TULIP: Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine

by A. Jay Adler on July 22, 2010
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Founding statement

The solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is clear – and has been accepted in principle by both sides.  Israeli and Palestinian states living side by side, within secure and recognised borders, is the only workable solution to a conflict that has dragged on for decades.

Israel has already taken a number of steps towards this goal, most notably by agreeing to the Oslo Accords in 1993 and later by the unilateral withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Lebanon and Gaza.  Palestinian moderates lead by Mahmoud Abbas support this process.

People of goodwill everywhere want a process to succeed delivering peace, justice and reconciliation.   Trade unions can play a positive role here, and often do.

The International Transport Workers Federation, for example, has done much to bridge the gap between transport workers unions in Israel and Palestine and to reach ground-breaking agreements.  The International Trade Union Confederation has encouraged dialogue between the Israeli and Palestinian national trade union centres.  And individual unions in a number of countries have invited Israeli and Palestinian trade unionists to their conferences, helping to promote discussion and agreement.

This is the traditional role of trade unions when faced with disputes of this kind – bridging the gap between nations at war, encouraging peace, justice and reconciliation.  It is a role we can be proud of.

And yet in recent years, a number of national unions and trade union centres have changed course and abandoned that role.  Instead, they have rallied behind those Palestinians who are opposed to the peace process.  Some have gone so far as to deny Israel’s right to exist.

A number of those unions have called for boycotts and sanctions directed against Israel, and only against Israel.  They are attempting to demonise the Jewish state, to deny it legitimacy, and to whip up hatred against it.  Sometimes that hatred even spills over into anti-Semitism.

Those unions are wrong – terribly wrong.

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2 comments

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Miles July 11, 2011 at 8:55 am

Jay …have you read Oslo? No one in their right mind could acccept this! Israel knew this… and when during the peace process something tenable is presented ( Madrid) …who walks away?

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A. Jay Adler July 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Miles, I note a repeated gambit in your argumentation. You question whether your opponent has read the relevant source material, thereby impugning ignorance without doing the work of actually establishing or refuting a point. Merilyn can respond to you, about a different post, if she wishes; your reply to her is far too diffuse a spray of broad points to enable focused and worthwhile consideration. Regarding the value of comparison that you question elsewhere – the real world providing very few absolute goods, comparative evaluation provides a mature and essential grounding amid human endeavor and strife: if Palestinian and Arab life generally are so much better, freer, and more protected in their rights in Israel than in Arab nations, one is led by reason to wonder why some, as you, are so much more focused on the shortcomings of that life in Israel and so little on it in the Arab world, particularly as that focus leads to the application of terms like “oppression.” Otherwise, your reference to Madrid is peculiar and your rejection of Oslo revelatory. But rather than obscure our positions, let’s reveal them. What precisely is it about the Oslo process to which you objected?

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