LONDON – Concerns over Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians have initiated a heated debate among two of the UK’s top trade unions, which are scheduled to decide upon their official stance regarding Israel in upcoming annual conferences.
The UNISON trade union is set to oppose a resolution proposed by its Redbridge branch, which submitted a motion welcoming efforts toward resolving the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, with the union’s national executive committee reportedly recommending delegates to vote against it.
UNISON is scheduled to hold its annual conference, which is to take place between Tuesday to Friday, and in which it is to decide upon three resolutions regarding Israel. Two of the submitted resolutions are hostile toward Israel, while one seeks a more balanced approach.
The union’s Wolverhampton branch, which allegedly has connections to the extreme-left Socialist Workers Party, submitted a motion that attacks Israel and criticizes UNISON executives for failing to implement previous conference resolutions that called on local government contracts to deliberately ignore Israeli companies’ bids.
Another resolution to be discussed in the conference echoes calls to introduce Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions measures, which call for local councils and public organizations to exclude Israel when considering contracts or entering bargaining processes.
But according to Steve Scott, Trade Union Friends of Israel director, the most worrying aspect in the upcoming conference is the rejection of the Redbridge branch resolution to constructive dialogue with Israel and with the Histadrut labor federation in particular, which he described as being “supportive of peace and reconciliation.”
The Trade Union Friends of Israel had asked the union’s national executive committee to “reconsider their position” regarding recommending delegates to vote against the motion, Scott told The Jerusalem Post.
“How can you oppose policy that actively supports peace and reconciliation through the means of the global trades union movement?” asked Scott, adding that dialogue and agreement were the only ways to end the conflict and secure a peaceful future for both Israelis and Palestinians.
Meanwhile, the Unite trade union, which is set to meet in Liverpool at the end of June, also has four resolutions concerning Israel on their agenda.
Two resolutions attack Israel over what their proposers call “the Apartheid state,” and demand strong measures to be taken against it. They also called on their union’s leaders to “commit resources to the Palestine solidarity campaign and for pro-Palestinian campaigning.”
A third resolution blames Israel for recent deaths in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria.
The fourth resolution, however, submitted by the union’s Bank of England branch, called for constructive dialogue and support for the Histadrut.