Trade unions call for boycott of Israel

TUC conference in Brighton

Britain’s trade union movement has passed a motion calling for an extensive boycott of Israel and the right of return of Palestinians refugees.

The motion at this year’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) conference in Brighton, called “Palestine: supporting rights to self-determination,” was submitted by Artists’ Union England and accused the U.S. and Israel of “destroying prospects for peace.”

It called for TUC policy to “prioritise Palestinians’ rights to justice and equality, including by applying these principles based on international law to all UK trade with Israel.”

It also called for the TUC to “oppose any proposed solution for Palestinians, including Trump’s ‘deal’, not based on international law recognising their collective rights to self-determination and to return to their homes.”

Ben Jamal, director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “The message from every major union was clear: we understand the seriousness of the assault on the collective rights of the Palestinian people being mounted by Israel with the support of Trump and far-right allies.”

He added that the unions recommitted to “ramp up the collective response and reaffirm support for a policy of boycott and divestment”.

Artists’ Union of England delegate Martin Sundram said: “At the moment we’re looking at a people lacking the control that allows them to function as a society — water, the freedom to travel, the basic right to safety.

“What we’re defending in this motion is not just the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people, but the rule of law itself.”

Unite executive council member Philippa Marsden said: “Besieged and blockaded from all sides, the Gaza Strip remains the world’s largest prison. But increasing numbers of annexations and the building of illegal settlements has built a string of mini Gazas across the country. All of us here must redouble our efforts to build solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

On behalf of the TUC general council, GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: “We oppose the recent U.S. policy of withdrawing much-needed aid from the United Nations Work and Relief Agency in Palestine.

“This is particularly concerning given that, in recent years, it has been reported that Gaza was on track to become unlivable by 2020. We recognise calls by UN officials to halt further demolitions, and concerns expressed by further settlements.”

The TUC, which has 5.6 million members, has adopted several similar motions in recent years.

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