Open Letter to the Labor Research Association: Don’t Honor Israeli Apartheid

Open Letter to the Labor Research Association: Don’t Honor Israeli Apartheid
May 4, 2009

As longtime labor and anti-apartheid activists, we strongly disagree with the decision to honor Stuart Appelbaum at tonight’s annual dinner of the Labor Research Association in New York City.

The LRA’s dinner program praises Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, for building “relationships with community organizations in an effort to expand the rights of unorganized workers.”

What it doesn’t say is that, as head of the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC), he leads the witch-hunt against labor bodies in South Africa and around the world that support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid.

The BDS campaign was initiated by Palestinian civil society, including its entire labor movement. The campaign demands Palestinian self-determination, including an end to Israeli military occupation, the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the land from which they have been ethnically cleansed since the Nakba of 1947-1948, and equal rights for all throughout historic Palestine.

It has been endorsed by numerous labor bodies, including the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), UNISON (UK), Transport and General Workers’ Union (UK), Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Canadian Union of Public Employees-Ontario, six Norwegian trade unions, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Scottish Trades Union Congress, and Intersindical Alternativa de Catallunya.

The campaign gained still greater urgency after the Gaza Ghetto Massacre launched by Israel on December 27, and which left 1,400 dead and 5,000 wounded; nearly all were civilians, hundreds of them children. Gaza remains under Israeli siege.

War crime investigations have been called for by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UN officials, Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations, and Israeli soldiers themselves.

But the strongest response was made by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union in Durban, and the Western Australia Branch of the Maritime Union of Australia, both of which refused to handle Israeli cargo.

Their action is in the honorable tradition of dockworkers in Denmark and Sweden (1963), the San Francisco Bay Area (1984) and Liverpool (1988), who refused to handle shipping for apartheid South Africa; Oakland dockworkers who refused to load bombs for the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1978); and West Coast dockworkers who struck against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2008).

COSATU, in turn, “call[ed] on other workers and unions to follow suit and to do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free.”

That call took on renewed urgency after Israeli Occupation forces fired on a nonviolent May Day protest against the Apartheid Wall in the Bethlehem area of the West Bank. Nine marchers were injured, including the head of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), Shaher Sa’ad. Six protesters were arrested and remain in prison.

As the protest organizers point out, “The events of May 1 are the latest of a strategy of escalation implemented over the last months by the Occupation forces and which has lead to increased arrests, injuries and deaths among the coordinators and activists against the Apartheid Wall.”

In response to the May Day attack, the Bethlehem branch of the PGFTU and its allies have specifically called on “trade unions across the globe” to “Support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and promote concrete BDS actions to hold Israel accountable for its crimes and force it to respect Palestinian rights.”

This appeal is particularly relevant to workers in the United States.

In the past ten years alone, U.S. military aid to Israel was $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be another $30 billion. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. aircraft, white phosphorous and bullets kill and maim on behalf of the occupiers, while both Democratic and Republican politicians condone the slaughter.

U.S. support bolsters Israel’s longstanding role as watchdog and junior partner for U.S. domination over the oil-rich Middle East — and beyond. In that capacity, Israel was apartheid South Africa’s closest ally; no wonder South African anti-apartheid veterans lead the international movement against Israeli apartheid.

Moreover, as with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, workers in the United States also pay a staggering human and financial price, including deepening economic crisis, for U.S.-Israeli war and occupation throughout the region.

Yet Appelbaum and the JLC denounce those in labor who respond to Palestinian appeals for solidarity. They smear BDS supporters with accusations of “anti-Semitism,” just as the Israel Lobby routinely attacks Archbishop Desmond Tutu and numerous other critics of Israeli apartheid — many of whom are Jewish.

This is standard JLC operating procedure. For decades, it has served as “progressive” mouthpiece for the Histadrut, the Zionist labor federation that has spearheaded — and whitewashed — apartheid, dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians since the 1920s. Meanwhile, U.S. labor leaders have plowed at least $5 billion of our union pension funds and retirement plans into State of Israel Bonds.

In 2007, Appelbaum and the JLC recruited top AFL-CIO and Change to Win officials to sign a statement condemning British unions for supporting the BDS campaign. Now, to deflect international outrage over Gaza, they have launched “Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine (TULIP),” a benign-sounding name whose express purpose is to target labor BDS supporters.

Their shameful complicity with Israeli apartheid echoes “AFL-CIA” support for U.S. war and dictatorship in Vietnam, Latin America, Gulf War I, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

For all these reasons, we call on the LRA to revoke its award to Stuart Appelbaum, and suggest that it be given instead to COSATU, whose courageous leadership against Israeli apartheid is an example to workers everywhere.

Issued by New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) Co-Conveners:

Larry Adams
Former President, NPMHU Local 300

Michael Letwin
Former President, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys

Brenda Stokely
Former President, AFSCME DC 1707; Co-Chair, Million Worker March

———————-
nyclaw01@gmail.com
http://nyclaw01.wordpress.com/
https://laborforpalestine.wordpress.com/

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Endorse: U.S. Trade Unionists Support South African and Australian Dockers’ Boycott of Israeli Cargo

To endorse the following statement, please go to: http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/LaborforPalestine
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U.S. Trade Unionists Support South African and Australian Dockers’ Boycott of Israeli Cargo

February 17, 2009

“For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”

–Martin Luther King Jr., Beyond Vietnam, April 4, 1967

We salute the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) in Durban, and Western Australian dock worker members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), for refusing to handle Israeli cargo.

Theirs is a courageous response to Israel’s attack on Palestinians in Gaza that, since December 27 alone, have left some 1,400 dead and 5,000 wounded — nearly all of them civilians.

This action is in the best tradition of dock workers in Denmark and Sweden (1963), the San Francisco Bay Area (1984) and Liverpool (1988), who refused to handle shipping for apartheid South Africa; Oakland dock workers’ refusal to load bombs for the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1978); and West Coast dock workers’ strike against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2008).

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) rightly “calls on other workers and unions to follow suit and to do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free.”

COSATU’s appeal is particularly relevant for workers in the United States, whose government stands behind Israel’s war against the Palestinians, and without which Israeli apartheid cannot continue.

In the past ten years alone, U.S. military aid to Israel was $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be $30 billion. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is U.S. aircraft, white phosphorous and bullets that kill and maim on behalf of the occupiers. Both the Democratic and Republican parties condone the slaughter in Gaza.

Such support bolsters Israel’s longstanding role as watchdog and junior partner for U.S. domination over the oil-rich Middle East — and beyond. In that capacity, Israel was apartheid South Africa’s closest ally.

As with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, workers in the United States pay a staggering human and financial price, including deepening economic crisis, for U.S.-Israeli war and occupation.

Yet, in contrast to trade union bodies in South Africa, Australia, Denmark, Britain, Canada and elsewhere, most of labor officialdom in this country — often without the knowledge or consent of union members — is a main accomplice of Israeli apartheid.

For more than sixty years, it has closely collaborated with the Histadrut, the Zionist labor federation that has spearheaded — and whitewashed —  apartheid, dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians since the 1920s.

U.S. labor leaders have plowed at least $5 billion of our union pension funds and retirement plans into State of Israel Bonds.

In April 2002, while Israel butchered Palestinian refugees at Jenin in the West Bank, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney was a featured speaker at a belligerent “National Solidarity Rally for Israel.”

In July 2007, the Jewish Labor Committee, a Histadrut mouthpiece, enlisted top officials of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win to condemn British union support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

Now, by their silence, these same leaders are complicit in Israel’s massacre in Gaza.

These policies echo infamous “AFL-CIA” support for U.S. war and dictatorship in Vietnam, Latin America, Gulf War I, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

It strengthens the U.S.-Israel war machine and labor’s corporate enemies, reinforces racism and Islamophobia, and makes a mockery of international solidarity.

For all these reasons, we join COSATU in supporting the growing international campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, which demands Palestinian self-determination, including an end to Israeli military occupation, the right of Palestinian refugees to return, and elimination of apartheid throughout historic Palestine.

Join us in publicizing the example of South African and Australian dock workers, and working toward the same kind of labor solidarity here at home.

Join us in demanding immediate and total:

1. End to U.S. aid for Israel.

2. Divestment of business and labor investments in Israel.

3. Labor boycott of Israel.

4. Withdrawal of U.S. and allied forces from the Middle East.

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Initial Signers

Larry Adams
Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Former President, NPMHU Local 300*

Michael Letwin
Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Former President, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys*

Brenda Stokely
Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Former President, AFSCME DC 1707*; Co-Chair, Million Worker March

Anthony Arnove
National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981*

Black Workers for Justice (North Carolina)

Marty Goodman
Former Executive Board Member, TWU Local 100*

Monadel Herzallah
President, Arab American Union Members Council, California

Clarence Thomas
National Co-Chair, Million Worker March Movement; Executive Board Member, ILWU Local 10*

Sam Weinstein
Former President, UWUA Local 132*

Steve Zeltzer
Producer, Labor Video Project

Charles Jenkins
Million Worker March Movement

Mike Gimbel
Chair, Labor-Community Unity Committee, AFSCME DC 37 Local 375*; Delegate, NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Noha Arafa
UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys*

Helene J. Busby
UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys*

Julie Fry
Vice-President, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys*

Steve Terry
UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys*

Azalia Torres
Former Executive Bd. Member, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys*

Gloria La Riva
President, Typographical Sector, N. California Media Workers Guild Local 39521 CWA*

Carol Seligman
South San Francisco California Teachers Association*

Roland Sheppard
Retired Business Agent, Painters Local 4*

Hank Silver, SEIU Local 1021,* retired

Matt Kline
San Francisco May 1st Organizing Committee

Kevin Kachadourian
CTA Castro Valley*

Beth Youhn
IUOE Local 3 *

Leo L. Robinson
ILWU Local 10,* retired

Mark Glass
UA Local 399*

Charles Hinton
GCIU/Teamsters3M*

Charles Minster
California Alliance for Retired Americans*

Marcus Holder
ILWU Local 10*

Judy Jamerson
Sign & Display Local 510*

Tom Lacey
OPEIU Local 3*

Joel Schor
Sailors Union Of The Pacific*

Russ Miyashiro
ILWU Local 34*

Dave Welsh
Delegate, San Francisco Labor Council*

Larry Wright
ILWU Local 91*

Pierre Labossiere
CSEA*

Gene Pepi
Past Vice President retired, ATU Local 1555*

*For identification only.

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https://laborforpalestine.wordpress.com/
laborforpalestine.us@gmail.com

Cosatu and PSC launch Week of Action for Palestine

http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=906_0_1_0_C

Media Statement | | February 3, 2009

In a historic development for South Africa, South African dock workers have announced their determination not to offload a ship from Israel that is scheduled to dock in Durban on Sunday, 8 February 2009. This follows the decision by Cosatu to strengthen the campaign in South Africa for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Apartheid Israel.

The pledge by Satawu (South African Transport and Allied Workers Union) members in Durban reflects the commitment by South African workers to refuse to support oppression and exploitation across the globe. Last year, Durban dock workers refused to offload a shipment of arms that had arrived from China and was destined for Zimbabwe. Now, says Satawu’s General Secretary Randall Howard, the union’s members are committing themselves not to handle Israeli goods.

Satawu’s action on Sunday will be part of a proud history of worker resistance against apartheid. In 1963, just four years after the Anti-Apartheid Movement was formed, Danish dock workers refused to offload a ship with South African goods. When the ship docked in Sweden, Swedish workers followed suit. Dock workers in Liverpool and, later, in the San Francisco Bay Area also refused to offload South African goods. South Africans, and the South African working class in particular, will remain forever grateful to those workers who determinedly opposed apartheid and decided that they would support the anti-apartheid struggle with their actions.

This is the legacy and the tradition that South African dock workers have inherited, and it is a legacy they are determined to honour.

Last week, members of the Western Australian members of the Maritime Union of Australia resolved to support the campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel and have called for a boycott of all Israeli vessels and all vessels bearing goods arriving from or going to Israel.

Cosatu, the PSC and many other organisations salute the principled position taken by these workers.

In celebration of the actions of Satawu members with regard to the ship from Israel, and in pursuance of the campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, and our call on the South African government to sever diplomatic and trade relations with Israel, this coalition of organisations has declared a week of action beginning on Friday, 6 February 2009. These actions follow marches and rallies held throughout the country over the past month involving tens of thousands of South Africans in all provinces. Activities that have already been confirmed for this week will include:

· Friday, 6 February: A protest outside the offices of the South African Zionist Federation and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, 2 Elray Street, Raedene, off Louis Botha. Both these organisations unquestioningly supported the recent Israeli attacks against Gaza, and supported the massacre of civilians and the attacks on schools, mosques, ambulances, and UN refugee centres. Protestors will be addressed by, among others, Satawu General Secretary Randall Howard, and ex-Minister Ronnie Kasrils. Protest starts at 14:00.

· Friday, 6 February: A picket outside parliament in Cape Town. Cosatu members and solidarity activists will be joined by a number of members of parliament. Picket starts at 09:30.

· Friday, 6 February: A mass rally in Actonville, Benoni, at the Buzme Adab Hall. The rally will be addressed by, among others, Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, South African Council of Churches General Secretary Eddie Makue, ex-Minister Ronnie Kasrils and Salim Vally from the PSC. Rally starts at 19:30.

· Sunday, 8 February: A protest at the Durban Harbour Mouth, off Victoria Embankment. Protestors will be addressed by, among others, Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini. Protest starts at 10:00.

· Sunday 8 February: A mass rally in Cape Town at Vygieskraal Rugby Stadium. The rally will be addressed by, among others, Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, and Allan Boesak. Rally starts at 14:30.

Cosatu and the PSC will inform members of the media of other activities as details are confirmed.

For further information contact:

Patrick Craven (Cosatu spokesperson)

Bongani Masuku (Cosatu international Relations officer)

Melissa Hole (PSC)

Na’eem Jeenah (PSC)

Salim Vally (PSC)

Debate At SF Labor Council On Israel And Cessation Of US Military Aid-Amendment To Cut Off US Military Aid To Israel Exposes Secret Back-room Deal

by Steve Zeltzer

1/26/2009

At the 1/12/2009 San Francisco Labor Council meeting a debate broke out about whether or not there should be a cessation of US military aid to Israel. The debate took place after a carefully crafted resolution which called for a ceasefire of the war, collaboration between the Palestinian and the pro-Zionist trade union federation Histadrut and for humanitarian aid. The resolution avoided any mention of the fact that the US was centrally involved in supplying weaponry to the invasion and war against Palestinians. One delegate  Ramon Castellblanch, president of the SFSU California Faculty Association asked how a resolution on the Israel-Palestine dispute could leave out the question of the US role in supplying Israel with military supplies. One of the chief organizers of the resolution  Francesca Rosa argued that a resolution that was introduced and passed in 2002 had created such a bad situation that it took five years to have mutual agreement between the pro-Israel supporters and those supporting the rights of Palestinians. She also said the most important thing was to reach a mutual agreement.

It later turned out that many of the delegates including SFLC Executive Board member Alan Benjamin from OPEIU who is also the editor of Socialist Organizer and the US representative of the International Liaison Committee  had been in on a negotiation that would leave out the issue of US arming Israel if he and others were allowed to raise humanitarian aid to the Palestinians on good of the order part of the meeting. The International Liaison Committee is based in Paris and led by Daniel Gluckstien.

This deal was exposed when NALC 214 delegate Vicki Sawicki introduced a resolution following the unanimous vote for the resolution Francesca Rosa resolution  leaving out the role of the US military support for Israel. Sawicki’s resolution follows:

“Whereas Israel couldn’t conduct its war on Gaza without US military/monetary support,

Be it resolved that the San Francisco Labor Council calls for the immediate cessation of all US military aid to Israel.

After receiving a second on the resolution the debate began. Speaking for the resolution came from Frank Martin Campo representing LACLA. Campo pointed out that many of the wars around the world were in fact being financed by the US government and it was time that people have a responsibility to tell the truth about the role of the US internationally.

SEIU 1021 Francesca Rosa angrily attacked the resolution saying that she had spent years working to get agreement with the supporters of Israel and this threatened all her efforts. She said the resolution should not be voted on. Delegates such as David Welsh and other critics of Israel were silent as other delegates sought to eliminate the mention of US aid to Israel.

Suwicki refused to amend her resolution to eliminate the reference to Israel and the resolution was defeated. Alan Benjamin abstained on the vote and many of the anti-war delegates were left with a resolution that failed to mention that the US taxpayers and people are directly paying for the war crimes that Israel is engaging in.

Following the defeat of the motion, a motion to adjourn the meeting was introduced and Benjamin was on his feet demanding that this was out of order because an agreement had been made that in return for support of this joint resolution with the Zionists, he and others would be allowed to raise humanitarian support for the Palestinians. After pressure from the chair, the motion was withdrawn and the meeting continued.

This blowup exposed that a secret deal had been made to drop any reference of US military aid to Israel in return for collecting humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. The “supporters” of the Palestinians had also failed to get the actual resolution of the Palestinian General Federation Of Trade Unions PGFTU which contained a call for a economic and military boycott of aid to Israel. Many of the delegates were unaware that not only has the PGFTU called for such a boycott but also COSATU, the Irish Trade Unions, CUPE and the Canadian Postal Workers.

The need for education on the real positions of world labor is obviously crucial to change dynamics of the discussion and take forward the movement for a world wide labor boycott of Isreal and particularly action by US labor to stop military and economic aid to Israel.

Minutes Of The San Francisco Labor Council January 12, 2009 Page 2 of 3

New business
2. It was m/s/c to adopt a resolution calling for the halt of violence against Palestinian and Israeli civilians and for humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza submitted by Sister Francesca Rosa, SEIU 1021: Rodger Scott, AFT2121; Dennis Kelly, UESF; Linda Plack, UESF; Hene Kelly, UESF; and Conny Ford, SFLC Vice President for Political Activities, with one abstention. Sisters Francesca Rosa and Hene Kelly thanked the Vice President for Political Affairs Conny Ford for working with all con-signers of the resolution to find consensus.

4.Sister Vicki Sawicki, NALC 214, made a motion for the SFLC to call for the withdrawal of all military aid to Israel. The motion was seconded. She said she knows this is a controversial issue but thinks the labor movement has an obligation to take a stand on it. Brother Frank Martin del Campo, LCLAA, said unity in the movement has an obligation to take a stand on it. Brother Frank Martin del Campo, LCLAA said unity in the SFLC is important and that that end he doesn’t want to speak about Israel because it is too sensitive a subject, but said its appropriate to focus on the U.S. and the role it plays. He offered a friendly amendment to ad “U.S.” to the resolution so that is called for “the withdrawal of all U.S. military aid to Israel.” It was accepted as a friendly amendment. Sister Gus Goldstein, AFT 2121, said the delegates worked very hard to craft the consensus resolution that was adopted earlier to avoid just such a conflict. She offered a friendly amendment to remove all reference to Israel from the resolution and have it read “The SFLC is in opposition to U.S. aid anywhere.” This was not accepted as a friendly amendment. Sister Francesca Rosa, SEIU 1021, said people worked very hard on a new resolution that built unity and trust within this Council and to present an ad-hoc new resolutioin at this point is not appropriate and she is not in favor of the motion. Sister Jean Taylor, APWU, said to keep rehashing this issue is useless and very divisive. She encouraged the maker of the motion to withdraw it. Brother Ken Tray, UESF, said in the spirit of the unity is that went into the adopted resolution on the issue he thinks we need to realize that the resolution adopted earlier contains what the SFLC is in favor of, which is an end to violence. it was m/s/c call the question. The motion failed.

Good of the council
1.Brother Alan Benjamin, OPEIU 3, said the SFLC appealed to humanitarian aid in the resolution earlier and we need to take that seriously. There is a fund through the Palestinian Alliance of Trade Unions and donations will go to families of union members. He encouraged all to donate.

Justice and Support for poor and working families in Gaza
A message from
The Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions

Sisters and Brothers:

The PGFTU has been working at all levels in Palestine and in its international relations to mobilize international support for peace in the region.  This is the ultimate goal for our working families in Palestine, who labored in every way possible to bring about an end to the Israeli occupation of all Palestinian territories.  This occupation is the longest and worst in the modern history.

Over the years and even at this moment, these efforts have been met only with terrorism against our people by the Israeli army of occupation which has indiscriminately destroyed homes and worksites, slaughtered our people, confiscated our land, established and expanded illegal settlements, and limited the movement of workers who are only trying to feed their families. These measures have affected every member of Palestinian society.

The recent construction of the Apartheid Wall stands as a symbol of the extent of Israel’s brutal aggression against the Palestinian people and denial of their legitimate rights, dignity and human needs.

We call upon all peace-loving people in the world:

You are now witness to the criminal aggression by the Israeli army in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, bringing a new wave of killings and massacres against the Palestinian people by Israel as the occupying state.  These are war crimes according to international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions.

As our families in Gaza (the poorest in the Middle East) are being slaughtered nonstop for a week now, many of us are reliving what occurred in the summer of 2006 during the Israeli aggression against the people of Lebanon.

We witnessed then as we experience now waves of support and solidarity and similar anger and energy against this brutal injustice.   We cannot afford to let this surge of support pass us by without utilizing the moment to build our movement to face future challenges.  The most important thing is to be aware and equipped.

*  We urgently ask you and your sister labor organizations to help us spread the message that

* “WE ARE ALL GAZA” – that this war is against all poor workers and families of the world.  These are not just crimes against the people of Palestine.  They are crimes against humanity.

*  Help us create a strong voice for the working families of Gaza by building coalitions with unions, faith groups, antiwar movements and all social justice organizations.

*  We join you in the hope that in the election of Barack Obama, he will fulfill his reputation as a pro-union antiwar candidate, and that he understands that the CHANGE he spoke about during the campaign must include a fundamental change in U.S foreign policy so that  “FREE GAZA. ŠFREE PALESTINE” becomes more than just a slogan.

* We support and encourage your Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) efforts against Israel around the world, but especially in Europe and most particularly in the United States as a response to the harsh economic conditions, violations of labor and human rights, and other forms of oppression imposed by the illegal and immoral Israeli Apartheid occupation.

* We ask you to stop U.S aid to Israel.  This becomes not only necessary but also a duty of international solidarity among labor unions around the world.  It is U.S. government aid that provides Israel with the weapons of oppression and U.S. government support that enables them to use those weapons against our people.

* We ask you to be an active player in raising funds to meet the bare necessities of food, medicine and medical supplies for the people of Gaza.

[See below for information on how to send financial contributions to the PGFTU for Gaza Aid]

With your solidarity with our struggle for human rights and justice, we can transform this moment of crisis into a turning point for an end to the brutal occupation and a step toward the liberation of the people of Palestine.

With the will and determination of all the people, we can say “FREE PALESTINE — YES WE CAN.

Manawell Abdel Al, Executive Committee Member
Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU)

Bab El Zahryeih
P.O.Box 38903
Jerusalem
Website: http://www.pgftu.org
E-mail: pgftu@pgftu.org

http://www.sflaborcouncil.org/ViewUpload/388

San Francisco Labor Council Call for a Halt to Violence Against All Civilians in Palestine and Israel; Humanitarian Assistance to Civilians in Gaza

Whereas, violence against civilians—whether in Palestine or Israel—does not and will not serve the interest of peace and greater humanity in the region; and

Whereas, neither the Israeli military nor Hamas is justified in attacking the civilian population of  the other; and

Whereas, the situation in Gaza has reached a profound and extremely desperate humanitarian crisis for the entire population of 1.5 million people – a crisis that requires the immediate attention and assistance of all people and organizations of conscience throughout the world; and

Whereas, the U.N. Security Council has expressed its serious concern about this escalation, issued a call for an immediate halt to all violence, and has called for all parties to address the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza and to take necessary measures, including opening of border crossings, to ensure the continuous provision of humanitarian supplies, including supplies of food, fuel and provision of medical treatment; and

Whereas, the San Francisco Labor Council has always been guided by the belief that international working class solidarity offers a path to mutual understanding and peace and that working people of the U.S., Iraq, Iran, Israel, Palestine and throughout the Middle East must reach across the borders of our differences to create a common ground for mutual understanding that can lead to the peace, prosperity and security to which we all are entitled; and

Whereas, the San Francisco Labor Council affirms our support for the working-men and women in Israel and Palestine and their labor unions who seek a peaceful life for themselves and their families. We cite the Histadrut and the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions for their recent cooperative programs across the Green Line and their work together toward peace.  We support efforts of Palestinian and Israeli trade unionists to maintain contact in the midst of this crisis despite living under personal threat and witnessing the death and injury of their friends and family; and

Whereas, the San Francisco Labor Council urges increased engagement of trade unions with their counterparts on all sides of this conflict to improve the lives of working people in Gaza and Israel, build grassroots trust and enhance the peace process; and

Therefore be it Resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council affirms its support for the principle of international solidarity, its respect for international law; its support for the call of the U.N. Security Council for a cessation of all violence; and urges all parties to address the serious humanitarian and economic needs of the people of Gaza recognizing the necessity for all civilians of both Palestine and Israel to live in peace and security; and

Be it Further Resolved that the San Francisco Labor Council urges increased engagement of trade unions with their counterparts on all sides of this conflict to improve the lives of working people in Gaza and Israel, build grassroots trust and enhance the peace process; and

Be it finally resolved, that a copy of this resolution shall be forwarded to all affiliates of this Council, and to the California Federation of Labor, the AFL-CIO, and Change to Win with a request that they take a similar position.

Submitted by Francesca Rosa, SEIU 1021*, Roger Scott, AFT 2121*, Dennis Kelly, UESF*, Linda Plack, UESF*, Hene Kelly, UESF, Conny Ford, V.P. SF Labor Council* and adopted by the San Francisco Labor Council on January 12, 2009.

Respectfully,

Tim Paulson
Executive Director

*all union ID’s for identification purposes only

OPEIU3 AFL-CIO 11

Public Services International Union Affiliates Condemn Israeli Military Assault on Gaza

Many of PSI’s affiliates have reacted to the violence in the Middle East. Many condemn Israel’s military operations that have caused hundreds of innocent deaths, including women and children. PSI affiliates urge their National governments to join the international call for an immediate ceasefire.

Below you will find a list of PSI’s affiliates and National Trade Union Confederations condemning the Israeli military assault on Gaza. Click on their names to access the statements, letters or articles published:

To read the PSI statement, click here.

Second ITF Gaza aid plane to fly Tuesday

http://www.itfglobal.org/news-online/index.cfm/newsdetail/2956

News online

Second ITF Gaza aid plane to fly Tuesday

15 January 2009
Gaza aid plane *
view larger imageview larger image *
The first Gaza relief plane that delivered supplies last week *

A plane chartered by the ITF will take off from Jordan next week, carrying humanitarian supplies for the people of Gaza.

The flight, which will leave on Tuesday 20 January, follows an earlier aid flight part-organised and loaded by Jordan’s General Trade Union of Workers in Air Transport and Tourism, and the ITF. It delivered a cargo of medicines and ambulances last week at Al-Areesh Airport, Egypt. The consignment was handed over to the Red Crescent for distribution in Gaza the same day.

This latest flight will follow the same route and will again be on a Royal Jordanian Airlines A310. The airline has actively supported the relief effort. On board will be operating equipment, first aid supplies, burn dressings, medicine and eight tonnes of milk for newborn babies. Donors include Jordanian transport unions (especially the aviation workers’ union), who have supplied half the cargo, and other members of the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions (GFJTU), with more contributions on their way from Tunisian and Lebanese transport unions.

ITF General Secretary David Cockroft commented: “There is a crying need for medicine, dressings, water and food. We are doing what we can to address it. There’s an even greater need for an immediate ceasefire, so that this carnage will stop and the medical services and the people of Gaza can begin to pick up the pieces.”

The international trade union movement, including the ITF, the International Trade Union Confederation, the GFJTU and the Palestinian trade union congresses have all backed a call for trade unions to sponsor humanitarian relief aid to Gaza.

To see more photos visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157612393774470

Legal Aid NYC Union Members: Stop Israel’s Massacre in Gaza and End the Siege Now

By 44 Union Members at the Legal Aid Society in New York City*
martin Luther King 2.jpg

“For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”
-Martin Luther King Jr., Beyond Vietnam (April 4, 1967)

The undersigned members of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 and 1199SEIU join millions around the world – many of whom are Jewish – to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, Israel’s ongoing massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza.

Already, the Palestinian death toll is nearly 1000; thousands more have been injured. Under international law, the vast majority are civilians.

Israel’s massacres are carried out with F-16s, Apache helicopters and other advanced U.S. weapons – part of $30 billion in military funding for Israel that will be paid for by our tax dollars over the next ten years.

We cannot turn a blind eye.

We ask all who agree with this statement to participate in upcoming protests.

*Signers (list in formation; affiliations listed for identification only)
–Noha Arafa (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; ALAA Alt. Vice-President)
–Julie Fry (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; ALAA Vice-President)
–Michael Letwin (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; former ALAA Pres.)
–Azalia Torres (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; former member, ALAA Executive Bd.)
–Bahar Mirhosseini (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Mimi Rosenberg (Civil-Brooklyn)
–Patrick Langhenry (Civil-Brooklyn)
–Antonia Codling (Criminal Defense-Bronx; former member, ALAA Executive Bd.)
–Lucy Herschel (Criminal Defense-Queens; 1199 delegate)
–Steve Terry (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Rebecca Kurti (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; 1199 delegate)
–Kate Fitzer (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Andrea Ibrahim (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Roslyn Morrison (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Jamie Kauget (Juvenile Rights-Queens)
–Daniella Korotzer (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; former member, ALAA Executive Bd.)
–Bharati Narumanchi (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Tajuana B. Johnson (Juvenile Rights-Bronx)
–Steven Wasserman (Criminal Defense-Special Litigation; ALAA Executive Bd.)
–Richard Blum (Civil-ELU)
–Laurie Dick (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Sigmund Israel (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Clarissa M. Gomez (Harlem Community Law Office)
–Mia Eisner-Grynberg (Criminal Defense-Bronx)
–Reda Woodcock (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Jessica Goldthwaite (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Ellen S. Sacks (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Joseph Lavine (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Teresa Engst (Civil-HLU)
–Hollis Pfitsch (Civil-ELU)
–Warren Deans (Criminal Defense-Central Admin.)
–Susan Olivia Morris (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; ALAA Executive Bd.)
–Janet Forrester (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Aida Ferrer Leisenring (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Claire Nicolay (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Marisa Benton (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Helene Busby (Harlem Community Law Office; former ALAA Vice-President)
–Eric Meggett (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Ivan Pantoja (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; ALAA Executive Bd.)
–Aisha Mohamedi Richard (Criminal Defense-Queens; ALAA Alt. Vice-President)
–Lisa Pitts (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
–Magda Rosa-Rios (Harlem Community Law Office; Attorneys of Color Rep. to ALAA Executive Bd.)
–Lisa Edwards (Harlem Community Law Office; former member, ALAA Executive Bd.)
–Florence Morgan (Criminal Defense-Queens)