Date: 17 September 2009
Britain’s unions commit to a mass boycott movement of Israeli
In a landmark decision, Britain’s trade unions have voted overwhelmingly
to commit to build a mass boycott movement, disinvestment and
sanctions on Israel for a negotiated settlement based on justice
The motion was passed at the 2009 TUC Annual Congress in Liverpool
today (17 September), by unions representing 6.5 million workers
across the UK.
Hugh Lanning, chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said:
‘This motion is the culmination of a wave of motions passed at
union conferences this year, following outrage at Israel’s brutal
war on Gaza, and reflects the massive growth in support for Palestinian
rights. We will be working with the TUC to develop a mass campaign
to boycott Israeli goods, especially agricultural products that
have been produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian
The motion additionally called for the TUC General Council to
put pressure on the British government to end all arms trading
with Israel and support moves to suspend the EU-Israel trade agreement.
Unions are also encouraged to disinvest from companies which profit
from Israel’s illegal 42-year occupation of Gaza and the West
The motion was tabled by the Fire Brigades Union. The biggest
unions in the UK including UNISON voted in favour of the motion.
UNISON Scottish Convenor Mike Kirby, who recently returned from
a Scottish Trade Union Congress fact-finding mission to Israel
and Palestine, spoke in the debate.
"The delegation questioned the officials on Israel's failure
to comply with UN security council resolutions, on the high number
of civilian deaths and casualties, the political timing of the
attacks on Gaza and Israel allowing the ceasefire with Hamas to
expire. We did not receive any satisfactory answers to these questions",
"We need a campaign of focused and selective action against
arms sales to Israel, against the illegal settlements and for
a targeted consumer boycott. We need to get as many people involved
as possible. Our aim is not to put jobs at risk, but to build
political support and awareness. This is our generation's responsibility."
The motion also condemned the Israeli trade union Histadrut’s
statement supporting Israel’s war on Gaza, which killed 1,450
Palestinians in three weeks, and called for a review of the TUC’s
relationship with Histadrut. Britain’s trade unions join those
of South Africa and Ireland in voting to use a mass boycott campaign
as a tool to bring Israel into line with international law, and
pressure it to comply with UN resolutions that encourage justice
and equality for the Palestinian people..
Notes to Editors
•Media contact: Palestine Solidarity Campaign 020 7700 6192
•The full motion passed on 17 September can be viewed at: http://www.congressvoices.org/2009/76-palestine/
•The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is the largest solidarity
movement with Palestinians in Britain – and is supported by thousands
of individual members alongside 18 national trade union and hundreds
of local trade union affiliates.
For more information: http://www.palestinecampaign.org
•The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement aims to pressure
Israel into complying with international law. http://www.bdsmovement.net/