Tony Greenstein | 09 December 2011 | Post Views:

There is a certain sense of irony in a LabourStart conference supporting BDS and a boycott of Histadrut. LabourStart was co-founded by ex-colonel Eric Lee of the Israeli Occupation Forces. Lee it was who was an unsuccessful Zionist candidate for Amnesty International’s Executive.

When the Association of University Teachers (now UCU) first passed policy supporting a boycott of Israeli universities, Eric Lee trotted out LaborStart as an example of what ‘real’ trade unionism was about. So persuasive was his activities that Sue Blackwell and myself urged a boycott of LaborStart and Unison Executive turned down a request from Lee for a £2,000 donation.

Well it would seem that we were wrong and it is nice to see his own organisation giving this Zionist hypocrite the boot.

Statement against Histadrut by the Turkish Organising Committee of the LabourStart International Solidarity Conference Report by Sendika
Published: 06/12/11

via Martin Jensen

The LabourStart Conference organized in Istanbul last week staged important events in terms of BDS. Although the principle of BDS was adopted during the organization phase two Histadrut members taking floor in spite of this confederation being boycotted was protested by participants from the BDS movement. These two Histadrut members are Eric Lee, who is one of the founders of LabourStart, and Jacob Avid, a member of Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed (The Federation of Working and Studying Youth) which is the youth organization of Histadrut. The statement below has been read by the Organization Committee of LabourStart International Solidarity Conference on the last session of the event.

Statement by the Turkish Organising Committee of the LabourStart International Solidarity Conference, Istanbul 18-20 November

The LabourStart International Solidarity Conference brought together a wide section of the labour movement to discuss the possibilities for international solidarity. Among those taking part in the organisation of this conference in Turkey, the website and several unions belonging to the DISK and KESK union federations had made it clear that the international boycott on the Histadrut trade union should not be breached.

For this reason, the organisational participation of Histadrut, the making of Histadrut a subject of discussion, or propaganda for Histadrut are unacceptable. Israel’s racist Zionist organisation, Histadrut, in the guise of a trade union, is a part of the system and an obstacle to international solidarity.

Participants in the conference who were supporters of the campaign in Turkey for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel raised this question at the workshop on “Echoes of the Arab Spring”. The reply they received from Eric Lee and Jacob Avid was,“We are Histadrut members and you cannot prevent us speaking.“ This was a breach of the principle of the boycott of Histadrut. To protest this breach, BDS supporters put up posters in the conference, stating “We do not want Zionist Histadrut in this conference.“ These BDS supporters were physically attacked (by LabourStart senior correspondent Andrew Casey) and attempts were made to remove the posters.

As several organisations who took part in the organisation of the LabourStart conference because of the opportunities that it would create for the workers’ movement, but also as supporters of the principled position against Histadrut outlined above, we wish once again to re-emphasise our support for the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people.

As organisers we apologise for the physical attack on BDS supporters and condemn the breach of the boycott principle.

See also No Sweat report

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Tony Greenstein

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