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30 July 2014 Stand with Palestinian workers in Gaza: a call for trade union solidarity The Palestinian trade union movement, with support from with support from the Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliates, is unanimously calling on … Continue reading
22 April 2014, from Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign The area of Tulkarm has become synonymous for the number of recycling plants established within the occupied West Bank. The Nitzanei Shalom settlement industrial zone, which Israelis refer to as ‘Buds of Peace’, … Continue reading
16 August 2013 | via Al Jazeera | Ben White
As governments and civil society groups around the world increase their efforts to target goods produced in Israel’s illegal settlements, the Israeli government and BDS critics are stepping up the propaganda counter offensive.
One of the main tactics adopted by those seeking to stem the boycott tide is to state that these measures actually harm Palestinians. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has been pushing back against a boycott along such lines for some time, but given recent developments in South Africa and the European Union, there has been a renewed emphasis on the supposed counterproductive effect of such tactics.
There have been joint Israeli government-settler propaganda initiatives, and even an official, MFA-circulated document on “the effects of labelling settlement products on the Palestinian economy”. “Should Europeans be successful in banning Israeli products from the West Bank”, Israel’s ambassador to the UN said in June, “this will bring about the loss of jobs of several thousands of Palestinians”.
Interestingly, there are parallels here with arguments used against the international boycott campaign during the time of Apartheid South Africa, with ANC activists having to confront claims “that Non-White people will be the first to be hit by external boycotts”. Those comparisons aside, the argument is flawed for four reasons.
4 November 2012 / +972mag.com / From factories to farms, labour union champions rights of Palestinians in Israel
Nazareth – Security cameras and a heavy metal door secure the otherwise inconspicuous apartment. This is the office of the Arab Workers Union in Israel (AWU). Photographs of local demonstrations and flags of international trade unions drape the interior walls. Wehbe Badarneh, 43, from the village of Arabah, is the general secretary of the trade union. He prepared coffee over an open gas stove and offered freshly baked pastries. Fadwa Ali, 42, of the village of Kaukab Abu Al-Hija, arrived shortly after. Fadwa is one of the main organizers of the Women’s Platform, an affiliated section of the AWU. We sat down to discuss issues effecting Israeli Palestinian women workers, and the trade union’s related activities.
The AWU in Israel is a young, independent trade union which primarily organizes and defends Palestinians citizens of Israel who work in factories in Nazareth, Haifa and the Galilee, along with women working in agriculture. The trade union is run solely by volunteers and relies on donations from trade unions internationally in order to sustain itself. It runs awareness campaigns to inform Arab workers of their labor rights, organizes them across workplaces, and provides legal representation in labor courts.
Read full article at +972Mag here >>>
See also the August 2012 report from Kav LaOved (Workers’ Hotline) on “Palestinian Employment in Israel and the Settlements” – available via the AUSPalestine RESOURCES page >>>
A new factsheet produced by the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign highlights the impact of the Wall on Palestinian workers…
“The Apartheid Wall has been deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice, yet the international community has done nothing to halt its encroachment on Palestinian land. Palestinian workers and farmers have been the most affected by the ongoing construction of the wall, thus we reach out to trade unions, invoking the best practices of trade union solidarity and internationalism under the tried and true union slogan of ‘an injury to one is an injury to all!’. We implore workers around the world in the spirit of the South African Anti-Apartheid struggle, where trade union solidarity was critical, to raise awareness within their unions and workplaces about the daily violations Palestinian workers and farmers have to endure. Help us expose the companies complicit in the construction of the Apartheid Wall.” Access the Factsheet on the AUSPalestine RESOURCES page.
It is encouraging to see trade unions around the world taking principled stands in support of human rights for all and in active solidarity with the Palestinian people. Over the past month, the UK University & College Union – the largest trade union in its sector – maintained its tradition of support for Palestinian rights by endorsing the Palestinian call for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel, and went further to call on peak international union body Education International “to seek similar action by all affiliates”. In Brazil, the new trade union federation, CSP-Conlutas, pledged its endorsement of the Palestinian BDS call, seeking to focus its efforts on Israeli companies operating in Brazil. An Australian chapter of Artists Against Apartheid launched in Sydney in mid-May, endorsing the Palestinian BDS call and seeking to adhere to the PACBI guidelines for an international cultural boycott of Israel. In Palestine, a new Palestine Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS) was launched at a conference on 30 April, which saw a broad front of Palestinian trade unions pledge their support and endorsement of the 2005 BDS call from Palestinian civil society. Former ACTU President and current ITUC General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, celebrated May Day in Palestine this year, joining Palestinian workers and families on a march and rally in Ramallah along with colleagues in the PGFTU. All these articles can be viewed on the AUSPalestine NEWS page.
In April 2011, a delegation of senior UK trade union representatives visited Palestine. Their report was recently published and left little doubt as to the impact of their experiences in Palestine, the delegation stating clearly that they were “deeply concerned about the testimonies and accounts they heard.” The report was unequivocal in its recommendation that “an effective BDS campaign [is] virtually the only viable option for building international pressure to bring about a change in the situation.” Access the UK Trade Union Delegation Statement on the AUSPalestine REPORTS page.
Also recently released is the ILO’s Annual Report on the situation for workers in the occupied Arab territories. According to the report, despite some improvements in the movement of people, no significant change to the better regarding the situation of these workers has taken place during the past year. The report notes that such change cannot take place “unless the restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation, and the occupation itself, are removed.” Access the ILO Annual Report on the AUSPalestine RESOURCES page.
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Tagged academic boycott, Australian trade unions, BDS, boycott divestment sanctions, cultural boycott, ILO, ITUC, PACBI, Palestine, Palestinian trade unions, PGFTU, Sharan Burrow, trade unions