Stifling criticism of Israel in the British trade-union movement
Reproduced from the Finsbury Communist of October 2018, with thanks.
The delegates [to the annual Trades Union Congress conference held this year in Manchester] on September 12 waved Palestinian flags as they voted unanimously for Emergency Motion 4:
Cuts to UNWRA and the Nation-State Law
Mover: ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan
Seconder: UNITE delegate Claire Lees
Congress condemns the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) majority decision on 19 July 2018 to adopt the new “nation state law”.
Congress shares the opposition expressed by a wide range of Israeli citizens, including Palestinians, to this law which institutionally discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The passing of the law has led to demonstrations in Tel Aviv called by groups asserting that ‘we are all equal citizens – Arabs and Jews, women and men, Mizrahim, Ethiopians, those of us from the former USSR and members of the LGBTQ community.
Opposition to the law has also been expressed by the distinguished conductor and activist, Daniel Barenboim, a group of over 100 writers and artists, members of the Druze community and the Peace Now group.
Congress expresses its solidarity with all those seeking to oppose this law and calls on the General Council to make representations to the UK government and to the Israeli authorities.
Congress also condemns the 24 August 2018 decision by the Trump Administration to cut $300 million from the aid budget to the United Nations Works & Relief Agency (UNWRA) which is responsible for 5.4 million Palestinian refugees. This will result in threats to the education of over 526,000 Palestinian children and the jobs of 22,000 teachers.
Congress further calls on the General Council to make representations to the FCO to significantly increase the British contribution to UNWRA to avoid this humanitarian disaster.
This motion was largely ignored by the media, including the Morning Star.
Even the prestigious Communist Party of Britain Political Committee report on the TUC conference, contained in the Morning Star for September 21, made no mention of Emergency Motion 4.
A friend of ours had to go along to Congress House to get a copy.