We are trade unionists with a record of action within our own industries and in opposition to racism and war. We watch with horror and outrage as Israel has bombed Lebanon indisciminately since 12 July with hundreds of civilian casualties, and their army begins a major ground invasion. Similar atrocities are being committed against Palestinians by Israeli forces in Gaza.
We know that the Blair government, including even the T&G sponsored Foreign Secretary, has given Israel a blank cheque to continue this war while the UN Secretary General calls for an immediate ceasefire and Israeli bombs kill UN observers at their post in Lebanon.
We also know that our own unions have been very slow to react. It is two years since the International Court of Justice declared the apartheid wall which carves up the West Bank to be completely illegal under the 4th Geneva Convention, along with the Israeli settlements and the entire occupation itself.
How much longer are we prepared to watch Lebanon and Palestine burn, before we act?
In the 1930’s, trade unionists from Merseyside fought fascism in Spain.
In 1973, Rolls-Royce engineers in Glasgow refused to ship RB-111 jet engines to the Chilean junta after Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. On Merseyside, trade unionists and our movement took Chilean refugees to their heart.
In the 1980’s, Liverpool dockers and many other workers around the world imposed sanctions on South Africa, even while Margaret Thatcher backed the apartheid regime to the hilt. We agree with Willie Madisha, President of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), who wrote on 6 June:
Boycotts, disinvestments and sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa hastened our march to democracy. Why should it be different for Palestinians? In the face of an intransigent, arrogant, racist and brutal Israeli state, this strategy of isolation - particularly since the vast majority of Palestinians support it - should be applied to Israel as well. It is a peaceful option. If not now, when?
We call on our brothers and sisters throughout the movement to boycott Israeli consumer goods; identify your employer’s trade and investment links with Israel, and raise these as a matter of utmost urgency; speak out within your union and demand that your elected leadership recognise the slaughter in Lebanon and Gaza is a trade union issue and act accordingly; and 1join demonstrations and donate funds in solidarity with Palestinian and Lebanese victims of the Israeli military aggresion.
If you can, intervene directly to stop trade with Israel while the carnage in Lebanon and Gaza continues
Sacked Liverpool Dockworkers
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