Thursday 22 April 2010
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Media Release
STUC REAFFIRMS ISRAEL BOYCOTT
The Scottish Trades Union Congress reiterated its commitment to a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel at its annual meeting in Dundee yesterday, just days after a BBC poll described international attitudes to the country as “widely negative”.
The motion, presented by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), also slammed Gordon Brown’s government for being “complicit in allowing Israel to continue to act with impunity”, and “condemned” Israel’s trade union body, Histadrut, for its support of last year’s attacks on Gaza.
During a meeting with Histadrut leaders in Israel last year, STUC delegates had been surprised to discover the union had endorsed Israel’s attack on Gaza, describing it as “an act of justifiable self-defence”. The United Nations and human rights groups say that civilians made up most of the 1400 Palestinian fatalities, while most of the 13 Israeli dead were combatants, including 4 killed accidentally by their own troops.
Jim Malone, FBU Regional Organiser, welcomed the unanimous decision by the STUC to pass the composite motion on Palestine as “a clear message of support to the Palestinian people” and said that “in condemning Histadrut for its collusion in the continued oppression and dehumanisation process by the Zionist government in Tel Aviv, the STUC have shown the lead and look set to break its link with the government sponsored Histadrut.”
Delegates also unanimously passed an emergency motion calling for the cancellation of an exhibition to be held at the Scottish Parliament next week, organised by Scottish Friends of Israel. The resolution deplored “Parliament’s acquiescence to this blatant example of Israeli State propaganda” and follows a decision by the Scottish Parliament Petitions Committee on Tuesday to support a petition by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign also calling for the cancellation of the exhibition.
Notes for editors:
1. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign started in autumn 2000 in response to the Palestinian second uprising against Israeli occupation (Intifada). The SPSC has branches and groups of supporters in several Scottish cities and universities, as well as individual members across Scotland and elsewhere.
For further information, contact:
SPSC Chair, Mick Napier: 0131 620 0052; 07958002591
“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”.
3. Histadrut Statement on Gaza; 13 Jan 2009
4. SCoJeC quote:
Jewish Chronicle, April 17, 2009: Scottish TUC set to call for boycott and divestment
5. Gaza casualty figures:
The Guardian, 15 Jan 2009: Israeli human rights groups speak out as death toll passes 1,000
CNN; September 9, 2009: Rights group: Israeli offensive killed mostly civilians
6. STUC Congress motion, 22 April 2010
Composite P – Palestine (covering motion nos. 104, 105, 106 and amendment)
“That this Congress notes that a year after the barbaric onslaught of Gaza, the collective punishment and near imprisonment of its people by the Israeli occupation forces continues. Congress recognises, however, that the Government is complicit in allowing Israel to continue to act with impunity.
“Congress is proud of the STUC’s history of support for the rights of the Palestinian people and welcomes the efforts of the General Council to carry forward the 2009 resolution on boycott, disinvestment and sanctions against Israel, alongside COSATU and the ICTU.
“Congress applauds the work by the FBU in supporting Palestinian workers through the visit in November 2009 to Scotland of eight firefighters from Nablus.
“Congress asks the General Council to:
Condemn the Histadrut statement, regarding the attacks on Gaza;
Campaign against the complicity of our politicians;
Continue STUC’s review of its relationship with Histadrut, including the long-standing links between the Jewish National Fund and Histadrut, to determine if their policies and practices are consistent with international trade union standards of equality and solidarity; and
Encourage positive investment in Palestinian public services throughout the Scottish Trade Union Movement, with the creation by the STUC of a training/skills forum for Palestinian workers, following discussions with the relevant organisations, such as the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions.”
Mover: Fire Brigades Union
Seconder: Dundee TUC
Supporter: Midlothian TUC
7. BBC Poll
Global Views of United States Improve While Other Countries Decline, 18 April 2010 (Views on Israel at p15)