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Irish Public Sector Union Passes Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Motion PDF Print E-mail
Jul 20, 2008 at 06:40 PM

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign


Press Release

29 May 2008


ICTU-TUFP Press Release on IMPACT Boycott Motion






Campaigning in solidarity with the Palestinian people


*************** PRESS STATEMENT ***************


At its Biennial Delegate Conference in May 2008 the public sector union IMPACT passed two motions criticising Israeli suppression of the Palestinian people and calling for a boycott of Israeli goods and services. The motions also called for divestment from those companies engaged in or profiting from the occupation as well as an education campaign to raise awareness of the plight of the Palestinian people. Conference furthermore called on the Irish Government to take a stand on Palestine independent of EU foreign policy, demanded the restoration of EU funding, and also called for the suspension of the preferential trading status enjoyed under the Euro-Med Agreement.


The passing of these motions is yet another very significant development in terms of trade union solidarity here because IMPACT is the largest public sector union in Ireland. As such it represents a huge cross section of Irish opinion and is indicative of the outrage felt by the Irish people at Israeli injustices and war crimes. It should be noted that the IMPACT motions follow on from the motions passed by NIPSA, the largest public sector union in Northern Ireland. At the NIPSA conference a total of five motions were passed - all unanimous - severely criticising Israel and calling for a number of solidarity activities including boycott and divestment and the suspension of Euro-Med.


That the two largest public sector unions in Ireland - encompassing both jurisdictions - have come out so strongly in favour of boycott and divestment is of great significance. It sends a very strong message to the Israeli government, and to the Irish government, that one of the most important sectors of Irish civil society is aware of what is happening in the region and is prepared to do something about it. The adoption of these two motions by IMPACT in recent days is also a complete endorsement of the policy position of boycott and divestment taken by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions at their Biennial Delegate Conference in July 2007. The ICTU policy, with its detail of Israeli atrocities and injustices, as well as its specification of a wide range of solidarity activities, is undoubtedly one of the strongest and most determined positions taken by any trade union congress world-wide. In the wake of the ICTU conference the leaders of the trade union movement here were confronted by the Israeli ambassadors to both the UK and the Irish Republic. An ICTU fact-finding delegation to the region in November 2007, involving senior trade union leaders, also had to withstand an extremely critical - at times bordering on hysterical - response from both Histadrut (the Israeli trade union confederation) and from the Israeli business sector. The witnessing of the conditions being endured by Palestinians under armed occupation however served only to reinforce the decision of congress. Peter Mc Clune, the General Secretary of IMPACT, was a member of that delegation and in fact was one of only four members who were permitted access to Gaza. It is no surprise that he also took the platform at the IMPACT conference to speak strongly in favour of the motions, urging the membership to take a firm stand to relieve the suffering of the Palestinian people and to help to bring about the ending of Israeli injustice.


Once again the Irish trade union movement has made a powerful statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people as they continue to endure the horrors of Israeli occupation and war crimes. Sixty years after the ‘Nakba’ – the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their lands – the Palestinian people continue to endure conditions that have been described as ‘apartheid under occupation.’ It is an occupation that involves the terrorizing of the entire Palestinian population and systematic abuses of human rights including the state sponsored theft and destruction of lands, water and homes. Israel and its allies appear to be banking on the assumption that because it has gone on for so long, and because it has become such a common practice, many in the Western world have become inured to such violence, even when that violence involves mass civilian casualties as at Beit Hanoun or on the beach at Gaza; even when it involves the murder of a Palestinian mother and four of her children, aged between 1 and 5, as happened in Beit Hanoun on the morning of 28/4/08. The question for all civilised people however is whether at this very critical moment in our history we either collude with Israeli terror and violence, which - and this is the really worrying thing - is right in front of our eyes, and thus become brutalised ourselves, or else we can take a stand against it and call injustice by its name – to ‘speak truth to power.’


Eamon Mc Mahon


Trade Union Friends of Palestine (ICTU)


Other contact no.s: Belfast 02890593115 Mob. 07505474046

NIC-ICTU, Carlin House, 4-6 Donegall Street Place, Belfast BT12FN, Tel: 028 90247940

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Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians slams Canadian Jewish Congress exclusion

PRESS  RELEASE          For immediate Release            2007-07-03
The Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians responded today, to the decision by the Canadian Jewish Congress to deny membership to the progressive Jewish group. The CJC issued a letter which gave no reason for its decision.

“The decision by the Canadian Jewish Congress to exclude the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians illustrates the sectarian orientation of the forces controlling that organization,” declared ACJC Administrative Secretary Abraham Weizfeld. “The rejection of our application to become a member of the Canadian Jewish Congress and the refusal seat our delegates at the CJC Plenary on June 17th amounts to a refusal to acknowledge growing Jewish opposition to the Israeli occupation and siege of the Palestinian territories.”

“CJC’s refusal to include all tendencies in the Jewish community should be seen as a futile attempt to marginalize growing Jewish opposition to Israel’s behaviour and to the exclusive character of the Israel State,” Weizfeld continued.

 He contended that this refusal also motivated the decision by the June 17 plenary of the Canadian Jewish Congress to annul the process of conducting elections to the Board of Directors. As a result of this decision, the Board will now have 25% of its seats reserved for the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy which controls the CJC funding agency, the United Jewish Appeal. Weizfeld explained that these organizations provide unquestioning support to Israel, regardless of what it does.

The resulting vote on a resolution to amend the CJC constitution with regard to election of officers may not have passed if the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians’ delegates had been included.

“We do not share in the uncritical support for Israel,” Weizfeld stated. “It is our position that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, which began in 1967, must end immediately. This is the view that the ACJC wanted to bring to the Canadian Jewish Congress and that the CJC leadership was determined to ignore.” The refusal to hear our independent voice is proof that the CJC is not a body representative of diverse currents in Canada's Jewish population.

“It is essential that Israel and the Palestinians – including the duly elected Prime Minister Haniyeh – begin negotiations to conclude a lasting peace without prior conditions from either side. Only this approach can put an end to this ongoing tragedy for both the Palestinian and Israeli communities,” he concluded.

Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians
Alliance de Canadien/nes juif/ves concerné/es
68, av. Duluth est
Montréal QC H2W 1G8 Canada
(514) 284-6642


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