We the undersigned organizations congratulate the Canadian Union of Postal workers (CUPW) for joining the international boycott of Israeli apartheid. We call on workers and labor unions worldwide to join CUPW in creating a strong and effective labor movement in solidarity with struggles against Israeli apartheid and violence.
At the national convention of CUPW, representing over 50,000 workers across Canada, a strong majority of delegates voted for a resolution in support of the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli apartheid.
Marking the first time a country-wide labour union in North America has voted to participate in the global campaign against apartheid in Palestine, CUPW’s resolution represents a critical juncture for the involvement of North American labour in this campaign. International support for CUPW’s resolution — which recognizes the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights, including the right of return — could prove key to shoring up this victory.
In Canada, CUPW has been at the forefront of campaigns against privatization and deregulation of postal services in Canada, while maintaining a proud history of international solidarity. During the South African apartheid years, CUPW played a lead role in labor solidarity with South African workers, engaging in concrete actions such as the refusal to handle mail from South Africa.
CUPW has now joined the international campaign against Israeli apartheid, committing itself to “support the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel meets its obligations to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.”
Israel’s apartheid and colonial policies have resulted in the near collapse of the Palestinian economy, resulting in massive unemployment and bleak poverty. In the West Bank, over 51 percent of the population is estimated to live under the poverty line; in Gaza, the figure rises to 81 percent. Israel’s policies have had a particularly acute effect on Palestinian postal workers, as the apartheid regime has ensured that there is no Palestinian-controlled access to other countries.
As a result, all incoming and outgoing Palestinian mail has to pass through the Israeli postal service, which routinely delays delivery, often for several months. In the course of fulfilling their duty, Palestinian postal workers are forced to travel through Israeli checkpoints at which Israeli soldiers regularly delay their passage, detaining them for hours under the sun or rain, or denying them passage altogether. Working under a brutal military occupation, Palestinian postal workers can risk imprisonment, injury, and death in the course of a day’s work.
CUPW’s resolution comes at a time when Israel prepares to celebrate the sixtieth year since its establishment, a celebration in which many of the most powerful governments of the world will participate. For 60 years, the Palestinian people have endured and resisted ongoing displacement, land confiscation, military violence, institutionalized racism, and political repression of the minority who managed to remain in their homeland. CUPW’s resolution is a clear statement to the world that when the states of the world stand behind oppression and apartheid, it is up to the people of the world to oppose it.
Every passing week demonstrates the urgent need for a strong popular movement against Israeli apartheid. Last week, Israel once again stepped up the violence of its bloody siege of Gaza, leaving dozens of Palestinian civilians dead. Israel continues to impose collective punishment on the 1.5 million Palestinians of Gaza, who live with chronic shortages of electricity, fuel, food and basic necessities as a result.
We call on all workers and labour unions to join CUPW in creating a strong and effective boycott movement to help bring an end to this injustice and violence.
Actions you can take:
- Endorse this statement: send the name of your organization and city to: tadamon [at] resist.ca.
- Send a message of solidarity through email or fax to the CUPW National office congratulating them on their stand against Israeli apartheid. Please fax your letter of support to CUPW National Office at: + 1 613 563 7861 email at: tadamon [at] resist.ca
- Ask your union, community group, association or collective to follow CUPW’s lead and adopt a position in support of the international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli apartheid.
- In Montreal, join the “Boycott Apartheid” bloc in the demonstration organized by the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP) to mark the 60th year of the Nakba on Saturday, 10 May 2008, 1pm Dorchester Square (Peel & Rene-Levesque) in Montreal. To join the boycott bloc, look for the “boycott Israeli Apartheid” banner.
Tadamon! (“Solidarity!” in Arabic) is a Montreal-based collective of social-justice organizers & media activists, working to build relationships of solidarity with grassroots political movements for social and economic justice between Beirut and Montreal.