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Calling for Boycott

Israeli dates Photo: Yaron Brener
Israeli dates Photo: Yaron Brener
 
 

UK labor unions approve Israeli goods boycott

British labor unions support ban on importing good produced in 'illegal settlements' and end to arms trading with Israel; Foreign Ministry: Decision one-sided, extreme

Associated Press
Published: 09.17.09, 16:33 / Israel Business

British labor unions on Thursday agreed to support a boycott of some Israeli goods in response to the offensive in Gaza.

 

The boycott, approved at the annual conference of the Trades Union Congress, calls for a ban on importing goods produced in some Israeli settlements, an end to arms trading with Israel and disinvestment from some companies.

 

Union officials said the boycott would target products including dates, herbs, fruit and vegetables grown on Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

 

"We will support a boycott of those goods and agricultural products that originate in illegal settlements through developing an effective, targeted consumer-led boycott campaign," the TUC said in a statement.

 

The TUC is the umbrella organization of 58 British labor unions, representing about 6.5 million workers.

 

Members of the group's general council held often fractious talks on the motion, originally tabled by the Fire Brigades Union, at an annual conference in Liverpool, northern England.

 

The boycott was proposed in response to the December-January offensive in Gaza, in which about 1,400 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, and 13 Israelis, including four civilians, died. Israel said it was seeking to stop rocket fire by Gaza militants on southern Israeli towns.

 

Two years ago, Britain's largest union of college teachers attempted to organize a boycott of Israeli universities, which would have led to a halt on funding, visits and conferences with Israeli institutions.

 

The University and College Union was forced to abandon the plan because it breached discrimination laws.

 

Israel's Foreign Ministry said in response to the boycott, "Israel condemns the UK unions' extreme, one-sided announcement. We assume that such political statements do not have an adverse effect on trade between Israel and Britain."

 

The ministry added that the timing of the boycott announcement, a day after a UN report said the IDF committed war crimes during its offensive in Gaza, was not coincidental.

 

"This is another expression of hostility against Israel within the framework of a coordinated campaign," said the ministry.

 

MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) lauded the UK for its boycott of all Israeli goods. "This decision and the similar decision made by the Norwegian government contribute to the peace process," he said. "This trend should be encouraged throughout the world in order to cause the freezing of settlements and their dismantlement."  

 

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