Trade unions take lead in BDS to defend Palestinian rights

Sam Macartney
Sam Macartney

Congress expressed condemnation of Israel’s attack on human rights and reaffirmed its support for the people of Palestine in their fight for justice and confirmed the STUC’s support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

Delegates backed action to lobby governments at Westminster and Holyrood to end the widespread and systematic human rights violations suffered by Palestinian children in Israeli military custody and has called on all affiliate trade unions to add their voices to this condemnation.

BDSSupporting the wide-ranging composite from Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Midlothian Trades Union Councils, speaker after speaker highlighted the terrible oppression of the Palestinian people by Israel. They condemned the recent shootings and killings of unarmed protesters in Gaza by the Israeli Defence Force, including the murder of journalist Yasser Murtaja.

Before the debate every delegate was given a copy of a statement from Palestinian Trade Unions (click here), calling on all unions to put their BDS policies into action and reiterating their call for a boycott of Histadrut, Israel’s general trade union, for its complicity with Israel’s violations of international law.

UNISON’s Sam Macartney, Chair of UNISON Scotland’s International Committee spoke in support of the motion. Before he began, delegates and the Presidential team held up placards calling for BDS.

Sam told Congress that as the apartheid state of Israel continues to persecute and ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people and the murders of Palestinian protesters continue in Gaza, BDS becomes even more relevant to draw attention to the plight of the Palestinian people.

He reported that UNISON Scotland, in conjunction with the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Scottish Friends of Palestine have put together a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions document.

This document, “Time to Divest” was also circulated to delegates. Its aim, said Sam, is to help members and trade unions divest pension funds from Local Authority Pension Funds invested in companies complicit in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and the continued violations of Palestinian rights.

Sam added: “2018 marks the 70th year anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the catastrophe which resulted in over 750,000 being driven from their homes and villages and lands.

“Palestinians have endured a brutal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza since 1967 and we say, enough is enough.”

The details of Time to Divest are on the UNISON Scotland web site, on the International section.

Sam asked all delegates to access this information and support the Palestinian people by boycotting companies complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine. The details are self explanatory including details of companies, pension schemes and the links to local government pension schemes.

“I hope you will support UNISON in their fight to gain justice for the Palestinian people in their own land,” urged Sam.

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