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:
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.
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.
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”.