[DEBATE] : Scottish TUC commits decisively for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (Press Release)
Salim.Vally at wits.ac.za
Thu Apr 23 10:51:16 BST 2009
Scotland today joined Ireland and South Africa when the Scottish Trade
Union Congress, representing every Scottish trade union, voted
overwhelmingly to commit to boycott, divestment and sanctions against
Israel. This is the third example of a national trade union federation
committing to BDS and is a clear indication that, while Israel can kill
Palestinians with impunity and Western support, it has lost the battle
for world public opinion. It is now seen to be a state born out of
ethnic cleansing and still expanding through the violent dispossession
of the Palestinian people.
Speaker after speaker expressed intense anger at Israel's butchery of
1,300 Palestinians in Gaza over the New Year, as well as the much longer
history of Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. The vote followed a
visit to Israel/Palestine by an STUC Delegation in March which heard
from a wide range of trade union and other bodies and returned with a
unanimous recommendation that the parent body adopt BDS.
The STUC move to a position of BDS followed debate on the Delegation
with affiliated unions as well as consultations across Scotland. There
were written and oral submissions from Zionist as well as human rights
The commitment to BDS was made despite aggressive lobbying by Zionist
groups, including an absurd warning that a commitment to active support
for Palestinian human rights would lead to attacks on Scottish Jews, and
the parachuting into Scotland of the Histadrut's Head of Communications
The STUC's new position is a dramatic breakthrough which has the
potential to greatly accelerate the boycott campaign already underway in
Scotland against, for example, Israeli companies and sporting or
cultural visits. The Scottish Government earlier in the year yielded to
public concerns and cancelled a trade delegation to Israel.
It will also make easier the task of building a mass boycott campaign
across the land surface of Scotland, in every town and small community,
in every supermarket and every sporting and cultural event.
Israel's New Year mountain of corpses in Gaza, together with its
frequent murder of unarmed civilians across Palestine was only the
latest in a long series of Israeli massacres. We may be unable to stop
the next one, but our job of building the sort of mass BDS campaign that
can confront Israeli violence with a countervailing force has just
become easier. An aroused world opinion is increasingly ready to ensure
that all don't die in vain.
We can only offer hope to the hard-pressed Palestinians that their
freedom is coming, however long Israel and its allies work to delay it.
Speaking prior to the debate, STUC General Secretary, Grahame
Smith, said: "The STUC General Council is recommending support for
boycott and calls for sanctions against Israel because of its attacks on
the human rights of Palestinian people and its breaches of international
Mr Smith continued: "On our recent visit to Israel and Palestine
we witnessed the human rights violations experienced by ordinary
Palestinians on a daily basis. We saw how restrictions on movement and
checkpoints prevent people from going to work, to school and to visit
their families - even when they are sick and dying."
"We heard powerful arguments from the Palestinian Human Rights
Organisation, Al-Haq, outlining how Israel is in breach of the Geneva
Conventions, and the need for other signatories to international laws to
hold Israel to account."
"Our delegation also met with the leadership of Israeli trade
union centre, Histadrut, and the Palestine General Federation of Trade
Unions. The STUC has carefully considered the complex issues involved,
and we believe that we have a moral obligation to show solidarity to
Palestinian people." Read full STUC Press Release
View the STUC General Council Recommendation on BDS passed at Congress
today in Perth. <http://spsc.scottishpsc.org.uk/files/STUCbds.pdf> The
significant paragraphs are:
6.1 The General Council is recommending that Congress should take a
* supporting boycotts and disinvestments against lsrael,
* calling for sanctions against lsrael,
* encouraging positive investments in the occupied territories.
6.6 The STUC acknowledges its relationship with both PGFTU and Histadrut
and supports the development of a constructive dialogue between them.
The STUC will explain its position on BDS to Histadrut, and will, over
the next 12 months, raise with them Histadrut positions in relation to
Gaza and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The STUC will review its
relationship with Histadrut in this context.
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