Super union calls for boycott of some Israeli goods
In an attempt to encourage a peaceful solution in Israel/Palestine, the UNI Global Union has appointed Palestinian and Israeli unionists to its executive.
At the same time, the global union resolved at its world congress in Cape Town this morning to call for a boycott of all products produced in the territories illegally occupied by Israel.
This tied in with the union’s support for a two-state solution to the Palestine/Israel, something backed by Israel’s Histradut union federation that agrees with the UNI “two nations” proposal.
However, at the congress, the Israeli federation, that describes itself as “centre-left”, opposed the boycott proposal, quoting Nelson Mandela as having supported a “Jewish nation”.
Histradut speakers condemned the boycott proposal, claiming that it was “political” and that the idea of a boycott had “unfortunate connotations”. The call for a boycott would “harm both Israelis and Palestinians” and would cause more unemployment, “especially for Palestinians”.
South African commercial workers’ union member Mike Abrahams spoke last at the congress, where he pointed out to loud applause that while the resolution did not go far enough for him, it was a first step. It was trying to give “Palestine a chance to breath”.
Majority votes for boycott
Put to the vote of some 2 000 delegates, the motion was carried by an overwhelming majority, with three votes against and a larger minority abstaining.
The boycott motion preceded a debate on peace introduced by international peace activist Reiner Braun. He pointed out that trillions of dollars are being spent on armaments and that almost 30 million people had died in conflicts since the end of World War 2.
Primarily responsible for this “perverse and pointless” pursuit of war and instability were the United States and Nato, he said. And wherever oil, gas or rare minerals were found, instability and conflict was fomented.
There was today an even greater danger of an accidental nuclear strike with nuclear weapons, at huge cost, being modernised and a new arms race on the horizon. It was the challenge of the century to confront this.
“We will profit from peace,” he added.