Labor for Palestine: Response to Defamatory Attacks and Call to Action

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Labor for Palestine”s Response to Defamatory Attacks and Call to Action

December 21, 2009

Labor for Palestine”s December 14 “Open Letter from U.S. Trade Unionists to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: Boycott Apartheid Israel” has met with an overwhelmingly positive response.

Posted at,, the Open Letter supports the growing international campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, by calling on trade unionists in the United States to Divest from State of Israel Bonds, support workers” refusal to handle Israeli cargo, break ties with the racist Histadrut, and oppose U.S. military and economic aid for Israel.

In just a few short days, the letter has been published by Electronic Intifada, Dissident Voice, Global BDS Movement, Indymedia, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, MRZine, Palestinian World, Socialist Worker (U.S.), Tehran Times, U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, and U.S. Palestinian Community Network. It has also been endorsed by nearly 64 additional U.S. labor signers (see below), for a total of 94, and the number continues to grow.

The letter comes in response to the Palestinian call, adopted around the world and supported by all Palestinian trade unions, for BDS as an essential international action to support Palestinian rights.

It has also become clear that growing support for BDS is seen as a threat by those who would continue U.S. labor officialdom”s support for the apartheid state of Israel, as evidenced by new attacks on Labor for Palestine.

On December 17, two of the letter”s initial signers, Fred Mason (a co-convener of U.S. Labor Against the War and head of the Maryland AFL-CIO) and Clayola Brown (A. Philip Randolph Institute), issued identical written statements demanding that their names be removed from the letter. The statements assert that they “had never seen such a letter or engaged in discussions about its content,” and that it was “disrespectful that someone would attach my name to a document and circulate such a document without contact with me, or consent from me.”

Brown”s statement has been posted on the website of “Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine” under the heading, “Leading Black trade unionist expresses “disgust and dismay” at misuse of her name by pro-BDS campaigners.” As explained in LFP”s Open Letter, TULIP was founded to derail the growing international labor support for BDS that has followed Israel”s massacres in Gaza.

LFP immediately honored the requests to remove both names. However, the claim that either had been listed without their knowledge of permission is a complete fabrication.

In fact, Fred Mason and Clayola Brown were among 21 people who signed the letter at a USLAW national meeting held in Chicago on December 5. Their endorsements, written in their own hand (signatures 5 and 6.) can be viewed at: Nonetheless, “TULIP” has refused to remove Brown”s defamatory statement from its website.

These false assertions come as no surprise. Dishonesty underlies the entire attempt to undermine BDS, and to shore up Israeli apartheid, occupation and oppression.

As the first anniversary of Israel”s massacre in Gaza approaches, LFP will escalate this campaign by posting the expanded list of Open Letter signers, activating a new and expanded website, creating a listserv for LFP supporters, and organizing future action. We ask you to join LFP in supporting the call for BDS, and in standing up against any attempt to silence U.S. workers” voices in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters.

Workers around the world responding to the Palestinian call to cut ties with apartheid oppression. In the 1980s, workers stood together around the world to combat South African apartheid – and we can do no less today.

To help make this possible, please:

* Post and forward this report.

* Enlist and refer additional Open Letter signers to:

* Write to Cbrown[at], fmason[at], and info[at] (cc:[at]
to demand immediate retraction of their false accusations against LFP.

* Donate to LFP:


(List in formation – *For identification only)

Initial Signers (revised, as discussed above)
Monadel Herzallah, President, Arab American Union Members Council, California
Larry Adams, Co-Convener, NYCLAW; Former President, NPMHU L. 300*
Michael Letwin, Co-Convener, NYCLAW, Former President, UAW L. 2325/ALAA*; Al-Awda NY; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network/Labor
Brenda Stokely, Co-Convener, NYCLAW, Former President, AFSCME DC 1707*; Co-Chair, Million Worker March Movement
Sam Weinstein, Former President, UWUA L. 132*; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network/Labor
Stanley Heller, AFT L. 1547*, Delegate, CT Central Labor Council*
Marty Goodman, Former Executive Board Member, TWU L.100*
Frank Rosen, General Vice President (retired), UE*
Steve Zeltzer, Producer, Labor Video Project
Anthony Arnove, National Writers Union/UAW L.1981*
Mike Gimbel, Chair, Labor-Community Unity Committee, AFSCME DC 37 L. 375*; Delegate, NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO*
Dave Welsh, Delegate, San Francisco Labor Council*
Lee Sustar, Chicago Labor Against the War
Timothy Kaminski, UAW L. 110* (ret.)
Janice Rothstein, AFSCME L. 3299*
Andy Griggs, UTLA*; LA Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee, Cafe Intifada
Emma Rosenthal, UTLA*; LA Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee, Cafe Intifada
Pete Nowicki, AFSCME L. 145*
Jim Crampton, 1199SEIU/UHWE*
Allan Fisher, AFT L. 2121, SF Community College*
Sharon Black, AFT L. 2*; Bailout the People Movement
Bill Balderson, Oakland Education Assn.*
Sarah Ringler, AFT L. 1936, PVFT*
Frank Pinto, UPTE-CWA L. 9119*
Steve Desavouret, TCU/IAM 6608*
Louis LaFortune, AFT L. 1936, PVFT*
Azalia Torres, Former Executive Bd. Member, UAW Local 2325/ALAA*
Patrick Langhenry, UAW Local 2325/ALAA*
Lucy Herschel, Delegate 1199SEIU/UHWE*
Carol Seligman, South San Francisco California Teachers Association*

Additional U.S. Labor Endorsers
Manzar Foroohar, CFA.*
Joe Iosbaker, Executive Board, SEIU L. 73.*
David Klein, CFA*
Mary Hughes, WGA, West*
Barbara Harvey, Attorney, Labor and Employment Committee, National Lawyers Guild*
Sherna Berger Gluck, Former Vice President, CFA-SEIU L. 1983*
Sabina Virgo, Founding and Past President, AFSCME L. 2620*
Shelia Cassidy, USW*, Riverside, CA
Evalyn F. Segal, CSEA, SEIU Local 1000*
Mark Kaswan, UAW L. 2865*
Roger Dittmann, President, Scientists Without Borders; CFA-SEIU-AAUP*
Larry Duncan, Co-Producer, Labor Beat Cable TV Series; CWA L. 14408*
Andrew Berman, AFGE L. 375 (ret.)*
Stephen Mahood, UAW L. 2322/Graduate Employees Organization*
James Marc Leas, CWA L. 1601*
Hester Eisenstein, Vice-Chair, Queens College Chapter, PSC-CUNY*
Jerry Silberman, Organizer, PASNAP, AFL-CIO*
Howard Lenow, Union Attorney, Lawyers Coordinating Committee, AFL-CIO*
Bob McCubbin, CTA-NEA (ret.)*
Nagesh Rao, AFT L. 2364*
Anna Potempska, PEF*
James L. Richardson, United Domestic Workers*
Tom Lacey, OPEIU, L. 3*
Joseph Levine, Massachusetts Society of Professors, MTA-NEA*
John Levin, WGA, West*
Rogers Turrentine, WGA*
Dennis Kortheuer, CFA*
Leslie Feinberg, NWU, UAW L. 1981*
Noha Arafa, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*
Michael Yates, United Association for Labor Education*
Mike Prokosch, IUPAT, DC 35*
Wendy Thompson, Former President, UAW L. 235*
Mary Lou Finley, San Diego Para Chapter Secretary, CSEA, AFL-CIO*
Sam Blan, SAG*
Jeffrey Klein, President (ret.), NAGE/SEIU L. R1-168*
Fred Hirsch, Executive Board, Plumbers and Fitters L. 393*
Gaby Forrell, AFM, New York, NY
Michel Lyon, AFSCME L. 3299*
Sheila Hoyt, BTU*
Steve Early, NWU/UAW L. 1981*
Gabriel Camacho, UNITE HERE L. 66L*
Edie Pistolesi, CFA*
Erin Breault, PFT*
Donna Blythe-Shaw, Staff Representative, USW, Dorchester, MA
Joe Balkis, Steward, IBT, Calumet City, IL
Robert McCauley, Organizer, NUHW*
John J. McColgan, USW L. 9158*
Dan Kaplan, Executive Secretary, AFT L. 1493, San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers*
Andre Powell, Delegate, Baltimore Metro Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO*
Leila Kawar, GSOC/UAW Local 2110 NYU, AFL-CIO*
Mary Sully, IUE-CWA L. 201 (ret.), McAllen, TX
Saladin Muhammad, International Representative (ret.), UE*
Ann Pett, NEA, Valley Village, CA
Deborah Rosenstein, Labor Educator, University of Minnesota Labor Education Service*
Keith Rosenthal, AFSCME L. 3650*
Patrick Finn, UUP/SUNY Buffalo*
Daniel Bosch, Twin Cities GMB, IWW*
Chelsea Earles, Hear Our Public Employees Coalition (HOPE), Durham, NC
Joseph Agonito, AFT L. 1845*
Scott D. Egan, IWW, Tucson, AZ
Brian Kelly, International Brotherhood of Carpenters, L. 33, Boston (formerly); IUMSWA L25*
Thomas F. Barton, AFSCME DC 37, L. 768*
Dick Wood, CSEA, Sacramento, CA
Keith Sadler, UAW Local 12*

International Endorsers
Rubina Jamil, Working Women Organization; All Pakistan Trade Union Federation*
Tony Leon, Secretary General, Venezuelan Union of Oil Industry Workers*

Additional International Endorsers
Amir M. Maasoumi, Federation des travailleurs du Quebec (FTQ)*
B. Ross Ashley, Retired Shop Steward, SEIU L. 1, Canada*
Boudemi Abdellah, Federation Generale du Travail Belgium*
Christina Rousseau, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) L. 3903*
Faiz Ahmed, Secretary, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Direct Chartered L. 60550, Union of Graduate Student Workers*
Hanna Braun, National Union of Teachers (ret.)*, London, UK
John M. Darlling, International Typographical Union* (ret.), Toronto, Ontario
Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union New Zealand*
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Life Member, National Union of Journalists (UK)*, member, National Union of Teachers Waltham Forest Branch*
Peter Brogan, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) L. 3903*
Kelvin Bland, Royal Institute of British Architects*

Organizational Endorsers
BDS National Committee, Palestine
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

AAUP. American Association of University Professors
AFGE. American Federation of Government Employees
AFM. American Federation of Musicians
AFSCME. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
AFT. American Federation of Teachers
ALAA. Association of Legal Aid Attorneys
BTU. Boston Teachers Union
CFA. California Faculty Association
CSEA. California State Employees Association
CTA. California Teachers Association
CWA. Communication Workers of America
GSOC. Graduate Student Organizing Committee
IAM. International Association of Machinists
IBT. International Brotherhood of Teamsters
IUE. International Union of Electronic Workers
IUPAT. International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
IUMSWA. Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America
IWW. Industrial Workers of the World
MTA. Massachusetts Teachers Association
NAGE. National Association of Government Employees
NEA. National Education Association
NPMHU. National Postal Mail Handlers Union
NUHW. National Union of Healthcare Workers
NWU. National Writers Union
NYCLAW. New York City Labor Against the War
OPEIU. Office and Professional Employees International Union
PASNAP. Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals
PEF. Public Employees Federation
PFT. Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers
PFVT. Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers
PSC-CUNY. Professional Staff Congress
SAG. Screen Actors Guild
SEIU. Service Employees International Union
TCU. Transportation Communications International Union
TWU. Transport Workers Union
UAW. United Auto Workers
UE. United Electrical Workers
UHWE: United Health Care Workers East
UPTE. University Professional and Technical Employees
USW. United Steel Workers
UTLA. United Teachers of Los Angeles
UUP. United University Professions
UWUA. Utility Workers Union of America
WGA. Writers Guild of America

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