Posts tagged ‘Israel’

Fair Play Statement on TUC Vote

Yesterday, on the 11 September 2012, trade union delegates at the TUC’s Congress voted in favour of a motion calling for TUC to organise a
delegation to Gaza in conjunction with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign ‘to determine how the TUC may most effectively contribute to the end of the blockade.’ The motion can be found here.

The TUC’s decision to singularly focus on Gaza again is bizarre. There is no motion on Syria, at a time when hundreds are dying every week, or on anywhere else in the Middle East, still reeling from the aftershocks of the Arab Spring.

A visit to only Gaza, ignoring the West Bank, Israel and the Sinai, is a distorted snapshot of a complex situation; it would be the sort of trip which
conceals as much as it reveals.

More concerning, though, is the TUC’s decision to visit Gaza with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. PSC trips are necessarily biased and one-sided, meeting only those parts of Palestinian society that support their views. In particular, PSC trips to Gaza usually include meetings with terrorist leaders from Hamas. The PSC makes no secret of its agenda.

We believe that the trip should not go ahead as envisaged in the motion. However, if it does, we call upon the TUC to take the opportunity and have a more balanced visit to the wider region, organised by neutral and fair organisations, and to guarantee that they will not meet with the terrorist leaders of Hamas.


Bravo to the EU

I’m excited for the Olympics.

My tickets are in hand, I’ve stood on tip toes to glimpse the Torch Relay and I’m soaking up the atmosphere around London.

Meanwhile, sadly, the media seem to be concentrating on stories about missile defence systems being placed on residential tower blocks and the army being drafted in to shore up security.

Which all acts as a rather sad reminder that, depressingly, there are a lot of people out there who wish us only harm.

If we needed another reminder, it came last week with a suicide bomb attack in Bulgaria, a European Union member state.

Which was part of the reason I was so pleased to hear on Tuesday that the European Union had decided to deepen its links with Israel.

At an EU-Israel Association Council meeting, it was agreed that bilateral and trade relations across sixty different policy areas would be upgraded. This includes such diverse things as agriculture, energy and policing; there’s even to be increased cooperation between Israel and the European Space Agency!

In his statement after the conference, the Commissioner responsible for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fule, described Israel as “the prime example of democracy in the region”.

And in that small phrase I think the significant point is encapsulated.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is incredibly complex and there are legitimate criticisms to make of both parties. But when Britain, the EU, and the democratic world in general is facing threats that require missiles to be placed in cities, we’d be fools not to be creating closer ties between us and a democratic, liberal ally – Israel.

Yes, the debates around Israel are complicated. They’re bound to be – the country’s involved in a decades old conflict with some of the same people who the missiles in East London are designed to deter. But conflicts are there to be solved through negotiation between two parties not through empty political gestures designed to punish a country.

So bravo to the EU.

Bravo for standing up to those who prioritise boycotts and isolation over dialogue and engagement.

Bravo for not denying European citizens the obvious benefits that closer cooperation with Israel will bring us.

And bravo for cementing, in the midst of economic meltdown and endless security threats, our relationship with a true democracy, a true ally and a true friend.

Don’t Co-Operate with Co-op

Co-op’s demonisation of Israel – article by Eric Lee

Founding editor of LabourStart, Eric Lee writes on Progress Online about the Co-op’s boycott of four Israeli companies and what the democratic left should do about it. Read it here.

StandWithUS: Buy Israeli Goods Campaign