DECEMBER 9, 2022
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UK Trade Unions Endorse Boycotts of Israel in Protest Against Palestinian Oppression

UK Trade Unions Endorse Boycotts of Israel in Protest Against Palestinian Oppression

Trade unions in the UK have passed a resolution in support of boycotting Israel, condemning the country's treatment of the Palestinian people.

The resolution, initially proposed by the National Education Union during the Trades Union Congress in Liverpool, expresses political opposition to the forthcoming Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill. If passed in Parliament, this bill would make it more difficult to implement boycotts against Israel.

The motion also calls for backing a coalition of over 70 organizations known as "Right to Boycott," which includes Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Liberty, the Quakers, the Methodist Church, the Muslim Association of Britain, and Na’amod: British Jews Against Occupation.

According to the motion, the bill "would undermine ethical investment and procurement by public bodies by restricting the consideration of human and workers’ rights, international law, and environmental concerns, linked to the behavior of a foreign state."

It further states that the bill "damages freedom of speech, local democracy, devolution, and pension scheme members’ rights."

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, welcomed the motion, stating that it reflects the British trade union movement's ongoing support for the Palestinian struggle for liberation. He also highlighted the opposition to government efforts to suppress the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement.

The motion rejects any attempt to delegitimize the Palestinian call for BDS against Israel and companies supporting its policies of oppression. It calls for support for this call within the UK.

The Labour Party has announced its opposition to the government's bill but has raised concerns that characterizing the BDS campaign solely as a response to Israeli oppression of Palestinians is "problematic."

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