts are protected First Amendment speech, and have been used to remedy injustice, from the segregated buses of Montgomery, Alabama, to the California grape fields, to apartheid South Africa. Today’s BDS movement is similarly unstoppable, for as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

In the judgment of history, the MTA Board will find no refuge in siding with apartheid Israel, or in the excuse that it was “just following orders.” The only legal and moral choice is to refuse complicity with Governor Cuomo’s new McCarthyism.

David Letwin (Jews for Palestinian Right of Return)

I’m speaking today on behalf of Jews for Palestinian Right of Return. We call on the MTA to refuse to cooperate with Governor Cuomo’s unconstitutional executive order 157 directing the state to blacklist any institution or organization that respects the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions picket line against apartheid Israel.

This illegal order is a disturbing assault on the right of free speech and expression. But it is also part of a broader campaign by authorities to intimidate into silence those who stand up for Palestinian human rights and who refuse to accept the legitimacy of a racist regime sustained though ethnic cleansing and dispossession.

The BDS call, which demands the end of the 1967 occupation, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and right of return for Palestinian refugees, follows in the footsteps of earlier boycott campaigns against Jim Crow and apartheid South Africa. It marches hand in hand today with liberation movements like Black Lives Matter. In the spirit of those movements, we say to the members of the MTA Board of Directors: don’t do business with IBM and Goldman Sachs, both of which are deeply complicit with the apartheid Israeli regime, and don’t collude with Governor Cuomo’s witch-hunt against the growing worldwide BDS movement for justice and equality.

And the next time you see the governor, please tell him for us that his desperate attempt to muzzle BDS will only make it louder.

Thank you.

About Labor for Palestine

cropped-cropped-Update-5.jpgLabor for Palestine was launched in April 2004 by New York City Labor Against the War and Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition to reclaim the legacy of working class solidarity with the Palestinian freedom struggle in the United States, as reflected in groundbreaking statements by the League of Revolutionary Black Workers in 1969, and wildcat strikes against the United Auto Workers (UAW) leadership’s support for Israel in 1973.

LFP endorses the 2005 Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) picket line, which demands 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.

This includes support for calls from Palestinian trade unions, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), and other trade unionists around the world to refuse to handle Israeli cargo, and calling on labor bodies to divest from Israel Bonds and cut ties with the Histadrut, Israel’s racist labor federation.

Toward these ends, LFP has:


To get more information, invite a speaker, or start a chapter, please contact us here.

Donate to Labor for Palestine here.

Labor for Palestine Co-Conveners

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

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

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

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