Thursday, June 9, 2011

Union Delegates refuse to support TULIP's pro-normalisation, anti-BDS position

Dear friends,
in 2009, 3 rightwing trade union leaders set up TULIP or Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine, a pro-normalisation, anti-BDS group in support of the Israeli state. As TULIP's website notes: "Trade union leaders from three continents have announced the launch of a new global movement... The movement is called TULIP – Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine.The leaders are Paul Howes, national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (USA), and Michael J. Leahy, OBE, General Secretary of Community (United Kingdom)"

The problem, however, for Applebaum, Leahy and Howes is that they forgot to actually ask their unions, its elected bodies and their rank and file membership if they wanted to support their leaders pro-Zionist, anti-Boycott stance.

Several days ago, at its first national conference since then delegates of Leahy's union, the Community Union in the UK voted to not support Leahy and his position. that decision.

The Morning Star has this report on the Community Union vote.

In Australia, I have challenged publicly a number of time, Howes' chief communication officer to provide a public record of when any elected body of the AWU or its membership had voted to support Howes pro-normalisation, anti-BDS position. Each time I asked, my question was studiously and deliberately ignored.

Let's hope that sometime soon the rank and file of the AWU will follow in the steps of the comrades in the UK Community Union.

In solidarity,

Keep boycotting Israel say delegatesTuesday 07 June 2011
by Louise Nousratpour in Southport

Community union delegates delivered a crushing blow today to the executive's attempt to force through a resolution aimed at undermining the TUC policy of boycotting Israeli goods produced in illegal settlements.

Members at the union's biennial conference in Southport accused the leadership of using it to obtain a "retrospective mandate" from members to support Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine (Tulip), which they labelled "an apologist" for Israeli war crimes.
Tulip was co-founded by the union's general secretary Michael Leahy in 2009 to challenge what he labelled "apologists for Hamas" in the labour movement.
Presenting the Middle East peace process motion to conference on behalf of the executive, Pat Donnelly said: "An enduring peace can only come about through non-violent means and must be based on a viable two-state solution."
Mr Donnelly claimed that "taking sides" in the Palestine-Israel conflict would be counterproductive.
Opposing the motion Scunthorpe delegate Simon Brears argued that the union's national executive was asking members to take the Israeli government's side.
"Since 2009 Community has been part of Tulip without a mandate from members," he said.
"This motion is a retrospective mandate for Tulip, which acts as an apologist for war crimes and human rights abuses committed by the Israeli government.
"Supporting Tulip is taking sides."
Mr Brears warned delegates that the motion's "tacit" rejection of the TUC policy would "isolate the union and send a message to the movement that Community is a nasty, right-wing union."
During a panel discussion before the motion was taken Trade Union Friends of Israel conference guest speaker Eric Lee, who helped to found Tulip, branded the TUC boycott an "extremist position" that sought to "isolate and demonise" Israel.
Mr Lee also claimed that Britain's unions and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) did not support a two-state solution.
But PSC speaker Hugh Lanning hit back.
He stressed the need for two states based on the 1967 borders - a demand recently backed by US President Barack Obama but consistently rejected by Israel.
"At the moment there is only one state - Israel," he said.
"A two-state solution objectively means the creation of a free, independent Palestinian state which does not exist right now."

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