TUC passes motion for extensive Israel boycott at annual conference

Motion 75 submitted by Artists’ Union England accuses the US and Israel of “destroying prospects for peace” and urges the TUC to ‘prioritise Palestinians’ rights’

Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the union (left), during the TUC Congress in Brighton. On the left, an attendant wears a pro-Palestine landyard. (PA Photo.(Photo credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

The leaders of British trade unions passed a motion calling for an extensive boycott of Israel during an annual conference in Brighton on Wednesday.

Motion 75 at this year’s Trades Union Congress (TUC), called ‘Palestine: supporting rights to self-determination,’ was submitted by Artists’ Union England and accused the US and Israel of “destroying prospects for peace”.

It called for TUC policy to “prioritise Palestinians’ rights to justice and equality, including by applying these principles based on international law to all UK trade with Israel”.

It also called for the TUC to “oppose any proposed solution for Palestinians, including Trump’s ‘deal’, not based on international law recognising their collective rights to self-determination and to return to their homes”.

Ben Jamal, director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said it passed “overwhelmingly,” adding: “The message from every major union was clear: we understand the seriousness of the assault on the collective rights of the Palestinian people being mounted by Israel with the support of Trump and far-right allies.”

He added that the unions recommitted to “ramp up the collective response and reaffirm support for a policy of boycott and divestment”.

The co-chair of Artists’ Union England is Zita Holbourne, whose artwork has been used for Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) campaigns. She sits on the TUC’s Race Relations Committee and co-founded United Black Labour for Jeremy Corbyn.

The TUC, which has 5.6 million members, has adopted several similar motions in recent years. In 2010, it agreed to “encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of companies who profit from illegal settlements, the occupation and the construction of the [security] wall”.

In 2014 it called on the UK and EU “to end immediately arms trading with Israel including all military-industrial collaboration” and for “the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement until the rights of the Palestinians are established”.


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