Thursday, 23 April 2009

STUC adopt BDS against Israel

Excellent news from the Scottish Trade Union Congress in Perth where the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel has been formally adopted.

This is a tremendous boost for the BDS movement, paving the way for a UK-wide declaration of trade union solidarity with Palestine.

Following an STUC visist and report on the case for BDS, alongside consultation with other interested parties, the General Council recommended to Congress a position of:

supporting boycotts and disinvestment against lsrael,

calling for sanctions against lsrael,

encouraging positive investments in the occupied territories.

The General Council is recommending this action because of lsrael's attacks on the human rights of Palestinian people, and its failure to comply with agreed international law. The STUC strongly supports a peaceful two state solution in Palestine and lsrael. lt is deeply disappointed at the failure of negotiation and diplomacy to achieve the two state solution to date. By taking the position of supporting boycott and disinvestments and by calling for sanctions, the STUC hopes to bring economic, political and social pressure on the government of lsrael and the world's powers, to reach a peaceful solution through dialogue. The STUC also intends to draw greater attention to the fact that international human rights laws are being violated by lsrael.

The STUC now join fellow trade union bodies in South Africa and Ireland in endorsing BDS. The almost unanimous support for the motion came despite significant fearmongering from Zionist lobbyists to Congress.

Scottish trade unionists will now concentrate on ways of effecting a boycott campaign in workplaces, promoting divestment in companies engaged in the Occupation and encouraging governmental-based sanctions against Israel. The decision also gives considerable impetus to the extension of cultural and sporting isolation of Israel.

This key development shows quite clearly how change is realised through persistent on-the-ground campaigning. It also illustrates the multi-fronted ways in which we can challenge power. As with the momentum against apartheid South Africa, the STUC's pledge in support of the Palestinian people signifies the gathering international pressure now being brought to bear on Israel.

And this feeling is being directed not just at Israel's political elite. To employ the Gramscian term, the Israeli 'historical bloc' - that is, not just its government, but its entire founding system and Zionist ideology - is now in a phase of hegemonic crisis. It has, in effect, no moral legitimacy, surviving instead through coercion, belligerence and the military fist.

The contradictory notion of a 'Jewish democratic state' built on the apartheid persecution of an occupied people has become critically apparent to reasonable people all around the world - even, in subdued tones, to many of Israel's nominal Western supporters.

The diplomatic cartel can walk out of the UN at the mention of Israel's racist and oppressive practices. But this standard defence of 'plucky little Israel' is looking increasingly thin against the violent murder of Gaza and international calls for war crimes investigations.

The decision by Scotland's trade unions and workers comes as part of that reactive wave of global humanity. While Brown, Miliband and other Labour Friends of Israel continue to defend the indefensible, workers and civil organisations are mobilising to defend the undefended.


STUC statement (24 April 2009):

Scottish Trade Unions Call for Boycott of Israel

24th April 2009

The Scottish Trades Union Congress this week backed boycotts and disinvestment, and called for sanctions against the state of Israel because of the state’s failure to comply with international laws and agreed principles of human rights.

Following extensive debate and deliberation, the Scottish trade unions have endorsed a report recommending the STUC support a boycott and disinvest from Israeli companies, call for sanctions against Israel, and encourage positive investments in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Speaking after the debate at the Congress, STUC General Secretary, Grahame Smith, said: “The STUC is deeply concerned at the daily violations of human rights experienced by Palestinian people. The decision taken by our Congress is not a knee jerk reaction, but arrived at after careful consideration over a two year period. During this time the STUC engaged in discussions with interested groups in Scotland and the UK, and undertook a fact finding delegation to Israel and Palestine”.

Mr Smith added “by taking this decision, the STUC intends to campaign for economic, political and social pressure to be brought upon the Israeli Government, and world powers, to reach a peaceful and just two state solution for Palestine and Israel”.


joe90 kane said...

Brilliant news,
and some excellent observations by your good self JH!

all the best!

Anonymous said...

A one sided, short sighted, hypocritical and foolish attempt to "correct" a situation that cannot be corrected through boycotts. The only way to ensure peace and justice in Israel/Palestine is to eliminate the acts of violence that perpetuate injustice. You want the Arabs to have justice? Tell them to stop shooting missiles and training suicide bombers. The Arabs could have had everything they have been asking for by now, had they tried peaceful negotiation and non-violent Gandhi/King style confrontation. Instead they have resorted to atrocities and they have hardened and alienated almost all Israelis, and they have even alienated some Arabs. Go ahead and celebrate your little Pyrrhic victory. Meanwhile, Israel will continue defending itself against aggressors who would destroy it while contributing disproportionately to the major advances in science, medicine and engineering--advances which benefit you.

John Hilley said...

What a deeply shameful comment - made all the worse by hiding behind the cloak of anonymity.

You say:

"The only way to ensure peace and justice in Israel/Palestine is to eliminate the acts of violence that perpetuate injustice."

Precisely. End Israel's illegal occupation, ethnic cleansing and barbaric assaults on the Palestinian people. Then we might see a serious end to violence.

"The Arabs could have had everything they have been asking for by now, had they tried peaceful negotiation and non-violent Gandhi/King style confrontation."

60 years of relentless oppression to maintain an apartheid, racist state and you have the sanctimonious nerve to invoke Gandhi, King and talk of peaceful action!

As the massively-endorsed STUC decision reveals, you have lost the moral, as well as legal, argument. All that's left in your verbal arsenal is the facile inversion of calling Palestinans the "aggressors".

Does Israel's 'contributions' to medicine, science and humankind include the bombing of innocents inside Gaza's hospitals, the refusal to allow in essential medical supplies, the use of white phosphorus and all the other mass crimes witnessed by the UN, Amnesty, International Red Cross and others?

Your defence of this pariah state is yet another illustration of Zionist indoctrination and a complicit refusal to see the mass misery Israel has inflicted.

A day of justice will surely come for Palestine. Perhaps you should examine your conscience before that happens.


joe90 kane said...

We're all waiting for the day when apartheid Israel produces its own Ghandi, and starts to use the non-aggressive peaceful politics it always claims its victims have yet to try.

Palestinians use Ghandi-style politics everyday, every hour of their lives -
- for instance, whenever the have to negotiate illegal Israeli roadblocks, on their own land, manned by heavily armed racist thugs of the gloroius IDF.

Aparthied Israel does the opposite. It has to. Otherwise it wouldn't be committing one of the most serious crimes possible, illegal occupation which, in Israel's case, is a result of its 1967 'unprovoked aggression', the most serious crime that it is possible to commit.

If Israel and its supporters really want peace, all they have to do is go back home to Israel behind the Green Line.
Nothing could be simpler.

I can't think of a more dangerous and lethal course of action for a government to undertake than the attack and occupation of other people and their land.

That is why Britian has no job being in either Iraq or Afghanistan (except at the invitation of both these people), and Israel has no excuses for occupying Palestine (WB & G), the Golan Heights of Syria, and the Shebaa Farms of Lebanon.

None of Israel's occupation are to do with 'security' - they are about stealing other peoples' land and water.

all the best Z!

Anonymous said...

Greetings from the real world.

You can have all the shame and hypocrisy, friend. No need to heap it gratuitously on people who disagree with you.

You use all the right buzzwords - "apartheid", "ethnic cleansing", "barbaric", etc. Reads like a Hezbollah/Syrian press release. Which of these entities do you work for?

Israel as an apartheid regime--how laughable. It's the only multi-ethnic, multi-religious democracy in the entire Middle East. There are millions of Muslim Arabs living, working, owning property and VOTING in Israel. Can the same be said for religious minorities in any other nation in the region?

Even the Palestinian Arabs themselves are an oppressed minority in Arab countries that host them. Time and again, they have been treated like dogs (and dogs are very poorly treated in that part of the world) in Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt--the very people who claim to support their "cause".

You don't want peace; you want Israel to continue to exist so you can hate them and demonize them. Like most small minded, powerless people, you need an enemy.

Within Israel proper, there are all sorts of political parties and at one time the Peace Now movement had swayed a majority of the people to their view--give back the land and live in peace. However, the Arabs embarked on an ill-advised and vicious campaign of bombings that cost out thousands of innocent lives--men, women, children. Peace Now has lost much of its support as a direct result.

I reiterate, not that it's worth trying to pierce the veils of your dim little mind, that the way to peace is through peace and nonviolence.

Meanwhile, I would advise Israel to continue to defend itself to the utmost, with or without U.S. assistance--which I oppose, by the way. Israel would be best off with military independence--free to design and build its own weapons and decide its foreign policy based on its own needs and not those of some idiotic public service union in Scotland or some presidential candidate in the U.S.

What is the use of this STUC union anyway? To go on strike periodically just to remind people that STUC rules.

Have a nice day.

John Hilley said...

"You don't want peace; you want Israel to continue to exist so you can hate them and demonize them. Like most small minded, powerless people, you need an enemy."

Enough said.