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`We are all Gazans!' -- Palestinian trade unionists appeal for solidarity

January 4, 2009 -- A message from the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions

Sisters and brothers:

The PGFTU has been working at all levels in Palestine and in its international relations to mobilise international support for peace in the region. This is the ultimate goal for our working families in Palestine, who laboured in every way possible to bring about an end to the Israeli occupation of all Palestinian territories. This occupation is the longest and worst in the modern history.

Over the years and even at this moment, these efforts have been met only with terrorism against our people by the Israeli army of occupation, which has indiscriminately destroyed homes and worksites, slaughtered our people, confiscated our land, established and expanded illegal settlements, and limited the movement of workers who are only trying to feed their families. These measures have affected every member of the Palestinian society.

The recent construction of the Apartheid Wall stands as a symbol of the extent of Israel’s brutal aggression against the Palestinian people and denial of their legitimate rights, dignity and human needs.

We call upon all peace-loving people in the world:

You are now witness to the criminal aggression by the Israeli army in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, bringing a new wave of killings and massacres against the Palestinian people by Israel as the occupying state. These are war crimes according to international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions.

As our families in Gaza (the poorest in the Middle East) are being slaughtered nonstop for a week now, many of us are reliving what occurred in the summer of 2006 during the Israeli aggression against the people of Lebanon.

We witnessed then as we experience now waves of support and solidarity and similar anger and energy against this brutal injustice. We cannot afford to let this surge of support pass us by without utilising the moment to build our movement to face future challenges. The most important thing is to be aware and equipped.

We urgently ask you and your sister labour organisations to help us spread the message that “WE ARE ALL GAZA” – that this war is against all poor workers and families of the world. These are not just crimes against the people of Palestine. They are crimes against humanity.

Help us create a strong voice for the working families of Gaza by building coalitions with unions, faith groups, anti-war movements and all social justice organisations.

We join you in the hope that in the election of Barack Obama, he will fulfill his reputation as a pro-union anti-war candidate, and that he understands that the CHANGE he spoke about during the campaign must include a fundamental change in US foreign policy so that “FREE GAZA. …FREE PALESTINE” becomes more than just a slogan.

We support and encourage your Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) efforts against Israel around the world, but especially in Europe and most particularly in the United States as a response to the harsh economic conditions, violations of labour and human rights, and other forms of oppression imposed by the illegal and immoral Israeli Apartheid occupation.

We ask you to stop US aid to Israel. This becomes not only necessary but also a duty of international solidarity among labour unions around the world. It is US government aid that provides Israel with the weapons of oppression and U.S. government support that enables them to use those weapons against our people.

We ask you to be an active player in raising funds to meet the bare necessities of food, medicine and medical supplies for the people of Gaza.

With your solidarity with our struggle for human rights and justice, we can transform this moment of crisis into a turning point for an end to the brutal occupation and a step toward the liberation of the people of Palestine.

With the will and determination of all the people, we can say “FREE PALESTINE … YES WE CAN.

[The Palestine General Federation of Trade Union is an independent democratic trade union federation. It enjoys the full rights according to the valid national legislation. It has been established in 1965 as an extension to the Palestinian labour movement struggle that started in 1921 in “Haifa”, it was known as the Arab Labourers’ Society during the British mandate in Palestine.]

Association of University Teachers in Gaza calls for help

January 4, 2009 -- Bethlehem -- Ma an -- The Palestinian Association of University Teachers in Gaza calls upon all peace-loving, freedom-loving nations, NGOs, universities, intellectuals, cultural and academic institutions, trade unions and syndicates, as well as human rights organisations all over the world to:

1. Immediately impose boycotts, sanctions and divestments on the Apartheid Israeli state.

2. Try the Israeli generals for their ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people.

3. Demand a halt to Israel's savage aggression, end its brutal occupation and lift its suffocating and lethal siege on the Gaza Strip.

4. Implement all UN resolutions related to the inalienable national rights, particularly UN resolution 194 calling for the right of return for the Palestinian refugees to their homes and their property from which they were uprooted by the terrorist Zionist gangs in 1948.

5. Comply with 4th article of the Geneva Convention, the international human rights law, the international humanitarian law, and the universal declaration of human rights as well as all other related agreements.

6. Lift the draconian blockade against Gaza as stipulated by the 1948 Convention on Genocide, and consider anyone participating as a war criminal who must be tried for crimes against humanity.

Israel is a rogue state that is a threat and danger to world peace and security; therefore she must be banished and punished by the international community, before it is too late for the people of Palestine, the people of Israel and the people in the surrounding countries.

End the carnage in Gaza -- Boycott the Israeli academy now!

From the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)

December 29, 2008 -- The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees condemns in the strongest possible terms the bombing today of the campus of the Islamic University in Gaza. This wanton destruction of an academic institution is only the latest in the ongoing lethal campaign launched by the Israeli government and army against Palestinian society in the Gaza Strip. This murderous rampage has caused over 300 deaths and the injury of close to 1500 Palestinians. And the carnage continues with impunity.

We add our voice to the urgent appeal issued two days ago by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC)* [see first statement on this page] urging international civil society not just to protest and condemn Israel's massacre in Gaza, but also to join and intensify the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel to end its impunity and to hold it accountable for its persistent violations of international law and Palestinian rights. We agree that, without sustained, effective pressure by people of conscience the world over, Israel will continue with its gradual, rolling acts of genocide against the Palestinians, burying any prospects for a just peace under the blood and rubble of Gaza, Nablus and Jerusalem.

Today, at the height of the lethal Israeli assault against the Palestinian people in Gaza, we are met with deafening silence emanating from the Israeli academy. Does it condone the murderous bombing campaign that its government is carrying out in the name of all Israelis? Are the members of the academy dutifully preparing for the reserve call-up just approved by their government, ready to serve in the death squads committing war crimes around the clock? Are Israeli universities willing to call for an end to the occupation? Are they going to cut their organic and deep-rooted ties with the military-security establishment? There is no doubt that the aggression against the Gaza Strip has reached horrendous proportions, described by many international public figures as constituting war crimes and a continuation of the ethnic cleansing unleashed sixty years ago.

We urge academics around the world to intensify their boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and to isolate the Israeli academy in international forums, associations of academics, and other international venues. Israeli academic institutions are complicit in the entrenched system of oppression practiced by the Israeli state, and their silence at this critical moment is only the most vociferous indicator of this complicity.

Dr. Amjad Barham, president PFUUPE

* http://www.bdsmovement.net/?q=node/235

 

Comments

Boycott Israel: Canadian union

from the NATIONAL POST (Canada):

Ontario union calls for ban on Israeli professors

Vanessa Kortekaas,  National Post  Published: Monday, January 05, 2009

Ontario's largest university workers' union is proposing a ban on Israeli academics teaching in the province's universities, in a move that echoes previous attempts to boycott goods and services from the Jewish state.
The resolution, proposed by CUPE's Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee, is in protest against a Dec. 29 bombing that damaged the Islamic University in Gaza.
"In response to an appeal from the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees, we are ready to say Israeli academics should not be on our campuses unless they explicitly condemn the university bombing and the assault on Gaza in general," said Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario.
The resolution is still being drafted but the union=2 0said it will seek to prohibit Israeli academics from speaking, teaching or researching at Ontario universities. The CUPE committee will distribute the resolution to its members at the end of the month.
It will be put to a vote at the committee's annual conference in February.
Janice Folk-Dawson, chairwoman of the university workers committte, said: "Clearly international pressure on Israel must increase to stop the massacre that is going on daily. We are proud to add CUPE voices to others from around the world saying enough is enough."
Ms. Folk-Dawson said the committee felt it was crucial to do something.
"This is coming from the rank-and-file members, not just the leadership," she said.
Len Rudner, regional director of the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) in Ontario, called the resolution "unbalanced, unfair and unhelpful."
"Once again Sid Ryan is jumping before thinking," Mr. Rudner said. "I think it's ironic individuals who speak about freedom of speech jump to the opportunity to take that freedom away from other individuals."
While Ms. Folk-Dawson said the resolution will protect the quality of education by preve nting Israeli academics from professing biased views, an Israeli professor at the University of Toronto opposed such a disruption to academia.
"I oppose any kind of ban to academic activity, whatever its colour or matter," said Emanuel Adler, chairman of Israeli Studies at the university.
"Students should receive the message that the situation is very tragic for both Israelis and Palestinians, but the conflict and the violence should not be brought inside the university."
He added that "if there is a place that some solution should come out of other than government it should be a place where creativity can lead to a peaceful resolution of conflict."
That sentiment was echoed by Daniel Silverman, program associate of Hillel at U of T, a Jewish student organization: "The university is a place for discussing all sorts of issues but it must be productive. [This resolution] doesn't serve any purpose, it doesn't promote dialogue; it creates divisions."
However, Mr. Ryan said the resolution was a reasonable response to Israel's attack on the Islamic University, which he likened to the torching of books by Nazis during the Second World War.
Israel has said the Islamic University is20a legitimate target because it is closely tied to Hamas.
Mr. Ryan described the proposed resolution as the "logical next step" of a policy adopted by CUPE Ontario at a May, 2006, conference.
Resolution 50 supports "boycotts, divestment and sanctions aimed at bringing about the Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories and a just peace in the region."
The passing of resolution 50 saw the union face significant public scrutiny and Ms. Folk-Dawson said this time they are prepared for a backlash, adding, "We believe we are doing the right thing."
Approximately 100 committee members will vote on the resolution at the conference on Feb. 19 in Windsor. If the resolution receives majority support, it will be on the agenda at CUPE Ontario's conference in May, when more than 1,000 would be expected to vote. Should it pass that point, the union would then ask the province's schools to respect the prohibition.
The proposal comes after an international academic dispute broke out in 2007 following the British University and College Union's decision to sever professional ties with eight Israeli universities.
Sheldon Levy, president of Ryerson University in Toronto, was among administrators around the world who condemned that decision. He could not be reached for comment Monday.
National Post

Union's proposed Israeli ban not anti-Semitic: academics

Katie Daubs and Lee Greenberg,  Canwest News Service  Published: Tuesday, January 06, 2009
OTTAWA -- An anti-Israel resolution by the Ontario wing of Canada's largest union is unfair and inconsistent but it is not anti-Semitic, according to academics.
On Monday, Sid Ryan, the leader of the Ontario arm of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, announced his union would table a resolution seeking to ban Israeli academics from speaking, teaching or conducting research at Ontario university campuses unless they condemn Israel's current military campaign in Gaza.
CUPE says the proposed ban,20which will go to a vote next month, is designed to stop a daily "massacre," but several academics say the effort is misguided.
Mira Sucharov, a Carleton University professor who teaches a course in Middle East conflict, called the proposal "despicable."
"Academic boycotts are never a good thing," she said. "Excluding someone is fundamentally against the entire enterprise of academia."
Assuming the academic boycott would apply to all citizens of Israel, Sucharov said it was more "anti-Israel" than anti-Semitic.
"Many people will accuse a certain action, unfairly, as being anti-Semitic," she said. "Where my criticism lies is that it is anti-intellectual and anti-global." She said the proposal sends a "very ugly signal" that a certain citizenship implies bias.
Costanza Musu, a University of Ottawa professor who teaches a masters-level course in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, also condemned CUPE's proposal, calling it "absolutely inappropriate."
"If the union decided to be against the war in Iraq, would we not invite Americans?" she said. "Nobody would ever think of doing that. People relish inviting Americans, particularly when they take a stance in favour (of the war), because th ey would have a good discussion."
Not all academics surveyed Tuesday were opposed to the idea. Michael Neumann, a philosophy professor at Trent University in Peterborough,Ont., said he agreed with preventing his Israeli colleagues from working in Ontario.
"If people believe these are extreme circumstances and it will do some good, then I think it's reasonable and perhaps justified," he said.
Neumann acknowledged, however, there is "very little precedent" in enacting bans against other foreign academics (Israeli scholars have been similarly singled out in other nations, most notably, in the U.K.).
Neumann said there is not anything intrinsically anti-Semitic about the proposed ban.
"It targets Israeli, not Jewish, professors," he said.
"People may always have bad motives underlying good motives. And it's not absolutely impossible that some of these people have anti-Semitic feelings deep down, but do I think that plays a large part? No, I certainly do not."
Calls to Ryan and CUPE spokeswoman Pat Daley were not returned.
Despite the strongly-worded release, observers wondered what effect the group's latest anti-Israel motion will have. The union's 200,000 workers province-wide include some campus staff but almost no full-time faculty.
Ottawa Citizen

Canadian Union of Postal Workers calls for boycott

On behalf of the 56,000 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, I am writing to demand that the Canadian government condemn the military assault on the people of Gaza that the state of Israel commenced on December 26th, 2008.

Canada must also call for a cessation of the ongoing Israeli siege of Gaza, which has resulted in the collective punishment of the entire Gaza population.

Canada must also address the root cause of the violence: Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Israel’s current actions are totally out of proportion with any notion of self-defense. Israel’s actions are resulting in the massacre of people in Gaza.

Israels action will not bring peace to the region. they will result in Israel being less secure.

Professor Richard Falk, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied territories, has characterized the Israeli offensive as containing “…severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regards to the obligations of an occupying power and in the requirements of the laws of war.”

CUPW strongly urges the Canadian government to condemn the serious violations of humanitarian and international law by the state of Israel.

The Israeli Government’s siege and military incursions into Gaza are not isolated events. It is a direct result of Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine and the refusal of the Israeli government to abide by numerous United Nations security council resolutions.

Therefore, as a longer term strategy, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers is asking your government to adopt a program of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and complies with international law, including the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

Yours truly,

Denis Lemelin
National President

cc.
Michael Ignatieff, Liberal Leader
Jack Layton, NDP Leader
Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Quebecois Leader
Ken Georgetti, Canadian Labor Congress

It's time for a labor boycott of Israel

IT'S TIME FOR A LABOR BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL

The Israeli Zionist regime, the colonialist latter day White Rhodesia of the Middle East, is carrying out it's most brutal atrocities in almost 60 years, and it's time for the working class of the world to say NO!

In particular, this is the internationalist duty of American workers - because our tax dollars pay for Israeli atrocities, and the Israeli regime's military operations primarily serve to prop up US imperialism in the Middle East!

We have to act now, cause the bombs are falling on the apartment houses of Gaza City and the rowhouses in the refugee camps.

We have to stand up, and we're well past the point where a nice polite "write you congressman/woman" campaign is adequate - although by all do means do write you congressperson and senators [cause we all know the damned zionists do!]

We need to call for an immediate cutoff of all military, security and economic aid, a cutoff of loan guarantees, and an embargo of all military and police equipment bound for the illegitimate racist Apartheid settler state of Israel.

And we will need the working class' social power on the ground to win this.

I'm calling for all unions in this country to immediately sell all of their State of Israel bonds and any other Israeli investment vehicles they might own.

Also, we need the AFL-CIO, Change To Win and all of their affiliates to immediately and permanently cut off of all fraternal relations with the Histadrut, the racist Zionist state sponsored "labor federation" in Israel, and all of Histadrut's affiliates.

Histadrut has an 80 year history of Jim Crow segregating Arab, Asian and non Jewish Eastern European workers in Israel - it's about as legitimate a labor body as the All China Council of Trade Unions, the Nazi-era German Labor Front or the Apartheid era Trades Unions Council of South Africa and should be treated as such!

Also, the unions representing Teamsters, Machinists, Air Line Pilots, Longshoremen and Sailors should declare all freight inbound to or outbound from Israel to be "hot cargo" and refuse to handle any cargo from that country, or to service any ship or aircraft from Israel, or any ship or aircraft carrying Israeli bound or Israeli origin cargo.

Teachers, professors, medical workers and any and all other professionals should follow the lead of the college professors represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, who have officially demanded that Canadian universities and colleges immediately terminate all academic relationships with Israel, and have demanded the removal of all Israeli guest faculty in Canadian institutions of higher learning.

American professionals should follow their lead, and shun their Israeli collegues for the duration.

In other words, we need a labor embargo on Israel, immediately.

And we shouldn't stop until Israel abolishes ALL of it's discriminatory policies against Arabs and other non-Jews in Israel.

We should demand the right of return for all 7.2 million Palestinians, and full citizenship and the right to vote for all Arab and other non Jewish persons resident in 1947 Palestine.

In other words, we should demand ARAB MAJORITY RULE in Palestine, just like we demanded Black Majority Rule in South Africa a generation ago.

Nothing less is acceptable.

FRATERNALLY,
GREGORY A. BUTLER, LOCAL 608 CARPENTER,
FOR GANGBOX: CONSTRUCTION WORKERS NEWS SERVICE
http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangboxnews/
http://groups.google.com/group/gangbox/
http://gangbox.wordpress.com
http://clnews.org
"UNION NOW, UNION FOREVER!"

Norway: Unions strike over Gaza

Norway - historical mobilization against Gaza massacres - unions on political strike - support for BDS

Union activities: POLITICAL STRIKE: Thursday ALL trains in the whole of Norway, and all trams and subways in Oslo, will stand still for two minutes as a result of a political strike organized by the Norwegian Locomotive Union and the Oslo Tram Workers Union in protest of the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

A large selection of Norwegian trade unions and organizations has endorsed a new campaign for the withdrawal of all State investments in Israel. The call is endorsed by so far 6 of the largest national trade unions.

The Union of Trade and Office Workers calls on all members to ask their employers to remove Israeli produtcts from stores. The union is the by far largest union of workers in all types of private and public stores in Norway.

The confederation of Norwegian Trade Unions (LO), with apr. 1/5 of the whole Norwegian population as members, condemns the Israeli bombing and invasion in Gaza and calls for demonstrations.

The Norwegian Church has protested Israels invasion of Gaza and was, according to media, "called to the carpet" by the Israeli embassador.

22.000 supports the Facebook-group demanding the embassador to be expelelled from Norway. The Facebook-group has got attention in all major newspaper and was hacked by a Zionist hacker-group but is now back on track.

31% of Norwegians supports the boycott of Israel, in a survey by the pro-Israel tabloid VG today. The question was politicaly charged "Do you support the Socialist Left's boycott of Israel?" If not mentioning the Socialists the number would probably be much higher. The vast majority in all groups in the survey is against the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

Demonstrations have now been held in at least 28 cities: Oslo, Stavanger, Sandnes, Fredrikstad, Trondheim, Hamar, Sortland, Namsos, Arendal, Norheimsund, Mosjøen, Bergen, Sarpsborg, Tønsberg, Harstad, Tromsø, Kristiansand, Notodden, Vadsø, Mo i Rana, Alta, Kirkenes, Røros, Volda, Halden, Gjøvik, Lillehammer, Selbu. The numbers of participants have never been bigger.

New Zealand trade unions call for government action on Israel

MEDIA RELEASE: CTU CALLS FOR GOVERNMENT ACTION ON ISRAEL

January 15, 2009 -- "The New Zealand Government must do all it can to stop the inhumane bombing of Gaza by the Israeli Government", NZ Council of Trade Unions (CTU) President Helen Kelly said today.

In response to calls for support from the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions and the International Trade Union Confederation, the NZCTU is calling on the New Zealand Government to take a number of practical actions including:

  • Revoking the credentials of the Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand.
  • Cutting contacts with Israeli military and intelligence officials outside of official UN sponsored peacekeeping or observer liaison.
  • Ensuring that New Zealand does not import goods manufactured, in whole or in part, in the Occupied Territories.
  • Ensuring that the New Zealand government does not make use of Israeli products or services in its procurement provisions.
  • Taking steps to ensure that New Zealand sourced goods and services are not used by Israel to further its occupation of Palestinian lands.
  • Ending the 'Working Holiday Scheme' for young Israelis.
  • Attending meetings specific to, and advocate within, international organisations for the rights of the Palestinian people.

"These actions are similar to those taken by the Government in relation to Fiji and are an appropriate and proportionate response to the totally disproportionate actions of Israel against the people of Gaza", Helen Kelly said.

"Families in Gaza are the poorest in the Middle East and have nowhere to hide from these attacks. They are not only losing their lives but also the limited work opportunities that do exist are being destroyed." She said

"New Zealand is a long way away from this conflict, but we can make a real difference through these actions and in doing so, we make it clear to Israel that they must leave the occupied territories and work for peace in the region if they want international relations with countries like ours", Helen Kelly said.

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