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Vancouver & District Labour Council BDS Resolution PDF Print E-mail
Jun 18, 2010 at 02:17 AM
VDLC resolution passed on Tuesday, June 15, 2010
MSC that the following recommendation of the VDLC Executive Committee be adopted:
Subject:  Blockade of Gaza
BECAUSE the state of Israel has been imposing an illegal blockade on the Palestinian people in the Gaza strip for the past three years, and
BECAUSE the International Committee of the Red Cross has documented the resulting deterioration in the health and living conditions for the 1.5 million Palestinians resident in Gaza, and
BECAUSE a peaceful relief convoy was attacked and boarded by Israeli Defence Forces resulting in the killing of nine civilians on board the relief ships, and
BECAUSE the action by Israel is illegal under international law and the blockade itself is tantamount to "collective punishment" which is illegal under the Geneva Conventions, and
BECAUSE governments and trade union organizations around the world have condemned Israel for these actions and are calling for a boycott and divestment from Israeli companies until these conditions are lifted,
  • condemn the Israeli attack on the Gaza relief ships in international waters on May 31 which resulted in the deaths of nine civilians on board the ships; and
  • call for the total lifting of the illegal blockade of Gaza by Israel; and
  • support the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in support of these objectives.
CUPE's national president condemns Israeli military assault on Gaza PDF Print E-mail
Jan 02, 2009 at 12:00 AM
January 2, 2009

The Right Honorable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

Re: Middle East Crisis

On behalf of the 570,000 members of CUPE 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 26, 2008.

CUPE condemns all acts of violence in the Middle East, including the Hamas rockets being launched into Israel and the Israeli offensive mentioned above. To date, your government has stated publically your support for the Israeli people to protect themselves from attack. This is a woefully inadequate and frankly shameful response on behalf of Canadians.
Supporting CUPE's Israel Boycott PDF Print E-mail
Sep 04, 2007 at 07:44 PM
Talking Points for Canadian Unions


ZNet | Activism August 31, 2006
by Jason Kunin

Not many people in North America were paying attention in July 2005 when The Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, along with over 170 Palestinian unions, political parties, and organizations called for a global campaign of boycotts and divestment from Israel similar to those brought against apartheid South Africa. Remarkably, however, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) was paying attention, and even more remarkably, in June of this year, 896 delegates representing 20,000 public employees unanimously passed Resolution 50 at their Annual General Meeting. The resolution, which is now policy, commits the union

  • to implement an educational campaign for members into the apartheid nature of the Israeli state;
  • to support the global campaign of boycotts and divestment from Israel until Palestinian refugees are allowed to return to their former homes; and
  • to urge the Canadian Labour Congress to join them in opposing Israel’s multi-billion dollar “security” wall, which has been expropriating massive tracts of Palestinian land.

Not surprisingly, within minutes of the passing of the CUPE resolution, the Canadian Jewish Congress was mobilizing Jewish members through e-mail “action alerts” and Israel supporters were scheming to unseat CUPE president Sid Ryan, who has since faced intolerable levels of harassment. Nevertheless, the passing of this resolution by Canada’s largest union has profoundly affected the range of debate within the union landscape. Canadian unions can choose to endorse or reject CUPE’s precedent, but they cannot ignore it, for it has excited too many union activists. Unions throughout the country can expect, or have already experienced, intense debates over the “apartheid” nature of the Jewish state, the role of Israel’s regional aggression within the context of the neo-liberal economic order, and the efficacy of divestment and boycotts as a strategy of resistance. This is a profound achievement, though one that threatens to be undone if the intimidation tactics of the resolution’s opponents are successful in making an example of CUPE and scaring other union leaders from following suit.

Union activists who try to follow CUPE’s lead or support its policy of divestment and boycotts of Israel can expect resistance, not only from members, but from their own union leadership. I can recall from past years the nervous reaction of my own union executive, District 12 of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), when members brought forth motions – relatively harmless ones, too – against the Israeli occupation. Not everyone has the stomach for this type of fight, especially an elected leadership. However, union activists who are up to the fight will need to be prepared for the inevitable arguments they will have to confront. Logic and reason doesn’t always work on those with strong pro-Israel feelings, and with such people it is mostly useless to engage. It is probably more productive to build allies around them until there is enough of a critical mass to make their position untenable. Nevertheless, for the many who have no strong feelings on the issue, or for the few who are open and willing to listen, I have attempted below to respond to the most common objections against union support for CUPE’s lead. I have personally engaged with these objections so many times and repeated my answers so often that, out of sheer exhaustion, I felt the need to assemble them together into a short, user-friendly form that I could simply hand out. I consider this a resource for union activists.

US Unions and Boycotting Israel PDF Print E-mail
Sep 04, 2007 at 06:46 PM
A reply to US labor leaders, from Canada

by Labor for Palestine, 27 August 2007

In July 2007, a group of labour leaders from the US issued a statement opposing the growing international campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The statement was signed by a number of presidents from unions including the American Federation of Teachers, the American Postal Workers Union, the Communication Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the AFL-CIO(1). It was widely discussed in the Israeli media, where it was presented as a response to this summer’s important set of boycott resolutions from unions in the UK. While the US statement can in no way be seen as representative of grassroots sentiment within the North American trade union movement, as labour activists involved in a variety of Canadian unions we feel it is important to respond to the array of mistruths and distortions it contains.

UK trade union backs total boycott of Israel PDF Print E-mail
Jun 21, 2007 at 05:57 PM

The UK's largest trade union, UNISON, advocated on Wednesday a total boycott of Israel over its continued occupation of Palestinian territories.
A statement issued by delegates meeting in Brighton read: "The conference believes that ending the occupation demands concerted and sustained pressure upon Israel including an economic, cultural, academic and sporting boycott".
In addition, delegates called on the British government to press for an arms embargo against Israel.

by Ronen Bodoni   see full article

Independent Jewish Voices Condemns Israel's Gaza Massacre

December 28, 2008

The Israeli military has unleashed its most vicious air assault against the people of Gaza in decades, killing over 280 Gazans and wounding over 700. Despite claims by the Israeli leadership that they are trying to avoid civilians the attacks have been concentrated on Gaza City and the towns of Khan Younis and Rafah. Israeli television reports that Israeli troops are massing on the border "in preparation for a supplementary ground offensive".

Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) condemns this murderous escalation of violence by the Israeli government. Diana Ralph, IJV Coordinator calls this assault "completely disproportionate to the unsupportable firing of Qassam rockets by Hamas fighters which killed one Israeli. It's important to put this into the context of the deadly siege of Gaza by the Israeli forces, which continued in violation of the terms of the recent six month truce between Israel and Gaza. In the ethics of violent conflicts, it is the responsibility of the force wielding power - the Israeli government in this case - to create the conditions for a just peace."