Sign on: Labor Statement Demands Arms Embargo on Israel

The following statement calling for an immediate arms embargo on Israel, was published by Labor for Palestine on July 13, 2011. Click here to sign on.

Whereas, on May 4, 2011, the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (PTUC-BDS)specifically called “on trade unions around the world to actively show solidarity with the Palestinian people by. . . . divesting from Israel Bonds and all Israeli and international companies and institutions complicit in Israel”s occupation, colonization and apartheid”; and

Whereas, on July 8, 2011, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) urgently called for “immediate international action towards a mandatory comprehensive military embargo against Israel similar to that imposed against apartheid South Africa in the past”; and

Whereas, since the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1947-1948, Israel has used at least $108 billion from the U.S. government to carry out ongoing war, ethnic cleansing, racism and apartheid against the Palestinians and many other Arab nations; and

Whereas, in the past ten years alone, the U.S. government – with overwhelming bipartisan support – has given Israel $17 billion in military aid; over the next decade, it will give another $30 billion; and

Whereas, as a result, Palestinian workers continue to be killed and maimed by U.S.-supplied naval vessels, jet fighters, Apache helicopters, white phosphorous and other weapons; and

Whereas, in 2008/2009 alone, Israel used these weapons to enforce the brutal and illegal siege by killing 1400 people in Gaza, most of them civilians – a massacre condemned by the UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations, including those that are Israeli; and

Whereas, U.S. supplied-weapons were similarly used in the deadly May 31, 2010 Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, and to kill scores of unarmed Palestinian refugees exercising their right to return in 2011; and

Whereas, in 2006, Israel turned Lebanon into a killing ground, slaughtering and maiming thousands of people, destroying the civilian infrastructure, and turning a quarter of the population into refugees in their own land; and

Whereas, the U.S. and Israel provided similar support to the apartheid South Africa regime, just as they now arm and finance dictatorships to suppress the Arab Spring; and

Whereas, veteran South African freedom fighters have observed that Israel”s treatment of Palestinians is “worse than apartheid”; and

Whereas, amidst spiraling economic crisis, workers in this country pay a staggering human and financial price for U.S.-Israeli war and occupation from Palestine to Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan; and

Whereas, just as trade unionists fight “replacement” of striking workers, we stand against the dispossession, occupation and inequality inflicted on millions of Palestinian working people and their descendants for more than six decades; and

Whereas, the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against apartheid Israel has been endorsed by numerous labor bodies around the world, including the trade union congresses of South Africa, Egypt, Brazil, Ireland, Scotland and the UK, and labor bodies in Australia, France, Canada, Norway, Catalunya, Italy, Spain and Turkey; and

Whereas, numerous U.S. labor bodies participated in similar divestment campaigns against apartheid South Africa; and

Whereas, following the May 31, 2010 Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, members of ILWU Local 10 in Oakland courageously followed the South African dockers” example by refusing to handle Israeli cargo; and

Whereas, such solidarity stands in the proud tradition of West Coast dock-workers who refused to handle cargo for Nazi Germany (1934) and fascist Italy (1935); those in Denmark and Sweden (1963), the San Francisco Bay Area (1984) and Liverpool (1988), who refused shipping for apartheid South Africa; those in Oakland who refused to load bombs for the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1978); and those at all twenty-nine West Coast ports who held a May Day strike against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2008).

Therefore, we join with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the Brazilian CUT, and other labor bodies, in specifically reaffirming support for an immediate and comprehensive arms embargo; and

Whereas, Israel has now sought to repress the growing BDS campaign by banning recognition of the 1948 Nakba or advocacy of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions;

Therefore, we call on all labor bodies to divest from Israel Bonds; and

Therefore, we call on workers not to handle weapons and all other military cargo destined for Israel; and

Therefore, that these and other necessary measures be maintained until the Israeli apartheid regime recognizes Palestinian human rights and self-determination by immediately:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.


Monadel Herzallah, Arab American Union Members Council, San Francisco, CA

Larry Adams, Former President, NPMHU L. 300; Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; People”s Organization for Progress

Michael Letwin, Labor for Palestine; Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325

Brenda Stokely, Former President, AFSCME DC 1707; Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Co-Chair, Million Worker March Movement

Carl Gentile, National Representative, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), AFL-CIO

Joe Iosbaker, SEIU Local 73, Executive Board member

Carol Gay, President, NJ State Industrial Union Council, Chairperson, NJ Labor Against War

Andre Powell, Delegate, Baltimore MD Metro AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, AFSCME

Bill Bateman, Coordinator, RI Unemployed Council, Member, Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 271

Steve Gillis, Vice-President, USW Local 8751, The Boston School Bus Drivers” Union, Roslindale, MA

Manzar Foroohar, , Former Chapter President, California Faculty Association (CFA), Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Amy Hines, Labor Relations Representative/Organizer, AEU, Concord, CA

Dan Kaplan, Executive Secretary, AFT L. 1493; San Mateo, CA

Dennis Kortheuer, California Faculty Association, Long Beach, CA

Joseph Agonito, American Federation of Teachers, Local 1845, Syracuse NY

Nathaniel Miller, Industrial Workers of the World, Philadelphia, PA

Carole Seligman, retired member South San Francisco Classroom Teachers Association, CTA, NEA

Mike Gimbel, retired Executive Board member, Local 375, AFSCME

Joe Lombardo, CSEA,Troy Area Labor Council, Co-coordinator United National Antiwar Committee

Stephen Cheng, Brandworkers International/Industrial Workers of the World, New York, NY

Sherna Berger Gluck, former vice-president, California Faculty Assn/SEIU 1983

Mary Scully, IUE-CWA Local 201 (retired)

Walter Birdwell, retired shop steward, National Association of Letter Carriers

John Dudley, SEIU, Branford, CT

Garrett Wright, Member, Industrial Workers of the World, New York City

Anna Potempska, Public Employees Federation, Staten Island, NY

Mark Clinton, Massachusetts Community College Council, Holyoke Community College Chapter

Jerry Silberman, Senior Staff Representative, Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, AFL-CIO, Philadelphia, PA

Azalia Torres, Former Executive Bd. Member, ALAA/UAW L. 2325, Brooklyn, NY

Anthony Arnove, National Writers Union

Martha Grevatt, member UAW Local 869

David Heap, UWO Faculty Association, London, Ontario

Mike Treen, National Director, Unite the Union, Auckland, NZ

Sabah al-Mukhtar, President, Arab Lawyers Association (UK), London

Theresa Peters, National Union of Teachers, England

National Lawyers Guild International Committee

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