Ha’aretz recently reported
on a decision by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Ontario, to boycott Israel. Unfortunately, the CUPE decision is actually worse than outlined in Ha’aretz.
First, the motion (text below) was passed unanimously by all 896 delegates.
Second, neither Ha’aretz, nor any other article I’ve seen, noted that CUPE proposes to create an educational campaign in alliance with the Palestine solidarity movement – represented at the CUPE convention by Rafeef Ziadah, a leader Palestine solidarity in Toronto.
The CUPE motion adopts the language and positions of Palestine solidarity, most obviously in the attempt to declare Israel an illegitimate, apartheid state and in the demand for the "right of return." This doesn’t refer to a right for Palestinians to settle in a future Palestinian state, but is a demand to turn Israel into an Arab state by giving automatic citizenship to the 4 million grandchildren of Palestinians displaced during Arab wars against Israel.
CUPE also adopts the term "Israeli state" from Palestine solidarity, which does not regard Israel as a legitimate state and uses "Israeli" as an adjective, rather than using the noun “Israel.” In other words, "Israeli state" is a synonym for "Zionist entity." The term "Israeli state" is meant to be more broadly acceptable than "Zionist entity" and by rhyme, structure and association of ideas, recalls the phrase "Nazi state."
Alongside of not recognizing Israel, Palestine solidarity regards all of Israel as occupied territory.
While referring to "occupied Palestine," the CUPE resolution doesn't spell out whether this refers to the West Bank or includes Israel, too. Likely, the framers of the resolution had in mind all of Israel, while most of the delegates believed they were voting for an end to the occupation of the West Bank.
However, in voting to condemn Israel as an "apartheid" state and in voting for the "right of return,” all 896 delegates presumably understood they were voting to end Israel’s existence.
Third, the Ha’aretz article quotes Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League saying that CUPE hasn't taken into account recent political developments such as the withdrawal from Gaza and the election of Hamas. On the contrary, the people who crafted this motion consider the Hamas victory a good thing, the peace process an instrument of apartheid, and President Abbas a traitor. At least this is the position of Rafeef Ziadah and Palestine solidarity.
In a March 4, 2006, article published in Left Turn, Ziadah and Adam Hanieh, another leader of Palestine solidarity in Toronto and a CUPE member, write about: “The overdue end of the Oslo process and its attempt to narrow the ‘Palestinian question’ to a state-building project in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” As opposed to a state in all of “historic Palestine.”
Hamas' victory is a striking indictment of this so-called "peace process." Promoted with the deliberate deceit of Western governments and the corporate media, the myth of negotiations was fully shared in by the leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA), most particularly by individuals such as Palestinian President Abu Mazen [Abbas] and Prime Minister Abu Ala. The PA leadership came to represent submission and surrender under the banner of peaceful negotiations and empty condemnation of violence. Indeed, immediately prior to the Legislative Council elections, Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal pointed out that "the experiment of fifty years taught us this road was futile" and Hamas would not continue to deceive the Palestinian people with this "political fiction.")
Note: the reference to the “empty condemnation of violence.” Palestine solidarity supports terrorism and Hamas’s “commitment to the national struggle.”
On the other hand, while CUPE Ontario does represent 200,000 workers at the bargaining table, it doesn't in any way represent the politics of its members. Most CUPE members would be appalled if they understood their union was allying itself with the suicide bombers.
editor & writer
June 6, 2006
Text of the CUPE boycott resolution (http://www.redress.btinternet.co.uk/cupe.htm):
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ontario) will:
1. With Palestine solidarity [emphasis added] and human rights organizations, develop an education campaign about the apartheid nature of the Israeli state and the political and economic support of Canada for these practices.
2. Support the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law, including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
3. Call on CUPE National to commit to research into Canadian involvement in the occupation and call on the CLC to join us in lobbying against the apartheid-like practices of the Israeli state and call for the immediate dismantling of the wall.
a. The Israeli Apartheid Wall has been condemned and determined illegal under international law.
b. Over 170 Palestinian political parties, unions and other organizations, including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, issued a call in July 2005 for a global campaign of boycotts and divestment against Israel similar to those imposed against South African apartheid; CUPE British Columbia has firmly and vocally condemned the occupation of Palestine and have initiated an education campaign about the apartheid-like practices of the Israeli state.
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